When I was in LA a couple weekend's ago visiting our LA office, I went to the LA County of Museum of Art to see a special exhibit on Stanley Kubrick (I'm a superfan). I expected to see a lot of memorabilia about his films, and I did, but I also saw a couple displays about how his production team scheduled the films. Here's a few pictures from the show:
This describes the instrument Kubrick's team used to schedule Aryan Papers, a film he never made. Keep in mind this was the 90's (Excel was around by this point!).
Here's a zoomed in view on the rows of characters and props. Each has an ID number to identify it.
It's hard to see here, but each strip has boxes for character/prop ID numbers that appear in the same position as their corresponding character/prop on the left. This lets producers quickly scan a row to see where a Character will show up in the shooting schedule. They didn't say this, but I'm guessing that producers try to group like-numbers together to minimize the number of times they'd need to call a Character to set or rent a prop.
Here's an example of Barry Lyndon's schedule. This was the 70's, but not a whole lot changed between then and the 90's other than lamination and moveable columns :)
This just makes me wonder how many other low-tech tools are out there for scheduling films. We see lots of Excel spreadsheets, but there's something special about a physical board with moveable pieces.
While I was visiting one of our new clients, Rovio Entertainment, makers of Angry Birds, one of their producers shared another creative example of a scheduling board. They used legos to track an entire short film they're producing as part of the upcoming Angry Birds animated series: