March 25th and 26th 2023 (limited spots)
April 15th and 16th 2023
Los Angeles, CA (exact location tbd)
March 25th and 26th 2023 (limited spots)
April 15th and 16th 2023
In this tutorial video I walk you through the step by step process to create a virtual calendar for your next production.
While I don’t typically work in post I have found that I do need to be familiar with some of the latest tools to stay ahead of the game and be in the know. Instead of posting every software tool out there I thought I would post the few I have tried and used over the years.
Frame.io: is one central hub that lets you share media, track feedback, and streamline your workflow so your team can work closely together from anywhere in the world.
I love the commenting system between the poster and viewer. Because this software is so well known and used it is easy to get other team members on board. I typically don’t need to convince anyone…
Assemble.tv: is a newer platform that offers real-time collaboration and project management tools, asset management and file sharing.
In addition to being a collaboration tool, Assemble comes with a really sophisticated calendar system that can be great for sharing within your team and making specific calendars with assignable actions. You can also share more than just post assets…. While in production you can create galleries for locations or graphics to be approved for art department etc…
Sohonet.com: is a media company that has designed multiple tools for the film industry. One of their premier tools is ClearView that allows editors to stream live reviews of their work with low latency for up to 40 viewers. Whereas with some collaboration tools..the reviews have to been rendered and uploaded, with ClearView you can make notes in real time. This tool is very useful when making notes regarding a VFX shot or something that might take a while to render etc.
Alteon.io: is a newer platform that offers real-time collaboration, multi-user editing, and real-time feedback tools. With this service you can upload raw files and then download the proxies. I do love how I can keep all my projects in one place on their system without having to have multiple accounts.
In this episode we speak with Rose Beale (@laurenrosebeale on Instagram) about using people skills when solving problems and working in production. Rose has worked as a Production Coordinator, Supervisor & Production Manager on numerous film and tv shows. Some of her credits include Just Mercy, The First Purge, Kidnap, LBJ, The Expendables 2 and many more…
On any given day during production it can be challenging to “make the day” for a number of reasons. You might not get everything or go into overtime or even have to push scenes to the next day. While this may be expected on occasion, having this happen everyday on production can get quite frustrating and rather expensive. Even the best production schedules will sometimes have unforeseen delays or mishaps and this is understandable to a point.
One of the best ways to really “make your day” is to make half of it. If you can make half your day then making the other half is a whole lot easier. Do the DP, Director, UPM and 1st AD all agree on the half way point? Where does everyone want to get by lunch? Is this answer is known by all or is the answer kept secret by the 1st AD? If shooting 10 pages will you accomplish 5 pages because they are all pretty even or will 2 pages be the needed amount because the last few are a phone call and have no coverage.
When the 1st AD figures out the ideal half-way point with the help of the Director and DP the day can feel a lot more manageable. Instead of trying to shoot 10 pages in a day you are only worried about shooting 5 pages before lunch and 5 pages after lunch. Having this mini-goal creates a sense of urgency that is sometimes lost in the beginning of the day when you feel like you have all the time in the world.
If you decide on the half-way point and get there…it’s all down hill.
If you decide on the half-way point and are still behind on any given day its time to regroup. A discussion might be needed on what to do in the second part of the day whether its loosing shots, moving scenes or shooting more efficiently.
Deciding the half-way point is not a science and sometimes guessing what is really the half-way point is not always easy.
If you don’t decide on the half-way point you are in danger of slowing down and then racing at the end of the day.
When sending a Call Sheet email there are several important things to consider to make sure everything is clear and concise.
#1. Make sure the Email subject is clear. – TV Show Title: – Ep. 716 Day 6 – Call Sheet (3.29)
#2. BCC recipients or use an email distro program such as Setkeeper, Croogloo, Scenechronize etc when sending the message.
#3. Consider creating a google doc that is shared between a few of your production crew to tweak and approve. You could share the document between the 2nd AD, POC, APOC, Prod Secretary, UPM, LP, Location Coordinator etc
#4. List at the top of the email what attachments are included in the email. If you have the ability attach digital sides…
#5. List the dates and times in a clear format.
#6. Consider highlighting certain items in yellow/red etc to draw attention to their importance.
#7. List the crew parking address at the top of the addresses so people will put that info into their GPS first. In some instances you may not want to list the set location and keep it on the Call Sheet only.
#8. Include the 2nd AD contact info
#9. Take the time to bold and unbold certain sections to make it easier to read.
#10. Keep the email brief.
Whenever I’m hired as a Line Producer on a low budget movie under $1M I try and do most of the accounting myself and utilize the help of my production team to maintain the books. I’m not against having an accountant…it’s just that I want to try and put as much money on screen as possible.
