When’s the last time you paid attention to the end credits after watching a film? They roll on and on, listing obscure positions like second assistant camera, gaffer, key grip, clapper loader (these are real jobs, I promise). The amount of different people that make up a film or television crew can be enormous. To give you an idea: for a big-budget Hollywood film like Iron Man 3 ($200 million), there were 3,310 crew members credited. That’s a lot of people and a lot of moving parts to keep organized, especially under tight deadlines and, for smaller productions, tight budgets.
In order to help pull all of these people and processes together, there are a bunch of SaaS companies dedicated to production management, such as Shotgun, Gorilla, Scenios, and Setkick, to name a few.
Dramatify, a startup out of Stockholm, is also breaking into the production management space with a browser-based app that provides a more centralized and complete solution than any of its competitors. Two weeks ago, Dramatify moved into beta with a handful of new features that aim to strengthen their competitive edge.
Claiming to help production companies, “Save time, effort and a whole lot of trees,” Dramatify eliminates some of the financially and environmentally wasteful practices still popular among film sets–like printing out thick scripts and daily call sheets (they note that the average American film still budgets thousands of dollars just for copying paper).
They also provide important logistic support for production teams. One extremely simple but invaluable service for a big production crew is the ‘Team List,’ a list of all of the film’s contacts that allows users to call, text, and email directly from the app. For some tasks, calling and emailing might not be the most effective way to reach all of the necessary people. So Dramatify also has a Newsfeed that allows users to communicate with individuals, groups, or the entire team. The Newsfeed makes it easy to keep track of conversations because they’re all in one place, rather than scattered throughout an email inbox. Some of the more production-specific features of the service allow users to collaborate on AV scripts, import screenplays, and plan and distribute interactive call sheets.
One of the big improvements with the beta release is the series functionality, which allows users to work on an unlimited number of episodes. For production teams creating sitcoms, mini-series, talk shows, or any other format with recurrent episodes, all of the episodes’ information can be organized and stored in one place.
In Sweden, there are already a few notable productions using the service. Filmlance–one of the largest independent production companies in the country–is using Dramatify for the second season of The Sandhamn Murders (Morden i Sandhamn), as well as the two upcoming Beck films. And Dramatify has gotten international attention as well, attracting the interest of producers from 25 different countries.
Noting the global appeal of their product, Annika Lidne, Dramatify’s CEO and Co-Founder, says, “Currently our most enthusiastic markets are Canada, the UK, Australia, Latin America, South Africa, Italy, and the Netherlands.” Hollywood tends to move at its own pace, and when asked about the potential of breaking into the US film industry, Lidne noted, “Hollywood will take years to change anything, regardless of the supplier.”
The service is free to use until the end of 2014. At the beginning of next year, there will be a subscription fee that varies depending on team size. By scaling the pricing according to team size, Dramatify remains affordable for small teams with tight budgets. During pre-production the service will be 30-40 USD for three people to use, then increase to around 1,000 USD/month for a team of 100-200 people. For companies producing series with multiple episodes, the pricing increases.
While there are plenty of other companies competing in this space, Dramatify stands apart in two ways: by providing a comprehensive solution, and by addressing the needs of multiple markets. Lidne explains, “We encompass the entire team, from executive producer to drivers and caterers on any device, including Blackberry and Windows Phone. This is important in markets like Latin America, South Africa and Eastern Europe.”
As Dramatify makes its way into production studios across the globe, who knows – maybe your favorite TV series of 2016 will be managed and organized using their service.
Ben Norris is the Founder / CEO of The Peddle, a Helsinki-based company that provides native English language services to startups across the Nordic and Baltic regions. He moonlights as a contributor to ArcticStartup.