The Story Room You Don’t Have to Be In: Two M&E Tools Making It Possible
Briana Harper | July 12, 2021
Media & Entertainment4 min read
No one was particularly thrilled to leave the story room last year.
Fortunately, the collective shock of “OMG, how are we going work this way?” spurred creativity, forcing teams in media and entertainment to discover solutions they wouldn’t have explored otherwise.
Content production teams rushed into Zoom rooms to do what used to be done in person. Zoom was there when the world had no where else to go.
But this article isn’t about Zoom.
It’s about two other tools – Bluescape and Autodesk ShotGrid – that are doing more than keeping things afloat. They’re making content production as good, if not better, than it was before.
Meet the players
ShotGrid (formerly Shotgun Software) is the creative project management software used by 2,200+ creative studios, including Warner Bros., DreamWorks Animation, Illumination Mac Guff, Ubisoft, and more.
Bluescape’s visual collaboration platform attracts similar customers. Netflix, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, and more use virtual workspaces for content development, reviews, and presentations.
What’s important: This virtual workflow isn’t just filling in until things are “normal” again. It’s part of a bigger discovery happening in the industry.
Executive producer and co-creator of an upcoming series told us how his show might have been different, had there not been a pandemic.
“I assure you… it would not be better than the version of the show we’re making because of this pandemic and the tools it’s introduced to us.”
When one door closes
When the story room door closed, it opened a world of possibilities for TV and filmmaking, though it took time to discover. Tools like Bluescape and ShotGrid have paved slick new roads and teams aren’t turning back.
The Bluescape+ShotGrid integration creates connection points between two important pieces of software: the virtual story room (Bluescape) and the creative project management system (ShotGrid).
Here’s how the integration works:
In ShotGrid, organize content into assets, shots, or versions.
Send content from ShotGrid into Bluescape for review. Smart layouts put collections in the right place so less time is spent “setting up” the room.
The best part? Content in Bluescape links back to source files in ShotGrid to update statuses, tracking, and timelines.
Why review in Bluescape? It’s a live story room environment where you can see reference material, collections, and past reviews at-a-glance. Then zoom into important details, compare versions, mark up, and leave feedback in real-time.
This integration is the latest example of Bluescape’s API being used to transfer assets from the system of record to the virtual story room and back.
Cool, right? Will it change your life? Actually, it might. One streaming service customer said about the integration:
“This will be life changing.”
New doors open
What’s changed in content production since things went virtual?
A virtual story room (one that’s loaded with visuals and content, not just people in boxes) has big advantages. Connect that story room to your project management system and you’ve unlocked efficiency and immediacy that didn’t exist before. Add things right up to the review session. Make changes on the fly.
Visual historical record
Bluescape’s virtual story room creates the “arts and boards everywhere” feel of a physical room, but in an infinite space, which means assets – and decisions made about those assets – aren’t torn down, sent to storage, and forgotten. They’re preserved in a visual historical record.
Creatives love being able to see story evolution at-a-glance. So do financiers.
Collaboration across countries
Collaborating with producers, artists, and costume designers in different countries wasn’t impossible via Zoom. It wasn’t great, either. Without a way to gather around collective work, teams lose the glue that holds them together.
In Bluescape, teams have a meeting place much like a physical room. Because it’s virtual, it exists everywhere: in homes, on location, and across all time zones at once. Someone in Korea can “walk through” a workspace in the evening, review a prop board, make changes, and add sticky notes while someone in LA looks over changes with their morning coffee.
Bottom line: Teams can work with who they want, where they want, without losing sightlines or their ability to contribute to a project.
Bluescape+ShotGrid is an important integration for media and entertainment. It’s one of many integrations that will weave the virtual story room into the content production workflow so teams can be anywhere on earth. Discovering new stories. Making their best versions of TV and film.