Bhare Kesmaei is an art director, set dresser and prop master based in Norway and the owner of Norway's first independent prop house. She spoke to us about how using Yamdu has made her creative life easier and helped her change the creative culture in her homeland by overcoming outdated ways of working in her industry.
I'm really happy with Yamdu as it helps me save so much energy and I can be truly creative.
Bhare Kesmaei, Art Director
What was your workflow like prior to using Yamdu?
Previously, I didn't have the time to do a full breakdown on a big project, I would do a quick general one and then check in with the director week by week to see if everything was going as planned. In Norway it has always been taught that Excel is the way you do a breakdown and that's the way I learned. With Excel, I had to sit down for 3 or 4 days with a document and manually write out the scenes and add continuity information and it's a really odd and boring system that has unfortunately become the standard.
So on a project like my current one, I basically have a week to do preproduction or 2 weeks if I'm lucky and I would spend a whole week doing the general breakdown. And now instead, I can do a proper, really detailed breakdown and any changes that occur will be so easy to find and fix. So I'm saving a lot of time and energy. And my personality is creative, I really don't like excel stuff, it's really boring and uninspiring and I just want to use my energy on the creative things.
When I googled and came across Yamdu I thought that it was a scam or something because it was too good to be true. I'm really happy with it as it helps me save so much energy and I can be truly creative.
What does it look like when you use Yamdu?
I start with the script, which before I would read once without breaking down. Then I would do the breakdown on the second read and then finally I would read it a third time to make sure I had a good understanding of everything.
I don't have to do this in Yamdu. When I read it now in Yamdu, I can add and tag all the props and costumes on the first go and I remember all of the elements. I'm tagging as I read and it feels very natural and intuitive. And, of course, this wasn't possible the old way because I had to go out of the script and enter 'Scene 34X1' in a spreadsheet and so on and the flow is lost – your memory is disrupted. In Yamdu, I can read a sentence like 'he took out his phone' and tag the phone as a prop and then Yamdu will tag every mention of that prop in other scenes which makes my life so much easier.
You save so much time. You don't have to do all the work on a boring Excel document so I used the time to be more creative – to discuss the ideas properly and not just have to sit down and do all the boring work. It's amazing, I love this program.
Can you tell us about the show you are currently working on?
It's a Scandinavian noir black comedy Sigurd fåkke pult. It's really funny and has an important cultural aspect. It's about a normal guy having problems being social and finding friends and girlfriends. We are currently shooting season 3 and 4. Yamdu has been amazing for me on this project because every time there are changes, which is basically every week, I don't panic and have to sit at home at night fixing everything in Excel. It takes me 2 minutes and I'm done and I can go fix props or whatever.
What's your process on the show?
Usually once a week we have a team meeting about what we are shooting the following week. And that's when the director and I go through the props or costumes or whatever it is for the week ahead. I give him all the exports I create in Yamdu too and then he uses that to cross-reference and double-check when he needs to.
I also share that detail with my assistants on this project. They are shared across the whole crew and they really found it very quick to get up to speed with Yamdu which suggests it is very intuitive even for people who do not come from a film background. I am only on location in the morning to dress the scene and give the props to the actual assistants and then in the afternoon I need to go and get props and buy stuff. I share the exports with the assistants so that they can see the continuity information and keep track of everything. I can do this with Yamdu in a way that I couldn't before.
I gave them a very quick crash course in what Yamdu provides and they picked it all up very quickly and I think that shows how easy it is to understand the software. It's great.
So you would recommend Yamdu to other people?
I'm really happy with it and telling all my colleagues to contact you guys. A few of them are already planning on using their vacation time to see how Yamdu works.
Some people have worked with other systems where it is just continuity tracking whereas Yamdu covers breakdown and continuity - two things that are essential for us. Yamdu is revolutionary because nobody else has taken the lead and created something that makes life easier for an Art Department. Costume designers and prop-masters and the people in this area are obsessed with detail and the detail with Yamdu is very satisfying.
And I love the aesthetics as well. As a visually minded person I find them very satisfying. You can choose exactly what can be featured on the exports and customize them according to the information you might wish to share.
I'm really grateful to have Yamdu because it allows me to be creative.
Will you use Yamdu again?
I'm not going to use anything else! It's been amazing and I have all this extra energy to be creative. You're not going to get rid of me!