Scheduling With Sunfrog

Creating Sunfrog Film Scheduling

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Summer of Sunfrog 

Summer film shoots are heating up! Thanks to our new users from New York, NJ, Kentucky, Texas, Arizona, California, and Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
Thought of the month: Why do indie filmmakers focus on features - with indie television you can advertise and potentially recoup your investment. There are a bunch of tv and advertising companies out there springing up for indie filmmakers, I'll be gathering more info on these over time..
Cheers - Per

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Version 1.614 released 

Version 1.614 of Sunfrog is out the door. This release has a couple of bug fixes:
- Excel export now correctly exports Page Counts and Cast ID's
- Fixed misc. bug in script import
Thanks to our users that found and reported these bugs!

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Fallen by Ari Taub 

If you are in NYC check out The Fallen, playing at Two Boots theatre this week.
The website for the film is at: http://thefallenmovie.com/

It has rave reviews by the New York Times, NY Post, and others.
It was directed by Ari Taub, who also produced Stanley Cuba.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Holidays 

Happy Holidays from Sunfrog Technologies.
I've been in NYC for about six months now and recently wrapped production on a feature: you can see the trailer at http://stanleycuba.com.
Thanks to new customers: Kelley from Oakland CA, Andrew from Goldalming UK, Marcos from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and many others around the world.
All the best for the new year!
Per

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sunfrog moving to NYC! 

Sunfrog is moving to New York City! On a couple of recent visits I have been blown away by the amount of indie film activity there. Several of my customers and filmmaking friends are located in the area.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Combustible Chef in Italy 

Getting ready for the trip to the Milan International Film Festival. The area where "Combustible Chef" is playing has hardly any streets at right angles. I think I like the place already.

Monday, March 07, 2005

DC Independent Festival 

I've been attending the DC independent festival this week. Lots of great films including this documentary about the Salton Sea. "Combustible Chef" will be playing there Sunday the 13th. On Tuesday the 15th Chef plays at the Milan International Film Festival. I can't wait to see Italy for the first time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Back to work..  

After recuperating from the Police Beat party, I flew back to Sunfrog HQ. First item on the agenda? The Mac OS X version. I will probably write the Mac version from scratch using either Objective C or Java. The Mono framework (see an earlier post for a more in depth discussion) isn't ready for prime time in my opinion. I'd rather develop the Mac version in a stable and mature development environment. I like Mono but I'm not convinced that their Winforms support will be ready in time for my release schedule.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Sundance Fest, 24 Jan, 1am 

Today "Police Beat" had its world premiere at Sundance.
Police Beat's IMDB entry is here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0383965/

It was wonderful to see the film with a festival audience in Park City. Afterwards it was time to party!

First stop was the State of Washington Film Office Party (aka "The Seattle Party"). There was a celebrity sighting of someone we knew from a TV show in the '90s but couldn't remember his name. That apparently happens quite often in Park City. I also met several filmmakers who had shorts or features in Slamdance.

Next stop was the Police Beat party. Along with celebrating with the cast and crew, it was also a good opportunity to hand out some Sunfrog CD's and speak with other filmmakers about "their current scheduling software". By the end of the night the stack of CD's were mostly gone.



Saturday, January 22, 2005

Slamdance Fest, 22 Jan, 11pm 

On Saturday I saw two excellent films at the Slamdance Fest:

"On the Outs" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0389235/ A tough, heartbreaking, yet ultimately hopeful film about 4 young women in Jersey City.

"Farmer John" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0439774/ The life story of an Illinois farmer whose artistic adventures lead his neighbors to think he's committing heinous crimes on his property.

Slamdance, by the way, is a excellent festival. I immediately felt more comfortable in their offices, away from the hordes of Hollywood wannabes roaming the streets outside. I was even able to have a quick chat with the festival director, Kathleen McInnis. The staff, volunteers, and filmmakers at Slamdance all radiated wonderful passion and intelligence for indie filmmaking.

Sundance Fest, 22 Jan 12pm 

Friday seemed the best day to do a full day of snowboarding, so it was off to the hills. Sunny weather, enough powder to carve nice turns, and fresh mountain air.

My friend T's flight was diverted to Las Vegas due to Fog at Salt Lake. The airline offered hotel vouchers for Las Vegas.. not very helpful. She rented a car and drove 6 hours to Park City through fog, ice, mountains, and jet lag.

