Assistant Directors have long labored under an immense strain of paperwork. Their responsibilities include creating Call Sheets that delineate everything that is going to happen on the next shooting day, Production Reports which detail what happened on the previous shooting day and the creation of a Screen Actors Guild timesheet, called an Exhibit G.
The requirements to create these documents dates back to the beginnings of the studio system. But the effort involved in their creation has meant that Assistant Directors routinely spend more time typing than performing their duties on set.
Directors Guild of America members Paul Silver, Elion Olson and Michael R. Williams began collaborating in early 2012 with the goal of finding a solution to these issues. Working together, they solved the technical hurdles inherent in managing large amounts of information.
“Most of the data for a show is generated when you first break down the script, but that information is trapped in the software used to create schedules,” co-creator Paul Silver said. “We knew there had to be a way to reuse that data. The more efficiently the AD department runs, the more efficiently the whole production runs.”
Named Casper, the software allows users to create Call Sheets, Production Reports, Exhibit G’s and Hot Cost Reports. Its creators have devised a method for importing the schedule into Casper. Once imported, all of the documents communicate with each other, allowing data entered in one document to appear in another, without having to retype it. It requires a copy of Microsoft Excel to run it.
Co-creator Elion Olson noted, “As assistant directors, we have all felt trapped under the weight of these documents. It’s our hope that we’ll now be able to more quickly prepare our paperwork and get back to set, where our real job is done.”
ThinkCrew.com is giving the software away for free on their website.
“It’s incumbent upon everyone in the industry to give back,” co-creator Michael R. Williams said. “We were all helped by someone else at some point in our careers. If our work can help benefit someone else, then that’s our reward.”
ThinkCrew.com launched in 2010 and is dedicated to creating software for the film and television industries. Among their programs are Poco, which is software that helps feature film production offices closely track information about their crew, vendors and travel. ThinkCrew.com also creates a host of business forms used by accounting, schedule strips used by assistant directors and worksheets for use in tracking actor work days.
Paul Silver is a Line Producer and First Assistant Director for feature films and television. His credits include American Virgin, Kevin Smith’s Spoilers, Wuthering Heights and Dead Man’s Curve. He has over twenty years of experience.
Elion Olson is a Second Assistant Director for feature films and television. His credits include Fast & Furious, Soccer Mom, Honor and Me and You and Everyone We Know. He has been working in the film industry for twelve years.
Michael R. Williams is a Line Producer and Unit Production Manager for feature films. His credits include
I Love Your Work, Shackles, Vacancy 2, Next Day Air and Meet Monica Velour. He is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and got his start as an intern at Paramount Pictures in 1990.
# # #
If you’d like more information about Casper, or to arrange an interview with the co-creators, please call Michael R. Williams at (323) 848-9456 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.