Friday, December 28, 2012

FLIPSFilm now a part of Producers Guild Green Production Guide

FLIPSFilm is proud to be a part of the Producer's Guild Green Production Guide. Our online film permitting/approval coordination tool not only streamlines the application and approval process, (while reducing "unforced errors" that result in expensive production delays), we also help the environment by reducing physical trips to obtain permits, reduce paper and other impacts.

Thanks, Producers Guild, for enabling this valuable resource!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In case the world does NOT end Friday...

There's a lot of buzz about the world ending Friday according to the  Mayan calendar.  I guess we will have to wait to see if that really happens, but just in case here are a few things I plan to do before Friday:

1) Hug my wife; pet the cats
2) Hot fudge sundae
3) Walk down the basement stairs, look at the basement to be cleaned up, walk back upstairs
4) Wear my favorite slippers
5) Not shave
6) Feed the birds
7) Tell a stranger something nice about them
8) Mail remaining Christmas cards (just in case)
9) Not wrap Christmas presents - we still have time Saturday/Sunday
10) Resist the urge to buy stuff on credit cards
11) Try to go fishing
12) Watch Gunsmoke with my wife while eating Christmas cookies
13) Take a long hot shower. Use up the hot water (yes, the wife gets the shower first!).  Use new soap.
14) Draw something using ink, not a pencil (who cares if I have to erase it?)
15) Put on the "out of office" greeting for voicemail/email (wait, that wouldn't be neccesary, would it?)

Although the end of the world may not happen, it might be a good reminder for us to look at each day with a new perspective, wouldn't it?

Now I need to go look and see if we have some Tums for Friday morning...

Happy Thursday!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Film Permitting Survey by Independent Filmmakers

 These are the results of the November, 2012 survey of independent filmmakers about their film permitting/approval experiences with state and local governments.

Summary of Responses
- Interaction with government agencies is often manual or requires physical visits
- Many times, multiple community departments must be identified and contacted to obtain approvals, requiring multiple attempts to obtain the information
- About half the time, the application process went well and was complete; half the time, it was not 
- Permitting/Approvals typically take 3-7 days to secure approvals
- There is a high interest in improving the current process of information gathering, applying for filming, knowing policies and who to contact,  and having better feedback about the application during evaluation by the community
- All the respondents said they would use an automated approach to film permitting/approvals if it was available
- All the respondents said ease of working with the community is an important factor in selecting communities in which to film

Seems like the pattern is clear to communities:  There's a lot of good going on but room for improvement to attract filmmaking to the communities!

 Survey of Independent Filmmakers, November, 2012

1. What methods do you currently use to coordinate film permitting/approval requests in local communities?
         Responses                                                                                                              Percent                   
        A) Phone call to designated community film coordinator or film commission contact       0.0% 
        B) Physical visit to community government departments to obtain permits/approvals     50.0%  
        C) Emails to community film contacts                                                                            0.0% 
        D) Use of community websites to collect film applications                                              0.0%   
        E) Other (please provide details)                                                                                 50.0%   

2. When you contact the community film contact for information or applying for permits/approvals, how often is that request successful?                                                               
        Responses                                                                                                              Percent
        A) Most often, FIRST contact attempt provides the information I need                         50.0% 
        B) MANY times, I have to make multiple attempts to get the information I need             0.0%  
        C) MOST times, I have to make multiple attempts to get the information I need            50.0%   

3. How do you obtain approvals from multiple community departments (health, law enforcement, fire, public works, parks/recreation, federal agencies, etc.) to coordinate filming approvals or permits?  
        Responses                                                                                                            Percent               
        A) Community Film Coordinator collects all department approvals for us most of the time  0.0%

        B) Community Film Coordinator provides SOME approval assistance; we have to identify
        and contact other departments ourselves to identify and obtain approvals                         0.0%  
        C) Most times, I have to identify and contact multiple departments ourselves                   100.0% 

4. How often is your initial permitting/approval process with local governments accurate, complete, convenient and free from production-affecting issues?
       Responses                                                                                                    Percent
A)  25% of the time, our applications/experiences were accurate, complete,
                convenient and production went well                                                         0.0% 
B) 50% of the time, our applications/approval experiences were accurate,
                complete, convenient and production went well                                       50.0% 
C)   75% of the time, our applications/approval experiences were accurate, complete,
convenient and production went well                                                             0.0% 
            D) 100% of the time, our applications/approval experiences were accurate, complete,                                           convenient and production went well                                         50.0%   

 5. What is the average permitting approval time (average) for film/TV/Video productions (simple to moderate production – no pyrotechnics, stunts, etc.)?
        Responses                                                                                                             Percent               
        A) 1-3 days                                                                                                              0.0%  
        B) 3-7 days                                                                                                          100.0% 

        C) 7-14 days                                                                                                            0.0%  
        D) More than 14 days                                                                                               0.0%     

6. What would you like to see changed in the film approval/permitting process for communities where you film? (check all that apply)
        Responses                                                                                                           Percent               
A)  Improved access to community filming policies so I can understand
                        what is required for the community's approval                                           50.0% 
            B) Better, easier access to filming policies to plan the application and filming          50.0% 
C) Faster approval processes                                                                               50.0% 
D) Understanding of estimated fees to film in the community                                100.0%  

E) Better way to identify other departments who need to approve filming requests 50.0% 
F) Better navigation between communities                                                            50.0% 
G) Understand status of the filming application during evaluation by community
                (confirm it was accepted, questions from community,
                status of approval/disapproval, etc.)                                                    50.0%

8. If there were film approval/permitting tools (such as web based systems) that didn’t require a lot of effort on your part would you consider using them as part of your film approval/permitting requests to local communities?
        Responses                                                                                                           Percent
        A) Yes                                                                                                                     100.0% 

        B) No                                                                                                                        0.0% 
        C) Maybe                                                                                                                  0.0%     

9. Does the ability to successfully/easily obtain filming approvals/permits affect your decision about which communities will be used for your filming? (Assume all other factors are equal between the communities in consideration and there are no special community features needed for the scene)
        Responses                                                                                                         Percent               
        A) Yes, ease of doing business affects the decision to select a community                100.0%
        B) No, we select communities based only on other factors more important than ease of                                                 permitting/approvals                                                          0.0%     

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Welcome! Then "SLAP!"

This week I got "slapped" by two companies.

Both eagerly want new businesses, especially emerging small companies. They offer good free trials and good product, based on my research.  So I signed up and began the implementation process.

I got partially complete with the implementation but had other priorities to focus upon, too.

Then came the SLAP! emails...

One said I was approaching the limits of capacity of the free trial and my account would be cancelled if I reached the capacity of the plan (HUH?).  But I could re- sign up for another free account with fewer capacity count or pay some "overage" fee, or upgrade to a higher capacity paid plan.

The other sent said my "trial subscription would end soon".

Except I had paid for a year's service, not a free trial.

I was furious, especially since this company is a "customer care" system!

Presumably,both companies want new customers. They offer free/inexpensive plans to build future business and ingrain themselves into my business practices.

Great concept. Customer acquisition costs are low and marketing's goals of  identifying, attracting, informing and attracting new customers worked.  A marketer's dream come true.

Then they blow it all with one poorly worded email.  It changes the new customer experience from happy and looking to validate my decision to a "SLAP".

There's a message for us all here:  We spend a lot of time and effort "dating" but after the ceremony, do we really treat the customers with the right respect and experience?  If not, let's learn from this and make it a better user experience.  Make them happy and proud to have selected us.  Reward them, not penalize them. 

WELCOME should mean "WELCOME".  Keep the slaps for those who deserve it.