Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Production Board Schedules

We've been working to pin down the actual time board artists have to spend on a production board. Obviously, artists who have long production experience and lots of artistic chops will be faster than a beginner still learning the craft.

What follows is a work breakdown from a twenty-year story and production board veteran...

11 Minute TV animation (1/2 - 22 minute show)

Necessary time needed to do 11 minute board: 6 weeks – 5 day work week / 8 hr day

16 – 20 script pages = 11 minute script (note: scripts over 17 pages are usually longer than 11 minutes and are over-written).

170 – 250 3-panel brd. pgs. / 11 minute script, or

250 – 325 2-panel brd. pgs. / 11 minute script

500 – 600 drawings / 11 minute script

8 – 15 3-panel brd. pgs. / 1 script page, or

12 – 30 2-panel brd. pgs. / 1 script page

24 – 45 drawings /1 script page

6 week deadline – 11 minute script

240 paid hours for 180 board hours (40 work week / 30 hours story board work)

• With an average of 40 min. for roughing and 20 min for clean up a 180 page story board should take 180 hours of board time and needs 6 working weeks to complete.

• Note in a typical work day there are approximately 4 –5 bathroom breaks (40 min. – 1 hr./day) along with 2 required 10 minute breaks (20 min), and at least 1 – 2 hours of some kind of meeting discussion time with the director, line producer, or production crew, and other duties (filling out time cards, page numbering, cleaning office, organization, & etc) so that actual time given to board work does not equal a full 8 hours but more like 5 – 6 hrs. / day and 25-30 actual boarding hours per work week.

In a 6 week schedule if a board artist is working on a 3 panel board page on a 4 week rough / 2-week clean up schedule:

42 - 62 rough 3pnl brd. pgs./ week (4 weeks)

85 – 125 clean up 3pnl brd. pgs./ week (2 weeks)

8 – 12 rough brd. pgs./day (4 weeks)

17 – 25 cleaned up brd. pgs./day (2 weeks)

1.3 – 2 rough brd. pgs. / hr. (4 weeks)

3 – 4 cleaned up brd. pgs. / hr. (2 weeks)

5 week deadline – 11 minute script

200 paid hours for 150 board hours (40 work week / 30 hours story board work)

• Note in a typical workday there are approximately 4 –5 bathroom breaks (40 min. – 1 hr./day) along with 2 required 10 minute breaks (20 min), and at least 1 – 2 hours of some kind of meeting discussion time with the director, line producer, or production crew, and other duties (filling out time cards, page numbering, cleaning office, organization, & etc) so that actual time given to board work does not equal a full 8 hours but more like 5 – 6 hrs. / day and 25-30 actual boarding hours per work week.

In a 5-week schedule, if a board artist is working on a 3 panel board on a 3 week rough / 2 week clean up schedule:

56 - 83 rough 3pnl brd. pgs./ week (3 weeks)

85 - 125 clean up 3pnl brd. pgs./ week (2 weeks)

9 – 14 rough brd. pgs./day

17 – 25 cleaned up brd. pgs./day (2 weeks)

1.5 – 2.3 rough brd. pgs. / hr.

3 – 4 cleaned up brd. pgs. / hr. (2 weeks)

You get twenty artists in a room, and you'll get twenty different opinions about how long a given task will take, how many hours it will take to make it high-quality, how many hours to make it adequate, etc. What the above breakdown strives to do is pitch the ball down the middle and present an average.

The above won't mean much to non-pros. It might even make their eyes glaze over. But what do the artists out there think?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Warner Bros, mid-nineties: 11 minutes(1/2 an ep) was due in a 4 week turnaround. 2 weeks to rough out, 2 to clean up. I can't remember any 6 week schedules. A board might go beyond 4 weeks, but that would be due to things out of the proposed schedule's control-usually changes from higher up, resulting in big redos. For that you got one extra week.

Disney TV, 2001-2: 4 weeks for an entire script: 22 minutes' worth. That show looked pretty bad, and incidentally the pay was rock bottom too.

