Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Apple > iPhone

Filmmaking with Your iPad or iPhone: Prepping the Shoot

Preparing for a shoot takes many forms. It might be knowing where to look for a hard-to-find prop. It might be having the right tools mastered for your next location scout. It might be understanding the importance of a release form. It all comes down to this: The more you prepare, the greater your chances for success.
This chapter is from the book

A wise person once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” It’s a little unclear who is responsible for these words (I found the quote attributed to at least five different luminaries), but I can tell you with absolute certainty that whoever said it first was clearly a filmmaker.

Preparation takes many forms. It might be knowing where to look for a hard-to-find prop. It might be having the right tools mastered for your next location scout. It might be understanding the importance of a release form. It all comes down to this: The more you prepare, the greater your chances for success.

Everything in this chapter is about preparation. In some cases, I discuss apps and ideas that could have just as easily been included in Part II, “Production,” but I’m hoping that if I inject them here, you’ll spend more time getting familiar with them before your shoot begins. The last thing you should be doing during production is learning an app. Trust me, you’ll be busy with other things.

Production Directories

“We’re setting up the next shot! Quick, we need 300 chickens, a 1963 Chevrolet Impala, and a watermelon-shaped ice sculpture! We also need a stuntman who can jump a 1963 Chevy Impala over 300 chickens into a watermelon-shaped ice sculpture!”

If this has happened to you, I’d really like to see your film. I’d also suggest you download a few of the great production directory apps available for your iPhone and iPad.

It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting tomorrow or if you’re still two months away from calling “Action!”—at some point, you’re going to need to track down something, or someone, for a production. Maybe your space adventure will need a laser-pistol prop. Perhaps your sound mixer will get sick and you’ll need to secure a replacement. Maybe you’ll be looking to rent a hospital standing set, rather than building one from scratch (a standing set is one that remains in place even when not being filmed and is usually available for long and short-term rental). You can find all this in production directories.

Although Google is a great place to search for odds and ends, production directories will save you time by providing well-organized listings of the most commonly requested film production resources and services. Directories make it easy to shop around, research availability, and compare prices.

Keep in mind, these apps access directory content stored in online servers. That means the directory listings will always be up-to-date, but when you’re without an Internet connection, you’ll also be without working directory apps.

Let’s look at a few of the production directory apps patiently waiting for you in the App Store.


LA 411

Known in Los Angeles as the bible, the LA 411 is one of the oldest, most trusted production directories around. Long before iPhones, iPads, and the Internet, spiral-bound versions of this behemoth directory could be found sitting on production company desks in offices all over Los Angeles. An updated version was published every year and carried a not-so-small price tag. Owning the latest edition was as much a symbol of status as it was a useful filmmaking resource.

The paper version is still published annually, but most of the filmmakers I know have gone digital. Not only is the LA 411 available online, but it now has its own free, ad-supported iPhone app.


As soon as you launch the app, you can quickly perform a search. If you simply want to browse, the app includes 12 master categories: Ad Agencies & Production Companies; Post Production; Sets & Stages; Location Services & Equipment; Production Support; Camera & Sound Equipment; High Def; 3D & Digital Cinema; Grip & Lighting Equipment; Props & Wardrobe; Crew; City Guide; and National Listings. Within each of these categories and their related subcategories, you’ll find a plethora of companies and crew members competing for your business (FIGURE 4.1).

Figure 4.1

Figure 4.1. Use the LA 411 app to quickly find a greenscreen stage or about 3 billion other things you might need.


The app allows you to share listings via e-mail, bookmark favorites, import any listing’s contact information into your iPhone’s address book, and quickly pull up driving directions.

You don’t have to live in Los Angeles to enjoy the benefits of the bible. There are separate 411 apps for Los Angeles, New York, Florida, and New Mexico.



Whereas the LA 411 originated in print and then eventually transitioned online, doddle began its life in the digital era and as a result provides more of what you’d expect from an iPhone application. It’s slick, interactive, and far more social.

The app has two flavors: a free version appropriately titled doddle and another version called doddlePRO that will set you back ten bucks. For now, I focus on the free version.

To find a listing in doddle, you must first tell the app if you’d like to search by name, by proximity (to you or another contact in your address book), or by country (FIGURE 4.2).

Figure 4.2

Figure 4.2. Doddle lets you search here, there, and everywhere...or by name.

Searching by name provides a basic search box with no other filtering. Searching by proximity brings up an extensive alphabetical list of categories and subcategories organized into four main groupings: Vendor, Crew, Talent, and Location. Searching by country lets you start your hunt in a particular geographic region. It may sound a bit confusing, but once you’ve performed a search or two, it will become second nature.

Let me give you a quick example. Let’s say you need to find a food stylist for your next commercial shoot. You’d start by tapping the Find a Listing tab at the bottom of the screen, followed by the Where I Am Now button. This tells doddle that you’d like to find listings in your neck of the woods. Next, tap the Crew button toward the top of the screen to view an alphabetical list of every conceivable film crew position (FIGURE 4.3). Scroll to the f’s, tap Food Stylist, and watch your screen overflow with names of possible candidates. Search results can be sorted alphabetically, by distance, or by rating.

Figure 4.3

Figure 4.3. Doddle’s listings are broken into four categories (Vendor, Crew, Talent, Location) and sorted alphabetically.


Tapping a single listing reveals greater detail, including contact info, web links, and reviews left by other doddle users. From here you can initiate contact, mark the listing as a favorite, add your own review, and add the contact info to your iPhone’s address book.

If that weren’t enough, the app also supplies a thorough listing of U.S. and U.K. film offices, along with a few in South Africa (FIGURE 4.4).

Figure 4.4

Figure 4.4. Need a listing of film offices in the United Kingdom? Doddle has got you covered.

Not only is the app free, but you can even add yourself to doddle’s directory in up to two categories at no charge. You can post your name, photo, basic contact info, and links to your pages on Twitter, Facebook, IMDB, and more. If you’re feeling especially boastful, you can purchase a Premium Listing, which allows you to add a description of your company or skill set, a downloadable PDF of your resume, photos and videos of your work, and more. A Premium Listing isn’t cheap, but if it brings you work, it’s worth it!

Thus far, I’ve only discussed doddle’s prowess as an interactive, mobile production directory. But there’s a whole separate side of this pint-sized powerhouse that I’ve intentionally left out of the conversation...until now. Doddle users can receive and interact with digital call sheets that have been created with doddlePRO, the paid version of the app! This is a big deal! It’s so big, in fact, that you can read all about it in the separate “Call Sheets” section of this chapter. I’m such a tease.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020