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5 Free Microsoft Excel Templates for Indie Film/TV Production

Professional film and TV production software bundles, like Jungle Software’s Gorilla Studio 8, can be prohibitively expensive for an independent movie project. Microsoft Office can stand in as an inexpensive production resource for indie film producers, line producers, YouTubers, and local TV/cable access network showrunners alike. Paired with free film/TV production templates for Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and PDF formats, it becomes a valuable tool. We compiled five free Excel templates to help you organize indie film, TikTok, YouTube, and other online streaming projects.

1. The Call Sheet

NoFilmSchool.com has a great free film production call sheet template for Excel.

The Call Sheet is an indispensable on-set tool during any shoot. This document, handed out to virtually everyone daily, gives details, such as crew call time, scenes shooting that day, principal cast, contact info, locations, break time, various production department principles (e.g., camera, art, makeup, craft services, etc.), and so much more. NoFilmSchool.com has an amazingly robust free call sheet available for download for Excel in both Mac and PC formats.

2. The Shot List

Just as important as The Call Sheet, The Shot List is the roadmap for the day’s shoot. The Shot List can contain elements, such as scene number, shot number, take number, shot size, movement, gear, location, and more! FilmSourcing.com has a great, free Advanced Shot List template available for download. The only trick is that it is in Google Docs format. However, you can easily export the template from Google Docs to MS Excel, and it works just fine.

FilmSourcing.com's Advanced Shot List is for Google Docs but can be exported to MS Excel.

3. The Production Schedule

For the big picture, aka a 20,000-foot view of the entire project, you need a production schedule to keep all of the balls that are in the air on track, from pre-production, principal photography, post-production, editing, distribution, and more. Screen HI, a Scottish film production company, has a really great, free, easy-to-use Excel template (buried deep in their blog site) that is highly customizable to suit your project’s needs.

Screen HI offers a free and customizable film/TV production schedule for Excel.

Note: you can customize all Excel templates to your needs. For example, you can move columns, add sparklines to track progress, and filter tables using a slicer.

4. The Production Budget

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but it bears repeating: no money, no film/TV/streaming project. Most indie productions run on a tight budget, whether the funds came from private or angel investors, relatively small or local producers/studios, Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns, or from one’s own personal bank account. Keeping track of every last cent is vitally important to successfully pulling off a production. Fortunately, TemplateLab has an extensive selection of film budget templates that you can download for free.

Use the table of contents to find the type of budget template you need, look through the previews, then click Download on a template you like. We tried number 8, which contains sections for different production stages, including pre-production and development, production, and post-production.

Film Budget Template from TemplateLab

Within the TemplateLab, you’ll find many more helpful templates, such as location release forms, screenplay templates, etc.

5. Storyboards

The final entry into this list is the Storyboard template. This is a vital creative tool by the production’s director to hand draw an illustrated version of the script and to build a shot-for-shot framework for the director of photography to follow. After a long exhaustive search, it would appear that free storyboard templates only come in either PDF, Word, or PowerPoint formats. However, you do not need an Excel template to create a storyboard sheet. All you need is some basic skill in Excel, making a few large cells with borders and some lines underneath for notes. Take a look at an example below.

Do-it-yourself storyboard template created in MS Excel.

Most likely, you’re going to print this sheet out anyway and start drawing your shots on it. If you must have an electronic document, the TemplateLab has you covered with 40 storyboard templates, including one Excel template.

And for the really adventurous storyboarder, take a look through StoryBoardThat.com. This full-featured online storyboarding program utilizes many detailed illustrations and drawing tools to create elaborate storyboards for your production. You will need an account with StoryBoardThat.com, and it only offers a free trial; after that, you have to pay.

In conclusion, Microsoft Excel (along with the rest of MS Office) can be a powerful tool, not just for businesses, but also for creative professionals, such as filmmakers and writers. The Internet is replete with amazingly simple templates for burgeoning indie film productions, local cable access network shows, and online video-streaming webisodes that do not require expensive and proprietary software to make your visual media dreams come true.

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