basically said, ‘If you’re a first AD, wewant to talk to you. If you’re a UPM, acasting director … all the critical jobs.’We brought them in and recorded themand asked them questions about howthey did their job, and what frustratesthem.”They compiled all the interviewsand made mockups based on what theyheard. To find out if they were on theright track, the same group was calledin again and shown Powerpoint slides.With the comments they received,Ehlers and Hancock proceeded to buildthe first version of the application. Toextend their research, they formed aproduct advisory team made up of aformer line producer, veteran executiveproducer, casting director and an actor,and the product really began to takeshape. About a year and half ago, thecompany assembled a dinner with 10line producers, UPMs, and first ADsand presented an early version of Scenechronize. Working off all thefeedback from the dinner, they wereable to release the beta version lastJanuary.Scenechronize is “enterprise” levelsoftware intended to serve independentas well as big-budget films. Hancockand Ehlers have conducted more than400 demos and received enthusiasticresponses, with attendees left wantingto know how to use it immediately.PGA member and Scenechronize user
When crewing up for a new produc-tion, you might ask yourself: “Whowas that awesome makeup artist Iworked with a couple of years ago?”You spend the next four hours diggingthrough dusty wrap books in a base-ment. You find your makeup artist,but now your back hurts from rum-maging through all those heavy fold-ers and you just want to lie down.
Finding that makeup artist is only a click away with a newprogram called Scenechronize, a product that its creators hoperepresents the next generation of production software. Whilethere are other products available that have digitized aspectsof production (scheduling for example), Scenechronize aims toexpand the capabilities of a production team in a multitude of arenas. Using a Web interface, it organizes the script, locations,casting, breakdown elements, and schedule. Tools have beenspecifically created for the assistant director, line producer,above-the-line and below-the-line crew. Each team memberhas access to his or her own department, while the UPM or lineproducer maintains a big-picture view, with the option to sharethat information with other crew members on an as-neededbasis. “People can see the project change in real time andalways have access to the correct version,” says Darren Ehlers,who cofounded the namesake company. In a nutshell, all rele- vant and current production data is available to any crewmember, anywhere at any time.Ehlers and partner Hunter Hancock met six years agowhile working at a consulting company. They parted ways,each going on to work for different clients, but ended up work-ing together again years later. With the revenue they generatedfrom their client, they decided to form their own company. Thegoal was simple — develop a tool that would make it easier fora team to do its work. And with a steady cash flow from theirday jobs, they had their opportunity. After many prototypes,they ended up with a promising software platform but no con-crete idea what it could be used for. Before they could call it aproduct, they needed to find a niche. As it happened, a pro-duction-related consulting opportunity came along. “Wethought: Here’s a team-based problem; how can we fix it?” saysEhlers.They set about researching the ins and outs of production.“We started by placing ads on Craigslist,” recalls Ehlers. “We
takes the next step
by Rae Contreras
On-Set and Online:
“the program‘reads’ a scriptand organizesa lot of informa-tion for you evenbefore you havebegun breakingdown your linedscenes.”
Students use Scenechronizeat Idyllwild Art Academy