For Problem #4, we were in charge of the scenery crew at New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Summer Season. We had to figure out the construction of each flat unit, the budget, and the total amount of labor hours that it’ll take and cost to do create the production. One of the issues for the project is that the set has to look like an authentic apartment. Meaning that there should be no visible seams between each flats. We were also given set dates and deadlines that everything had to be completed in, and designer drawings that we had to follow. Though my teammate, Montana, and I divided up the work, we both worked alongside each other to figure out the schedule and calendar for the construction of the scenery.
Our definition of the problem was trying to figure out how to make this apartment look authentic, while staying within budget. For this problem we had a labor contract, with costs per hour, and descriptions of the contract rules. For instance, the Master Carpenter would get paid at time and a half if his weekly hours exceed 40. This was a challenge for us because the Master Carp has to be present for every carpentry call happening on site. Since we were being mindful of this, our first version of the budget for labor hours/costs were too small. Then the second version was way too high, making us around three-to-four thousand dollars over budget. During our third version for the labor hours, we realized that we were doing it incorrectly. We were pricing out each individual flat as if they were being built on separate days, not realizing that we could build multiple flats in one day. Another thing was that the flat break up wasn’t officially complete, so we didn’t know the accurate amount of time that each one would take.
After the flat break up was completed, we were able to accurately adjust and complete the labor hours that it would take to complete the production. For this project we did the budget before everything else. One of the issues for the budget was trying to find the exact kitchen floor tiles, carpet, hardwood flooring, and matching the bricks to the designer drawings. While in the research phase of this project, I kept coming across tiles with the same exact pattern, but in different colors. Since the designer asked for a specific shade of yellow, we decided to get tiles in that exact color, and just paint the pattern on top it. As for everything else, we just found things that were similar to it. Like previous projects, the drafting could’ve used some improvements. One issue was the door frame. I was doing it to the exact size of the door rather than allowing a little space for the actual door to move. All in all, we were able to meet our problem definition, even through all the alterations.
Like the previous three problems that we had this semester, this problem can relate to many real-world situations, such as creating construction drawings, scheduling, planning, and budgeting for a show and/or scene shop. As mentioned before, we spent a lot of time in the planning of the labor hours. We wanted to make sure that we were giving accurate information, especially since our budget and labor kept fluctuating throughout the project. If this was a real life situation that could cause problems especially when you’re bidding. For instance, if you’re under budget and/or under hours, and there was a bid, you’re saying that you could complete the project within a short amount of time for a limited budget. But halfway along the line you find out that you under estimated, and actually need more time, and more money. Which can cause major problems, especially if there are deadlines.
While working on this project, I learned that not everything is going to be perfect on the first try. There was a total of four versions for the budget, six versions for the labor, and four versions for the drafting. Throughout each version we kept finding errors, or something was changed along the way. Originally, we were going to make all the cabinetry, but after working on the labor hours we decided to buy them instead. Another thing that I learned is to double check everything, and to create your own deadlines within deadlines. Though we did make up our own deadlines for the project, we heavily focused on following the deadlines that were assigned to us. If I would’ve created more deadlines for myself, the drafting would’ve been done on time, and we wouldn’t have had so many versions for the labor. The main reason why we had so many versions was because our labor breakdown depended on the drafting to be done first. But this is because we wanted more accurate hours rather than giving an estimate. Which goes into the next thing that I learned. Since I wanted to be accurate, it took up a lot of time. In real world situations you may not have a lot of time to come up with a budget and everything else, especially if its for an estimate. One of the many things I’m taking out of this project is to learn how to estimate more.