Stunning Rainforest – Extras Management Automation

Stunning Rainforest – Extras Management Automation

Description:

Modernization and automation of the workflow for the Extras department for the Amazon TV series, The Lord of the Rings, Season 1, in New Zealand.

Challenge:

The “Background Extras” department faced significant challenges due to the outdated method of managing a large number of people (Extras) and tasks. This included the costly printing of actor portfolios on colored paper, the use of paper timesheets sent to the set, extensive contracts, and the loss of information in emails. Manual management resulted in wasted time. A digital “paperless” solution was needed to centralize actor information in a database accessible in real-time across different devices. Additionally, automating processes such as accounting reports, timesheet signatures, medical reports, diet reports, among others, was essential. Considering that we were working on one of the largest productions for a major company like Amazon, which demanded greater efficiency, excessive paper usage raised concerns about the confidentiality and security of information. With a paperless system hosted on AWS servers, we would have enhanced security. It was necessary to evolve the way we worked.

Solution:

We developed a custom solution using Claris FileMaker, hosted on AWS to ensure data security. The solution automates department management, centralizing all actor information in a database accessible by devices within the studio, meeting all security requirements demanded by Amazon’s Cybersecurity team. It includes an electronic timesheet that can be accessed and signed in real-time by multiple devices. Additionally, it automates reports (Financial, Weekly, Agency Accounts, Diet Reports, etc.) by creating PDFs and distributing them to other departments.

Development Process:

The development process was heavily influenced by the Agile methodology, allowing for an adaptive and iterative approach. We prioritized resolving and automating tasks that required more time, such as contract management. We overcame the initial challenges of the manual process with patience, allowing us to gradually automate the workflow.

Impact and Results:

The implementation and automation of the system not only significantly reduced departmental time, allowing us to focus on other tasks and providing more time to interact with the Extras and actors on set, but also resulted in a substantial reduction in costs associated with printing a large volume of papers. Additionally, by adopting a paperless approach, we contributed to environmental preservation, aligning with current sustainability trends. This initiative reflects Stunning Rainforest’s commitment to eco-friendly practices, ensuring operational efficiency is in harmony with environmental responsibility.

Conclusion and Next Steps:

The solution brought significant benefits to one of the largest projects in history. We will continue to evolve the tool by adding more features and customizing it for different productions.

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