The Production Plan
A producer’s main task is to ask lots of questions in order to gather as much information as possible from the many individuals involved in bringing a project to life, such as the buyer, the director, the visual effects supervisor (if applicable), and other key parties. Once this information is assembled, the producer must figure out the best way of allocating money throughout the budget based on its creative needs. For example, if a project is strictly story-driven with simple character designs that warrant limited animation, it would be necessary to put significant funds into the areas of writing and cast/recording rather than animation. A solid example of this kind of a project can be found in Comedy Central’s South Park, on which the scripting and voice recording phase can potentially continue until mere hours before airtime. If the look of a project is key to its success, the budget
must be set up so that numerous creative iterations can be explored and finessed. Whatever is determined to be the best balance of resources for the project, the producer needs to see that all areas are addressed and accounted for in the budget so that there are minimal surprises mid-production. The schedule then needs to be shaped as a realistic reflection of the options available with the assumptions written to make certain that all critical points can be accommodated. Once approved, the production plan becomes a baseline tool should there be significant changes requiring overages and therefore additional funds.