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People often say the difference between a good movie and a bad one comes down to one thing: how well you plan.
Bad pre-production means that when you get to set, something goes wrong—and you don't get the shot that makes cinema magic.
Take your pick. The production designer didn’t know we needed the lightsaber today. (He didn’t see that in the Google Sheet?) Nobody knew Tuesdays are when the sand dunes get vacuumed. (The location scout added this to Dropbox, but no one was alerted.) The actress opened the email with the wrong call sheet attachment, and ended up at the Death Star stage instead of the Rebel Blockade.
It’s what filmmakers try so hard to avoid through careful pre-production.
But the sad truth is, just spending hours over spreadsheets for breakdowns and call sheets, and compiling endless emails, does not make your film better.
What’s one key way to avoid failure? Stop juggling lots of outmoded, isolated tools, and find one system to eliminate inefficiency.
Pre-production in a perfect world
In a pre-production utopia, you’d have one tool that generates all this information instantly and seamlessly communicates between all of your cast and crew. It could understand your script, generate a shooting schedule, and make sure everyone is on the same page about everything. It would make sure that any piece of information that could be reused, would be reused—instead of being manually redone over and over again. It would even wake you up in the morning for your call time, and hand you a cup of coffee.
Okay, not all that is going to happen. But there is a piece of software that might get us remarkably close. It’s called Yamdu, a film production management tool powered by ARRI.
Optimize your workflow with Yamdu
Yamdu offers all of these solutions in one convenient package. It’s the information hub of your production, accessible anywhere, anytime. It’s your online production office.
All the information you need is centrally saved. Scheduling is shared and up to date, and information is updated effortlessly. Items like key details and call sheets are easily generated to save time. Individuals and teams stay agile, informed, and one step ahead of slower-moving old-school production comps.
When it comes down to it, creative people need to cut out redundant work to focus on the creativity itself. That’s what Yamdu does. It helps you escape isolated systems that only cover a limited part of production management.
How do you use Yamdu?
Put simply, Yamdu is a one-stop-shop for everyone on the team.
If you have a script, start there. First, import the script from whatever file format you have (FDX, CELTX, Fountain, PDF). With the script tagging tool, you can easily select, tag, and re-use elements like props, sets, VFX, SFX, etc. Within minutes, Yamdu will read, interpret, and generate a script breakdown.
If you already have a shooting schedule in Fuzzlecheck or Movie Magic, import that with one click. If not, add a few more details, and a few minutes later, you have a shooting schedule.
Every aspect of the filmmaking process has a place in Yamdu.
For example, you can suggest or attach actors to each role and include info on their measurements for wardrobe, or even allergy requirements for craft services.
And you and all relevant members of the crew can comment on any object, and thereby structure discussion. Yamdu helps you control production scheduling, so you can set a schedule for every part of the process, from development to post. And to make everything as efficient as possible, data that is generated in one area, like files, documents, tasks, and production schedules, can be reused in other phases or departments—and even in other projects.
Or you can add shot lists, storyboards, and notes including camera and lens choice to the camera department. (And if you’re a production company, you track what equipment is being used on what production and when.)
Call sheets are a breeze. Through Yamdu, call sheets automatically contain all the information entered before (like locations and talent) and can easily be distributed to the crew. Not only can call sheets be created in minutes, but they can also be tracked (sent, viewed, confirmed) by every member of your crew.
With Yamdu, you can access crew, cast, location, and vendor information anywhere, anytime. You can monitor what’s going on in your productions in real-time, and even get Conflict warnings when they arise. It’s about as full-proof as you can get with filmmaking!
An unmatched feature set
While Yamdu offers too many tools to review all in one article, here’s a few of note:
- Crew Management
- Shooting Schedule
- Cast Management
- Script Breakdown
- Shot Lists
- Production Scheduling
- PDF Exports
- Call Sheet Builder
- Talent Sides
- Production Design
- Hair & Makeup
- Location Scouting
- Financing Partners
- Showbiz Budgeting Export
- Project Calendars
- Personal Calendar
- Project Templates
- User Access Management
- Contract Tracking
- Content Items
The Yamdu community: creators of every kind
Given that Yamdu is powered by ARRI and used for Netflix, Amazon, HBO and NBC shows amongst many others, as well as campaigns for companies like BMW and Walmart, you might think it’s only for big-budget productions. And while you can read case studies of Yamdu being used on high-level studio features, TV shows, and commercials, the Yamdu community is also made up of students, start-ups, and indie filmmakers.
Crazy Pictures use Yamdu’s straightforward structure to help them organize large teams and keep track of their production.For example, James Twyman of Black Card Productions produced Ringside, a series available on Amazon Prime, for an incredible budget of just $1,400, partially thanks to Yamdu:
“I had tried other software like Celtx and Studiobinder but they ultimately lacked the suite of features Yamdu provided. Once I found Yamdu, I loved it. I had what I needed and I will always use Yamdu from now on.”
Try it now for free!
Sounds interesting? Then why not get your hands dirty right away and register for a free trial. To get a thorough overview of the many features Yamdu offers, make sure to check out the introductory webinar, too!