“Where’s That Submarine Research?” – Cataloging Your Stuff

I took the big file of submarine research, surveys and photos and tossed it in the trash. Then I stopped to think about it. Was I really ever going to use this information again? I’d done three sub movies before, what were the chances of ever doing another one. I looked at it sitting on the trash pile and then scooped it back out, just in case.

That’s been my constant dilemma, what to do with the dozens of boxes of files from past film projects. I finally decided that if  there was no way to easily put my hands on a file, I might as well toss all of them.

I’ve been in the midst of trying to catalogue and organize my collection of +2000 books and decided the research needed to get catalogued the same way.

The thought of trying to manually type in the info of all those books kept me from even starting the project until I found Delicious Library. When you open the program you are presented with a virtual bookshelf.

This is the way your books appear on the virtual bookshelf

You just wave the barcode on the book in front of the screen and the program searches the internet and within 3 seconds it loads a photo of the cover of the book onto the shelf. The window along the side records the publisher, date, value, reviews and a lot more. There are multiple ways of organizing and viewing the items including by Dewey decimal system, author, title, location or value.

If the book is older and doesn’t have a barcode, you can enter the ISBN number and it will log it. You can also input older books by inputting the title and author and it will search for all the books editions.  If, like me, you have a LOT of books, or DVDs, when you purchase the program you can also purchase a handheld barcode reader that allows you to scan about a hundred items at a time. When you plug the scanner into your computer, the program will download and record the items onto the ‘shelf’.

The program is also a great way of cataloguing anything else, including research. I created a system of boxes and have the various files noted as to which box they are in so I can do a word search in the system and an icon of the file and its location pop up.

The only downside is that Delicious Library is  for Macs only. For PC users, the nearest similar products which work similarly are  Librarian Pro 2, or All My Books.

Listen To Your Construction Coordinator!

You were always told to listen to your mother, and once you became an adult you realized that it was pretty good advice.

Now that you’re a grown-up film industry professional, the best advice I can give you is to listen to your Construction Coordinator. They’re the one person that can either make or break you and you should ignore them at your peril.

It seems today that you’re going to find few people who are willing to offer free advice that’s actually helpful and useful, but that’s not the case with Michael Mulligan, the Construction Manager at the Set Supermarket in the UK.

With experience in design, set construction, special effects and art direction, Michael has some sage advice for the new and experienced Art Director in avoiding the big pitfalls of a build as well as having some great ammunition to throw at a producer when they try to convince you that a stage build is too much trouble or expensive.

Michael points out that the CM ( the equivalent of our Construction Coordinator here in the states ) can save you big headaches and prevent you from making costly budget errors.

Here is a sample of some of his advice he offers on his company blog:

“Listen to the advice of the CM, you may think your set is unique but often, he or she will have done one similar and learned valuable lessons from it. The look may be unique but the principles involved will have been used before somewhere.

Remember that the finishes are as expensive as the build and much much less predictable as far as costing is concerned, if you want to try something new or something daring, don’t be surprised if a large sum is added, just in case it does not go well the first time. Tried and tested methods give the best value.

Make sure the space you are building in does not hamstring you. Restricted hours, restricted access, no parking, restriction on use of tools, danger of damaging the location, long distances and fundamentally inadequate space can knock the wind out of the scope of your build.

Make sure production know the fundamentals of set construction. Often producers will have been working a while without doing a proper build and are unaware of the simple rules for working hours, health and safety, overtime and so on. Its best to avoid nasty surprises and ill feeling by checking they’re level of knowledge in advance and filling in any blanks.”

You’ll find that there’s not much difference in the scope of work other than maybe a reference to “tea and biscuits” which is the equivalent to our “diet Coke and a donut” (I’ll take the tea and biscuits, thank you very much).

You can check out his blog and find other good advice at:


photo – Set Supermarket

The Quick View II – going, going, gone.

On the ENDANGERED SPECIES list – the Quick View II

If you ever wanted a Quick View, time is running out. I have 15 of the lens angle finders left and plan on selling them out by the end of the week.

I’m selling the remaining few at just $25 plus $5 postage. I’ll even pay the sales tax. That’s over 60% off the original price. I can’t guarantee you’ll get the full manual but they will come with full instructions.

Despite many fantastic claims about this tool, it will not make delicious julienned fries or improve your love-life. But, you will have over 80 combinations of digital and film formats and prime lens focal lengths that will allow you to figure out any lens angle you could imagine in either plan or elevation views in seconds, without the use of a computer or any electricity at all!!

Amaze your friends! Be an Art Department “greenie”!

To make it fair, the tools will go to the first 15 people who send me an email at: randallwilkins@insidetheframe.biz and let me know they want one, or two. Heck, it’s the perfect gift for that annoying cousin who keeps asking you, “now what exactly is it that you do??”, insinuating you sit around and hob nob with stars all day long.  Wait until you see the look on his face when he opens this up. That’ll shut him up fast.

Once I get an email I’ll send you the site where you can go to use a credit card or Paypal to make the payment.

Any Quick Views that are left will be sent to the Home For Unwanted Film Design Tools. Please don’t let this happen to these innocent and incredibly useful devices!