New Digital Tools to Green the Motion Picture Industry: Scriptation
September 10, 2018
Reel Green is excited for the digital era and the possibilities that come with it for the film industry to explore and leverage for more sustainable filmmaking practices! Scriptation is one of these digital innovations that looks to disrupt the production process to make it easier, more efficient, and environmentally friendly. Reel Green caught up with the Founder and CEO, Steven Vitolo, of Scriptation to learn what it’s all about.

What is Scriptation and where did it come from?
 

Scriptation is a script reading and annotation app that automatically transfers users notes, highlights, and annotations into new script revisions. I got the idea when I was working as a script coordinator on a tv series, and saw how insane the script revision process could be.

Every night, I’d distribute a new 50-page draft to over a hundred people. Not only was it wasteful to keep putting out full drafts but it was also a hassle for everyone on the crew who had to then go through them, figure out what had changed, and rewrite all their notes by hand. In the writers’ office, we were all thinking that this was such a shocking amount of paper that was being wasted every night and I started wondering if there could be a better way of doing things. I knew that you could read and annotate scripts on a tablet, but it still didn’t solve the problem of moving notes to a new draft so I started looking into if it was possible to make PDF annotations on one draft and transfer them into a new draft. Once I got together with a developer and figured out that it was possible, I knew I had something that could really work.

What makes it unique and how does it improve efficiency in the production process?


Scriptation is unique in that it’s specifically built for film and television production and can transfer your notes from one draft into the next draft. Working as a script coordinator, I understand what an issue it is when you go from a table draft to a shooting draft and you have to put out a full script revision. With so many revisions, it just made sense to create something that transfers notes and makes the production process more efficient.


For example, one show told me they literally had over one hundred script revisions during a single episode. They said that Scriptation saved them countless hours that had previously been spent collating script pages and re-recopying notes. Instead of doing those things, they can focus on what actually matters: making a good show.

Who uses Scriptation and how does it improve efficiency?


Anyone that gets a script, reads a script, or marks up a script can use Scriptation. Whether you’re a writer, director, actor, sound mixer, agent, studio executive, you’re making notes on a script.

Likewise, Scriptation can be used differently by all departments. If you’re a director, you might be making blocking notes or inserting storyboards. If you’re a sound mixer, you might be using the actor highlighting feature to automatically color-code characters’ lines. If you’re a writer, you could be at a table read marking up what jokes worked or didn’t work.

How is this supporting green production?


When you’re using a tablet to read documents, that means you’re not using paper, which is a good thing. We’ve also learned that our users are not just loading scripts into Scriptation, but they’re putting in all of their production documents. Over the course of one episode, if a single user is accessing all of their documents digitally, that alone can save thousands of sheets of paper.

We also have a lot of proactive people that use Scriptation to promote going paperless on their show. There’s one producer that’s been keeping track of the show’s paper savings, and through the first 6 weeks of production, she’s already cut back on 88,000 sheets of paper and saved over $3000 in supply costs.


When you calculate the time-savings, paper-savings, and cost-savings, it’s a win-win-win.

How does Scriptation respond to growing concerns of cyber-security and sending confidential digital assets?

We have an enterprise service called Scriptation Studio, which offers an end-to-end secure version of Scriptation where a script coordinator or production coordinator sends out a document and the user is able to download an encrypted copy of the file onto their device. We have several security measures for studios that include limiting sharing capabilities, detecting screenshots, and even allowing the studio administrator to remotely revoke the user’s access to the script. We know that studios take security seriously, so we’re doing the best to accommodate.

What’s next for Scriptation?


Since every department can use Scriptation in their own way, we frequently get requests from users for additional features that are often specific to their workflow or their department. We want to be able to provide those tools for better productivity and keep them working paperlessly.

In the coming months, we’re introducing a line of pro features, which will be specialized for each department. Right now we’re planning on toolkits specifically for directors, script supervisors, and actors, and more to be announced later. Eventually, we want to give every single department a feature set that caters to them.


Thanks to Scriptation for catching up with us and sharing their story with Reel Green! We look forward to a paperless industry as we evolve into a new era of digital tools.


Scriptation:
Scriptation has been used on shows such as The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Modern Family, Black-ish, The Mindy Project, Scandal, The Flash, Star Trek: Discovery, Silicon Valley, Orange Is The New Black, Grace and Frankie, and more.

Available on Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows, Scriptation is compatible with styluses such as Apple Pencil and the Surface Pen. Scriptation is also being developed for the Mac OS platform. For more info: www.scriptation.com

@scriptationapp

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