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Creating an effective overhead 

 September 15, 2014

By  Brandon Riley

Depending on the type of project, assistant directors sometimes take on additional responsibilities that may cross into the role of a location manager or production coordinator.  On these shows I take it upon myself to create overheads to help the crew/cast know where to park and understand the general layout of the set, basecamp, crafty, restrooms, etc.

Below is an overhead that I created for a short film I worked on for the American Film Institute. The department liked my overheads so much they showed it as an example to all the producers on how to create an overhead.

I use fireworks to create these layouts but you can use photoshop or any graphics program.

Here are 8 easy steps to creating an overhead.

1. www.google.com maps
2. Go to the bottom right corner and return to old google maps
3. Find your location
4. Take a screen grab
5. Start with the streets and draw grey boxes on the street and label them clearly
6. Next create your key box and determine what color everything is going to be
7. Label important sections twice such as parking or set
8. Now export your map as a .jpeg and include in your email to cast/crew

overhead

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About the author 

Brandon Riley

Brandon works as a freelance Line Producer, UPM and Assistant Director and is a member of both the PGA and DGA. He enjoys giving back to the film community by providing free resources, articles, podcasts and youtube clips that educate and inspire.

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