Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Steak, Chicken or $2.5 million fine


Weddings can be complicated.  There's lots of issues, emotions run strong and there's plenty of opportunity to overlook something.  Steak or Chicken or Vegetarian. But some things really do need attention for any production.

Like getting authorization permits to built a movie like set for their wedding site.  On an environmentally sensitive area of Big Sur.


I'm married. I get it. We want our brides to be happy. Make it a special day.

But whether it's a wedding, other special event or movie production, overlooking something as simple as a permit can be expensive.  $2.5 million reminders in this case, though Sean Parker can likely afford it.  Probably have to cut back on bowling for a while but he is still solvent.

At, we can appreciate the impact of "unforced errors" in a big production.  The reasons range from lack of knowledge about what is needed to simply ignoring the rules and everything in between.  In Sean's case, it seems to be an honest case of accidental ommission and he took full responsibility and cooperated completely to resolve it.  Good for him!

But what would have happened, as it often does with film/TV production, when an official shows up and shuts down the production because the proper permits/authorization hasn't been obtained?  At delays of even $50,000 or $100,000 a day (and many times millions of dollars daily), film/TV/event productions can't afford the risk of missing a permit or other approval delaying production.

That's one reason we started - to help prevent avoidable permitting/approval mistakes, save money and make events run more smoothly.

Because on her wedding day, a bride shouldn't have any worries.
Not even steak, chicken or vegetarian meals for the reception and certainly not government permit approvals!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hooray for Gilbert!

Courtesy article

Gilbert, Arizona should be a local government's hero.  They've done something even large cities, counties and states have not been able to pull off.

Their elected officials and administration have rolled up their sleeves and formally adopted a philosophy of serving constituents better through automation.

And it works!

"Gilbert passed a council directive that encouraged the city to become a technology leader by finding creative and innovative ways to utilize technology for town operations."

"One such operation that needed attention was streamlined workflow management; it's something the town has struggled with, said system administrator Kirsten Larsen, adding that the town still heavily relied on paper-based forms.

“Everything we do we try to keep in mind of being a technology leader and being best in class, so for limited staff we decided we’d try to improve our basic business processes each day by automating them,” she said. “We wanted to eliminate paper, we wanted to reduce staff time and everyday processes by increased productivity.”

In some communities, that would be crazy talk! 

But for Gilbert, it's a clear path to excellence.  

Not only does this save money, but automation can extend economic development, tourism,  and other community benefits. Oh, and serving the citizens better, too.

To Gilbert, Arizona, a town of 220,000  - big kudos to you for doing a good job, keeping your mission in perspective and showing other communities how the right technology can be an asset.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Netflix to Invest Heavily in New, Original Productions

Netflix' decision to invest in new productions follows Amazon Studios' announcement to also invest in additional programming to serve the market. That's good news for economic development, film/TV production industries and state/local/municipalities who are eager to attract new filming. 

The filming pie just got bigger!

But there's a bigger lesson in this announcement for communities, governments, film commissioners, mayors, county commissioners, film liasons, tourism officials, chambers of commerce and others.  Including us.

Ted Sarandos (Netflix Chief Content Officer) nailed it.
"I believe there’s a bigger business in customer satisfaction than managing business satisfaction."

Instead of focusing on governmental internal processes, maybe the bigger reward is listening to external markets and providing what they want. When they want it. How they want it.

That includes enabling filming in communities, making it easier, faster, less complicated. For a wider range of media production creators, not just the traditional, big organizations who have the resources and patience to deal with inefficiencies, outdated policies and slow response to requests.

Example: One community just passed a film ordinance to help formalize their message to filmmakers.  Congratulations.  But it took 3 WEEKS to mail a copy of the new film ordinance to me after requesting it from them.  
It wasn't posted online as the minutes of the public meeting.It seems they only mail hard copy of requests of the public document and policy. 
No email, no online posting, no fax.  Snail mail. That's their "policy".
And they are proud of their innovation to attract new business like filming.  Wonder what message that sends to prospective filmmakers who need fast coordination and approvals for filming?
Maybe it's time we all re-examine our emphasis on managing "business satisfaction" and focus more on "customer satisfaction".

Perhaps Netflix and Amazon's success in developing a non-traditional media channel distribution market has something to it!