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Improving Communications Saves Money

August 9th, 2010 by Mark Lasser

Who? What? Where?

I recently was looking at a friend’s pictures taken during a stroll in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park and was reminded of a horrible production day back in the 90’s.  I had been working as a production supervisor for an ultra low budget film with ultra high budget aspirations (don’t they all!).  We had a top name cast that wanted to work on this indie project and a, how can I put this, well, a lightly seasoned film crew supporting the project.

As is often the nature in small under-funded projects, I was wearing multiple hats and was stretched very thin.  On one production day we were set to shoot in Griffith Park, a sprawling, scrubby and hilly parcel of Los Angeles with winding roads and walking paths.  The assistant directors and location managers are generally the ones in charge of communicating the time and place of shooting days to the crews.

General practice is to have a map attached to call sheets distributed well before wrap so that everyone knows where to be the next day and what time he or she is due in.  On this particular day, the assistant directors had decided to move the base camp for shooting but had only managed to notify half the crew.  When I arrived on set, half the crew was in another location setting up and putting us an hour behind schedule on what was already a day with more to shoot than hours in which to work.  The 2nd AD in charge of setting up base camp wasn’t working on fixing the problem and tried to blame our old friends Someone and Somebody.

Production should be fun and on the good days it really is fun.  On days with massive communications breakdowns, it’s no fun at all. How great would it have been to have a set of tools like Market7 that would update and automatically email the entire crew of the location change?   The cost savings alone would have been great but it would have also saved a few people their jobs that day.  To schedule a demo of Market7, contact us at sales@market7.com .

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Communication Production Breakdown

June 24th, 2010 by Mark Lasser

Someone and Somebody

When I used to produce and production manage video, I’d hire hundreds of crew members and contract with dozens of vendors.  Eventually I got to the point where I established relationships with certain crew and companies and they became my preferred production team.  After ten years producing, I had a great set of resources to call on for each project.  Unfortunately, there were two crew people who always came on board that I could never get rid of.  They had odd names.  One was called Somebody and the other was Someone.  I never did meet them in person, but they were always around.

Once I looked out onto the set at wrap and saw the security guys were no longer around.  I called over the 2nd Assistant Director who would normally know what was up.  She informed me that Somebody told them they could leave early.  I of course asked who, only to be told again, it was Somebody.

Another day the caterer was short ten meals for us.  I know how many I had authorized on the call sheet so it was a mystery as to why we were short.  Well, apparently Someone told the caterer the wrong head count.

These two trouble makers were responsible for many rumors also.  Someone once told the crew they would be having a short day.  Somebody, on another occasion told the crew we’d be working a 20 hour day.

It sure would have been nice to have web based collaboration tools like Market7 in those olden days of the 90’s.  If we had such tools, the crew, the security guys and the caterer could all see the website for the production and would know that Somebody and Someone were wrong about almost everything said.

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