How a Movie Company Uses Paperwork Automation Behind the Scenes
Automation works behind the scenes to make work easier. In some cases, this happens quite literally.
Lokacni.cz is a location scouting and management company based in the cinematic city of Prague, Czechia. They specialize in:
Scouting and contracting locations
Dealing with authorities, owners, and tenants
Getting the place ready for action
Thanks to their services, the magic of movies unfolds smoothly over some of the best locations in Europe.
The Illusionist (2006)
But most importantly, they are good at what they do. Not just ok-good, but A-lister kind of good.
In the past few years, their services have been employed by productions like Personal Shopper (starring Kristen Stewart), Genius (with Geoffrey Rush), and Spider Man: Far from Home (with Tom Holland).
So, what does a top film production company have to do with automation? Surprisingly, a lot.
In this article, we’ll show you how Lokacni.cz improved their already successful business almost overnight with the help of Make.
Let’s begin by looking at the problems they were facing before automation kicked in.
Lights, camera, paperwork!
Film shootings are a special kind of beast. Most of the work happens within a small period of time, during which thousands of tasks have to be completed.
On one hand, everything has to be ready when the film crew hits the ground.
Film industry professionals are used to doing things immediately, and on time. For production companies this means that work usually goes from 0 to 60 real quick.
However hard this might sound, it’s not the most difficult problem Lokacni.cz has been facing. After all, film production is what they excel at.
Their main problem has always been paperwork.
To put in in numbers, Lokacni.cz creates about 5,000 documents in a regular year, including:
Credit card receipts
Paid, unpaid, and proforma invoices
As you can see, the amount of paperwork involved in film shooting can be overwhelming. And yet, it still needs to be manageable.
Here exactly is where automation kicked in to make things easier.
Before and after automation: The making of a workflow
Managing paperwork is not a unidimensional problem, as it encompasses many subtasks.
In the case of Lokacni.cz, these include:
Creating documents on the go
Manually uploading documents to wflow CRM
Storing and sending cash receipts to accountancy and/or the CRM
In addition, there was another problem requiring attention. During film shootings, the company’s headcount can balloon to 50+ people, of which only five are permanent employees.
Usually, new hires are not familiar with the apps and processes of the company. This translates into further time and productivity losses.
The situation called for a simple solution, as the time to train new people was never there in the first place.
In other words, Lokacni.cz required a solution that:
Can be used in all kinds of smartphones and tablets
Doesn’t require any training
Can create different documents
Integrates with other key apps (email, CRM)
As it turns out, all of these requirements were met by Cognito Forms and Make.
Backstage efficiency, reimagined
Lokacni.cz placed Cognito Forms at the center of their workflows, and used Make to automate most of the sub-tasks.
First, they built a few simple forms, which allowed anyone to create the documents right on their phone.
In a form, employees select the project they are working on.
After that, they choose the kind of document that needs to be generated, and how it will be paid.
Then, they fill in a few mandatory details, and add documents to the form (such as pictures of physical receipts).
Finally, they press “Confirm”, and the Make magic begins.
Some of the tasks Lokacni.cz automated with Make include:
Split multiple attachments into separate documents
Recognize and send documents to the corresponding stakeholders and apps (based on tags and other data markers)
Create records and upload attachments to the CRM
If a document is in need of approval, wflow and Make automatically choose the right approval path for it.
In the case a notification needs to be sent to management, Make does it. Then, management can just click the message and approve the document right away.
If the director wants an overview of all the documents for his project, Make delivers the full package via email.
These are simple automated workflows, and yet they have produced impressive results. Let’s take a look at them.
Show me the money!
By using Make, Lokacni.cz managed to save 90% of the time previously spent on processing documents.
On top of this, there are more benefits.
Nowadays, no one in the Lokacni.cz team has to open their computer or carry physical papers around.
And of course, there’s less people dealing with documents, which greatly reduces the risk of errors.
In the words of Lokacni.cz manager Milan Horky:
“The people we work with are artists. They can imagine anything, but they hate paperwork and documents. It’s work that doesn’t make them money, they don’t want to learn any new systems, and this is an easy way to have the documents right away, created from their phone where they are sent automatically to the right tool.”
It only took the company two months to automate most of their repetitive tasks, and the results were immediate.
Hopefully, their experience will inspire other companies to follow the path of paperwork automation.
At the beginning of this article, we said that automation works behind the scenes to make work easier.
Since that’s an evergreen “automation truth”, we think it’s fitting to end this story with another one: Make is about working the way you imagine, and not the other way around.
Whether it’s producing blockbusters, disrupting the car industry, or improving your life and the ones of those who surround you, don’t let the repetitive stop you.