Filmmakers, photographers, casting directors, actors, models, hair and makeup artists, etc. are all inundated with ads from companies that sell the newest equipment. We’ve been trained to think that buying the newest camera or having the most lighting is going to take our careers to the next level, but it doesn’t. By the time you save enough money and buy the newest camera another one is already making yours “obsolete”. This happens will all types of gear. None of it moves your projects and career forward it only holds you back. Proreel was built by a failed production company that followed that same path. We still look at the gear room that was once worth thousands of dollars and now worth nothing. Its unfortunate but that realization is what lead us to build Proreel.
When the writing was on the wall and I saw that the production company was unsustainable I wanted to know why. We had the right gear, we were getting clients and even still there was no clear path to success and true financial stability. We were close to working full time and we simply did not have the ability to do more projects in a week or charge more for our services. So I began to study our production company, my friends production companies, and really any production companies that were willing to talk with us. What we eventually found is that the single biggest barrier to growth for production companies is time.
You can’t track what you don’t measure and as it turns out most companies only track time once their production starts. Commonplace in the industry is a “day rate”. This is the amount of money a production professional charges to work per day. When broken down hourly the pay actually sounds pretty good but what it doesn’t include and is frequently overlooked is how much time is spent before cameras ever start rolling. Scheduling, communicating, signing contracts. and looking over all of the various production documents are all extremely time consuming. These tasks tack on hours and hours to everyone working and if you calculate those hours into your day rate your pay begins to sound a lot less exciting.
What happened to our production company and was happening to many others we studied is that so much time was spent in pre-production that we weren’t aware of and as a result not getting paid for. Because of this we didn’t have enough time to find new clients or even take on more projects. Finding more clients and taking on more projects are two pillars of growth for a production company and our day rate big enough to create a sustainable company with the amount of clients and projects we were doing.
So from here we were given two options: Attempt to universally convince production professionals they weren’t charging a sustainable day rate or create a system that dramatically minimizes the time it takes to complete the busy work so that production companies can spend more time on tasks that grow their business. We chose the latter. We dove deeper into studying our production company and starting tracking where we were spending all of our time. Communication, documentation, and scheduling were the large time wasters. All of these were predominantly done through a stream of emails with the rest of the team. Because of the way email is set up documents would get lost and making sure everyone was on the same page created a lot of unwanted friction.
Proreel is a software company that makes it easier to schedule production events such as film shoots, photo shoots, location scouts, and more. Creative teams use Proreel to minimize miscommunication and maximize their efficiency. Proreel creates a more collaborative environment for teams to insure everyone is in the know and on top of their responsibilities. On proreel you can schedule and entire shoot and communicate with your team directly on your phone instead of through a disconnected workflow of email and paper based documentation. Best of all, Proreel is offered completely for free. Our goal is to help you grow your production company to a sustainable level and beyond.