Ideas to stay healthy and sane when working on location

I often travel and work on location for 2-3 months at a time. When I do travel it can be challenging to stay healthy and establish new routines.

Below I have outlined a few ideas when traveling for work.

  1. Find a trail close by your hotel / living quarters that you can go for a daily walk or bike ride (rent a bike if possible).
  2. Consider joining a local gym for one or more months. I’ve done this several times even when the local gym doesn’t typically offer short-term deals I managed to negotiate a deal.
  3. Consider doing a group work out (yoga / strength training etc) at a near by studio.  There are several apps that often have classes based on your location. One of my favorite is MindBody or ClassPass.
  4. Do yoga or push ups in your hotel room using a youtube channel or other streaming service.
  5. Go see a chiropractor and/or get a massage.
  6. Have Factor meals sent to your hotel room and eat healthy.
  7. Research to see if there are any hiking trails close by. Consider making a goal to go once a week.
  8. Go to the grocery store and stock up on healthy snacks/drinks (low sugar / low carb).
  9. Meditate daily or three times a week. Consider using Headspace or Waking Up.
  10. Look for a local church you can attend once a week.

10 software essentials for your next movie or tv show

Below is a list of 10 software/app recommendations for your next movie or tv show!

  1. Setkeeper or Croogloo for sides, distro and watermarking
  2. Cinapse for real time set updates and more
  3. RABS for digital vouchers for background
  4. WrapTime for digital crew out times and crew lists
  5. Conduiit for cloud-based accounting system to manage vendors etc.
  6. Contract Book for managing legal contracts like location agreements and actor contracts
  7. Slack for crew collaboration and cutting down emails
  8. To Doist for sharing to-dos
  9. Sync On Set for dept continuity tracking ie.. costumes and art
  10. Frame.io or Alteon for camera file uploads and dailies

What Gets Measured Gets Improved

Peter Drucker said this phrase “What Gets Measured Gets Improved” 40 years ago. There is a lot of truth to this phrase for both individuals and companies alike.

When it comes to the film industry there are tools to measure the work day and often this is formatted in the (often outdated) form of a Production Report or PR. PR’s provide a lot of useful information such as out times, reasons for delays, scene completion info, hard drive data and more. While PR’s can be helpful they are often formatted in legal format that can be difficult to parse and really determine what the real problem areas are.

Several tech companies are working on solutions that will hopefully be alternatives to the standard PR.

One of these companies “Cinapse” has recently launched an exciting product Cinapse Live. What’s unique about Cinapse Live is its ability to track real-time info for the AD Dept that is often communicated over walkies, group texts or emails.

Having real time metrics can be very critical to finding solutions to problems and communicating that information efficiently.

My favorite part of Cinapse Live is the ability to change the day’s scene orders at the click of a button and then push notify the crew who are part of the app.

Book your demo today!

Episode 31 – Brent Emery – Packaging projects and navigating film finance

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

In this episode we chat with Brent Emery (@brentalanemery on instagram) about packaging and financing projects.

About Brent Emery
Sundance award-winning producer Brent Emery brings over fifteen years of international film strategy and business consulting experience to Resonate Entertainment. He has worked extensively as an independent film finance, sales and production specialist at multiple executive posts, including U.S. Head of Co-Productions for ECI (a global entertainment company focused on Chinese Co-Productions) and Executive Vice President of Production and Development at Madonna’s Maverick Films.

During his seven years at Maverick Films, Emery oversaw development of a slate of over fifty studio and independent film and television projects. He also managed the deals of a dozen independent producers with deals at Maverick. Some projects that emerged from Emery’s tenure as an executive overseeing development include box office record breaking Twilight, which was eventually financed by Summit Entertainment, the hit film Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, and the young adult hit movies Agent Cody Banks I and II.

Emery’s critically acclaimed 2015 film, The Stanford Prison Experiment, won the Alfred P. Sloan Award and Waldo Salt screenwriting award at The Sundance Film Festival. The Road Within, starring Kyra Sedgwick, produced by Emery and written and directed by Emery’s wife, Gren Wells, has garnered multiple international awards, including Best Youth Film at The Rome Film Festival.

Emery recently produced Carrie Pilby with his Resonate cofounders, Suzanne Farwell and Susan Cartsonis.

About Resonate Entertainment
Resonate Entertainment is an innovative new entertainment company formed by film industry leaders who bring their unparalleled combination of creative filmmaking, technical production and film finance expertise to their company. They have a commitment to female gender representation and inclusion, and develop, finance and produce high-quality commercial films in all genres for the underserved yet highly lucrative female audience.

Links Mentioned:

Box Office Mojo
Slated
Cine Story
Studio System
Slack

Communicating leadership principals with metaphors

Making a movie or TV series can often times feel overwhelming. You might have too little time or not enough money to solve all the myriad of problems that lie in front of you and your team.

One thing I like to do early on in production is to communicate ideas about work or the work process via metaphors. I love to use metaphors because they help turn the seemingly difficult problem into a visible solution that gets people thinking.

Below I have listed a few metaphors and how I use them.

Metaphor #1

Do you know how to eat an elephant?

Of course you are NOT really going to eat an elephant…that would be horrible. The metaphor is meant to evoke the sublime. Elephants are so huge it would be impossible to eat them, however if you did have to eat them you would eat them one bite at a time.

