MonolithProductions*The summit meeting at Monolith Productions started promptly on August 20 at 10:45 a.m. The president of the company, Hugo Monolith III, called the meeting of his vice presidents to order. “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for meeting here on such short notice. A most important contract has been won by our company. Monolith has been signed to produce a new made-for-TV version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. The movie will be broadcast during prime time on Christmas Eve on the nationwide BAA Network.“We are in complete control of the project. We will write a screenplay version of the story (with the BAA having final approval), produce the film, and support BAA’s promotion of the film. We also have the rights to release a picture book based on the film. Steven Playhill will be the director, Bill Quinn will handle the promotion, and Kim Yoshikawa will be in charge of production and release of the picture book. It is now my privilege to introduce one of the most popular film producers of our time, Steven Playhill. Steven?”The introduction of Playhill brought further applause. It was acknowledged by a slight, bearded man in rumpled casual clothing who walked to the front of the confer- ence room and started to speak. “Thank you. I would like to explain the production process. We are targeting thecompletion of the film for December 17. The film is to be shown on the evening of December 24, but BAA wants one week in case last-minute rescheduling during Christ- mas week is necessary. The first task is to write a screen- play. The screenplay, with revisions, should take about four weeks to complete. The next step is to cast the leading roles according to the screenplay. Casting for the project should take about two weeks. Casting can occur while the screenplay is being written. Interior scenes requiring only the primary characters can be shot at a studio using sound- stages. I expect we can comfortably complete the interior scenes in about four to five weeks. Exterior shots, depict- ing the streets of 19th-century London, will be shot in Boston. We are already committed to at least seven weeks of soundstage and equipment rental. Because of the long scheduling lead time, we signed a guaranteed rental agree- ment to assure their availability for our project.“The shooting in Boston will probably take about three weeks. However, we want good amounts of fog and some snow available, so we cannot begin Boston shooting before November.”Playhill considered the other activities needed for the movie. “Let’s see . . . well, some props would have to be constructed. I’d say that should take a week, but it can* Revised with permission from V. A. Mabert and M. J. Showalter, Cases in Operations Management (Plano, TX: BPI, 1984). be done while the screenplay is being written and prior to renting shooting sites. After each stage of filming is com- pleted, we will need at least one week to edit the film that was shot. We’ll need an additional week at each stage for shooting any retakes. Has anyone requested a preview?”Mr. Monolith spoke up. “BAA always requires its films to be previewed. Why?”“Because we should allow another week for staging the preview here in Burbank and processing any reedits they request. That should produce us a made-for-TV film. Again, this all has to be completed by December 17. Any questions? Thank you.”Playhill took his seat and Quinn began to discuss the promotion of the film. “BAA has requested two forms of promotion. They would like us to produce a 60-second and a 30-second commercial including actual film footage. The 60-second spot must include scenes from both interior and location shooting. The 30-second spot should contain only close-ups of the primary characters. They want to run these commercials from December 3 through December 24. I have set aside one week to complete this task, although an abbreviated schedule could be used. Using the abbreviated plan, the commercials can be completed in as little as three days, but the production staff size would have to expand, probably increasing the commercial cost.”“John, does that mean the film must be completed by December 3?”“No, it means we’ll take some action shots during the editing stage, produce copies, and expect those shots to appear in the film,” Quinn replied.“For the second phase of promotion, BAA will air several talk shows, including Jay Tenno and David Postman. They would like two or three of the stars of the movie to make the rounds of these shows after shooting is complete. They will appear, discuss the film, and introduce a film clip. The film clip accompanying a star has to spotlight that star. Arranging these talk shows (i.e., booking the appearance, completing the film clips, filming the shows) will require two weeks and must be completed by December 10. The shows will air dur- ing the two weeks leading up to the movie premier.”Kim Yoshikawa discussed the development of the book. “Ladies and gentlemen, this portion of the project is notexactly a ‘picture book.’ What we plan to do is develop a novella from the screenplay. Basically, we’re editing Dick- ens into an action novel. Then we will combine this prose with color photos taken from the film. Similar products have been quite successful. Because we have total control over this part of the project, we are its sole benefactor and collect all revenues. We anticipate maximum sales if the book is finished and shipping begins during the week of November 26. A delay of one week would cost us about half our revenues due to missed holiday sales.”“Kim, are you saying now that the film has to be done by the third week of November?” asked Monolith.“No, all that must be completed is the filming. Like the commercial, we can then take stills from the footage. Once we have the photos, it will take one week to put the photos in the book and print copies.”“What about the prose portion of the book, Kim?” “The book has to be written from the original screen-play. Although some changes may occur during shooting, such changes should not affect the book significantly. The ‘prose-ifying’ of the screenplay should take about one week. We need another three weeks to choose an appropri- ate layout and composition for the book, which can also be shortened by one week for the same cost. Then it’s all done except photos and printing. Are there any questions?”Mr. Monolith rose to wrap up the meeting. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have one week to schedule and budget this project. We plan to let the people who made presentations here begin their work one week from today.” Questions1. What analytical tools can be used to schedule the proj- ect? Is any tool more advantageous than others?2. Using the most conservative estimates (longest times) for the timing of projects, can the movie be completed on time? Can the book be released on time to capture all holiday sales?3. Which activities would you try to shorten? Why?4. What are the most likely risks that threaten the com- pletion of this project? As project manager, which activities should receive your greatest attention?
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