Problem 4 presented many of challenges that were covered in the previous problems. Having proper planning, budgeting, scheduling, and drafting is the test of the problem. The TD team at the beginning of the problem wasn’t sure of which problem to tackle first, started with sketches and wrote out a budget.
The team identified many issues when drafting and started with focusing on the sliding wall’s construction, specifically the wooden guide at the top of the flat that keeps the wall in place when in motion. Another issue our group had addressed was the inclusion of a tree on the set of the show.
One part of the problem that dominated my work personally was the creation of the schedule as well as the budget. The budget started off with just the flats and other materials necessary to building them. The unusual flats (windows/doors/archways) were accounted for after the general estimate was made and the budget was accordingly adjusted. After the flats were managed other materials such as the doors, windows and other scenic elements were included. The tree was the hardest part in estimating since the team wasn’t sure how to go about building it. It would later be decided that a small, fake tree would be purchased instead of built, this would save time for the build team to focus on the flats and not need to build an oddly shaped object which could possibly take a full day to make.
The hardest part of this problem was communication. Each team member had taken the reigns of one particular aspect and would delegate smaller tasks to other members. An example of this would be as I was preparing the budget if something unexpected came up or a scenic element wasn’t understood from the start, a different member of the team could research prices as the budget was still being put together. Another way the work was split was as I was preparing the materials budget, another member of my team would focus on the labor budget estimate. At first this proved troublesome as we were so focused on getting a proper material estimate that we had neglected to manage the labor estimate. Once our estimate was proposed, it was clear that we had to understand how long the carpenters would need to work. Using previous experience, we estimated that about 4 flats per work day would need to be built. This would start with a few standard flats in order to get a work flow started and then moving onto the more complicated flats (doors/windows/sliding wall/archway portal) on the second day.
This project was the closest to a real-world scenario since all the pre-production elements were necessary for completion. The budget was strict and went through a bid process to deep whether the budget was approved or not. Our budget would be approved but was also the least expensive of the other groups. This was probably due to our method of estimating the price of each flat per square foot. By taking the price of a 4×8 flat and converting it to the price of a 1’x1′ section of the flat and then measuring the square footage of the walls necessary to build the set. This would not account for doors, windows, hardware, and labor. By taking this new found estimate and then adding onto the price with the extra elements, our set would come out to about $5,000 while labor would set the production back almost $7,000. This problem also required a load-in and build schedule as well. The schedules say when certain elements should be built in the shop or the order the flats are assembled on stage. During the project our team had neglected to write specifics as to what flats and walls should be loaded in first into the theater as well as the assembly method. There were so many details in the project that it was hard to keep track of them all. A list would have helped along the way as we were brainstorming.
One thing missing from this project, like the rest, is the pressure and stress of getting the estimates, schedules, and drafting done properly the first time. I believe if project 3 had a strict budget in terms of how much we were allowed to use, it would have been good practice for keeping prices low and estimates correct during the project 4.