Your Spreadsheets Matter Less Than The Time of Your Artists

After years of work, you meet success and your studio is growing. You have more important and demanding projects. It’s time to hire more…

3 years ago   •   3 min read

By Gwénaëlle Dupré

After years of work, you meet success and your studio is growing. You have more important and demanding projects. It’s time to hire more people, new people, artists who are not used to your methods. And sometimes they won’t even be on your premises and therefore can’t be trained by your seniors. Facing these new challenges is super exciting and you want to make everything perfect.

You are ready to make a significant step forward: you are going to build a strong pipeline. Among other tools, you want a production management software that will be available to everyone in the studio. You are ok to let your beloved spreadsheets of all kinds, even it they took months or maybe years to refine.

So, you take a look at the solutions of the market, you register for a trial and you try each of them. And now comes the real big question: what are your selection criterias? For who this tool is really aimed at?

If you take it for yourself, your main criteria will be production reports and statistics. You will enjoy building custom pages to find all your production indicators. And this as quickly and easily as possible. That would be great to have all this new reports but if this is your first criterion, it means that the whole artist / supervisor / director / client crew comes after.

The second option is to help your production team to do their weekly report and follow better their production. It sounds good, but if this is your first criterion, it means that artists, supervisors directors and clients come after again. It means that you prefer to help people whose job is to organize, manage and report rather than people who build the movie, and who should solely focus on their art… And from what the reports say, it seems they have  a much bigger importance in your budget…

Take, for example, an ecosystem of 10 people: 1 client, 1 producer, 1 production manager, 1 director/supervisor, and 6 artists.
The client will give his validation on the previews once a week. The producer is going to follow the production once a month. The production manager will follow the artists every day and report to the producer once a week. The director will supervise the artists and give them feedback every day. And the artists will look several times a day at what they have to do and whether their previous work has been validated.

As a producer, director of the production, you will spend a lot of time recruiting your artists. They are the cornerstone of your project! You recruit them based on their demo tape, maybe even on a test. You are willing to pay the price to get the right person in the right position.
But when the artist arrives in your studio, he will have to manage your internal tracking system. He will have to look for his shots on the network in a spreadsheet. He will spend a lot of time running after the real to know if his work has been validated or not. He will look for the previews of previous building steps. In short, he will spend time looking for the information he needs. If the software, cluttered, slow and complex he may spend 15 minutes a day only to look for the right information.

Then let’s take the production manager, but on the other hand, we recruit him for his organizational, synthesis, and communication skills. Saving him a few hours to build his report is nice. But the question arises! What matters most? Providing a tool that will help your production managers to make their reports, which is why you recruited them? Or make sure that your artists don’t waste a minute looking for information and could focus only on their art?

If we stay on the example of the artist who loses 15 minutes a day looking for information about himself, after a week, he has already lost more than 1 hour and 15 minutes (15mn x 5d = 75mn). If it is a team of 6 people, we are already wasted a full day (75mn x 6 people = 450mn = 7.5h).
Let’s continue the same math over a month and your whole team loses almost a week’s work (7.5h * 4.5 week = 34h = 4.7d). And we don’t add here the time lost when a shot need to be processed again because of a misunderstanding.

All this wasted time could have been used to refine and push the quality even further or avoid overtime. So, one last time, ask ourselves the question: is it better to privilege the artists or the production reports?

At CGWire, we have our idea.

We dedicated this blog to CG Production Management and CG Pipeline. Additionally, We propose a Slack channel where you can discuss your problems/solutions and learn from others. We are already 400+ to share tips and ideas. Join us; TDs and Production Managers from all over the world will be super happy to welcome you!

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