Top 5 Apps Every Film Producer Needs
- August 8, 2018
- Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Let’s be honest, we exist in an impossibly-fast paced industry. Producers are used to juggling countless moving pieces, but those who find the most success know that you’re only worth as much as your resources. Those tools and resources keep producers on time, up-to-date, and accountable for every stage of production. This isn’t just any type of list. This is a list that could save your very life (as a producer).
First and foremost, give into the tech. Technology is our friend and should be treated as such. Today’s most effective producers use the best apps to keep them where they need to be so they can meet any situation with skill and ease. So, to save face, and to avoid many possible pinches, check out our favorite apps for producers!
5. IMDbPRO –
As a producer, you’re most likely aware that it pays to know who’s who. And you might even be potentially interested in searching for star power to attach to your project. IMDbPro is more than just your typical IMDb app. It doesn’t only list film and TV titles. Instead, the Pro version is exactly what you think it is – it’s for professionals! It’s like what it says on the box – it’s the essential resource for entertainment professionals. Now, that’s a particularly august claim that I can really get behind! But, with features like insights into trending professionals and titles, detailed through IMDbPro’s STARmeter and MOVIEmeter data, it keeps you up-to-date with over 4 million profiles of contacts. Also, it’s free as long as you have an IMDbPro membership.
WHAT ELSE CAN IT DO?
With this professional resource, you can find and be alerted to upwards of 25,000 projects in-development for film and TV. You can also access names, contact and legal information to contacts all over the industry. Before IMDbPro came along, there used to be industry publications that worked as the skeleton key into the industry. But since they went the way of the dinosaur, IMDbPro has filled that vacuum tenfold. You can also get in contact and get representation details from 30,000 industry professionals. You can simply tap in your phone to call or email. It always baffles me how this app isn’t talked about more!
4. FILM TOUCH –
When I think of the future, I think of future objects doing basically everything for me. So, by definition, the Film Touch app is the future. When you open a .PDF call sheet on your phone, it imports the sheet, organizing crew lists into private, searchable lists where it keeps track of your jobs, companies, and coworkers. The app stores names, phone numbers, and email addresses, allowing you to simply find and contact key personnel. This app also works very well in conjunction with other apps on this list. It’s designed for crew, but it’s a good one for our list because often times crew can change. So, this is a helpful resource for producers to keep up to with personnel.
WHAT ELSE CAN IT DO?
First off, finally remembering people’s names for one. Yes, here it is folks! You can finally avoid your potential Larry David moments just by using this app. Spare yourself another embarrassment by not remembering the name of the Transpo Captain, even though you’ve worked with him six times already. Sheesh! And, not only does it do all the aforementioned, but it keeps your sheets private. No snoopy NSA looking into your business! And I think that’s something that we can all appreciate.
SOMETHING TO KEEP IN MIND
The FilmTouch app was designed specifically for commercials, music videos and Industrials. When it comes to films and TV, the results may be less than perfect. That said, there are producers of all shapes, sizes, creeds, diets, constitutions, complections, likes, dislikes — you get the idea. Producers outside the film and TV biz, can find this app especially useful! Also, the app can’t read scans, just text-based PDF’s — but who’s perfect?
3. DEPARTMENT HEAD –
DEPARTMENT HEAD is useful for anyone from your Prop Masters to your Best Boys Gaffer and everyone in between — and that especially means your producers. This app is a databasing and communications app for TV, film, and commercial professionals. One of the really cool things DEPARTMENT HEAD does is it allows you to — stay with me here — it allows you to import a script and link all your work to a secure database built from that said script. Seriously. And, when you revise your script, you simply import the new script and your database adjusts. Now, that’s impressive!
WHAT ELSE CAN IT DO?
Just wait, we’re not done by a long shot… With DEPARTMENT HEAD you can also create and distribute breakdowns and budgets, store notes, photos, reference videos links, and other attachments in one place… Not done — You can set To-Do’s and reminders, while keeping in contact with other departments. Whether you attend production meetings or location scouts or make shot lists or track orders and rentals, it can all be done with this app! Once your script is ready, DEPARTMENT HEAD creates the database and you can begin breaking down the script to create budgets, schedules, and looks for every other part of production. It will also link your work to pre-production, production, and post production calendars. Basically, this is a must-have.
2. THAT’S A WRAP –
You’re pelted with anything under the sun as a producer. When trying to keep up with this, that, and the other, paperwork can become a hassle. We’ve all lost forms — and yes, it’s always the end of the world. Every. Single. Time. The That’s A Wrap app is an invoice application that keeps track of your daily finances. It helps you avoid the hassle of trying to create some confusing spreadsheet or trying to read the illegible print from, say, the G&E team. This includes overtime, Meal Penalties, and any other expenses that are accrued over the course of the project.
WHAT ELSE CAN IT DO?
That’s A Wrap doesn’t just cover the basics. With this app, you can add in any additional expenses like Uber costs, additional crafty, bribe money — whatever — and it will keep track of exactly where you are. Another handy feature, That’s A Wrap is essentially your own personal loan shark. Well, depending on how you look at it. The app will keep track of those who owe you payment from any of your projects you have logged in. Speaking of entering multiple projects, the app also keeps track of your “booked” and “on hold” projects. It will also keep you honest with reminding you when an invoice is due and for how much. If that wasn’t enough, it also keeps track of Net 14, 30, 60-day payment, and you can email the data Day Rate, OT, Meal penalties, and other expenses as a CSV to anyone through an email attachment.
1. STUDIOBINDER –
How about that? We’ve saved the best for last! Who out there remembers the days before Studio Binder? You know, those times when you had to search to the ends of the internet to find a blank call sheet. And, then you would have to find an old call sheet from the depths of your email to try and fill it out correctly. Anyone? Studio Binder has scaled the throne of production docs and crowned itself the best film app (to me, at least) – while also finding a special place in our hearts.
Free, you say? Yes, Studio Binder allows you to easily build an industry standard call sheet, where it automatically saves online and allows you to track when recipients view and confirm it. So, okay… I think we’ve gushed over Studio Binder’s easy-to-use app enough. So, please, if we could move on to discuss its mobile performan—you’re kidding me? It shapes to your phone? That’s right, call sheets are emailed in “digests” where you easily click, opening them, and unlike call sheets of past, they actually fit to your phone and tablet screens. (Hyperventilating now…)
WHAT ELSE CAN IT DO?
When call sheets are sent to the cast and crew, a .PDF is automatically generated, so getting a hard copy is seamless. Other files like maps, release forms, shot lists – can simply be attached.
“StudioBinder is an invaluable tool for our production workflow. The sleek design and smart features like call sheet tracking brings organization, efficiency & automation to our shoots & increases our productivity.” –Trevor Fernando, BuzzFeed
Call sheets are limitless, but there’s more. StudioBinder also provides Cast and Crew Lists, Stripboard Shooting Schedules, Script Breakdowns, while also possessing a file sharing system and Client Approval System.
Now, these are a few of our favorite apps. But out of the countless apps out there, this is just a blip in the ether. So, we’d like to hear from you! What have we missed? What are you using in your day to day that makes your job a little easier? Please share in the comment section below!