The Producer’s Free Toolkit
Most producers are the management engine that drives film projects. This often becomes overwhelming, but there are a few tools that can keep you from loosing your mind. Whether you are working with a team of 5 or 100, below I highlight some of the essential tools that all producers should use. These simple solutions will make parts of production more manageable and organized.
1. Humor Relief
Because stress will try to break you.
What is it: Humor for those moments when you want to punch someone in the face.
Another producer recommended this blog and now I check it out after a day on the set.
Scanning power without the bulky scanner.
What is it: “TinyScan turns your iPhone into a mini scanner for documents, photos, receipts and other texts. With TinyScan, you can scan your documents at anywhere and store or email them as PDF files.”
When you are on the go and need to send signed documents quickly this is the answer. I’ve used it to send SAG agreements, location agreements and other paperwork.
Production office on the cloud.
What is it: “A cloud storage service… Essentially, it’s a beefed-up version of Google Docs. You can store your documents, photos, music, videos, etc. all in one place.”
Setup a main folder and share with all the key crew. This will make it easier for everyone to be on the same page when they come to meetings. I used it to keep track of crew availability, budget, meal requirements, updated script, task list, etc.
What is it: “An online vacation rental marketplace”
Use: Most people are NOT OK with the idea of having 30+ people take over their location for a few days. This makes it finding locations a bit tricky. To avoid knocking on every door in your neighborhood you can use VRBO or other vacation rental websites. These sites cut down some of the work of location scouting. The final contract and price still needs to be negotiated, but this site is a must use.
Bonus: VRBO offers insurance for up to $5,000 for only $89 fee.
What is it: “A task list with a simple, clean and intuitive interface. Any. Do allows you to create different folders with tasks”
Use: What’s the big deal? It is simple, clean and intuitive.
Remembering everything is hard and not remembering everything is dangerous. Any.Do can step in for those producers that don’t have a budget for an assistant.
What is it: “Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Waze helps you navigate busy streets with real time traffic updates and suggests alternate routes.
Use: Time is one of the most scarce resources and bad traffic is never on your side. This app is very useful for navigating the busy streets of LA.
Available plugs are often a scare resource on set.
What is it: In the age of mobile, the last thing you want is your phone to be dead. Extra battery power is a must have. Battery packs come in all shapes and sizes. Mophies are great because you don’t need to carry extra cables with you.
Another option are these solar panel chargers.
WiFi all day err’ day.
What is it: Wifi is a must have. Not just so you can upload your #SetLife #Selfies, but so you can actually get production stuff done. Paperwork, email, and other last minute items all require access to the Internet(s). Yes, you can use your mobile phone, but an actual laptop with WiFi is often faster for production.
Copra 4 bridges your production into post, seamlessly, saving you time and money, effortlessly.
Time is money at whatever stage of production. Recently, Movienomic’s own Miguel Berg got to test out this application in action on set of a new feature film, courtesy of DIT Professional, Elliot Balsley. With COPRA4, “fixing it in post” is a thing of the past since now you can fix it on set.
What it does: COPRA allows key production staff to interface immediately upon ingestion processing by your DIT on set. Via the iOS and Android free application, COPRA4’s program (which does cost some to get but is worth the investment) interfaces across mobile platforms like iPads to show you immediately the details in dailies. The time is almost instantaneous and you can always refer back to your shots as fast a checking your Photostream on your device. This is especially useful for Production Designers too, in some cases or should you need to refer to continuity or even coverage of shots. It’s loaded with many useful features, including in frame annotations, useful for providing notes to your Editor, Colorist, or any other member of the crew who you want to share your favorite shots with.
- Sound synched and color corrected proofs
- Touch based timeline scanning
- Shared metadata annotations
- 72 Hours repository of dailies for instant review
- Watch your film as you make it and much much more…