I've heard of a place where an 11 page freelanced board deadline was TWO weeks: WB TV in the late 90s. Don't know if that's true. It was repeated as outrageous, they too were outrageously cheap in terms of compensation.

John_Fountain said...

This is always such a tricky subject. Individual storyboard artists need to determine what their own strengths and weaknesses so that they can prioritize their time based on their deadlines.
When I do storyboards, I have a mathematical formula similar to this breakdown. It's very specific, so I can calculate how much I need to get done every hour, day, week, or whatever period of time is pertinent.
The problem with formulas is that not only is every storyboard artist different, every production is different. I think one of the important keys to a successful production is effectively tailoring it to the unique needs of the show, the show's schedule and the unique talents of the crew. It's much trickier than it sounds, but it's also one of the things I enjoy most about the job.
I'm experimenting with a production model right now that is unlike any I've ever worked on and yet I think it's going to work out better than I originally expected.
It's too easy to rely on doing everything the same way all the time. It sort of forces your "square-peg" show into an unforgivingly awkward "round-hole" schedule.
There's my two cents... take 'em or leave 'em :)

llyn Hunter said...

I'm not sure what show "anonymous" was working on in the '90's, for WB but when I was working on Anamaniacs, at the WB in '95, it was 4 -5 weeks for 7 minutes, not a half a show. At Disney TV, up untill 2002 it was 6 weeks for half a show, and last year on Curious George the TV series for Universal it was a 6 week schedule for 11 minutes, which they reduced to 5 weeks this year. Most 4 week schedules I've worked on over the past ten years were for 1/3 of a show.

warren said...

My Goodness you guys have it good!

In Canada, it's 4 weeks per 11 minutes regardless of who the end user is, or how long the script is. (I say 'end-user' cause typically boarders are picking up a sub-contract from a Canadian studio that has a contract with a large American network.)

In 9 years of TV off and on in Canada, I had only one show that had a 6 week schedule - and that was for 22 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course. The I-have-it-worse one-upper we knew would arrive. And for the record, Warren, artists in India have it worse than you. So let's try to stay on topic, shall we?

Anonymous said...

Warner Bros, mid-nineties: 11 minutes(1/2 an ep) was due in a 4 week turnaround. 2 weeks to rough out, 2 to clean up. I can't remember any 6 week schedules. A board might go beyond 4 weeks, but that would be due to things out of the proposed schedule's control-usually changes from higher up, resulting in big redos. For that you got one extra week.

What show was that?! On all the shows I know of(including Animaniacs and Batman)the board schedule was around 6 weeks.

Same with Disney. In my experience Disney gave more time than WB with more money.

warren said...

Anon 2:"The I-have-it-worse one-upper we knew would arrive. "

That wasn't really my point - and I know I wasn't clear. I just hope that when things get resolved down the road, that a longer schedule will be the 'trickle-down'.

All of us production boarders are feeling the pinch, that was my only real point. No need to get punchy.

Mike said...

Well the way I remember it was while the board artists at WB back in '95 did have more time to board than 4 weeks and yes it was 6 weeks, that was the in-house crew while the freelancers had four weeks which is what Llyn was as far as I remember. I'm pretty sure because I directed on both Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain back in '95 and she did a few boards for me.

The full time board artists had more time because once the board was handed in the producers would then sit on the boards for 3 weeks and then suddenly give back a board with 60-70% notes on it expecting the crew, which was now in full production on the next episode, to also take on these enormous revisions. It was a crazy time for sure.

Also I can tell you that years later in 2002, after 9/11 (the year so many of us were out of work and only WB had freelance) there was a two week turnaround for an 11 pg script on Baby Looney Tunes because I did 6 freelance boards for them. They were the most difficult I've ever had to do because there were six main characters who were always called for in each scene and they required many posed out scenes and difficult staging due to the extremely detailed backgrounds and scripts. They also required that there be a full bg at the head of every scene for the animatic. It was tough but of course we had no choice as there was a lot of people not working.

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