Here are a few tools I like to use:
This is the main accounting platform I use for most low budget films. At the beginning of the project I sign up for the pro account with 5 users and upload a COA “Chart of Accounts” to the platform. Anytime expenses come in I’m able to easily code them using the category feature. The great thing about using Quickbooks is that it is such a universal program you don’t necessarily need a film accountant to run it. If at anytime you do run into issues you can always hire a virtual accountant that is well versed in this program. I typically train a few of my office team members to help reconcile transactions and then I focus on the larger transactions such as wires etc. It’s possible to send ACH payments to vendors, run cost reports, balance sheets and more.
I have found this platform to be the easiest-to-use film payroll platform for smaller projects. Adding cast or crew to the portal is super simple and it even connects to quickbooks. Most payroll companies require a back and forth with a payroll master that can take days….whereas with Wrapbook you can run payroll in less than an hour once everything is reviewed.
PEX is a simple p-card solution you can use to control spending with numerous cards and variable spending limits. PEX also integrates seamlessly with Quickbooks which is another plus. You can typically get approved with PEX in a matter of days and they are great about sending cards quickly. With the PEX app most of your crew should be able to reconcile transactions by taking pictures of receipts within a matter of minutes.
Conduiit is an online accounting solution that will help your team track check requests, wires and pos for approval. I’ve used this platform on numerous shows and it really helps me to stay organized and focused on what’s missing.
*Conduiit will be able to integrate with Quickbooks in the coming weeks.
Prior to working in the film industry I worked for several non-profits for years at a time. During that time I worked closely with several of the employees who quickly became friends and I was able to see how they worked and what their quirks were. There were even many times that we would do team-bonding events and learn about each others strengths/weaknesses and sometimes personality profiles.
The secret to really sharing the same values was having the time to get to know each other and learn how everyone likes to work.
In the film industry one problem is the often short-term approach to working together. Whether its a commercial, music video, feature or pilot… Crew members are often forced to quickly adapt to new people and new ways of doing things in their approach to work. Sometimes this type of immersion works and sometimes personalities will clash. It’s not a bad thing to work with new people and discover new ways of doing things, however at the end of the day there can be challenges with new personalities when a culture is never established early on.
One thing that I am determined to do this year is to try and establish shared values early on whether with a dept of three or an entire crew. Your values may change based on the type/size of the project or the people involved.
Below I have listed a few of the values I aim to bring with me on the next project.
#1. Accomplish this week’s tasks like you were going to eat an elephant.
Don’t get overwhelmed. List the tasks you need to do and do everything one thing at a time.
#2. Imagine if this cast member was Tom Cruise….
If you were dealing with Tom Cruise would you point to the dressing room or trailer and say Tom its over there or would you walk with him and hold the door? Even if your actors are not famous or celebrities…how can you treat them in a way that makes them feel special.
#3. Pay people like they have $100 in the bank.
Whether or not people have $100 in the bank is not the issue. Imagine that that there is a crew member or extra that needs that paycheck to pay their rent or car payment or whatever…. Now sometimes there are delays in payments because of an ACH or payroll issue…but having this value among your accounting team is important to instill.
#4. Master the art of sending clear, concise and creative emails.
Take the time to craft emails so they look professional and are informative. Look for typos, errors and info that may not need to be included. Lengthy emails can be too cumbersome to be read and may be a waist of time.
#5. Focus on what is urgent important today that only you can do.
When you are faced with 100 tasks its vital that you and your team divide and conquer. You don’t want to spin your wheels doing everything when you have people on your team to focus on the tasks that they can specialize in.
#6. Relentlessly follow up with that unanswered question until it’s answered.
Occasionally there will be a question that someone poses via email/text etc. Don’t let it go unanswered. Get back to them and try and find the answer with an appropriate amount of time.
#7. Remember that someones lack of preparation on their part does not constitute an emergency on yours.
This famous saying is so important to remember because emergencies will come to us everyday…but we can’t always drop everything we are doing to attend to the emergency.
#8. Telling a great story sometimes mean you go over schedule or budget.
Yes I like staying on schedule and under budget, however at the end of the day no one will care if the project is lousy. Look for ways to tell a better story and be willing to adjust the schedule/budget in favor of the story.
#9. Create sacred space to share issues.
Whenever there are issues between crew members or cast its important to pull people aside and talk through the issues calmly. Avoid yelling in front of the entire crew or making a scene….this never ends well
You can use one or more of these shared values at the beginning of your production. Feel free to make up your own and mix them together. Write them on a wall or whiteboard somewhere. Don’t feel like you have to lecture the entire crew with a set of shared values. Maybe share a few of them with someone in your dept or ask a team member what values they want to instill in the crew.
In 2023 we plan to launch a few new endeavors…. More content. More videos. More freebies…. basically more…
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As the Holiday season approaches the question may arise of what should I buy that person I love that is a filmmaker? Below I have outlined 10 of the best gifts that filmmakers will be excited about in their everyday life that they will cherish at work.