Creating any type of video content, no matter the scale, is a haphazard collision of personalities, personal processes, software incompatibility, Excel spreadsheets, paperwork and miscommunication.
As an entrepreneur and filmmaker, I live at the crossroads of both worlds. One year ago, our team set out to streamline the production management experience.
There is plenty of postproduction software on the market, but when it comes to production management software for producers, you’re left with antiquated solutions that you swear have been around since Windows NT. You would think a new, elegantly designed solution would be welcomed by producers with open arms.
Prior to our development of StudioBinder — which helps production companies better organize crew details and generate stripboards, to create and send call sheets — we conducted a number of product validation interviews. The concept is commonly associated with the “lean startup” movement in Silicon Valley, asking potential customers to discuss pain points to identify solutions. After extensive interviews with day players, AD’s and producers, the response we got was more defensive rather than embracing of innovation:
“I have my own system and spreadsheet, I don’t need to use anything else.”
“Templates for free. No one will pay for software.”
“You’re putting the hospital there on the call sheet?! That’s crazy.”
“I don’t need read receipts for call sheets. I pay a production coordinator to do that.”
The feedback was not so much a reflection of our product, but more of a general resistance to change. No wonder film-tech startups aren’t jumping into this industry. It’s run by old-guard production folks who stand behind a shield of tradition. And the attitude is toxic for innovation.
By and large, adversity to technology is endemic to many working producers and AD’s in the film industry.
But you know where this isn’t the case? Online content.
There are more production companies, agencies, MCN’s, YouTube channels, and online video sites popping up every day. The common through-line is that these productions are being operated by a younger generation fresh out of film schools, tech-savvy, and open-minded. They’re looking for more free-time, and technology to automate their grunt work. They’re turning around content at breakneck speeds and a fraction of the cost.
How? They use chat tools like Slack to chat with their team members during preproduction, Asana to assign to-do lists, Celtx to write screenplays online, HelloSign to send and e-sign paperwork, Uberconference for production meetings, and StudioBinder to manage and track their call sheets and schedules.
This is why I’m very optimistic about the industry. A new generation of filmmakers are inheriting the industry from the old guard. Some companies will re-evaluate bottlenecks in their workflow, others will continue throwing more PA’s at the problem.
Which companies do you think will move faster? Which ones will cost less over time?
It’s an exciting era of reinvention, and technology marches on.
16 Movie Stars Poised to Break Big in 2016
Stephan James Age: 22 How You Might Know Him: The former "Degrassi: The Next Generation" star played John Lewis in "Selma." Why to Watch Him in 2016: He replaced "Star Wars" newcomer John Boyega in the Jesse Owens biopic "Race," and will strut his stuff as the legendary Olympian.
Gal Gadot Age: 30 Why You Might Know Her: The Israeli actress played Giselle, Dom's ex and Han's girlfriend in "Fast & Furious 6." Why to Watch Her in 2016: She's already an "It" girl thanks to her coveted role as Wonder Woman in "Batman v Superman," but look for the stunner in "Triple 9" amd "Criminal."
Wyatt Russell Age: 29 Why You Might Know Him: Russell is a former hockey player who enjoyed a memorable flirt session with Leslie Mann in "This Is 40," and also had a bit part in "22 Jump Street." Why to Watch Him in 2016: His performance in the upcoming Richard Linklater film "Everybody Wants Some" feels like the first honest-to-goodness thespian turn as one of a pack of '70s-era bros chasing girls.
Zoey Deutch Age: 21 How You Might Know Her: The daughter of actress Lea Thompson and director Howard Deutch is more than earned her spot in the family business with roles in “Vampire Academy” and “Beautiful Creatures.” Why to Watch Her in 2016: Deutch is about to hit in the wide-release comedy “Dirty Grandpa” and the smaller but heavily pedigreed “Everybody Wants Some” from director Richard Linklater.
