Skip to main content

A model, heuristic procedure and decision support system for solving the movie shoot scheduling problem


Creating a movie shoot schedule is an important part of the movie production process. Even for a small movie project already 50 activities requiring 130 resources such as different actors, director, team, special effects and locations etc. have to be scheduled respecting complex constraints which may be imposed on single resources as well as on every activity. In this paper, we present the movie shoot scheduling problem and formulate a conceptual model. We present a metaheuristic approach for generating operational schedules, outline the modules of the decision support system Schedule This which we have developed and finally we shortly report practical experiences. Our experience from using the DSS in real movie shooting projects shows significant improvements with respect to faster and better scheduling as well as ad hoc re-scheduling.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Brucker P, Drexl A, Möhring R, Neumann K and Pesch E (1999). Resource-constrained project scheduling: notation, classification, models, and methods. Eur J Oper Res 112(1): 3–41

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cheng TCE, Diamond JE and Lin BMT (1993). Optimal scheduling in film production to minimize talent hold cost. J Optim Theory Appl 79(3): 479–492

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Demeulemeester EL and Herroelen WS (2002). Project scheduling—a research handbook. Kluwer, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  • Derigs U, Döhmer T, Jenal O (2005) Indirect search with greedy decoder technique (GIST) an approach for solving rich combinatorial optimization problems. Proceedings of MIC 2005, pp. 265–271 (Published on CD, Vienna)

  • Dueck G and Scheuer T (1990). Threshold accepting: a general purpose optimization algorithm appearing superior to simulated annealing. J Comput Phys 90: 161–175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gottlieb J (2001). Evolutionary algorithms for constrained optimization problems. Shaker Verlag, Aachen

    Google Scholar 

  • Jensen MB, Kaufmann M, Zachariasen M (2005) Movie shoot scheduling. In: Proceedings of MIC 2005, pp. 551–556 (Published on CD, Vienna)

  • Kolisch R and Hartmann S (2006). Experimental investigation of heuristics for resource-constrained project scheduling: An update. Eur J Oper Res 174(1): 3–41

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Michalewicz Z (1995). Heuristic methods for evolutionary computation techniques. J Heurist 1(1): 177–206

    Google Scholar 

  • Neumann K, Schwindt C and Zimmermann K (2003). Project scheduling with time windows and scarce resources. Springer, Berlin

    Google Scholar 

  • Sehr P (1998). Kalkulation (I)—Vom Drehbuch zum Drehplan. TR Verlagsunion, München

    Google Scholar 

  • Singleton RS (1991). Film scheduling—or how long will it take to shoot your movie. Lone Eagle, New York

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ulrich Derigs.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bomsdorf, F., Derigs, U. A model, heuristic procedure and decision support system for solving the movie shoot scheduling problem. OR Spectrum 30, 751–772 (2008).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Resource constrained project scheduling
  • Movie shoot scheduling
  • Metaheuristics
  • Decision support systems