7 Essential Apps You Need For Your Next Shoot

“Time is what we want most… but what we use worst.” - William Penn

I often get asked what does a Producer actually do… in fact, I asked the same question myself a few years ago when I made the move from a ‘do it all videographer’ to a dedicated producing role.

My answer is simple, a producer is like the project manager of the creative world.

For me, it was a fairly easy transition. Of course I had LOTS to learn (and still do), but I was lucky in that I had a strong history in project management, logistics and building relationships.

One thing that has become increasingly evident to me is the more streamlined the processes of a production are, the more time and energy everyone involved can give to the areas that will make a big difference - creativity and execution.

And so, although I 100% agree that the story is the heart of every production and should be prioritised and treated with care, I also know the value in having some real kickass apps at hand to ensure things go a lot smoother from pre production through to delivery.

It’s always difficult to know when to stop when compiling a list like this but this one was actually quite simple, all I had to do was take a look at what was currently open on my macbook and iphone and BOOM, here we go.

Drumroll please…

Here are my top 7 apps you need for your next shoot.

1. Canva

Game changer. And for anyone that has seen my recently released documentary The New Hustle, the name may sound familiar. But let me assure you Canva is not on here because the founders are legendary, or because it is one of the fastest growing tech companies in Australia, Canva has made it to number one position on my list because it's probably the biggest time saver in my working life.

Canva is basically a graphic design program for dummies (or people that don’t have loads of time to spend on creating beautiful documents). If you are used to using Photoshop, Illustrator or any other fancy design programs, this will cut down your time enormously when creating project proposals, graphics for social media, production books - you name it. I have even done some pretty darn awesome looking call sheets and shot lists in there.

If your needs are minimal you can get a free account, I opted for the business account which allows me to add my own fonts, brand colours and keep things organised with loads more photo uploads and folders to use.

 

2. mRelease

Ok… so I am going to be honest here and tell you I haven’t had the best relationship with releases in the past. I once had a nightmare of a production and just didn’t put enough support in place to help with the little but very important things like releases. It got messy, real messy, and I will never get myself in another situation like that again.

Now, I have a great process in place. I ditched an app that didn’t work so well and now use mRelease for all my talent and location releases. It allows you to fill it all in on the spot, take a photo of who you are releasing, upload it to dropbox directly, email it to yourself directly but probably my favourite feature is you can see the list of who you have released right in front of you, in a very simple way.

It also allows you to add your own legal terms or to use something that is pre filled, as well as adding and deleting fields that may or may not be relevant to your production.

I should add, I always carry with me a good amount of hard copy releases as well, should the iPad be unavailable or not working, or just to take the pressure off if there is a lot of people to release at once. If you do this, upload them to the app straight away or take a photo and add it to dropbox so that you’ll have no chance of losing any of them.

 

3. Dropbox

One of the better known apps, but I can’t not include it.

What can I say, I like organisation! And particularly after telling you how amazing mRelease is, Dropbox is SO handy to keep everything together.

I save everything to do with my business on Dropbox, proposals, final budgets, releases, contracts.. everything. I can assign someone to a folder and know they have everything they need without me going through my desktop, downloads and emails to get it for them.

I would say I spend about 15 minutes a week taking a look at my folders and making sure I haven’t missed anything to keep it up to date… a mighty fine investment of time I say.

 

4. Studio Binder

Man oh man, this is a damn good resource to have, and like Canva it has tiered pricing so you can use it for free depending on your needs.

I have only used it up to this point for call sheets but it goes way beyond that. Schedules, shot lists, client approvals, file sharing - it is well worth checking out.

The reason I love it for call sheets is that you can add all your production contacts and locations at the start and then just add whichever is relevant on any particular date. It also has a hugely useful feature that allows you to see who has received it, read it and confirmed it. SO GOOD.

 

5. Google - for Drive/Sheets/Docs

I don’t think I have had one day in the last two years that I haven’t used Google docs, sheets or drive for something.

I keep my working budgets in folders, I use docs for putting together contracts, project plans and working blog posts (like this one).

My husband still uses word… and wow I feel like that is soooo 1990’s now! Get with the time people and if you haven’t jumped on the Cloud yet, do it now!

 

6. Facebook

Another one that you will all surely know but perhaps not something you would link to filming.

Facebook is an AWESOME resource for me whilst in production. I have joined every large film networking group on Facebook and have used it time after time. I use it to ask for local recommendations and to find local crew when needed, but really, the support you get on group pages is just amazing and I really recommend joining some groups if you haven’t already.

Here are some of my favourites:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/193836560752575/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/melbournecreativenetwork/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/592812480739743/

 

7. BOM Weather

The lucky last, and probably the app I use the least, but still consider it pretty important. Anyone that has had to shoot a tight schedule that has included outdoor filming will feel this one.

BOM Weather really gives you a deep look into weather forecasts, rain patterns and allows you to plan on the spot to ensure you don’t lose a full day of shooting because of the unpredictable weather. I have mine ready and waiting every day I shoot, because I never know when it will come in handy.

 

So that’s it, my go to list and hopefully this will continue to build as technology grows and we get even quicker and more efficient with our time.

Finally, I am right in the middle of putting together a pack of AMAZING resources for y’all. All the documents and tools I use for a production will soon be available online for you to check out and download. I will be launching this within the next two weeks, if you’d like to be given the heads up when it’s released, pop in your email below and I will be sure to send it out

Diana Fisk