Skip to main content

Time for another exciting episode of Whiteboard Wednesdays – and this time, we’re talking production schedule and show flow. More precisely, we’ll be breaking down the differences between the two. Because you’re an event planner, paperwork flies toward you from every direction. And sometimes, it’s easy to get confused! Especially when the paperwork is similar, like a production schedule and show flow.


New call-to-action

So today, we’re clearing up all the confusion. Our delightful host Stephanie Jayko, will tell you everything you need to know about the differences between a production schedule and a show flow. If this is something on your mind, we have the solution. So press play; it’s time for another fantastic episode of Whiteboard Wednesday!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and updated by Sonja Hayden in July 2022 for clarity purposes. 

Production Schedule And Show Flow: What Is The Difference? – Video Transcription

Hey, everyone. I’m Stephanie Jayko, CSEP with Knock Out Productions, here for another Whiteboard Wednesday. And today, we’re going to talk about the difference between a production schedule and show flow. Now I know we have another episode that talks a lot about the show flow and exactly what goes into that. But we’re going to talk about the differences between these two pieces of paperwork because sometimes, they seem similar but they are quite different.

Production Schedule And Show Flow: The Production Schedule

So let’s talk about the production schedule first. The production schedule is a piece of paperwork that everybody in the entire production department on an event and a lot of the clients and a lot of other people will get their hands on during an event process. This document is created towards the beginning of your production tech process, the event process, and the planning process. A lot of times, your producer, your PM, your client, your planner, if you have a meeting planner or a production planner or an event planner, anybody on the large-scale thinking side gets a sort of hands put in this production schedule input. It’s an overview of all things happening for the event. It will detail anything you have going on, such as the general session happening at a specific time, breakouts in this location, a reception for new guests, and more.

It’s Not Just What It Seems

But it also has all of your production goings-on. The stage will happen in this room. We’ll load in at this time, rehearsals at this time, etc. There are a lot of different things that go on this production schedule. And to be perfectly honest, these are just a few of them. So we’ll talk a little bit more about what individual things go on there, but so much goes on this production schedule because so many people need to use it. Event happenings, registration times, what time do attendees get onsite, what time do buses leave. Sessions start times; this is essential to know information so that production people know when they have to be ready.

The Breaks

Start and end times, attendee breaks. That’s a huge one to remember when your attendees have breaks. Because when attendees have breaks, your production people probably are as well. And sometimes, you need to have short little rehearsals between different sessions when the attendees are out of the room, or you need to flip the room or the stage, so you need to know those kinds of things. Venue hours, when does the venue even open? That’s important to know. So all that gets put on there—crew calls, meals, and breaks. So on your production schedule, you get all those things. Your crew has meals, breaks, and crew times; what time are they coming? They will be there before attendees or clients to ensure that all the equipment is on, checked, and ready where it needs to be.

Don’t Just Think About The Attendees

Something that you want to put on a production schedule is where people will be in each room and when all of the production people will be doing their assigned tasks. Another thing that you might not think about sometimes on this production schedule is security schedules. A lot of times, there’s a security person who will come in at the end of a day to make sure that all of the expensive equipment that is sitting in that room is made sure that it’s being taken care of and not going somewhere when it’s not supposed to. So that gets put on a production schedule, so we don’t leave the room. There should always be someone in the room until we see security, client, and talent rehearsals. We’ve already talked about that a little bit. But that has to get put on a schedule somewhere so that we know when people will show up, when we need to have all of the equipment ready for a client to walk in the room and say, “I want to rehearse my speech.”

Production Meetings & Photo Calls

So that’s all part of that. Production meetings, that’s another big one. When all of the production people get together and discuss how things will move forward, we discuss where we are for the day and what’s happening next would be on a production schedule. The production schedule ensures the production, as well as the client, know when and what we are talking about. Technical rehearsals and photo calls aren’t common knowledge. Photo calls often happen in theater and different entertainment situations and events. But photo call is when everybody leaves the stage and the room, and the photographers and videographers get perfect shots of the room before different things get moved around. Photo call ensures we have significant collateral at the end of an event to see all of the great work.

Anything Else?

So like I said, that’s not everything that gets put on a production schedule. There are a lot of other things that could get put on here. You could make cases for all sorts of stuff, and sometimes, it tends to be quite a lengthy document, especially if you’re having a multi-day event, multi-space with lots of information to put on this document. It could be pages and pages depending on how many rooms, how many days, how many people, and how many sessions. So many different ways you can create this piece of paperwork here and so much information. It’s the go-to when you need to know anything production-wise on an event site.

Production Schedule And Show Flow: The Show Flow

Similarly, we also have the show flow. And like I said, I know we talked about this in another episode, but the show flow is a little more detailed and a little more specific. It lists the particular stuff happening in a session or a day, step-by-step for a room, on the stage, or for a specific session or day. It tells us all of the technical things that are happening. So it’s all of the actions that the technical departments are doing. These are your lighting, your sound, your graphics, your video, your camera guys, and your teleprompter. The production crew will all have this in mind when they ask, “What videos am I playing?” or “What lighting cues go where?”

Who’s Responsible?

This is something that your show caller should create, or your stage manager, maybe potentially your technical director. They’re going to do that and put called cues together. So when everybody is supposed to do something or whenever someone is supposed to do something on the technical side, that’s a cue. And your show caller will call that cue to ensure that your lights go at the right time or your video plays at the right time. So that all goes into the show flow, making it easy for the technical people to look at that document. And say, okay, coming up next is my light cue number 36, video number 15, and they can make sure that that’s ready and prepared with their finger on the button. When that show caller says, “Cue. Go,” they press that button and all the magic happens at the right time. So your show flow is much more specific to a stage in a particular room for your event at any given time.

Getting Technical

It’s also a lot of information but very technical information. It’s very specific to each crew in each room on each stage. And I think that’s pretty much what you think of when you’re in your technical mindset is all of the show flow. I know the production schedule and your show flow sometimes get confused because they’re both schedules of sorts. But I think the broad sense of a production schedule is much larger than your show flow, and they’re used a little differently. But I want to ask you guys, what other paperwork do you use? What other things do you put on your production schedule? I know there are a lot of different paperwork types; many people use different things. I want to see what you use. What information do you put on what kinds of paperwork? Throw a comment in the comment section below. Please send me your answers. I want to hear from you. Get engaged with us, and I want to see what you guys are doing.

Production Schedule And Show Flow: Conclusions

If you’re ready to make your own show flow, congratulations! We’ve made a handy template to help you out! Download it here.

So if you’ve liked this video, give us a thumbs up and if you like us even more, give us a Subscribe. There’s a little bell down there. Go ahead, ring it. And that’s it for me, production schedule and show flow, guys. Thanks so much. We’ll see you soon!


Download Our Show Flow Template

Conference Breakout Sessions: Best Practices and Examples

15 Years of Endless: Let’s Celebrate with a Special #EventIcons

New call-to-action

Stephanie Jayko

Author Stephanie Jayko

Stephanie Jayko, CSEP is a passionate creative and an accomplished event operations/production manager who is notorious for her leadership of theatrical productions and live events. Her passion for creating experiences for audiences of all kinds shines through in work and dedication to her industry.

More posts by Stephanie Jayko
Share via
Send this to a friend