I had a five hour drive down and back to a family reunion this week so I took the opportunity to do a little mobile work. I spent a good chunk of time organizing and doing some initial cuts on the first of 3 short docs for a local church in town.
Part of that process was project management and organization. Boring I know, which is why I want something that’s painless to use, does the job well and efficiently and is actually enjoyable to look at and move around in. It’s a necessary part of the production job if, like me you do everything or most of everything and don’t simply edit or motion or something. So I’m going lay out quickly two tools and how I use them. Both currently are free.
The first of which is Adobe Workflow- available in Adobe Labs. It runs on Adobe Air. It’s attractive, straight forward and fun to use. I use it as my central hub for my projects. It’s not the most detailed or all-encompassing program, but it functions really well for me.
Here’s why you should take a look at it:
You can break down a given project into steps: storyboarding/pre-vis, filming, editing, graphics etc. You can break it down as fine as you want and set how many hours or days you think each step will take- good for estimating bids keeping a tally on your time. You can’t track progress I process like full-blown management tool, but hey, this is free- and for each step in the workflow, you can add notes, additional documents, resources and links.
The links are my favorite part really- and why it’s the “hub” of my work. You can add, local and internet links. So as I create new documents for each project like work files, schedules, reports, release forms, requests, whatever; I add a link to the project. You’ll notice I added a separate block for Project Links- these are my global project files. I can still add separate project files if needed at different points in my workflow.
This acts as my one-stop when finding all my files. I’m not like “where did I put that?” because I added it at the time of creation. I’ll typically have a global project folder on my HDD for each project but between master Premiere, AE project files or spreadsheets, scripts etc, it keeps me from having to click a billion different folders to find all my stuff.
I’ve been using Adobe Story off and on for the last year unlike Workflow which I’ve used solid for the last year and half. It’s a script-writing program through and through. The new version packaged with CS Live adds a bit more than the previous version I’ve been using. This is also my one complaint- although it comes with a desktop app, it’s built around internet connectivity. I’ve been working on it all day in the car though so that’s not too much of a bother.
Here’s why you should look at it:
The obvious is script options. You can see in the above photo. You have both the 2-column A/V/Doc script and the film script. They give you a few other categories as well, like character, synopsis, general. I like these because when I’m writing, I’ll typically have a scratch doc somewhere that’s my free-flow thoughts, worked-out ideas, or whatever, that’ll work into a form an structure. This let’s me do that but in a more structured way.
It’s again, a one-stop interface for my scripts and film projects. I’m currently working on 4 different projects, 2 of which have 3 shorts for each. I can flit back and forth as I need to based on thought process and don’t have to open up a ton of different windows again to find my stuff.
Finally, it’s collaborative (which is how they’re pitching the product) via online project sharing and you can export to text, word, .pdf, and Final Draft. All good things. Oh, and again, it’s free for at least the first year. Nothing else in the CS Live package, I’m interested in right now so we’ll see what happens when they try and bill be for it I suspect, I’ll have enough projects invested in it that I’ll keep it…unless it’s like thousands of dollars a year or something.
So two free tools that make my life a little bit easier. Check ‘em out if you feel curious and try them yourself. My two wishes: I could open the applications from the resource panel in Workflow and both applications interfaced stronger with the rest of the Adobe suite.