Scheduling meetings: I need software (or a good human-based procedure) to help me juggle complicated schedules for a group of people.
I direct off-off Broadway plays, which means that there's no budget to pay the actors. So I have to schedule rehearsals around their conflicts. Yesterday, I spent SIX HOURS trying to come up with a workable schedule. I'd get it almost done, and then one of the actors would call me with new conflicts, and that would mess the whole thing up and I'd have to start over from scratch.
Every time I do this, I feel like it's something a computer should be doing for me, but I've never found the right piece of software. My current system involves a whiteboard
and dozens of index cards
, and it gives me a headache.
Here's the info I'm juggling:
-- eight actors with available times, conflict times, and times that they'd like to have off if possible.
-- some actors have flexible schedules, but I can only use them for a total of X hours. If I use them for X+1 hours, they can't square that with their day job.
-- a list of scenes, each of which uses some of the actors.
-- every scene MUST be rehearsed for X number of hours (I go by pagecount).
-- it's nice to be able to rehearse scenes at least roughly in chronological order. It's okay to fudge a little, but it sucks to rehearse scenes from act five before we've even started act one.
So the ideal piece of software needs to allow "weighted" data. So-and-so MUST have 7/11 off. So-and-so would LIKE to have 7/11 off. This scene MUST have at least four hours of rehearsal. It would be great if it could have 8 hours of rehearsal.
I would enter all this data and out would pop a schedule. If a piece of data changed (e.g. a new conflict), I could enter the change and the app would generate a new schedule.