Today (1st December 2017) online streaming service Netflix releases its very first German production called “Dark”, a long awaited mystery serial by director Baran bo Odar and screenwriter Jantje Friese. The productions script supervisor was Jutta Dickel who had worked for major productions like “Der Baader-Meinhof-Komplex” or “Die Päpstin” in the past. Our LockitScript App served as her loyal companion on set.
As the serial is going public we took the chance to speak with her about the digitalization of the film set and how she experienced our app.
Why do you work digitally? What do you think are the advantages of digital solutions on set?
Digital solutions on set are a huge topic. The camera is already working digitally to a large extent so it’s logical for post-production to go digital as well.
As a script supervisor you will always need both though: a printed version of the script for quick questions or minor changes, and on the other hand a digital reporting system which is much more handy for cutting room, laboratory and so on. I still have to enter a lot of things twice with the LockitScript App, but sending the reports works out perfectly. Eventually, I only have to push a button and everyone involved receives the reports immediately. This saves a lot of time, less print-outs are necessary, and the data is available on all kinds of devices. The whole production process becomes much more efficient.
Of course you have to get used to the app, getting to know the program is key. By now, I use it on a regular basis but when I was supposed to work with the LockitScript App for the first time I perceived it rather inconvenient and I didn‘t want to work with it to be honest. But you get to know the apps strengths right away: the daily reports which need to be a 100% correct as a lot of money depends on them, are done in no time in the evening. In the past it took so much time to finish the reports on the computer. Now the whole process is super simple as the app collects a lot of the data needed automatically.
After 12 hours on set which we experienced at “Dark“ I simply lack motivation to work with some homemade solution, which are still quite common. Usually I talk to post-production right from the start to tell them I‘m gonna work with Lockit no matter what. Most of the time they understand.
“Dark“ is the keyword, thank you. So recently, you worked with the LockitScript App on set of Netflix‘ production “Dark“. How did it work out and how did the app support your work?
When working on a big set like “Dark“ – we had a team of around 150 people – I have some assistants with me. It was super simple to grant them access to my Lockit account as well as to my reports. So everyone had perfect overview on what had already been finished and what still needed to be done. This way, communication went smoothly.
With the size of the set comes a need to run processes more professional hence communication across the units becomes increasingly important. But of course, it becomes harder to maintain direct communication on sets like “Dark”.
Also “Dark” was my first serial. While shooting ten episodes it turned out quite handy it didn’t take any effort at all to switch episodes within the app whenever we had to re-shoot scenes.
Apart from that there were no big differences compared to other productions I was part of in the past.
What are the problems you experienced using the app? What kind of improvements do you wish for?
Lockit is very diverse. The basic functions are built up very clear but even as a regular user I am still discovering functions I was not aware of. It might make sense for Lockit to offer workshops for script supervisors as my experience shows that productions don’t book Lockits on-set-support. It happens that production managers simply demand script supervisors to use the app but we don’t have time to practice. During a shoot there’s no time left to get to know the program in depth.
An on-set-introduction would be nice but usually budgets are too tight to include this kind of support. I think it might be key to show production managers that LockitScript App is a business which adds true value.
For example, after finishing a production recently the cutters sent me a super nice goodbye-email saying that my reports were a terrific example and how these helped them doing their job properly. Of course this success depends mostly on the system and the scheme you guys at Lockit developed. But also this compliment is only addressed to me and doesn’t find its way to the production managers. So you might want to think about addressing production managers, those are the ones who need to get the idea that your product is a valuable investment for guaranteeing a smooth workflow between camera and post-production.
Concerning the app, I can only see minor issues which might even be special wishes like the layout of the daily report as every script supervisor has an individual way of working.
Usually, it goes as follows: When facing a problem I think to myself this and that function would be quite useful now. Then I call the Lockit guys and you guys tell me that this and that function already exists – two clicks and the issue is solved.
By now, I work with the app on every set because Lockit convinced me, and I can only recommend it.
Earlier you told me that digital solutions are on the rise. What do you think about this development, where are we heading to?
Firstly, I don’t think there will be complete digitalization any time soon. Still I prefer noting text changes or motion follow-ups in the script quickly by hand. The handling needs some further development before we do all the work digitally and are being more efficient than we are using pen and paper.
Secondly: This statement on a progressing digitalization is kind of tricky, not everyone in the film industry perceives changes entirely positive.
Sure, we only use digital cameras by now. Also in post-production digitalization is on its way. But the communication between these units still needs improvement. So far, there are still too many different solutions available: Post-production often uses their own little programs and also camera does their own thing. These small metadata boxes are not established yet. Time-coding is in use but it’s not connected to solutions like LockitScript App.
To me it appears rather important to focus on the whole production process while all those technical developments are coming up on the market. We need to make use of the already existing possibilities companies like Lockit are offering.
Thank you for your time, Jutta.