When serial entrepreneur and filmmaker Robert Kiraz met producer Darya Danesh, they found common ground grousing about the call sheet process for confirming talent and crew. Thus was Studio Binder born.
“I went to USC for filmmaking, but after I graduated I looked at my diploma and thought ‘this will make a nice paper airplane’ – so I went into tech.” – Robert Kiraz, CEO and Co-Founder of Studio Binder
“Some of the greatest software out there can be found in the entertainment industry. But there’s a gaping hole in software support for the production unit, and making sure everyone has received their call sheet, knows where they need to be, and has confirmed all of the details just adds to the sheer exhaustion that film crews and talent deal with all the time.” – Darya Danesh, Independent Producer and Business Development/Co-Founder of Studio Binder
With Robert’s & Darya’s other co-founders (brother Shant Kiraz and CTO Simona Clapan) the team took three months applying lean startup techniques – the kind Robert’s current company, Leanometry, applies on behalf of its clients for new product development – to create an automated call sheet system that they believe could pay for itself “a hundred times over.”
Don’t get Darya started on the way call sheets are handled today. [bctt tweet=”Don't get me started on call sheets”]
“I started in software, growing up in Silicon Valley before moving to LA to become an independent producer. I began in TV for the SyFy channel and PBS; co-founded a film festival; and have done music videos, non-profit, and development packages for feature projects.
“And I’m telling you: you send out call sheets to 100 people, maybe 2 will respond.”
“First time we met, Darya went on a two hour rant about it,” laughs Robert.
So here they are, just a few months after deciding to do something about it, with a light weight (as in lean – no feature bloat) beta cloud-based call sheet system which allows individuals to put in all their preferences (e.g., which airport they fly from, food allergies); spell their own names right (“otherwise 9 out of 10 times something is misspelled by an AD or production assistant at some point during a 30 day feature”); and confirm receipt of their call sheet by simply pressing “1” in an SMS message from their phone.
You’d expect that with their pedigree, the team would conduct market research and figure out the shortest path to a product people want – and on first blush, it seems they have.
Robert says they started with “Let’s validate the problem, let’s bring in a number of AD’s and producers and ask what are their biggest pain points — and let’s not talk about features.”
And then, another laugh: “Darya had the hummus laid out with overpriced water over at her place with a list of questions.”
Fast forward to this past week: two days after the press first got word about Studio Binder, the team had 2,500 sign-ups for the beta program – and that’s before finalizing pricing and functions.
Irony of ironies?
“We shot the promo video for our web site ourselves. We didn’t have Studio Binder up and running yet, so Darya handed out call sheets,” Robert tells me.
You can hear the steel in Darya’s voice: “Zero response with less than 10 people on the project.”
Even Robert admits he didn’t fill it out.
But now they have a better solution.
The team is soft launching the beta between now and the end of February, then open it up more widely in March. To sign up, go to www.studiobinder.com and enter your email address – you are then considered priority access. And get to keep Studio Binder for up to one year, free.
We wish the team bon chance, but in the meantime, if you do sign up, let us know what you think!
Studio Binder: Send and Track Call Times with Ease
Save Time with Profiles
Via Studio Binder:
Profiles eliminate the grunt work of collecting cast and crew details on every production.
Invite your cast and crew, and they’ll provide all the details you need; from dietary requirements, credited names, paycheck information, and more.
Work with the same team often? Just re-invite them to your next project and all their info will be available immediately.
Send Elegant Call Times by Email & SMS!
We send call times as emails and text messages to make sure that your cast and crew receive their call times, no matter how busy they might be.
Easily add personalized notes to your call-times. Remind a crew member to pickup a piece of equipment. Provide actors with unique parking details or just tell your entire production to “bundle up, it’ll be cold.”
Track When Call Times are Confirmed
Ever felt like your call sheets went into a black hole? Had to call your cast or crew to confirm they’ll show up? We find this grunt work to be stressful and waste of time.
With Studio Binder, recipients confirm their call times with a click of a button so you can sidestep the uncertainty.
Check it out at studiobinder.com/
(cover photo credit: snap from Studio Binder)