Save Time and Lessen on Set Emergencies with Online Production Management Software

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

By Adrienne Lunson, CEO, Klio Studio

Has anyone seen him? He was supposed to be here half an hour ago!" In the dark, I hear voices discuss the first emergency of the day as I walk past a trailer on Day 2 of a commercial shoot. The sun isn't up, but already confusion and stress have made their entrance. Day 2 is always the worst.  

The excitement of Day 1 is over, but the team has yet to work out the kinks in communication. Long story short, we were on location, 45 minutes from LA, and the Director's PA was nowhere to be found. Instead of getting ready for the first shot, the PAs and production coordinator huddled together to figure out this not-so-big but still showstopping problem.  

Where is he? Did he get the call sheet? Was he scheduled? What's his number? My phone has no signal, can you call him? Can we replace him? Who knows a good PA that can get here ASAP? 

"There has to be a better way," I remember lamenting. If only I had Klio Studio back then.  

Pre-Production Prepping Lowers Stress

The more effort put into pre-production, the easier the actual shoot is. Pre-production gets skipped or handed off because it's tedious and time-consuming.  Imagine weeks of pre-production compressed into a day.  

Once a polished script is ready, it's time for a breakdown. Script breakdowns in pre-production take longer than mental breakdowns during production but are much more pleasant. To break down a script, all the elements of each scene are pulled out and put into stripboards and breakdown sheets. Doing it by hand can take weeks, but Klio Studio can do it in 3 seconds. The time savings are incredible.  

While it doesn't pull out items like props and stunts, Klio Studio pulls all the scene headings, numbers, and characters. It turns out computers have difficulty distinguishing between the feeling of being "on fire" and actually being "on fire." Humans are still needed to understand humans. Take that SKYNET.  

After figuring out the number of shoot days, characters, etc., it’s time to budget in the sleek interface. Instead of searching for production documents in every shared drive, it's just easier to keep it all together. Break up the budget between departments with multiple locations. A database of union rates and tax incentives are also readily available for productions of that level. Klio Studio doesn't replace anyone's job, it just makes it easier.  

All this work can be done by hand, but why would you want to? Pre-production should be the calm before the storm, not pre-stress.  

Callsheet Magic and Chat Prestidigitation 

After solid pre-production, it's time to take the plunge into production. Almost always, callsheet creation takes place after production has wrapped for the day due to turn around requirements. With the click of a button, Klio Studio creates sleek callsheets. Download the document to email out or use the confirmation tool.  

"Did he get the callsheet?" Yes, he confirmed last night!  

At this point, you know he knows where he's supposed to be, but why isn't he there? Did he get in an accident? Oversleep? Is he still coming? 

Since project and work-based communication make or break a project, Klio Studio comes equipped with chat. Don't have the person's info? That's fine - you can chat with them so long as they are part of the project team inside the system. Had we had this all those years ago, we could have saved ourselves a lot of energy to focus on the actual shoot. 

It turned out the PA had overslept and was only 10 minutes away when the 2nd AD hired a friend in LA to take the PA's place. An hour later, there were 2 Director PAs, only enough money to pay one, and of course, the original PA was related to the client. There had to be a better way.

Development Hell

A few years ago, I managed to get a development fellowship in Narrative TV at AMC Networks. You know, The Walking Dead and Mad Men Network. While it was one of the most positive experiences of my career, I saw firsthand how difficult it was to manage such a vast amount of content.  

One of my bosses had two shows in production, three shows in pre-production, and 10-15 shows in development. Each show had different writing teams all over LA and the US. None of the shows were filming in LA.

Klio Studio’s script section organizes that chaos. The writer(s) upload scripts to be reviewed by the studio or network in their project, separate from other projects. Executives add notes, and when a new version is uploaded, the older version gets archived inside the project. No more digging through your email account for the latest version!

It’s Alive!

Unlike films that are finished, Klio Studio continues to grow and improve. Ever thought, "there has to be a better way!" during a production? Let us know these "pain points," so we can continue to evolve the software. Anyone can use the cloud-based program by going to KlioStudio.com or, for studios, in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. The most basic subscription costs less than two coffees because we don't expect anyone to choose software over coffee.  

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About the Author

Adrienne Lunson
Former Navy Officer, international talk show host, and film producer Adrienne Lunson has been working in Hollywood for eight years, Hollywood including stints at TMZ, Fox Sports, and AMC, along with starting her own production company Yellow Light Media. She thought of Klio Studio while dreading the paperwork avalanche of her next project. Now with the launch of Klio Studio, named after ancient Greek muse of record keeping, Cleo, Adrienne is helping modern Hollywood keep track of all the tedious details, financials, paperwork, and tasks to free producers to concentrate on important creative decisions.

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