The first few weeks in pre-production for any project are critical to how things operate during production.
You can prevent this from happening to your production by preparing your cast and crew from the moment your project gets greenlit, even before pre-production meetings start.
How? By having and executing a great digital onboarding process.
In short, ‘onboarding’ refers to whatever process you or your company uses to get everyone involved on a project set up to legally work together on the upcoming production.
At this stage, the focus should be on preparing your cast and crew and making sure all paperwork is in order so you can get to film rolling as swiftly as possible.
Needless to say, how you work with the various freelancers needed for any production hinges on your budget, location, and timeline…but the important thing is having some sort of onboarding plan and protocol in place.
As the first platform in the industry to provide a digital onboarding solution we’ve leveraged our deep knowledge of the filmmaking process and made sure the process is adaptable to your production’s particular requirements.
There are tons of perks to adding a robust digital onboarding process to your pre-production routine.
Your digital onboarding process has a massive impact on the level of communication, camaraderie, and investment hired freelancers feel toward your project. When a set is running smoothly, everyone involved feels a little bit like a super version of themselves, and having the tedious tasks like start paperwork and payment details out of the way can help with that.
After all, you don’t need us to tell you that paperwork mix-ups and incomplete records can be an unneeded stress and total headache. So, you must use the digital onboarding period to get all that day 1 stuff done before physical production even starts. Again, not only does this help things run smoother on set, it saves time and money down to the bottom line.
When planned and executed well, digital onboarding can help make the first day on set genuinely a great one.
By focusing on what’s important.
Day 1 on set should be about getting into the collaborative creative spirit, not signing forms and going through copious amounts of red tape. While there will always be some need for paperwork throughout the production because of day players, location changes, etc. digital onboarding can help cut down admin errors by eliminating illegible handwriting, organizing information, clearly displaying where information is incomplete and when it is due.
It stands to reason, when people feel involved, they’re more likely to feel a part of something bigger than themselves, which is crucial for ensuring a killer end product.
Hot Tip: Thanks to digital onboarding you could potentially avoid paperwork on set all together by encouraging new hires to complete and submit documents like their W-4 and I-9 forms before they arrive on set.
Okay, we’ve covered why you should adopt a digital onboarding practice, but how do you go about implementing a successful one?
Think about how many pieces of production paperwork that need to be signed? You have the call sheets, timecards, PRs, budgets, and then you have different versions for different days - the amount of paperwork that needs signing quickly piles up. It’s time to start using a digital system that allows you to duplicate repetitive information and apply eSignatures. These features allow productions to keep moving whether the hand required for the signature is on set or not. By getting new hires to sign their employment documents digitally, their signature can be automatically applied to all necessary documents on all necessary days. This saves lots of time when it comes to onboarding. It also has the benefit of keeping the day-to-day running of the production going at a steady pace. No one is pulled away from their other duties trying to track down a signature, or held up because a contract is not properly in place, and payroll can be completed quicker because all the information needed is already in the system.
Digital onboarding isn’t just for new hires. It’s a great way to collaborate with your trusted crew, and maybe bring freelancers into the mix as well. Once a crew member has gone through the onboarding process their employment details remain in their profile. If you tend to work with the same individuals, both you and your team are spared from the tiresome activity of once again providing obscure documents and detailed information on handwritten forms. Everyone can get to work faster and focus more on the creative aspects of their jobs, knowing that there is a system in place that has the paperwork handled and payment process all set up.
Using a digital onboarding platform can work wonders for helping new hires acclimatize to whatever set, studio office, and/or production they find themselves working on, especially when there are often multiple people starting at various times. It’s a straightforward and accessible way of ensuring producers have all the info they need conveniently in one place. With digital onboarding platforms that make important hiring information easily visible, productions are protected from hiring must-joins, illegal workers, and getting hit with fines and fees through the use of easy to track calendars and other 21st century tools. Production platforms such as Castifi can help you adopt a digital onboarding process and their customer support team is available for training and questions 24/7.
The start of a new production is always a bit stressful — a million moving parts, schedules to stick to, people to wrangle, unpredicted elements to brace for, and so forth. But, with the right digital onboarding process, you can make the transition from pre-production into shooting on set much easier for everyone involved. And more importantly for you, you’ll be less bogged down in paperwork, giving you more bandwidth to handle the day-to-day requirements that come with being on set or in a production office. A digital onboarding process makes it easier to work with the right people, and get to your next project quicker, all the while giving you more freedom to create awesome content. So, suffice to say, this is certainly worth investing some time and energy into. Trust us; you’ll be glad you did!
Learn how you implement a modern Production process that is: streamlined, experience-driven, and backed by data. Request a demo today.