Joe Alwyn Age: 24 Why You Might Know Him: Unless you were hanging around the halls of London’s Central School of Speech and drama, you might not know Joe. His first big gig, however, is quite impressive … Why to Watch Him in 2016: Alywn landed the lead in the much-anticipation "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" opposite Kristen Stewart, and will also co-star in "The Sense of an Ending" with Jim Broadbent.
Ella Purnell Age: 19 Why You Might Know Her: Ella is a vet of the London stage since childhood, with turns in productions like “Oliver!” and on screen as a young Keira Knightley in the drama “Never Let Me Go.” Why to Watch Her in 2016: She’ll play an earlier version of another starlet — Margot Robbie — as Young Jane in “The Legend of Tarzan” and also appears in the upcoming “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.”
Riz Ahmed Age: 33 Why You Might Know Him: He played lovable and tragic sidekick to Jake Gyllenhaal in "Nightcrawler." Why to Watch Him in 2016: He appears in the latest "Bourne" sequel and "Star Wars: Rogue One," in addition to a music career.
Brianna Hildebrand Age: 19 Why You Might Know Her: She starred in the web series "Annie Undocumented." Why to Watch Her in 2016: She's nothing short of a badass playing lethal entourage member to Ryan Reynolds' upcoming "Deadpool."
20th Century Fox
Alex Roe Age: 25 Why You Might Know Him: He's appeared mostly on British TV shows like "The Fugitives" and "The Cut." Why to Watch Him in 2016: The strapping Alex Roe introduces himself in the apocalyptic " The 5th Wave" with Chloe Grace Moretz, followed by "Rings."
Alexandra Shipp Age: 24 Why You Might Know Her: Gorgeous Alexandra Shipp cut her teeth on TV in roles like an Aalyiah biopic. Why to Watch Her in 2016: She's suiting up as the new Storm in "X-Men: Apocalypse."
20th Century Fox
Tye Sheridan Age: 19 Why You Might Know Him: He earned indie cred with fare like "Mud" and "The Stanford Prison Experiment." Why to Watch Him in 2016: He'll also bring heat playing Cyclops in "X-Men: Apocalypse," then co-star in Jennifer Aniston's war drama "Yellow Birds."
20th Century Fox
Maika Monroe Age: 22 Why You Might Know Her: She became an indie sensation for "It Follows" and "The Guest." Why to Watch Her in 2016: The multiplex is calling with projects "Independence Day Resurgence" and "The 5th Wave."
Toby Kebbell Age: 33 Why You Might Know Him: He's had small roles in many films over the years, from "War Horse" to "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes." Why to Watch Him in 2016: He doesn't have much in the way of free time, with "Warcraft," "Ben-Hur," "Gold," and "A Monster Calls" on deck.
Ruby Barnhill Age: 11 Why You Might Know Her: She's appeared on the Canadian TV series "4 O'Clock Club." Why to Watch Her in 2016: The young actress landed a giant part in Steven Spielberg's adpation of beloved children's book "The BFG."
Walt Disney Studios
Haley Bennett Age: 27 Why You Might Know Her: She's appeared in movies like "Kaboom" and "The Equalizer." Why to Watch Her in 2016: She's got an impressive set of films hitting, including movie star party "Magnificent Seven" and the crime thriller "The Girl on the Train. "
Alison Sudol Age: 31 Why You Might Know Her: She's probably best known as an alternative singer-songwriter who performs with her band, A Fine Frenzy. Why to Watch Her in 2016: She will attempt to tame Eddie Redmayne in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."
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From Gal Gadot to Riz Ahmed to badass Brianna Hildebrand, these stars will win big next year
Robert Kiraz is CEO of StudioBinder, a leading film production software company that helps production companies manage their crew, schedules and call sheets. Previously, he was the CEO and cofounder of VOKLE, a video streaming Q&A platform used by high-profile entertainers, content creators and publications like Huffington Post, LA Times, ESPN, CBS and Time Warner Cable. Find him on Twitter @robertkiraz and @StudioBinder.