Januar 23, 2020
"I've never had progress reports so fast".
The children's film The Wolf Gang, based on the novels by Wolfgang Hohlbein, opens in theaters. LockitScript was on board with the production to make script supervisor Alisa Leptihn's job easier. But she's not the only one who likes the app - the production management has also quickly made friends with the digital workflow. We asked in more detail how that went.
A werewolf with an allergy to animal hair, a vampire who can't stand the sight of blood and a fairy who's afraid of flying - that's the Wolf Gang. Now a film based on the series of novels by the well-known horror, science fiction and fantasy author Wolfgang Hohlbein is coming to theaters. Before children and parents can start having fun in the cinema, the film production has to be done first. And even with children's films, one of the most popular genres in Germany, this does not always run smoothly. Max Frauenknecht can tell you a thing or two about it: The experienced production manager has worked in the past on Unheimlich perfekte Freunde, What happens and Gut zu vögeln, among others.
"Children's films like Die Wolf-Gäng are elaborate, personnel-intensive and take a long time to make, which is partly due to legal regulations: Teenagers are only allowed to shoot three hours a day - with five hours of presence on set," Max explains the challenges: "You have to knit everything around the kids. Normally, the shoot also takes one to two weeks longer as opposed to comparable films."
The first time with LockitScript
Production managers also have the sometimes thankless task of planning budgets and reviewing requests from departments. Thanks to digitization, software and technical tools are also increasingly on departments' wish lists. "A lot of software solutions are certainly useful," Max says. "But our budgets aren't increasing, and you have to question exactly what is allowed into the production process."
At LockitScript, Max was presented with a fait accompli, so to speak, because the app was at the project before he was, along with the script supervisor. He recalls, "I came in a little late - I didn't take on the project until six or eight weeks before shooting started. That's when they said there was already a Script Supervisor who wanted to use some software." The script supervisor was Alisa Leptihn. You can call her an old hand, as she has been working with the app since 2013. Since then, Alisa and LockitScript have only been available as a complete package. So Max had to get up to speed quickly, despite initial reservations. "I was skeptical at first because we've been making films for many years and because it's always worked well without LockitScript," Max said.
But in the end, the project's production was convinced -very much in line with Alisa's digital work preference: "I only work with it now," she confirms. Unlike other productions, she didn't have to argue at length here, but she knows enough of such conversations: "I have to convince anew every time, because of course it costs the production money. That's exhausting sometimes."
Yet the investment in LockitScript's service is also worthwhile from the production manager's point of view: "I've never had daily reports available so quickly as with this project," confirms Max. The daily reports were built according to the wishes of the production management and no longer had to be edited in great detail - a great time and thus money saver. Max is familiar with a wide range of variants of daily reports from his day-to-day work in the production office - with varying degrees of digitization: "There are still handwritten daily reports that are laboriously rewritten or reprocessed to make Word or PDF files out of them," he explains. "That's where production coordinators or production assistants have to digitize after the fact." So far, the most advanced workflow step was daily reports in Excel spreadsheets on the iPad. But even those had to be sent back to the set for review to reconcile the data. Thanks to LockitScript, this was no longer an issue - and the production department also saved itself the trouble of sending scans or photos by mail. And if something is missing, there is a simple solution: via the online access LockitWebtools, information can be conveniently added in the app."
Alisa also touts the time savings whenever she tries to convince a production manager to use LockitScript: "The best argument is really the time savings - for the DIT, for the production coordinator, and for me," Alisa explains. "I always tell production managers to ask the post-production company sometime - it helps immensely." With Die Wolf-Gäng, she was spared that - the production was open to it and "in the end, everyone is always thrilled anyway," says Alisa.
Digitization - on the way
LockitScript is another building block on the digitized set - however Max Frauenknecht has been observing increasing digitization for some time now, which means less paper above all: "We print fewer scripts, fewer dispos. That's where you notice the most that you don't have to throw resources around so much anymore and that you can work in a much more targeted and demand-oriented way." Only in extreme climatic situations does he see the use of digital equipment as critical - it's hard to shoot with digital equipment in the Sahara. He sees the biggest differences in openness to digital work between the generations: "I've had sound engineers who delivered their reports on paper, as they've been doing for 30 years. I respect that - if we hire someone because they do a super set sound, let them work how that works best for them. I can't tell him the day before we start shooting that he has to change everything around."
Alisa, on the other hand, has already arrived in the digital working world and feels comfortable there. And she sometimes enjoys her technological edge, for example over the VFX: "It was wonderful to have the VFX supervisor look enviously at my app."