Park City is a circus as mobs of stargazers cram the streets with designer clothes and gallons of hair spray. We saw "Sensitive Johnson" last night, a fun DV comedy pic at the Park City Music Festival.

"Police Beat" screens on Sunday afternoon.. the team is currently working on booking critics into the screening.

Getting into the various movies and parties is a game of "who knows who" and how badly you really want to see Lenny Kravitz or Naomi Watts. Hmm.

Today I'm in guerilla marketing mode, blanketing the festival with CD's, postcards, flyers, and so forth. The tech booths at Sundance are filled with the likes of Sony, Adobe et al.. but instead of paying $5000+ for a booth, dropping a bunch of postcards and CD's at other venues do the trick, not to mention speaking with various filmmakers about their productions.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sundance Fest, 20 Jan 2005 12pm 

Stop the presses, Sunfrog has arrived in Park City for Sundance 2005. Harvey Weinstein is rumored to be "on the scene" according to Variety. My plan is to 1) Find Harvey; 2) Give him a Sunfrog CD; 3) Photograph him with the CD; and 4) Repeat for everyone else.

No celebrity sightings as of yet. Plenty of drivers holding signs for Universal and other companies at the airport baggage claim. Also, a couple of cryptic signs with code words for the famous. (Such as "The Screenwriter With 9 Toes", etc.)

I shared the plane ride with Rob West, artistic director of Theatre Schmeater in Seattle. Check out Rob's latest play if you are in Seattle.

Will soon be catching up with the rest of the Police Beat team: Rob Devor (director), Jeffrey Brown (producer) and other assorted troublemakers.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Scheduling and Budgeting 

Occasionally people would ask me, "Okay, so Sunfrog is a great scheduler, but do you also have a budgeter for sale?" So I'm pleased to announce a partnership with Showbiz Budgeting. Showbiz Software has many years of experience with payroll and budgeting solutions for the film industry. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I wanted to partner with a best of breed budgeting solution.



Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Version 1.611 

Version 1.611 is out the door.

- You can now make a report for any breakdown category. For example, you can now create Vehicle reports, Costume reports, and so on. You select the category to report in the "report options" tab.

- There is similar functionality for Day Out Of Days Reports (you can make a DOOD report on any breakdown category).

- Locations are now reported in the shoot schedule.

If you have a feature that you would like implemented, please post your request in the support forum.

You may have also noticed that the version has been bumped from 0.609 to 1.611. After over 2000 downloads and feedback from many users, I felt the time was right to bump the major version to "1". Thanks again for your support in reaching this milestone!



Thursday, December 09, 2004

Version 0.609 - Excel Export, Schedule Perf Improvements 

Version 0.609 is out the door.
This version includes specific features requested by users. If you have a feature that you would like to see included in Sunfrog, please write info at sunfrog-tech.com.

User requests from Montreal, Canada:
Excel export from left pane

User requests from Hollywood, CA:
Report Cast ID in call sheets and schedule pane
Cast/Extras breakdown reports are now sorted by ID

Other improvements:
Performance improvements when working with large schedules
Different Schedule pane layouts (thick vs. thin strips)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Day out of Days Reports 

Sunfrog 0.608 is out the door. This release includes new "Day Out Of Days" reports. For the uninitiated, the DOOD report is used by 1st AD's and line producers to determine the matrix of working days for cast. It calculates "hold days" (days that the cast member is not working, but still paid by the production) and "drop/pickup" (a Screen Actor's Guild arrangement to allow the production to "drop" and later "pickup" an actor to avoid "hold day" charges).

Sunfrog will automatically calculate the "best drop" for an actor (the longest number of hold days that meet the minimum, usually 10 days).

There are also a couple of new fields for an actor's rate per day/week/show. These will be useful for upcoming features to interoperate with budgeting programs.

Sunfrog supports multiple currencies for the production. It will automatically default to the currency for your region (determined by the "regional and language settings" in the Windows control panel).


Monday, November 29, 2004

Police Beat is in competition at Sundance!  

I'm thrilled to announce that Police Beat, directed by Rob Devor and written by Charles Mudede, was one of 16 films (out of 750+ submissions) chosen for the Dramatic Competition at Sundance 2005. Only about 2% of the submissions made the cut.