Occasionally I will explain this metaphor to my office staff when we are faced with 100 to-dos and I can see the look of of defeat on their faces. I try to explain that if you can focus on one thing at a time and slowly make your way through all that has to be done you will be successful!

I typically share this metaphor with Office PAs, Coordinators etc when working as a UPM/Line Producer.

Metaphor #2

Why should you not eat desert before the meal?

Of course we all know that eating desert before any meal is not a good idea. It’s something we have to educate children on when they are young. The metaphor does apply to filmmaking however and it is one of my favorite to use.

In the filmmaking metaphor the DESERT is often 1/8 of a page (CU of the man holding the phone). The MEAL is simply the meat of the day and hopefully a 3 page scene with dialogue. Now this does not always mean that starting with 1/8 of a page is a bad idea, however it can slow you down and be problematic if you do have a high page count and want Actors to be at their best.

Choosing to start with a big meaty scene first will not only give actors the energy they deserve, but allow you to focus on what’s really important.

I typically share this metaphor with Directors and DPs while working as a 1st AD.

Episode 28 – Robin Kincade – How to become a successful film production assistant

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

In this Episode we speak with Robin Kincade (@kincadeproductions on instagram) about working as a successful production assistant in film and tv.

Robin has over 20 years experience as a freelance producer, location scout and photographer for some of the biggest names in the business including NBC, ABC, MTV, CMT, Showtime, HBO, Reality Television and many more.
After 4 years in development, she launched Kincade Productions and is proud to launch this one of a kind course that gives step- by-step direction on how to break into the film industry.

Robin’s Website: https://www.kincadeproductions.com/

Episode 27 – Bruce Van Dusen – Inside the mind of a commercial director

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

In this episode we talk with Bruce Van Dusen (@brucevandusen1 on instagram) about his new book and his experience working as a Commercial Director.

Bruce has directed over a thousand commercials, three movies and a documentary. Recently he released a book titled 60 stories about 30 seconds that explores his four-decade long career and a ton of weird crazy stuff that happened along the way.

Buy the Book: https://amzn.to/33oN4uh
Bruce’s Website: https://www.brucevandusen.com/
Bruce’s Portfolio: http://assemblyfilms.com/directors/bruce-van-dusen

10 Essential PPE supplies to consider for your production

Many productions are preparing to resume filming over the next several months and will be looking to implement the safety standards provided in the Safe Way Forward. Part of that process involves having adequate PPE and supplies to maintain a safe set.

Below I have listed 10 supplies you may want to consider:

Episode 24 – Books I’ve Loved – Cal Newport, Jim Dethmer & Ryan Holliday

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

The excerpt from Amazon says this about Deep Work:”
‘Deep work’ is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. Coined by author and professor Cal Newport on his popular blog Study Hacks, deep work will make you better at what you do, let you achieve more in less time and provide the sense of true fulfilment that comes from the mastery of a skill. In short, deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive economy.
And yet most people, whether knowledge workers in noisy open-plan offices or creatives struggling to sharpen their vision, have lost the ability to go deep – spending their days instead in a frantic blur of email and social media, not even realising there’s a better way.
A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, DEEP WORK takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories — from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air — and surprising suggestions, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored.

Put simply: developing and cultivating a deep work practice is one of the best decisions you can make in an increasingly distracted world and this book will point the way.

 
The excerpt from Amazon says this about The 15 Commitments:
 
You’ll never see leadership the same way again after reading this book.
These fifteen commitments are a distillation of decades of work with CEOs and other leaders. They are radical or provocative for many. They have been game changers for us and for our clients. We trust that they will be for you too.
Our experience is that unconscious leadership is not sustainable. It won’t work for you, your team or your organization in the long term. Unconscious leadership can deliver short term results, but the costs of living and leading unconsciously are great.
Fear drives most leaders to make choices that are at odds with healthy relationships, vitality and balance. This fear leaves a toxic residue that won’t be as easily tolerated in an increasingly complex business environment.
Conscious leadership offers the antidote to fear. These pages contain a comprehensive road map to guide you to shift from fear-based to trust-based leadership. Once you learn and start practicing conscious leadership you’ll get results in the form of more energy, clarity, focus and healthier relationships. You’ll do more and more of what you are passionate about, and less of what you do out of obligation. You’ll have more fun, be happier, experience less drama and be more on purpose.
Your team will get results as well. They’ll be more collaborative, creative, energized and engaged. They’ll solve issues faster, and once resolved the issues won’t resurface. Drama and gossip will all but disappear, and the energy and resources that fueled them will be redirected towards innovation and creativity.
 
The excerpt from Amazon says this about The Obstacle is the way.
The book draws its inspiration from stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience. Stoics focus on the things they can control, let go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, tougher. As Marcus Aurelius put it nearly 2000 years ago: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
Ryan Holiday shows us how some of the most successful people in history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs—have applied stoicism to overcome difficult or even impossible situations. Their embrace of these principles ultimately mattered more than their natural intelligence, talents, or luck.
If you’re feeling frustrated, demoralized, or stuck in a rut, this book can help you turn your problems into your biggest advantages. And along the way it will inspire you with dozens of true stories of the greats from every age and era.