Rhys Lewis is operations manager at Goodbrother, an all in one video agency based in Brooklyn. Their clients include Netflix, NBCUniversal and CitiBike.
"Everyone is on the same page and you can manage a lot more projects at once. It helps everyone get everything done more quickly and efficiently so the clients are happy and we're happy."
Rhys Lewis, Operations Manager, Goodbrother
Can you tell us a bit about Goodbrother?
We're a video agency, which is a hybrid of a traditional ad agency, a production company, and a Post-Production house. Our capabilities include creative development, preproduction, production, and post-production. We can handle everything for our clients, whether it's a commercial for Youtube or social media or TV, a miniseries for Netflix, interviews, scripted narrative work, reality shows, VR projects.
What were the problems you were experiencing that led you to Yamdu?
There are a lot of moving parts during every stage of production. There's a lot of different teams and it's hard to find one system for everything – for scheduling, for creative, for creating tasks for our internal team and the external teams we often work with. It's hard to manage all of that and also share information with clients.
We were using lots of things, something like eight different programs, but no program did everything. We needed something that could do everything, that looked nice and was easy to use and also gave us control – in terms of what people could see and do, which is really important.
For example, I can allow a client to see only the information in Yamdu that's relevant to them. There's different views and access rights for everything and another thing we wanted was something our internal and external teams and clients could use as one centralized information hub. It's so hard when everyone uses something different. One person is using this software and another is using something else and it's hard to keep track of tasks and documents and versions when you are just emailing them back and forth. It's nice to have everything in one place.
Working on commercials, dealing with clients must be important for you?
That is key for us. It's important that our clients have a place where they can see that we are doing whatever we should be doing at any moment in time. That way they know they can expect a certain edit by 5pm tomorrow. We don't have to keep reminding them or reassuring them that the work is being done for them, they can go in and see in a very organised way that this is how the production is lining up, this is everything we are doing to make sure the content is being created.
How has Yamdu addressed the problems you were having?
You guys have made it easy for us to keep track of all of our productions. We use Yamdu for traditional commercials, documentaries, internal videos that we post on social media - a lot of different types of videos. We have a monitor out in the main room in our office and we keep Yamdu on it all day. We have all of our projects on the overview calendar and that helps us keep track of everything that's going on, which is awesome because it makes sure things don't fall through the cracks.
From a client point of view, for me it's very helpful because I manage the calendars and just being able to move things around very quickly is very helpful. For example, if a client changes something, I just drag the date forward in the Gantt chart and everything's moved.
And I think from a company point of view, it's helped us be more organised and helped us stay on top of things, definitely. I think having the different types of views in the production calendar and main calendar has been very helpful.
The people who use Yamdu love it. We're looking forward to rolling it out to all of our freelancers because we'll be able to communicate better with them while they're working remotely, which a lot of people in this industry are doing now.
Everything is in one place, and if somebody is in a different time zone you don't have to worry about them being asleep when you need something. We can make sure people are keeping on top of things because you can assign things to specific people and hold them responsible. I think everyone also finds it helpful to be able to see everyone's roles in the crew list, which is cool when a person doesn't know everyone they are working with.
We find it helpful for keeping track of things on internal projects, especially for our interns as they don't need to be constantly reminded about their tasks. They just need to keep track of the production calendar and they are assigned there.
It's great that we can add information, like being able to upload scripts for example, and not have to deal with people asking you to send things to them because they can access all of the different information that they need.
Is it helpful when it comes to overseeing what's happening on a number of projects?
It's also really helpful for our executive producers to be able to check in with what everyone's doing with every project – it eliminates pointless meetings because we don't need to sit down and discuss where things are as they can see all of the information in Yamdu – this is our schedule for this week, this is what we're planning on doing, these are the tasks that we have, things like that, just keeping people accountable without having to have frequent in-person check ins. I think people have enjoyed that, being able to see what everyone else in the team is up to – knowing for example not to bother a certain person because they have three deadlines today with two different projects – just general transparency within the company has been helpful for people – everyone knowing where we are with all of our clients and all of our projects.
In which production stages are you benefiting the most?
It's great for preproduction but I think just as important in post-production. There are so many steps in post-production and it's helpful for things like our Netflix project. We were doing 4 episodes and it was very helpful to keep track of information – knowing for example that the final cut for episode 1 and 2 is due Friday and that the first cut of episode 4 is due on Monday. We are doing multiple things at once so it is very important to keep track of projects in post-production, especially when we are working with external freelance editors who are not in our production office. We always have the deadlines in mind with Yamdu so we know when to check in and say "hi, this is due Thursday, are you on this, can you give us an update?".
You mentioned your Netflix project, A Little Bit Pregnant. Can you tell us more about that?
In the show, we follow the actress Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black, Girls, Master of None) during her pregnancy. Danielle talks to different experts in order to get the lowdown on pregnancy and childbirth. Each episode explores what it's like to be pregnant, what it's like to be a mom and we debunked some myths about pregnancy along the way.
It's on Netflix Family and Yamdu was very helpful when it came to figuring out the very complicated post-production schedule. Being able to put everything on a calendar and really visualise it and move things around easily was very helpful.
If you were recommending Yamdu to someone, what would you say are the key benefits?
Companies can gain transparency with their own teams and with clients, they can gain productivity, you can get things done in a clearer; more organised fashion. Everyone is on the same page and you can manage a lot more projects at once. It helps everyone get everything done more quickly and efficiently so the clients are happy and we're happy.
Having this centralized hub with so many tools and uses can eliminate having to use seven or eight different programs and helps avoid pointless meetings. It's saving us time and money and helping us juggle more things effectively.