We spoke with Nina Robnik who works at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television at the University of Ljubljana and is also a freelance producer, about how she supports her courses with Yamdu.
"Everything goes faster with Yamdu. When you want to optimize things, that's Yamdu."
Nina Robnik, Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television at the University of Ljubljana
What were the issues you were having that made you want to find a system like Yamdu?
I was annoyed that I had no way to manage things effectively in preproduction, it was only Word and Excel, I wanted to find something to help me be more organised and make collaborating with my production colleagues easier. People were using Excel and Google Drive and I found it very frustrating that there was no one platform with everything.
I searched for something that might work but nothing seemed to run well. We collaborate with Arri at the University and they mentioned Yamdu and that's how I found the software. I showed it to a teacher, we started using it with our students, and it made everything easier.
How many projects is Yamdu a part of in the school?
We have from 15 to 20 projects; we use it for short films and for audio-visual productions. The students using it are studying direction, cinematography, editing and production.
Does it take time for the students to get up to speed with the program?
They are very used to using apps and programs so it is very easy and intuitive for them. There will always be some people who want to do things their own way writing things on paper or using excel but generally everyone likes it and it takes very little time.
What's the advantage of Yamdu as a teaching tool?
The advantage is that wherever we are we have the ability to find all the important information. One of the most important things for me is that if something changes – for example the cast is updated - everyone has the same information in Yamdu.
It's not like an Excel sheet or something where everything must be changed and rewritten, it is all shared with everyone immediately. And then you don't need to manually change information in the shooting schedule and call sheet and everywhere else. It's all automatic.
Can you describe the process when your students are working on a project in Yamdu?
We first start working about 7 weeks out from production. In the first prep meeting, we show them how Yamdu works and delegate work based on positions. If you're an assistant director, you have to take care of these things and so on. Then they get to work by themselves and there are generally very few issues. Whenever they are unsure of something, they can write to Yamdu and are very happy because they get a response very quickly. The platform is always being updated.
Do you use Yamdu a lot in pre-production?
For me, Yamdu is a necessity for pre-production. In the crew area, I can add the important information like contact details, so if a student comes to me looking for a number, I can tell him to look in Yamdu because everything is in there.
I'm working on many different things at once so it really cuts down on unnecessary disturbances for me when students are aware that they have this resource with all the important information. We have the same external people working on many projects, so it is very useful to be able to add them to each project with the database.
Files and Documents is great because we can add the script and storyboards. The announcement tool is also very useful because I can remind or update students quickly about something and also see who has seen the information, so there are no excuses for them missing something.
We use tasks on each project, for example if we need a list of necessary things for the shooting from a student, we will just create a task for that. He has a very clear deadline for when something needs to be done. You need an effective system to make sure things get completed and that's why I'm such a big fan of Yamdu.
We also used the calendar to create events and to make sure that everyone knows all of the phases and steps in the production. With this information in Yamdu, it means that they don't have any reason to miss anything important. If a student is supposed to be working on a shooting schedule, I can take a look whenever I want and see what he is doing. I can check information wherever I am.
How do you manage the script breakdown?
The breakdown is very important as we can build up an automatic overview of all the actors and locations and costumes and props in one place. You can see how everything is interrelated. The students write their scripts, I let them work on a few drafts and edit things. Then we get to our script deadline and it is imported into the system. If any information is changed after this point, it is immediately updated everywhere and the information is shared with all the relevant people.
The last two weeks before production are the most intense because at this stage, we will need shooting schedules and call sheets, but all of the important things like cast and location will have been organised. I just need to check in with my students again to make sure everything is organised correctly.
Sometimes, if a student has previously worked with Yamdu on another project, he is confident working by himself because he knows how everything works.
Has Yamdu streamlined your workflow?
Yamdu for me makes order from chaos – that is the main point. It connects people, keeps people informed. It's changed my workflow a lot and I'm always suggesting to others that they should use it. And when the students here leave the Academy, many of them continue to use Yamdu for their own projects - sometimes they will call me a few years later and ask for the name of the system again when they are starting something new.
Another really important thing for me is that since we have started using Yamdu we do not print things out. It's very ecological.
What are the advantages of Yamdu for a teacher?
If you don't like surprises, if you don't want to lose important data, if you don't want to be lost in all the information of all the students then you have to use Yamdu. As I said earlier, if you don't want chaos before the production and during the production then use Yamdu.
I'm very proud that we have made it a part of our studies here. It's 2019, we are dealing with a different generation and they can see how to simplify things using Yamdu. And it's the most user-friendly platform compared to some others I have seen.
Everything goes faster with Yamdu, when you don't want to repeat something or do anything that isn't necessary, when you want to optimize things, that's Yamdu. Without Yamdu, it wouldn't be so easy.
Yamdu offers great discounts for schools and universities. Please check our academic pricing to learn more.