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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16 • LMGI COMPASS | Winter 2018 gloried Excel template, has achieved some level of success. It met the studios and productions in the middle by being both self- contained and standardized, in spite of the fact that 20 years into the internet era, the software has no cloud syncing or collaboration tools. Innovation has to start in the trenches. So, is the film industry doomed to terrible tools? No. Software companies just have to understand the true source of innovation on productions. We have to flip the script. We have to start in the trenches, with the professionals that do those jobs, instead of trying to empower studios to do and manage everything. We have to start by empowering individuals on productions to do a few things really well, assist their workflow and build up from there. One shining example in the assistant director software space is StudioBinder, who for all their ambitions to be "the world's leading video, photo, television & film production management software," started with small, self-contained problems like call sheets. Compare that with a product like Production Minds, also largely for creative teams, which is trying to be an enterprise tool for the entire production. Even in a promo video on their homepage, with an obviously well- incentivized production team talking about the software, the users have a tough time ignoring mentions of additional work required with the classic you bring in week one have to be ready week one, just like the assistants you hire and the equipment you use. Productions hire results, not just people. All of this speaks to the heart of the matter, which is that studios and even producers have little sway when it comes to software and processes. Ultimately, they are hiring results, not just people. A location manager isn't like a bank employee who can spend months ramping up on new software tools and practices. They have a massive job to do and need it done yesterday. To make that happen, they bring their teams and processes with them. So producers and studios, as much as they might like a shiny new piece of software that everyone is using together, have to ultimately, let managers use what they know will work. We saw an example of this push and pull a few months ago, traveling across town to meet with two different productions from the same studio. Production A said the studio was now requiring new software for syncing and managing their content but mentioned all the classic challenges with the new software—It was double work and it wasn't helping them do their jobs. Production B said, "Oh yeah, we heard about that, but said we'd never use it. We don't have time for that." This power dynamic is also why Excel documents and Word documents have had such legs with production teams. They are portable and personal. This is also why Movie Magic, a challenges of enterprise software. And of course, extra time is not a luxury location managers often, if ever, have in production. Products specifically for location management, good or bad, are even harder to find, but the next generation of Hollywood production software is coming. And it will be built for you. Like all good tech, it will make your inherently demanding jobs easier, not harder. It will be built with the location managers and their teams in mind, not just the studio or productions, though as a result, management at all levels will benefit greatly too. How do we know this? Because we're building it. The tool that we're building is a streamlined collaboration platform for production professionals and vendors. Its easy- to-use, mobile-first, cloud-based design will enable location departments and their vendors to work smarter and faster, from a single source of truth, eliminating miscommunication, guesswork and confusion. And as use grows, it will enable whole productions and even studios to track progress and collaborate in new, valuable ways. With these new tools, gone will be the days of telephone tag, hard-to-find email records and disjointed text communication, all in an effort to keep your team and your vendors in perfect sync. You'll be able to add sets and locations as easily as googling a restaurant. You'll create and share all the details of supporting locations, orders, tech scout notes, location lists and even financials, with the appropriate members of your team and vendors in seconds. You'll finally have the tech tools you deserve. If this sounds exciting and you would like to have a hand in shaping effective industry software from the ground up, we'd love to invite you into our beta group. Our beta testers will have first access to new features and let us know if we can add anything essential to ensure a successful production. Feel free to email us at info@virtualmasons.com Stay tuned! Techscout

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