I was 1st AD on this film, so I am very stoked. If you are at Sundance this year come on over to the Police Beat house and get a CD of Sunfrog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Porting Sunfrog to Mac OS X 

Several users have asked about Sunfrog for Mac OS X and Linux. Actually all the requests have been for Mac OS X but I thought I'd throw Linux in there too. The short answer is YES this is something I want to do. I've seen several production companies that have standardized on OS X along with Final Cut and related tools.

For the long answer, I will delve into some geek talk which might lose the filmmakers but interest the technical types:

Sunfrog is built on the Microsoft .NET platform, which is being ported to OS X and Linux by Ximian (which is owned by Novell). The porting effort is called Mono and after several years of hard work they are approaching completion. The Sunfrog UI is built on Winforms which will be included in Mono 1.2, slated to ship at the end of this year according to their roadmap. I'm guessing that they'll slip to early spring next year, but it's coming soon in any case.


Sunfrog also includes components from Infragistics (UltraGrid) and DataDynamics (ActiveReports), which use PInvoke to call native Win32 functions. These will not port directly under mono unless the 3rd party component vendors expend the dev effort to do so. It would be great if they did - as then they could sell their components for the Mac! However, without knowing the technical details of their implementation, I'm guessing it will be somewhat of a wait.


So, to port Sunfrog to Mac/Linux I have to first remove the 3rd party dependencies. For the grid this should be somewhat workable, and I might even find a 100% .NET 3rd party grid. The reporting components will be trickier as Sunfrog is specifically designed to work with ActiveReports. However I can also make an online web service to generate reports for Mac users, or find a Mac specific reporting platform.


I'd also prefer to use a native Mac interface (Cocoa) and take advantage of its special capabilities. Something I don't like about the other film scheduling products out there is that they sacrifice too much usability to achieve a cross platform product.


Anyways, those are my thoughts.. if you are a Mono/Mac development wizard, give me a ring!


Friday, November 12, 2004

Release 0.607 is out the door - There are several new reports for locations and contacts.
It can be downloaded from here: http://sunfrog-tech.com/install/download_bfs.htm


Friday, November 05, 2004

BeOut Media Brigade found a bug in my call sheet reports. For large schedules, sometimes the incorrect talent is listed. Ouch! I fixed it in release 0.605, available from
http://sunfrog-tech.com/install/download_bfs.htm

Please keep the feedback coming.



Monday, October 11, 2004

Thanks to the latest registered users hailing from the USA and Italy.
In the coming weeks I'll be working with a writer who will be interviewing Sunfrog users. Free gear for those who participate.
Sunfrog will be relocating to the east coast later this month! More news later.



Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Thanks to the latest registered users in Camano Island (Washington), Worcester (United Kingdom), and Montclair (New Jersey).

Claudia from Brazil writes that installing WinXP SP2 caused Sunfrog to slow down - actually installing WinXP SP2 will slow everything down until the hard drive gets defragmented - the update replaces a ton of files. Defragging the drive will fix it. I'm also investigating a possible issue with the latest patch release of the .NET framework.

James Tauber recently wrapped a film using Sunfrog, you can read about it on
http://www.jtauber.com/blog/2004/09/ . Looking forward to seeing it.

I just received a 35mm print of "Combustible Chef" from the lab. The official website is here: http://www.combustiblechef.com . Look for it on the festival circuit this coming year (along with me handing out demo CD's of Sunfrog).

Rob McKaughn gave me some outstanding and thorough feedback on the program which I'll be using as I drive the product towards the 1.0 in the coming months.

Now back to coding..



Tuesday, August 31, 2004

First Feature to use Sunfrog has wrapped! 

"Hell's Beacon", the first feature to use Sunfrog Film Scheduling, has wrapped!
See the article at
http://www.ctnow.com/news/local/hc-osbmovie0824.artaug24,0,6582498.story


Thursday, July 29, 2004

More mentions of Sunfrog:

http://www.thestranger.com/current/blowup.html  (Andy Spletzer, Stranger Magazine)
Andy produced the short I directed, "Combustible Chef".

http://artrash.netfirms.com/home.htm (Nik Perleros)
Nik worked in the production design department for "Combustible Chef".

http://jtauber.com/blog/2004/07  (James Tauber)
James will be making a film in Boston soon.

Latest registered Sunfrog users hail from the UK, Indonesia, and Chicago. 
Thanks again for your support.

