Shotlist: A Unnecessary Filmmakers tool at a Premium Price

Shotlist: A Unnecessary Filmmakers tool at a Premium Price


Shotlist iPhone App Review

At its heart, the Shotlist app is a unique GTD (Get Things Done) productivity app, dedicated to simplifying and organizing film shoots. It’s quite a good idea especially for budding young filmmakers, or those wishing to film in more of a guerilla/off the cuff style.

The app allows users to store the details, locations and notes in a editable format. Essentially it’s a on the go, editable call sheet. It also allows users to use storyboard frames for each scene, where photos from the camera library can be added. So again essentially storyboarding on the fly.You’ll also notice that the app has been designed to a very high standard (right through the home screen to the various other menu screens), which of course makes for a far more enjoyable user experience. Equally there’s a wealth of features at your fingertips such as the ability to keep cast and crew informed of changes through the use of an added email function in app. What’s more you can also update project files and immediately back up the work to Dropbox™, which is also a very nice touch.

However, when judging this app we really need to consider exactly how this will aid filmmakers. Does it improve filmmaking production? Does it make filmmaking easier and more organised? In my opinion, no it doesn’t.

The app is effectively replacing hand written call sheets and hand drawn story boards, but somehow using the app (which crashed occasionally uploading pictures), it actually felt like a lot more work than simply jotting the information down. You’ve got to fiddle with the menu’s type things up on the tiny iPhone screens (yes it’s available on iPad too but I’d consider that slightly less ‘on the go’ friendly).

What’s more, it’s also difficult to see how the app might be useful as a tool on the go, as I whole heartedly believe that the constant stop start nature of having to use the app, would more than likely hinder the organic process of filmmaking on the fly, rather than principally aiding it. In fact I’d imagine that if someone was filming in a more guerilla style, that they would be far more inclined to just shoot everything they could and then analyse the footage in post.

Obviously, my opinion is only one point of view, others may find this useful and god speed to those who do; but as a film graduate who worked on short films I’d consider that I at least have some weight in my judgment and I know I wouldn’t have wanted me or anyone else to be fiddling around with a iPhone mid-shoot.

Lastly, the real stumbling block is the price, which is an astonishing £13.99. Had the cost been more in the region of £2.99 I’d advise users and in particular film students to take a punt on it. However at £13.99 the app is far to expensive to truly justify buying, especially when it would be replacing traditional (cheaper) methods that have worked so efficiently for years.


  1. No offense but this article doesn’t really speak for me. I am an assistant director on a network television and have been working for a major film company for the last 5 years. I also produce indie films. I think this app is awesome for around $10(US). It is essentially a one line production schedule that is very easily revised on the go and able to be emailed, printed or whatever you need pretty much. One like EVERY real production uses. The 1st AD (head-honcho onset) usually uses schedule on ” Movie Magic” scheduling software which cost out the ying-yang. This app is actually nothing like a callsheet as stated in this article. This was obviously written by a student/grad with no real set experience. We have a couple of those on set each day; they don’t know much and we call them interns.

  2. Thanks to whoever posted the above, a much appreciated point of view. (It also seemed an odd criticism in the original review that this app “wouldn’t suit guerilla filmmaking”- surely no app for shot-by-shot planning really would?)

    The review was written based on version 1.0, and I dropped in to mention that version 3.0 of ShotList was just released, including a faster method of navigation between scenes by swiping up and down between the pages, and a new way to filter scenes by combinations of character and location which makes it much easier to initially sort your scenes into an efficient shooting order.

    See this blog post for more on the new features

    Version 3.0
    ★ NEW Filter and Select scenes by location, cast, time of day and setting combinations.
    ★ NEW Swipe up & down to move quickly between scenes on Details page.
    ★ NEW More frequent saving, to increase data security.
    ★ NEW Include notes in the oneline schedule.
    ★ NEW Rename a location throughout project.
    ★ FIXED Crash when deleting a project.
    ★ FIXED Crash exiting storyboard with delete box visible (iPad).

    This is on top of the new features added in Version 2.0 including moving and duplicating multiple strips and showing character names, not just numbers.

    ★ NEW Select and move multiple scene and day strips at once.
    ★ NEW Duplicate scene and day strips, singly and in groups.
    ★ NEW See thumbnails of Storyboard frames right on the Details screen, and mark them off as you shoot (iPad)
    ★ NEW Show cast as names rather than numbers (User options provided in Settings give separate control for the Stripboard and Details screens.
    ★ NEW Added “INT/EXT” and “Green screen” options to location type reel, added “Morning”, “Evening” and “Day For Night” options for time of day.
    ★ NEW Camera icon gives status and quick access to Storyboard from Details screen.
    ★ NEW Page Count now shown on day strip as days and eighths, not just eighths.
    ★ NEW Pick images, and make selections from popovers (iPad.)
    ★ FIXED iPad Photo Library crash. (*** this was mentioned in the review above ***)
    ★ FIXED Enter Dropbox with no project selected.
    ★ FIXED Load more image formats from Photo Library.

    Also, pricing is currently held down at £7.99 ($11.99) for the new version release (around 60% what it was at the time of review).

    Suggesting it should be £2.99 implies the reviewer doesn’t fully appreciate why that isn’t economically viable for a complex product targetted at a niche market- you simply cannot expect to sell hundreds of thousands of copies of a niche app, at whatever price you pitch it. Personally I think its worth spending more than a cup of coffee on an app that you may depend on, especially if you want to see it supported in the future.

    (We do price our unique group email app, “MailShot Pro” at that level, but that is a mass-market product)


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