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Discussion Starter #1
Grrrrr. So during past two weeks I had off - it was near 90 degrees every day with 300% humidity with no rain. Got little to nothing done. The storage room where I keep most of my props was an oven. Now the weekend is here with great temps- but rain rain rain! The remaining weekend will be spent on work prep and catching up on household stuff that couldn't be done in the oppressive heat (canning, clearing the garden, MAYBE grass cutting if it dries out enough, etc) My work schedule after tomorrow is super busy well into October. :(

This year, things are going to have to be done very efficiently if they are to happen at all.

So how do you schedule your prep? Does anybody work with detailed schedules/hours for certain tasks? Or have deadlines for different elements of your display? What is your best scheduling/prep advice? I Help!
 

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Yes! I have a spiral notebook that I use (I've found that's the easiest). The day after Halloween I start my master list of EVERYTHING that needs to be done for the following year - from prop repair to new props. I break it down into bare bones - so if I need to repair a cemetery fence, I would put on my list - make supply list for fence repair, buy fence repair supplies, repair fence. For new things, I include researching those items as well. Then I set up my notebook with one month per page, November through October of the next year. I'm in Texas, so our summers are brutal, so I try to schedule indoor things then (ie, this year I needed to buy picture frames, upload and print large pictures from Kinkos, buy fabric for the ceiling, things like that). I try to do one large prop a month on other projects - and make sure to buy my supplies for it the month before. I try NOT to break it down any more detailed than what I have, like by the day/hour, because things do come up. But on every Sunday night, I take a look at my schedule for the upcoming week and then look at my task list for the month and see what I can realistically accomplish. Sometimes things do get pushed back a month or 2, but they always get done!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That sounds like a great way to plan ahead! I think a simple spiral notebook is a great solution. I definitely need to have a detailed master list well in adavance- something I've never tried compiling. Right now, I'll need to double down and figure out doable prep in the available time- likely in 2-4 hour doses. Maybe gathering all the needed elements one day- and attacking the project itself the next. Too often in a time crunch, over half my project time turns into, "Now where did I put that?" :confused:

I know you guys must have some very good "get it done" habits. I'd love to hear more.
 

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Make list of ideas.

Make big to-do list.

Realize it's mid-September and try not to stress every time I look at the to-do list.

Start cutting things out.

Do what you can.

Try not to be too frustrated.

(keep telling myself these last two)




I keep a binder, going back to 2009, with all of my planning paperwork. Plastic pockets, one per year. Includes my not-to-scale maps of the yard haunt, some rough inventory lists of props and lights and such, receipts for some big online purchases, and my ideas and to-do lists. I like to try and make notes about repairs and such for the next year when I put everything back in storage, and that goes in the binder too. I start looking at this early, to get back into the thought process and see what I can build on.
 

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I am a Halloween Listoholic. I dedicate a notebook every year to Halloween. It starts with a preemptive, wish list of things I would like to do or considered doing the previous year. Then all the stuff I know that I have to do. My lists get more realistic as the time passes. Then it explodes with material lists, to do lists, scene lists, parts of each scene list. My lists are my order against the chaos of Halloween. Helps me keep my sanity.

One day I get ambitious and make a big list of what I am gonna do "Tomorrow". I get maybe 3 of those things done that day. And that list just carries on until its all done. Usually with things getting added on throughout the week as new projects become available. Another benefit i have found is that I can keep track of all the ideas I can't do yet, or that I would like to do the next year. That way I can look back on it when everything is finished. The only time a list becomes detrimental is in the last week before, and I begin making the everything left to do lists. Those can start a slight panic.
 

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Oh thank god! I do this too. But I thought I was crazy. I keep it hidden because I thought if anyone found it they would assume I had finally lost my mind.

I also keep a picture of the front of the house printed on 8 × 10 in a sheet protector so I can plan prop placement.
 

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I also do the binder thing as Kakugori. I do 2 binders though - one for past haunts and any ideas I come across, and then a second "working binder" for this year's haunt. The working binder comes with me everywhere and has my to-do lists, and the other binder stays at home. Another thing I do year round - any cool images I come across for ideas I save to a "to print" folder on my desktop. Anytime I print a batch of photos, those get printed too and filed in my idea binder. Much easier than trying to locate them again online.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow! I see I'd better get with the program! Does it help to set project/month-by-month deadlines? Or is that counter-productive?

Now I know why I am always so scattered and harried when it gets down to the wire. I think that I'll be hiding "the evidence" though. :)
 
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