Post Scheduling: The Stakeholder’s View

The network, the studio, a bond company; there is always someone paying the bills, and one of the ways for them to evaluate how their money is being spent is to see that your show is hitting its milestones. These stakeholders will often have their own format for a Post Schedule and your job as the Post Supervisor is to keep the stakeholders informed of changes, in their format. I know this will seem unfair, creating another document with the exact same information as the linear weeks grid or the dashboard, but this is the Post Super’s plight.

Stakeholder view
One network’s hot sheet, update required weekly.

One of the challenges you will face here is deciding how often you need to update your stakeholder’s schedule. There will be times when changes come so fast and furiously that your dashboard will change several times a week. Keeping your stakeholders informed of every little change is a disservice to everyone. Firstly it creates the sensation of instability when a hectic week of shuffling the scheduling is actually proactive because you are utilizing your editors to address immediate concerns. Therefore I usually like to settle into a weekly cadence of sending the hot sheet on Friday’s. This weekly update is usually good enough for the primary stakeholders but it is important to grasp this quickly and find out what are the expectations.

Post Schedule Hot Sheet Sample xlsx
Another network’s hot sheet, updates also required weekly.

The biggest scheduling challenge you’ll have as a Post Supervisor is keeping the various versions of your post schedule in-sync. The next challenge will be cascading changes, i.e., if your rough cut pushes 3 days then the fine cut and picture locks will have to push as well. But sometime you’ll be asked if an episode can make up the time, in this case the rough cut pushes 3 days, but the fine cut only pushes 2 days and the picture lock pushes 1. In this scenario the editor loses a day to address the rough cut notes, and you will hear it! The human component of Post Supervision becomes most apparent at times like these.

Getting “into” the Post Schedule

A few years ago I established a new work habit. If I worked with a coordinator for two seasons, and if they demonstrated a desire to learn about scheduling, I would give them the opportunity to build the initial cut schedule. The most interesting aspect of this was when I reviewed their work. I noticed that it took time, often several hours, to get “into” the cut schedule. What I mean by this is that every Post Supervisor should develop a hyper-keen knowledge of the cut schedule. Almost like seeing the milestones and bottlenecks in your mind.

However, when I received a new copy of the cut schedule for the first time, it was a wall of numbers. It took careful reading through the schedule with a calendar nearby to spot trouble areas. This experience lead me empathize with Executives who receive the Post Schedule for the first time and are expected to make decisions from it right away. So how can we make cut schedules more useful for stakeholders? Eliminating unnecessary information is a start.

It is important for the Post Supervisor to think about what information they are presenting to who. While the Post Super may want to know the average number of days our notes are late, this information might be superfluous to a bond company, a downright antagonizing to the note givers. It’s also important to remain empathic. The Post Schedule is an esoteric document. It might be second nature to someone who spends hours looking at one each week. But it’s a wall of numbers to most people.

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