Production Planning - Strategies and Software

edited July 2013 in The Toolbox
I have a large project to get done. I know that I need to get a detailed production schedule set up for it in order to make the deadline. So I'm wondering what everyone uses to plan their projects. Do you use notebooks? Whiteboards? Software? If so, what software do you use?


  • I *used* to have the physical room for art / flow charts / etc., but now I work out of a 6x6 foot box.  I've had to micronize everything -- including my production strategy.

    Currently I am making a series bible which has separate sections for each character and other details.  I should have done this when I first started out.  I have some folders on my computer for research that I've found online, however, for physical stuff (which I like to have at the drawing table) I am going with the bible / work binder.

    However, I am a fool for lists and I will post them on my bulletin boards (small though they are) and in the past I even had a production list mounted to the computer... because they steal your time.  Nowadays I use Freedom or Anti-Social apps to stop all that surfing.

    As for story arcs / world building / plot-flow-organizing I am doing that on the computer (though I would LOVE to have a big wall bulletin board like you see the detectives use on the TV police procedurals -- complete with string running from clippings and art like a giant spider web, hahaha!

    In microsoft Word I made a *master arc*.  This has all the landmarks that I have to hit, flags and twists that I have to hit and tons of tidbits and details.  Most importantly it has, at the top, exactly what the hell it is I am doing.  Such as "THIS IS A STORY ABOUT REVENGE."  Because with that in mind it will help me slant my writing in the right direction.  For me, it's easy to get side tracked by all the cool research that may have nothing to do with my master goal (unless I want it as a red herring). 
  • I don't do this very well, but I'll tell you what I do anyway. :)

    I have a spreadsheet that lists all of the projects I have in production or planned, in the order I expect to do them.  There's a column where I list what remains to be done with each one (e.g. "ink, letter, color"), another with how many pages it is, and an estimate of how many days that will take.  Then there's a column that does a running calculation of what the date will be when I get that done, by adding that number of days to the date of the row above it.  That's how I know (for example) that it will be Halloween by the time I finish all of the stories that I currently have in production (assuming I don't start anything new in the meantime).

    I have another spreadsheet that I use for keeping track of just the JAQrabbit Tales, with information about chronological order, the year they take place, characters appearing in them, and so on.  I keep some status information there too, but it's more about managing the content, not production.
  • For all of my stuff I just have a lot of it in my head, the overall story will probably be arced out or at least where I kind of want to take it, major mythology beats, and more importantly how everything is influenced by interacts with everything else.

    But I find that I generally have to arc out my plots on paper or something because I'm not the best at them. World building, characters, character evolution I feel like I can do alright. But plots, plots can be pretty hard for me.
  • @_Beth_Wagner_  As for making sure things are done at a *specific time*.... well, that I create self-imposed deadlines and add cushion.

    I'm like Quest in that I have deadlines for each stage of production (writing, pencils, lettering, etc.).

    Ands I still tend to blow it.  I have to really work on it.
  • edited July 2013
    Actually I don't usually break things down by stage of production, I just lump the stages together, since most the things on my list are pretty short:


    I've ballparked some typical productivity figures, estimating how many pages I can color in a week, or pencil-ink-color-letter in a week, and I plug those into the formulas to help project how long each one will take.
  • Thanks for the ideas guys!
     I'm used to getting things done whenever. I'm also not used to working on a such a large project with a very strict deadline. I want to make sure that I breakdown all of the processes along with timelines so that I know when I'm falling behind. I was debating about whether or not to use software to track my deadlines but I just don't want to spend all of my time trying to figure out how to plan everything.
    I have a cork board and a lot of index cards lying around......
    Now to get organized.
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