October 16, 2014 Schedule Sausage
It took a lot of raw meat and a lot of grinding but the San Diego Comic Fest schedule is finished. As much as a schedule can be finished. No plan of attack survives the battle.
As Programming Coordinator for San Diego Comic Fest I saw an opportunity to bring the process into the 21st century. A lot of conventions are still relying on email and MS Word:
- Collect availability and panel ideas via email
- Create a list of programs
- Send this list in a Word doc to all the panelists with a pair of square brackets, , by each item
- Spend days processing these docs by hand, figuring who’s interested in what programming and juggling the availability of over a hundred people
The bulk of the time is spent manipulating clusters of guests and their schedules, trying to avoid conflicts, and keeping it all in your head. But me, I like to crowdsource and I use computers to make my life easier. Here’s my process:
- Collect availability and panel ideas via Google Forms
- Schedule the panels
- Release the schedule on a second Google Form to the guests. They manage their own availability. This is the step that saves the most time
- Upload to Sched.org which handles future communications and all presentation.
That’s saves a whole lot of data entry. But there’s a lot of transitioning between mediums. From Google forms, to post-it notes, to Excel, to Sched, and email, email, email. Sched is good for presentation, but not for inception, and it could be a whole lot better at conflict recognition. I think there’s room here for a better tool. One tool to take the convention from conception through presentation with support for print.
I know what I’ll be working on this year.
Hopefully I’ll see you there!