The future is digital. And to those in favor of the analog world, just remember the Office Production Assistant position you or one of your friends had when you first broke into the industry, and the slew of paperwork that accompanied it. Fear not, because production job postings will most likely always have “heavy paperwork” listed in the description, but sectors of the industry are surely dipping their toes into the paperless waters. It’s not hard to imagine a world where all paperwork, from script to delivery tracking, will be housed in an easily accessible, cloud-based software suite. This is where the screenwriting and end-to-end production workflow software StudioBinder comes in.
StudioBinder offers a way to manage video projects and their accompanying scripts, schedules, media files, production contacts, cast and crew, script breakdowns and more in one convenient location. You can get started for free and there are reasonably priced plans available for indie-filmmakers and studios alike. The layout allows for sensible project tracking done through their comprehensive click-and-drag interface.
Writing and Importing Scripts
Starting with the ability to write or import scripts (.fdx, .pdf, .txt and fountain files supported), StudioBinder will convert a script file into a shooting script, which is then made ready to be broken down for scheduling and budgeting purposes. Once a script is done, Studio Binder goes to work automatically adding Scene Numbers and totaling up characters and respective dialogues per scene.
This is laid out in both a scene-by-scene shooting schedule that offers real-time editing of “scene strips,” and a breakdown summary report, which also lists pertinent info. From there, the production schedule, timelines and milestones are laid in out a fully editable, high-level calendar view. Team members can be assigned different tasks, and collaborators are invited to keep track of every step of the way.
Tagging, Comments and Cast/Crew Management
A key aspect of breaking down for scheduling purposes is the ability to tag any and every element in the script that may be needed on a particular shoot day. Costumes, props, special FXs, makeup and wardrobe are all elements that need to be tagged. StudioBinder offers an inhouse tagging tool that comes with automatic character tagging and more. Comments and follow up tasks can be added as the project progresses, and call sheets can be generated and distributed to cast and crew as needed. Cast and crew management is also made easy with a real-time confirmation tool. The Project Contacts page also conveniently links directly to ProductionBeast in case a role needs to be filled or a new position created.
Shot Lists, Storyboards and Mood Boards
In the digital age, both moving and stationary images speak to us. Pitch decks, treatments, and show bibles are there to help communicate the look and feel of a project. Doubling down on the one-stop production tool, shot lists, storyboards and mood boards can all be created within StudioBinder. Any of the aforementioned contacts can be quickly looped in on a clip, an image or a link that are all conveniently stored in the Media Library where collaborators can review and approve for use.
A Free Alternative
For screenwriters, and especially indie-filmmakers, Studio Binder’s free, no-limits propriety screenwriting software may be a happy alternative to other programs available. The Tab + Return keyboard workflow is there, and the interface provides a familiar experience. The ability to house and link the script in the same location with pre and post-production documents is crucial for any budding or experienced writer-director. The screenwriting software also offers cloud-based syncing and collaboration so you can write and edit on-set or on location by yourself or with a partner.
Major studios, networks and media agencies have already adopted Studio Binder’s end-to-end production solution software.
Their website boasts testimonials from CBS Interactive, BuzzFeed, Cartoon Network and more. As more studios and indie-filmmakers adopt this cloud-based approach to project management, it’s very possible there may be a new industry standard in the works.
Andrew Schwartz is a marketing professional and script reader working in the entertainment industry. He has written and read for outlets such as The Blcklst, BlueCat Screenplay, Final Draft and more. Find him on Twitter at @writingshorts or his Instagram page dedicated to The Sopranos, @sopranosgram.