Cast Management, Location Scouting, Production Scheduling, Episodic Production, Feature Film
David Victori explains how he manages the chaos that went on in the production of his Netflix series Sky Rojo.
David Victori got his start in the film industry as an assistant to the celebrated Spanish director Bigas Luna. He started directing his own projects in the late 00s and gained attention when he won the inaugural Youtube Your Film Award during the Venice Film Festival with The Guilt (La culpa) in 2012.
The jury for the prize included Michael Fassbender and Ridley Scott. Fassbender executively produced his subsequent short Zero in 2015, which was created with Scott Free Productions.
His first feature film The Pact (El Pacto) was released by Sony Pictures in 2018. His second feature, Cross the Line (No matarás), starring Mario Casa, followed in 2020
His latest project Sky Rojo, the new series by Money Heist creator Álex Pina, has just debuted on Netflix.
"Yamdu is the tool to help you go on this journey without losing the focus and the order in the middle of all this chaos."
David Victori Director of Sky Rojo
What were the issues you were facing before finding Yamdu?
I've loved technology my whole life and any time I started a new production I was trying to organize things more effectively on the computer, but it was a total disaster. Every time you are looking for a file, you don't know where to find it. You don't find the document you need in the moment that you need it. You end up in your email folder trying to find a document in the middle of all the emails that you receive and that was crazy for me. I felt that I didn't have control. It was a mess. It's was very difficult to organise everything.
When did you first find Yamdu?
I remember very clearly; I was going into production on my first movie and I was thinking 'it's impossible that no-one has created a software that makes it easy to work as a film director'.
I knew in my mind that I didn't want to manage that movie like previous projects. So I searched and Yamdu appeared and I almost cried. I thought 'thank God someone has thought of this' and that it actually exists. I looked at some similar programs and I studied the features of all of them but I really loved Yamdu. I tried it and it was amazing.
Can you give us a sense of how Yamdu has made the way you do things easier?
The first thing I do in my office in preproduction is open Yamdu, and there I have everything. You see everything that is ready and all the things you are still working on. I love that with something like casting, the moment you choose the actor to play the role, the image gets bigger and it marks the moment as a milestone - I remember being with the guys I was working with on that project and this feeling that it was an important moment.
Casting roles and choosing locations used to be something where you printed out a lot of images and put them on the wall in the production office and tried out different combinations. Now, you can do all of this in Yamdu, you can look at one actor in comparison with another, consider different options and it's amazing, I really love it.
I also remember that during my first movie, my assistant and I sent a lot of feedback to Yamdu's support team and the good thing about the company is that you are close enough to be in contact with the people behind the system. I'm a big fan of your software and I hope to continue using it for years and years.
How do the people you work with find the system?
I have to be honest, on that project when I talked with the crew and told them we want to use it everyone was sceptical, nobody wanted to use it and I had to be a little forceful, telling them it's not an option, you have to use this. People always want to do whatever they did before rather than something new but I insisted and then they thanked me later because obviously it is so much better to have everything organised.
All the notes that you add to every picture, location, actor, feature - it's all there and that's so helpful. What's the alternative? You take a picture, you send a Whatsapp message, but then you lose that information. Getting 100 more messages every day means you lose track of all these comments and all this information and that's crazy. I'm a huge fan of Yamdu because it avoids all that.
What are the key areas you would point out? What is most useful?
Obviously, the casting and location scouting tools are the things I use most every day. When it comes to the calendar and scheduling, my assistant involves me in things and I can see all of the meetings and events on the dashboard. So other people add information and I can see it all. You have everything in one place and that's amazing. It's awesome because it's online, the information is there, you never lose anything.
What's your process for getting started on a project?
With any new project that I have in mind, I can add the characters, import the script and I can start playing around with casting ideas. I have all my projects there and that has helped me a lot. The best thing is that all the actors that I was casting for my other projects are there in the database. You can import any actor from any project and that is so helpful. So, after working on a music video and a short and my two movies in Yamdu, I start a new project and it helps me a lot to have this database with all the actors and locations I have used before in it.
What about communication and streamlining your workflow?
You can do everything faster in Yamdu and your mind is clear. If you have everything organized then you can be creative and you can think about the things that you have to think about as a director. You're not wasting time finding a document or wasting time thinking who was that actor that I worked with before. You have everything there, it's really quick, you find what you need and your mind is clear to be creative, which is what you need when you are making a movie.
You've mentioned the user reaction. How many people do you work with, do you start yourself?
I'm alone at the start, maybe me and my personal assistant, the two of us have the projects there and it's an idea or a script and maybe we don't have a production company yet. Having all my projects there helped me to organise myself. I can see all my projects, my future, I have things mapped out for years and obviously this work can be very slow. The process for the movie I just finished was started 6 years ago.
This is your latest film 'Cross The Line'. What can you tell us about that?
Yes. The Spanish title is 'No matarás' which means 'thou shall not kill'. It came out in October 2020 and stars the great Spanish actor Mario Casas, who won Best Actor at the Goya Awards for his performance.
When a project like Cross The Line is greenlit, how do you approach pre-production?
The first thing I do when we get the main crew together in preproduction - the producers, the art director, the director of photography - is send an email. First, I say 'let's put our hearts in this project'. The second thing I say is 'we're using Yamdu'. That's my welcome email. If I haven't worked with them before I explain what it is, why they have to use it and why it will be useful for us. If people have worked with me, they know me and they know that if they want to work with me, they have to use it.
What can people gain from using Yamdu?
If you want to be creative, you cannot be creative in an environment where everything is a mess. If you want to put some order in your mind, you have to order your house. That is the thing Yamdu will do for anyone who uses it because it's a way to go through the process with everything in place - maintaining order without falling into chaos. The production is always chaos. Starting is always chaos as there are lots of things to do, there's a lot of decisions to make, and Yamdu is the tool to help you go on this journey without losing the focus and the order in the middle of all this chaos.
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