You should definitely know how to use a phone or you won't be able to place the call. But beside that, here's a brief list of things you should know before you call to book studio time.
It'll help you plan a more successful production. And it'll help us more accurately estimate things like equipment, crew, and overall costs.
1. What you are going to shoot
Be able to describe, as accurately as possible, what the script will call for and what the set-ups will be.
2. What kind of crew will you need
This will depend a lot on what you are going to shoot. To plan a production schedule and a budget, you need to know who will be on set and what they will be doing. A Stage Manager is typically available to locate equipment, but not to work as a grip. If you're going to need help setting things up, you'll need to hire crew.
3. How much time you will need
The devil is in the details. And if you don't know what your progress will be in at least 30 minute increments, you're a lot more likely to run out of time. For example, our soundstage has a 10 hr. day that does not stop for any breaks you may take. You should know beforehand if you will need to exceed that because it will affect your budget.
5. What kind of power distribution you will need
Where will you be setting the lights and camera?
6. Do you need the stage painted?
Do want a white cyc or one painted for green screen? This will affect availability as well as budget.
7. What you can cut if the production is running behind
This is especially painful to think about. But until time machines become more widely available, you need to have a plan for when things fall behind.
8. What's your budget for crew overtime?
If your shoot is going to take longer than 10 hours, you will need to pay overtime. Sometimes a really long day, even with overtime costs, makes the most sense.
9. What is your insurance coverage?
You need to know this to protect yourself, your crew, and ultimately your client. If somebody gets hurt on the set, and it turns out you're not covered for it--cue the violins from Psycho.
If you can get the basic info on these nine areas, your soundstage will be able to get you a more accurate estimate and be a more useful partner as you plan your logistics.