Why do a Production Schedule?
In TV / film production it’s generally easier to start planning your production schedule at the end and work back So think about when you need to deliver your film or project, put that date in the production schedule (calendar) first and work back considering adequate time for sound dubbing, editing, edit prep (script, music etc), logging rushes, digitizing rushes, filming, scripting and so on This is your basic production schedule that you can do as many drafts as you like to get it workable within your constraints.
It should be a flexible document that you tweak and amend as things change on production (as they ALWAYS do) It is also an incredibly good record on how your production ran so that when you come to doing it again you have a reference and template In more practical terms while you are in production, it is a live and up to date plan of where you are should you need to hand it over to someone else through illness or such like.
Setting up a production schedule is often done in excel (or however you like) and set up like a calendar so that you can plan all the elements from meetings, recce's, filming, editing, finishing and delivery dates (of the film and the paperwork). It should be comprehensive so that anyone looking at it knows what you are doing when. This is a vital part of planning so you know you have thought of and planned everything. It often changes as you get into production and should be treated as a fluid piece of paperwork.
Download an example of a Production Schedule here (XLS - 36KB)