Here are brief descriptions of 4 planning tools for The State of Things:
The “white board” is a big part of how the show runs. We map out 3 weeks at a time and we use it as a way to focus and think through our meetings.
On The Board:
- Each day’s show has 1-3 segments
- Each segment has a title and guests
- next to the title are the initials of that segment’s producer
- next to the guest names are their locations - studio, ISDN, tape, etc
- Something is listed in green if it’s not a sure thing
- Something is listing in black if it’s definite.
Once ideas are approved (in black) they also get added to the Google calendar. (which is also used to plan ahead for days that aren’t in the three-week time period visible on The Board).
On the top and bottom of each day, there may be things noted in red—these are reminders when people are on vacation, pre-interviewing guests, recording an interview in the field, etc.
Flipping the Board:
Every Friday afternoon, the current week’s shows are entered into the log book (and later into the Google calendar), and it’s time to “flip” the board (erase and move everything up a week).
A script contains many elements, including intros and outros for each segment. The script also includes a roadmap and guest list.
This provides an at-a-glance “roadmap” of the day’s show. The engineer and director rely on this piece of paper to know when to get guests on the phone, etc. It needs to be filled out completely, with guest name and location (in-studio, phone, etc.) for each segment. We use the term “Floaters” for elements of the script that don’t have a prescribed time attached to them. For example: If we’re going to bring a guest in sometime in the C, but not right at the top, that guest is “floating” in the C and we would write his/her intro as a Floater.
The guest list is an at-a-glance reference for who’s who on the show. The host relies on this piece of paper throughout the show. It needs to be accurate with each guest’s name, title and location (studio/phone/etc). It should also include a cell phone contact for each guest. This is an emergency back-up measure we need in case we can’t find the guest by the time the show starts.