The Covid-19 lockdown measures have proved to be a challenge for many, but discover how Production Coordinator CJ Welsh has managed to support his students with the help from Yamdu.

Yamdu is the best production management tool I have come across.

CJ Welsh, Production Coordinator

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is CJ Welsh, and I am a Producer/Coordinator at the University of Melbourne, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. The university is widely regarded for having turned out some of Australia’s top filmmakers, and to be able to take on a position to help guide the future talents in the industry is really refreshing. I’m typically responsible for overseeing multiple student projects throughout the academic year—overseeing a huge volume of diverse content that can range from short films to animations, and documentaries.

How did you come across Yamdu?

Because I had several works in progress, I was on the hunt for a software that could relieve some of the organizational stress associated with pre-production; especially in handling such a large volume of projects. Then I came across Yamdu and gave it a try for myself - I really found it to be life changing, and it truly revolutionized production management as I know it.

How did you introduce Yamdu to the university?

When the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns hit Australia, we all had to adjust to a new normal and go digital as quickly as possible. And I just knew that Yamdu would fit perfectly in this narrative, as it was the tool that would allow us to continue with an e-format without disrupting the instructional flow for the students. Yamdu allowed us to transition effortlessly from paper filing to a digital space, especially for pre production which entails a lot of paperwork. It’s an immensely valuable tool for times such as these.

How did the students find it?

With the students it was an incredibly easy transition from a traditional learning format to one that was digital. I gave the students a quick overview and they just went right along with it. They picked it up quite quickly.

From an instructor’s perspective as well, Yamdu made it easier for us to review their works since everything was located on a common platform. The problem before was that the students would use whatever tools or programs that were available to them to hand in their works. So, we had large volumes of projects being sent in various file formats, which as you can imagine, got quite messy and chaotic. Now they simply need to import their work onto Yamdu making it easier for the instructors to review their work.

I know that this is not something the software was intended to do, but it also helped us check-in on the mental welfare of our students, who were of course isolated and studying remotely in the middle of the COVID crisis – a very difficult and stressful situation. We would notice that maybe a particular student was less engaged in their projects and could check in to see if everything was ok. That was quite helpful given the unprecedented situation with the pandemic

How do your colleagues find it?

I won’t deny that it was quite a process to try and convince my peers of the advantages that Yamdu offered. Not every member of the faculty were immediate fans of the software because they really saw it as another “fluff” created by the industry. They truly believed that it was just another Movie Magic. But after using some of the features, the software really speaks for itself and they eventually came around. What’s really great is that some of my colleagues are now actively using Yamdu for their personal projects outside of the school!

Yamdu call sheet used by students at the University of Melbourne
Yamdu call sheet used by students at the University of Melbourne

What do you use Yamdu for?

Well, first of all, the key initial thing is having everyone in one place, not spread out across different systems. We have an even playing field now and it’s much easier to track everything. Yamdu really helps to provide a structure for the students. They learn how to schedule in a logical way thanks to the framework Yamdu provides. The call sheet creator gives them a sense of everything that needs to be included from that perspective.

It’s been a massive boon for students and staff as it’s so easy to see how projects are developing and it makes my job very easy when it comes to overseeing a large volume of projects. I can color-code according to the year the students are in and because we are not as dependent on email to track everything due to the internal communication system in Yamdu, I can save a lot of time to focus on the important things in my job.

And will you continue to use Yamdu?

Absolutely! Yamdu was a massive timesaver for our students, and I was able to focus on the interesting, fun parts, and leave out the bureaucratic parts of my work.