Whoever said that the film industry had gone digital misunderstood! When it comes to producing a film, there's more paperwork involved than what you'd find at Bill Gates office in his early Microsoft days.

What sort of paperwork?

Well, for one – you'll be needing a cast list template.

Find our free cast list template.

In this post, we're digging into what, why and more importantly, how you create a thorough cast list so it fits your precise filmmaking needs.

What is a cast list template?

A film cast list is the first document your actors will interact with. So, keep that list clean, easy, and direct on the next steps. It contains all the necessary information for the cast to understand their role and to make sure you have all the essential information to contact the cast members.

Why fill out a cast list template?

Why do a cast list?

The cast list is for you to have somewhere you can store and save all that information, so it'll be easy to retrieve and share the information with the rest of the film crew.

In all its plainness, it's a document whose fundamental role is to help you stay organized by keeping track of who's doing what, along with a few other details that'll be relevant throughout your shoot.

Even though your cast only consists of a few actors, you should always fill out a cast list as this will make it much easier for everyone to understand who and what will happen during each stage of the film production.

Moreover, the oftener you fill out a cast list, no matter the size of each project, you'll start gathering your personal cast member Rolodex—a powerful tool in the hands of a clever producer.

How to fill out a cast list?

Well, for starters. Make sure you have a complete overview of your cast. And for the love of Hitchcock, do spell the actor's names correct. Preferably, you'll pull the names directly from the audition forms.

Overall, you should end with a cast list that has a:

  • Clean, simple, understandable design and setup
  • Consistent formatting
  • Simple font and all actor's names written in the same font size
  • Clear call to action (CTA) – where the actor's next steps are clear.

With that said, let's get into the nitty-gritty details.

1. Gather as much information as you can – at once

You may make the film cast list months ahead of production. So, some cast members might be doing other projects before starting on yours. As a result, it can be challenging to get in touch with your cast again.

Try to gather as much information as possible while you have the cast members attention, either over the phone or in person.

Gathering all the necessary information at once also ensures that you won't have to ping the actors repeatedly.

2. Start filling in the basics

Cover the basics before filling in the rest

That means the very first thing you make sure to include in your film cast list is each actor's name, role, and contact information.

Once that's taken care of, you can start filling out all the other information deemed necessary.

3. Include the day rates of your cast members

Beyond the basic contact information, your film cast list template should keep track of the actor's various day rates – if this happens to be applicable. Some actors may have a fixed salary, sort of like a one-hit-money-wonder.

You should also think about which scenes they'll be doing on the respective days as some scenes are more demanding than others, which means – different day rates. As a result, you'll need to include several entries for one cast member.

Then comes the prep days, shoot days, and wrap days – which may also all have different amounts.

What a good thing you have a cast list template to help you keep track of all these things, ha?

Should one or several of your cast members be in a union, make note of that! Failure to pay the unions minimum fees will bar them from working with you.

4. Stay updated with the actor's paperwork status

As I said, producing a film involves a lot of paperwork. This also means that there might be several contracts, agreements and such flying around.

You must make sure to have all the necessary paperwork from each of your cast members for every production. So, dedicate some space in your cast list to note how far along each cast member is with their respective paperwork (Psst maybe also include what sort of paperwork it is you're waiting for).

Trust me on this; updating that information on your cast list will save you many headaches.

5. Keep the private information, private

Beware of not sharing sensitive information

As you include possibly sensitive information in your cast list, such as contact information, home address, payroll details, you wouldn't want that sort of information leaked to any persons not part of the project.

So, be careful who you share the list with and try to keep it to a minimum. Instead of giving the entire film crew access to everything, consider having it as a private document; you can always pull information and send it out.

6. Add notes as needed

In our cast list template, you'll find a section called "Notes". Now, this might seem redundant after filling out everything from phone number to wardrobe size. Nevertheless, it is an essential feature that helps you keep track of all the little things, making sure you don't miss anything.

Things you could include in this section are food allergies, special requests, possible shooting breaks, etc.

You might even consider adding some more personal information, such as birthdays or special events. That sort of information can help you create an even stronger bond with your cast members, potentially creating a better product due to better communication and stronger relations.

7. Have the actors accept their role

The actors needs to accept their role

Still with me?

Because we've reached the final and most vital part of the cast list – having the actors accept their roles (and confirm the information you filled out in the film cast list).  

They should accept their role by completing an actor's agreement, confirming their contact information, and receive a rehearsal schedule.

Wrap it up!

Armed with the details above, you should be able to fill out a cast list, so you can keep your production organized.

Now it's time to just do it.

Find and download our cast list template here. So, you can focus on the craft – not the paperwork.