It amazes me when I get files from people and they don’t follow any sort of rules. Their hard drive must be a mess. How do they find files? How do they organize them? When I get a file such as:
Which script? Which year? You can’t have one project that you’re working on, right?
Naming conventions are something I never thought about in my collegiate career. That changed when I started producing Battle for Terra. The animation team was using very strict naming conventions for the files. Without this, the production would have been a train wreck. Schedules would have been a mess. No one would have been able to find a certain file (at least quickly). And when you have a pipeline and things are getting passed along, this is essential.
So I started to use naming conventions for my personal files and folders. Every project has their own Pre-fix. And that project is broken into many categories. Script, Budget, Schedule, Cast, Legal, etc… My naming conventions always go:
When I first started, I would date the projects MONTH-DAY-YEAR. But as projects spill into multiple years, it makes it harder to track. So now I use YEAR-MONTH-DAY.
I occasionally throw in a few descriptions after the category. Sometimes I write scenes outside of the main script file. If I didn’t name them properly, it would be a nightmare. For a project like Chasing Rabbits, a file might look like this:
CR-Script-Act 1-Alice at Home-2010.05.23.fdr
Then I drop that file into the CR-Script sub-folder, which is in the CR main folder.
You balance your checkbook and you fold your laundry and put them into drawers or the closet – why would you not show the same discipline with the files on your hard drive?