Part 3: The Concept of Backplanning
You did your dreaming….within all those dreams are some goals for this coming year. Now comes the time to put planning to work. I’ve used this system for decades – literally. I’m sure someone came up with the idea before, but to my knowledge no one else calls it “backplanning.” Because…..you plan backwards. It seems counter intuitive to how we usually plan, but this method pretty much guarantees you will finish on time, without that last-minute unpleasantness crammed in to a few days. In fact….you could be early.
What I also like about this system is that by the time you are done, you have a plan in front of you that looks extremely practical, manageable, and something that doesn’t scare you before you even start.
One thing to keep in mind – your goals can be any length, from a week to a year. I’ve used this method to plan getting ready for a trip in two weeks to presenting a middle school musical in 9 weeks, to my yearly goals. For the school musicals, I started with a 9-week calendar that was determined by opening night. Then I started backing up important dates, until I had actually scheduled auditions.
What I want you to do next is skim through this calendar, top to bottom, and bottom to top. There’s room built in for snow days and other things that might come up, plus keeping in mind the attention span of middle schoolers. And, I feel it’s do-able for me, the director.
Friday, May 2 – afternoon and evening shows, strike set, cast party
Thursday, May 1 – afternoon opening, evening show
Wednesday, April 30 – dress rehearsal
Tuesday, April 29 – tech rehearsal everything
Monday, April 28 – tech rehearsal, lights and set changes
Friday, April 25 – run through all acts, costumes and props
Thursday, April 24 – run through all acts, props
Wednesday, April 23, run through all acts
Tuesday, April 22 – Act 3
Monday, April 21 – Act 2
Friday, April 18 – Act 1
Thursday, April 17 – all musical numbers from all acts, concentrated
Wednesday, April 16 – Act 3
Tuesday, April 15 – Act 2
Monday, April 14 – Act 1
Friday, April 11 – Act 3
Thursday, April 10 – Acts 2 and 3
Wednesday, April 9 – Acts 1 and 2
Tuesday, April 8 – Act 3 finish blocking
Monday, April 7 – Act 3 blocking
Friday, April 6 – Act 3 blocking
Thursday, April 5 – Act 2
Wednesday, April 6 – Act 2 blocking
Tuesday, April 5 – Act 2 blocking
Monday, April 4 – Act 2 blocking
Friday, April 1 – Act 2 blocking
Thursday, March 31 – Act 2 blocking
Wednesday, March 30 – Act 1
Tuesday, March 29 – Act 1 blocking
Monday, March 28 – Act 1 blocking
Friday, March 25 – Act 1 blocking
Thursday, March 24 – Act 1 blocking
Wednesday, March 23 – Act 1 blocking
Tuesday, March 22 – Act 3 blocking musical numbers everyone
Monday, March 21 – Act 3 blocking musical numbers everyone
Friday, March 18 – Act 2 blocking musical numbers everyone
Thursday, March 18 – Act 2 blocking musical numbers everyone
Wednesday, March 17 – Act 1 blocking musical numbers everyone
Tuesday, March 16 – Act 1 blocking musical numbers everyone
Monday, March 15 – Act 3 music main roles
Friday, March 12 – Act 3 music main roles
Thursday, March 11 – Act 2 music main roles
Wednesday, March 10 – Act 2 music main roles
Tuesday, March 9 – Act 1 music main roles
Monday, March 8 – Act 1 music main roles
Friday, March 5 – read-through
Thursday, March 4 – read-through
Wednesday, March 3 – cast announced
Tuesday, March 2 – auditions singing
Monday, March 1 – auditions acting
Mid-February – order scripts, pay royalties
Yes, there’s more behind the scenes going on before we even begin, but those pieces don’t involve a cast of 80 children. I need a schedule I can work with, students can take home for parents, and teachers will know when classes are disrupted.
Please leave comments for us on your thoughts, if you have done something like this, other variations you use. Let’s build from each other!
Next: Doing Backplanning for your Goals
Dean and Linda Moran are the owners of Marble-T Design, LLC and have been marbling for 20 years. You can see their work at “The Art of Marbling,” follow their adventures on their blog, see examples of their marbling in their Etsy shop, and watch their updates on Facebook.
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