 

 


Friday, July 23, 2004

Combustible Chef has wrapped!   Here are the production stills:

http://sunfrog-tech.com/chef
 
The film stars Charles Leggett and was produced by Andy Spletzer.  Postproduction starts on Monday. 

Friday, July 16, 2004

I'm going to put Sunfrog to the test by shooting a short film, "Combustible Chef", next week.
We have an amazing cast/crew and it looks to be a fun shoot.
 
I'd like to post all the docs, but some of them have contact tel #'s etc.  and I want to be aware of the cast/crew's privacy.  
 
http://sunfrog-tech.com/files/chef/chef23-final.doc
 
http://sunfrog-tech.com/files/chef/draft-schedule.pdf
http://sunfrog-tech.com/files/chef/draft-schedule-verbose.pdf
 
http://sunfrog-tech.com/files/chef/setdressing.pdf
http://sunfrog-tech.com/files/chef/props.pdf
 
More news to come re. "Combustible Chef" in the following weeks.
 


Friday, June 25, 2004

Sunfrog just crossed the 1,000 download mark on download.com!
Here's the link:
http://www.download.com/3000-2064-10281823.html
However, looking at the transfer stats, I estimate the user base closer to 500 users. (This is because users often trigger multiple hits due to utilities such as "download assistant", etc.)

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I've installed a new support forum, check it out (http://sunfrog-tech.com/forums/index.php)

I'm going to also keep the Yahoo discussion group because of the email features. But, over time I'm hoping that most activity will be on the new forum.

If anyone reading this would like a discussion forum for their film production, especially if they are scheduling with Sunfrog, let me know. (Please note that it will be a public forum and anyone can read/post messages to the discussion).

This week I've been playing with the new release of Final Draft (version 7). They've shipped a "Tagger" application to mark film scripts with breakdown information. This will give me the opportunity to implement more precise script import for final draft. I've contacted them for the spec, stay tuned.

Roz Horton from the UK wrote me about Sophocles, another screenwriting program. It looks pretty slick and I'd like to support Script Import for it also.

In fact, I'd like to support all the major (and even minor) Scriptwriting apps. So, I've bumped up the priority of Script import and I'm doing a preliminary design for a generic script importer. This will be the next major feature in Sunfrog.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Last week I received a letter from an attorney representing a film production company called "Bullfrog Films". They are threatening to take me to court unless I change the name of my product.

I don't see how anybody could confuse my software company with their film production company, we are serving totally different markets and both sets of our customers are sophisticated enough to tell the difference.

I like a good fight now and then but after some thought, I decided to conserve resources and focus on improving my product for the customers.

So, I've changed the product name to "Sunfrog Film Scheduling" and my company name to "Sunfrog Technologies".

The new website is at http://sunfrog-tech.com.

As part of this changed Iíll be releasing rev 0.604 shortly. This release is mostly a rename of Bullfrog to Sunfrog. There are some other fixes however to make it easier to work with large schedules, such as auto-scrolling when a schedule strip is dragged.

You can support Sunfrog by buying a copy before the 1.0 release. If you buy the full version, you will still be eligible for support and free upgrades through rev 1.9.

Thanks again for your support.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

More features in the works:

I want to make it easy to find what scenes a cast member is in. So, I'm thinking of implementing a list of link-labels at the bottom of the Breakdown Item edit pane.

There's also going to be a similar feature for Breakdown Sheets --> Schedules. In other words, I want to make it easy to figure out where in the schedule a particular scene is.

I had a customer call today asking where file-print was. The print button is in the report pane, but she had a good point -- it would be easier to find if I implemented a shortcut through File | Print like most other windows apps. So, I added that today along with the requisite tool bar button.

I've updated the academic pricing page. It is here:
http://bullfrog-tech.net/academic/academic_pricing.htm

Other ideas that I am working on: I'm thinking of implementing some kind of mechanism in the application to that users can submit bug reports and feedback. At first this would probably be just a web link triggered through the Help menu, so that users could fill out a form on the web, but over time it could become more sophisticated.


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Summer has officially arrived here in Seattle, and that means all the local film production is gearing up. 35th Street Mission will be making another episode soon. There's also an indie feature trailer I'll be working on later this month.

I'm considering relocating to NYC/Manhattan to launch the 1.0 when it's ready. I've also been researching ways to give customers excellent telephone support. Right now you get a direct line to me; but I won't personally be able to handle all the calls once the user base exceeds 1000 people or so. I want to hire filmmakers who are also good at software. Does that sounds like you? Drop me a line.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Currently I'm working on the day-out-of-day reports. Please contact me if you have other reports in mind that you want.

