We spoke to Rhonda Lanouette about remote work with Yamdu and the positive impact it had on taking the leap towards a paperless production.
I needed a program to track the crew at different times and locations, then Covid hit, and I was so glad I had Yamdu.
Rhonda Lanouette, Production Manager and Line Producer at Farpoint Films
Could you tell us more about yourself and about Farpoint Films?
I am a Production Manager and Line Producer at Farpoint Films, and we are a production company based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. We make digital media entertainment that includes feature films, reality and some documentaries as well. So we do a little bit of everything.
And can you go into some more detail about the projects you are currently working on?
At the moment we are wrapping up on two projects: one is an investigative true crime docuseries called Dying to be Famous and the other is a series based on ice fishing in remote parts of Canada aptly named Ice Vikings. And we actually used Yamdu for both of these projects.
Oh wow! And can you describe what the process was like going from a documentary to a TV series?
Yamdu has been great in that respect, we were able to go directly from one to the other and it really does adapt to the specifics of the projects. Some, like documentaries of course, are very development heavy and on film service projects everything revolves around the script. So the workflow is different each time.
With Dying to be Famous, we had a Canadian team shooting in the US, and they were able to travel throughout the country since we were able to keep them on track and all their paperwork together. We could feed them the info they needed through one platform rather than going through endless email interactions.
And we were also shooting Ice Vikings simultaneously in Manitoba at the time, in these very remote places five miles out on the ice with fishermen, but we were still able to get information out of Yamdu. We used maps to find the exact locations they were working on, get call sheets, and stay connected with them during production.
What were some of the problems you were having prior to using Yamdu?
So typically what we would do was use platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive, and even emails to share documents and communicate with our teams. If you are getting 100 emails a day, that gets really complicated over time, and you always wind up losing a lot of information along the way. So when I found Yamdu, it was great to start storing everything in one place. I’m really able to do so much more with Yamdu.
How were you referred to Yamdu, or what was it that drew you into using Yamdu?
I actually started using Yamdu because I manage multiple overlapping projects and I needed something to help with that. At a given time for example, we might have a crew working in the US doing a documentary or investigative work, we could have a crew in Winnipeg shooting recreations for another show and we might also be doing service production for a film.
For me to actually do that, I needed a program that would allow me to communicate effectively with all the different departments and crews that were running at the same time.
So I was already managing everything remotely as I needed a program to track the crew at different times and locations, then Covid hit, and I was so glad I had Yamdu because we had crews in all these different places and without it, we wouldn’t have been able to continue. It worked out really well for us.
In particular, which features have been important for you?
We use everything! We are putting all of our crew in there, sending announcements, sending out our call sheets, all of our scripts are in there, and we do our script breakdowns in Yamdu as well. At the end of the show, we put together our credit roll-out information into the system. We have the outlines in there for our reality content and our editors use that in post to follow everything coherently.
And now even our accounting are using Yamdu to keep track of data and all of that has gone a long way towards going paperless, which has been a long term aim of ours but not something we could have done up to this point. We’re all very green-minded and drive electric and hybrid, so we’re always assessing where we can remove waste, and I loved that I was able to tell everyone that the scripts are in Yamdu and we don’t need to send them or print them - we can go paperless with this system.
We are actively working towards a zero paper waste workplace, and I really enjoy that part of Yamdu.
Has Yamdu helped from a communication and file-sharing perspective?
Yes, I think the greatest advantage we’ve had from using the software was being able to keep everything that we input as data storage. For instance, documents like scripts and outlines, as well as all their revisions were stored for everyone to access and view.
The fact that I could use the application on my phone also made it easy to create call sheets as I needed to. Apart from that, the crew list feature also came in really useful like getting everyone involved in the project, and collecting their information. Then from there, we could easily keep track of everything, and communicate with the team to share what was happening in the project.
One of the most useful features in Yamdu is being able to input maps and location information for all of the different shoots we had going on simultaneously, and really the ability to create lists for all the departments.
All of this was really great because our colleagues didn’t have to orient themselves, instead they came in prepared with what they needed to do. This gave us more time to discuss the creatives without that lag in time, and I was able to take back that time and use it for other purposes.
How did everyone find working with Yamdu?
We have about 30 people working in Yamdu for different projects. Getting everyone on board wasn’t a challenge as they were all quite open to using Yamdu. It was really fast and easy for everyone to get acquainted with the program.
Yamdu has worked really well for us and I’ve managed to talk a few other people in the industry into using the system. We’ve noticed that crew members will often spread the word on subsequent projects and companies realize that you don’t need lots of different tools to manage all of the different things on a project; you can use Yamdu for so much of it. When people reach out to us and ask “how are you doing this?” we say get Yamdu!