Ah! You're getting to the nitty gritty now. You have a deadline and in order to meet that deadline and, of course, stay within budget, you need a schedule. More than one producer has said, "We live or die by the schedule" and meant it. Not only that, the Studio finds a written schedule reassuring--a sign that the production team has everything under control.
Keep in mind that the production schedule is not written in concrete. You may complete some tasks earlier than expected(those will call for a celebration) and other tasks will be delayed(in those cases try not to panic). The schedule will help keep you on track no matter what happens.
There are a couple of different kinds of schedules you can use. The PERT chart is one and the Gantt is another. You probably will want to use both of them.
The PERT (Project Evaluation and Review Technique) chart is a sort of flowchart of all the activities or tasks in the production phase of your project. The relationships between activities is clearly shown, completion times and names of persons assigned can be attached to each task. Except at the beginning and end of the chart, each task should be preceded and followed by another task. Tasks can also branch out and travel their own paths rejoining the main path at some later point. Any milestones such as points of review or completion can be indicated as well.
The following example is the original PERT chart for the whole "Understanding Your Automobile" project. This gives you an idea what a PERT chart looks like. Your chart will look somewhat different because it will start at the Production phase of your project and contain a lot more detail than this one:
The Gantt chart is a timeline chart. It clearly shows when each task is to begin, the time it will take to complete each task, and which tasks will be going on simultaneously. You may want to use more than one level of Gantt chart. One chart may show the whole production phase from beginning to end. Another may show two or three weeks' activities. Another might show the current week's tasks. The example below is a two week chart from the production phase of the "Understanding Your Automobile" project:
How to Make PERT and Gantt Charts
Do the first three steps before beginning to develop either type of chart.
Use whiteboard, flipchart sheets or other large space.
Make a list of all tasks or activities involved in the production, post-production, and Premiere phases of your project.
Put them into sequential order.
Now draw your PERT chart on the board. Your first pass will probably not be your last. The chart doesn't have to be perfect the first time. Be prepared to adjust tasks once you see the sequence laid out.
Next you will have to estimate the time it will take to complete each task and put the time next to that task on your list. You'll be using that information for the Gantt chart as well.
Label each task on your PERT chart with the time you determined in step #5.
Readjust the sequence of tasks as necessary.
Now determine who is responsible for each task on the list and put his/her name next to that task.
Label each task on your PERT chart with the name of the person responsible.
Readjust sequence, if necessary, until all team members agree to its accuracy.
Once your PERT chart is complete, if it is on a board where it can't be saved, redraw it on a piece of paper(the bigger the better) so that it can be posted during team meetings, or redraw it and make copies for your team members.
Now, using the times on your list and the sequence in your PERT chart, you can draw your Gantt chart.
Decide at what level you want to view your timelines--weekly, monthly, whole project. It is recommended you start with an overview of the whole project.
Label the chart across the top by week. Use start (Sunday) or end (Saturday) dates for each week.
Label the chart along the left side with all of the tasks(or consolidate tasks under headings that make sense for an overview).
Now draw horizontal bars for each task beginning at the start date for that task and ending with the completion date for that task.
When you have completed a timeline for each task and all team members agree to its accuracy, follow the same procedure in step #11.
Draw a Gantt chart for the first week's activity by putting each day of the week across the top and each task for the week along the left side. Then follow procedure in step #16.
Label bars with name(s) of team member(s) responsible for that task.
Save chart and make copies for all team members.