Monday, 8 July 2013

Work with a bit of MAGIC!

            Sometimes I consider myself a “production freak” for a lot of reasons. One of them, maybe the most critical of all, is that I’m obsessed with organization and lists. This is common in almost every producer or producer “in progress” (as I like to call myself, because I know I have a LOT to learn and do before I can call myself that).

            Now that you know me a little bit, and my weird guilty pleasure, I want to share with you a handy production software that has helped me work my organization and task checking obsession with a little bit of magic. For those who already know this app I must sound kind of dull, but for those who have no idea… Try not to love me so much! I present to you: MOVIE MAGIC SCHEDULING.

            Movie Magic Scheduling 5 (MMS) is a movie software for production workers that help us create project schedules, project production plans and breakdown sheets of any kind.

            Created by Entertainment Partners, MMS functions as a database where you insert every aspect and elements of your script, and it’ll give you the opportunity to develop shooting schedules, day out of days, breakdowns and much more.

            I found out about this amazing software 9 months ago, during my post-graduate studies in Barcelona, and I thought to myself: why do I keep doing this on Excel or handwritten if this is so much easier?????? Maybe you are wondering this too. Let me resume my experience, and perhaps I can answer that question.

  • Database Magic: the first step in every production is to carefully read your script, not one but several times, in order to highlight every need and every important aspect of it. Then, you are ready to open MMS and let its magic begin… As I said, it is sort of a database, so you have to grab your script and introduce all the highlighted elements into the software.

  • Breakdown Sheets: MMS does the hard work for you! After you insert all the aspects of your script into it (correctly categorized), it will also develop these sheets with every requirement of your project. You can have general breakdown sheets for each scene, and you can also have specific ones of each department.

  • Stripboard Schedule: after you are ready with your breakdown sheets, the app will develop a multi-colored stripboard schedule that I personally LOVE. Each strip represents a scene and each color represents a time during the day (day/night/sunset/dawn). You can move around the strips and add as many days or break days as you like, to organize your shooting.

  • MMS has its price: not everything is so magical and pretty about this. MMS is available for both PC and MAC users, but it’s not a free software. It costs around $500 (each boxed product or digital download). Here are some links were you can find it:

So maybe this is why we all keep doing this on Excel or handwritten… L

Additionally, I just found out that if you’re an iPad user, you could buy its “To Go” version, which is a lot cheaper. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve read some good reviews about it, though it obviously doesn’t have all the features of the desktop version. Here is the link to it:

Entertainment Partners has another software (which I only used at a couple of classes) that works its magic with the budgeting part. It’s called Movie Magic Budgeting (MMB) and it is AMAZING with cost estimation, accounting and planning of your project. If you want to know more, check it out here:

Well, I hope this has been enlightening for those production lovers like me who didn’t know anything about MMS or MMB. For those who actually did know and have used it before, share your experience with us!

If you’ve used this software, tell us about it. Do you like it or not? Why? What other production software like this would you recommend? 

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