After I finish a base set of reports, then I'll get to work on the end user report designer.

I've been in touch with several users around the USA and in Australia. After getting more preview users & feedback I'll be posting an article about how they're using Bullfrog in their productions.




Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I've posted 0.603, which has several new features:
- Quick Find (Easily find any element in your production)
- Auto backups
- Schedule performance improvements (Work w/ feature length schedules more easily)
- Improved interface for linking items (Can use drag/drop to cast actors and link locations to sets)

(These features were originally going to be in 0.7, but I felt they were important enough to be released earlier).

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I released 0.602 (just days after 0.601) with a very minor change that most users can probably ignore. The only difference between 0.601 and 0.602 is a feature that makes it easier to import registration keys. If you buy Bullfrog and want to import a key that has <BullfrogKeyBlock> tags, then use version 0.602 or higher.

0.601 will accept keyfiles with only the exact key text. After releasing 0.601, I felt that was too restrictive (yes this is what I worry about late at night). So, I added the <BullfrogKeyBlock> tags so that it would be easy to copy-paste the key from an email. In fact, you can copy-paste the entire registration email as long as the key is still marked with the <BullfrogKeyBlock> tags.




Friday, May 14, 2004

The 0.601 release is out the door. There's a ton of new features including:
Final Draft RTF import
Call Sheets
Crew Jobs
Tutorial
Download and give it a spin.

Friday, May 07, 2004

I'm hoping to get the next preview release out by May 21. This past week I've been writing the user registration features for paying customers, and making sure Bullfrog is easy to use in either trial mode or "registered" mode.

I received a nice phone call from Greg Oberman of Show Biz Software. They have a great catalog and I'm looking forward to working w/ them more. They have two shops, one in LA and one in NYC. Check them out online at http://showbizsoftware.com .





Sunday, May 02, 2004

There are a couple of options for the pricing model that I'm thinking through. One is similar to Final Draft, where "save" is disabled until you buy the product. Another is to release a full featured trial version that expires.

I'm leaning towards the Final Draft model. It would be helpful to have a free viewer available to everyone (of course, everyone can already view the generated PDF and HTML files.)

Instead of the usual academic deals that publishers make, I'm thinking of selling discounted 6 month license keys at 50% off the full retail price. That way if you're just learning, short on cash, or only need the application for a specific time, then you can "rent" it for 6 months.

I'm open to suggestions about the above though; please contact me if you have suggestions.

I'm also planning on making an end user report designer and selling standard & pro editions. The standard version would have a batch of commonly used reports; the pro version would include a report designer to make reports customized to your project or production company.

On another minor note I'm officially changing the product name to "Bullfrog Film Scheduling". This is because, for some reason, I'm getting way more (10x) click-through on Google for "film scheduling" vs. "film scheduler". Why people search for "film scheduling" instead of "film scheduler" I don't know, but I'm not arguing... the people have spoken.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Joe Shapiro, who edited Jamie Hook's film The Naked Proof, cornered
me today and said to get going on the call sheet feature. So that's
what I'm going to do next. I also posted some production pics from the Cascadia feature shoot last summer. We didn't make the Cannes fest deadline but hope to get it into the Venice festival. I just saw an early cut of it and I think it's fantastic.

Oh my fingers ache. But I'm nearly done with that RTF import feature.

There are about 4 users in the yahoo discussion group. I hope this becomes a forum where people can trade tips and so on.

I'm still working on those feature requests. Nimesh had some great suggestions for additional reports.

Coming up next will be Call Sheets. It's sort of interesting that my main competitor, Movie Magic Scheduling, doesn't make call sheets very well. I think they have one template. The problem is that they don't export to Excel, and so it's difficult for them to integrate a call sheet report. I want to make Bullfrog's call sheets integrate well with Excel, however, because I know everyone has their special way of formatting the sheets.

Please keep the feedback coming. So far I've heard from users in California, Canada, India, and right here in Seattle Washington.



PS - If you're in Seattle come to the Northwest Film Forum auction night on May 15th. http://nwfilmforum.org

I'm nearly done with the Final Draft RTF import
feature. Other features that I'll be working on are:

- Call Sheets
- Some speed/perf improvements for the scheduling pane

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