Production reports, call sheets, time logs, and schedules are a very necessary aspect of a shoot's organization. On smaller productions with a limited crew, you may be responsible for producing these documents yourself. Thanks to a developer called ThinkCrew, you now have access to a tool that makes creating these production docs that much easier. It's called Casper, and it's a totally free set of templates for Microsoft Office Excel designed for production management. Dynamic scripting under the hood means Casper automates the process for you, filling in relevant data across multiple documents as you input it. Read on to check out Casper, plus some videos breaking down this useful toolset.
Here's the info straight from ThinkCrew regarding Casper:
Casper is an Excel workbook that contains a Call Sheet, Production Report, Exhibit G and Hot Cost Report. All of the documents contained in Casper talk to each other, nearly eliminating the need to retype data that you've already entered. The in-times from the call sheet are automatically applied to the Production Report, which in turn supplies out-time information to the Hot Cost Report. Casper can free you from the prison of your paperwork and allow you to get back to the rest of your job.
You don't need to have any special knowledge of Excel to use Casper. The software is designed to be very easy to understand and comfortable to use. Everything just makes sense in Casper... which comes with an illustrated manual that covers literally every area of the file.
Casper Minimum System Requirements
We encourage you to give the workbook a go -- it is free, after all -- and let us know about your experiences using it. If you are giving Casper a shot, here's a few more videos from ThinkCrew to get you started:
The next video goes into the workflow by which Casper imports data output from Movie Magic Scheduling:
Moving forward, I hope ThinkCrew will consider implementing Casper in a Google Docs spreadsheet format. Even though Casper is free, MS Office isn't -- and I had a heck of a time trying to find a Windows machine with Office 2010, though this may not be an issue for you. Even putting that experience aside, though, I see cloud read/write access and distribution to be the one feature that would make Casper a monument in efficiency and convenience. This is especially true given the type of organization Casper strives to facilitate. Everyone's got smartphones these days, so there'd be virtually no way any crew member could be out of the loop.
Just to test it, I uploaded the Casper Excel document to Google Drive, hoping its automatic conversion would make this dream a reality instantaneously. No such luck, but folks with experience in scripting for Google Docs (who also have Excel 2010/11) can take a look at Casper and let us know how feasible emulating the system would be elsewhere, particularly on the cloud and Google Docs specifically. ThinkCrew also seems receptive to feedback, so this isn't outside the realm of possibility. Whatever the case, it's admittedly hard to complain when they are offering the templates completely free of charge!
If you think it may be useful for future projects of yours, give ThinkCrew's Casper a try and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!