Location Managers Guild International

Winter 2018

The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) is the largest organization of Location Managers and Location Scouts in the motion picture, television, commercial and print production industries. Their membership plays a vital role in the creativ

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14 • LMGI COMPASS | Winter 2018 So ware Location management software in the Dark Ages: Why we lack the tech tools the industry deserves TECH TALK BY MARIO RAMIREZ & D.R. RANDALL It's 2017. It's the Uber, Amazon, drones, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, you-name-it future. But take a look at the software tools for film production and you'll find they aren't much better than what a college freshman would have used to write a film production report in 1997. As a longtime location professional-turned- software developer, and as researcher and product designer in Hollywood, the two of us appreciate the challenges of location management. You're asked to put on three-ring circuses on city streets, in neighborhoods or remote mountaintops, all without a hitch and often with no more than a few days' notice. We also know that a job so extensive, involving countless production members, vendors and organizations, is one that demands an advanced and very unique software solution—so where is it? Pick any other billion- dollar industry and you will find billion-dollar software companies standing behind them. Intuit, Salesforce, Oracle, etc. They make products you may have never seen or used, but they have transformed industries because they became the way business is done. Software is swallowing the world, or so the adage goes in Silicon Valley, so where are the tools that should be transforming Hollywood's $130 billion production business? Software companies that tried, have largely failed because they sold and designed for productions as though they were traditional business. They find "stakeholders" (or studios) that can sign off on the budget and enforce use. In theory, this model provides the focus and energy you need to make a real impact. Because software is created for a whole company, it has the potential to create a well-coordinated, more efficient machine. Individual film productions can't support IT overhead. In reality, however, implementing enterprise software is a nightmare. This is why you end up with so many companies that spend millions before abandoning IT transitions. The textbook example is the FBI case management system. The bureau managed to spend $170 million producing 730,000 lines of code, before throwing in the towel in 2005. For those that do go forward, the software is inevitably buggy, or at least ill-fitted to the organization. When a key member of our team worked in medical software, they would spend weeks training staff, then weeks in a hospital with dozens of developers and a support team, so when the system went live, it should all go smoothly. It rarely did. And once the software is live for the average user, the ease of use doesn't get much better. This is why nurses and bankers hate the software they use. It wasn't made for them. They were given tools to do someone else's job or to meet someone else's demands. This kind of margin for experimentation and inefficiency just cannot exist in film production. The tools This paper mess can be avoided by using innovative software. Placeit

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