App stores are filled with interesting apps designed to take care of just about every task imaginable and there are a fair number of good and useful tools available to filmmakers.
But are there any apps that can simplify the pre-production process?
The answer is yes! Included in this round up are apps built around gathering and organising research, script development, team planning, communication and contact and call sheet management.
Let’s get started with our curated list. First up:
Basic, free; Plus, $49.99/year; Premium, $89.99/year.
If you have ever looked into productivity apps you would have heard about Evernote. With a user base of over 200 million it is the world’s most popular note-taking app.
Its versatility, ability to sync across multiple devices and powerful suite of features make it the perfect candidate for collecting research, annotating and organising reference materials and scanning documents using your smartphone’s camera.
The downside is that Evernote is not terribly well-suited for collaboration as its user interface is a little chaotic and cluttered making it less than ideal. That said, it can handle almost any filing system you’d care to throw at it.
Basic, free; Pro, $9.99/month, $79/year or $199 lifetime; Premium, $299/year.
WriterDuet has received many accolades from industry professionals and is being hailed as the new standard for screenwriting. The Basic plan is and always will be free, making it readily accessible.
There is a pro version of the Final Draft, Celtx and PDF friendly software but the free version has everything you could ever really want—unless you are working in large teams.
I use this myself as it allows me to communicate with my collaborators in real-time no matter where they are based. The software boasts an impressive array of features tailor-made to meet the demands of aspiring and professional screenwriters alike.
While I will say I have not personally tried the new mobile versions of the software that came with version 3.0 just recently, the developer is very active within the community and I trust in his product completely.
Story Planner makes it easy for you to outline your screenplay—a part of the pre-production process that can be quite involved if you do not have a good system in place. This app will help you to keep your story straight both on and off set.
It does this by allowing you to create a list of characters, scenes and locations and link them to one another accordingly. Needless to say you will always have the information you need on hand and ready at a moment’s notice.
Another nice touch is that you can also view what the app calls Story Stats and see your whole story at a glance to check the story structure is holding up.
Free, basic; Business, $9.99/month.
If Evernote is the app of choice for research and note-taking, Trello is the app you want to have in your corner when it comes to project and team management.
It is trusted by millions and is a great app with a focus on immediately recognisable icons that transcend communication barriers so you and you collaborators stay on the same page.
Filmmakers of all levels can make use of this app to plan action strategies, set up to-dos, upload files for team viewing and create compartmentalised timelines.
Best of all, the free version gives you the peace of mind of knowing there are no restrictions on how many boards, lists, cards, members, checklists and attachments you can have.
Last but certainly not least is FilmTouch, a private call sheet app for anyone working within the film industry. It combines all of your imported PDF call sheets to a searchable list of crew members, jobs and companies only you can see.
Any contact details (phone numbers and e-mail addresses) are compiled so you can quickly contact them without fumbling for the call sheet itself; finally remember people’s names!
Available on iOS only.
These are five of the best known time-saving apps to use during pre-production. There are tons more out there and if you dig a little deeper you can be sure you’ll find others that will work for you.