Producing Tools

Posted on January 1, 2008

With one producing job down, I’ve already picked up a few tricks to make things go easier for time two. Below are a few free web apps that help keep things organized (a lot were also used during documentary making). Most have a mobile option, which makes them very powerful for some on-set action.

Calendar Google Calendar

I set up a separate calendar for the production and invited all ATL members to it, though it’s most useful for the Director and Producer. Important dates go here, such as meetings, director’s prep, production dates, etc. But I would also coordinate auditions and add them to the calendar, to keep the director and I in sync.


I gave this a try when I wanted to do a search for Olive Garden on my phone and the Google search page suggested their free 411 service. Since my phone was being slow, I gave it a shot, and it is amazing.

Simply call 1-800-GOOG-411. They’ll ask for the city and state, and then the business name. It will make a few HAL clicks and beeps and return a list of results. You can then have them connect you to the business, get more details, or get the details sent to your phone. Way faster and more fun than mobile internet.

National Weather Service

If you’re shooting outside, and the weather looks kind of nasty, you need to know if a storm is coming and how long it should last. Just search on the National Weather Service’s site for your area and get all the forecasts you need. But it gets better.

Add the local phone number to your phone. Then when you’re on set, just give them a call and they’ll gladly give you their best guess on what type of weather you can expect and for how long with their real-time screens. The site also has a mobile link, but I haven’t given that a try yet.


Jott turns your phone into a hands-free command center. Once it’s set up, just dial the number and speak. You can send yourself notes, send out a text message, create a Google Calendar event, create a task with RTM, and much more with many other services. I have a habit of mumbling, but Jott does a pretty good job at transcribing what I say.

Calendar Google Docs

Another useful tool. This is a good place for the ATL to keep notes on different parts of the film – casting, production design, locations, etc.

Remember The Milk Remember the Milk

Still my favorite task manager. I know you can share tasks, but I didn’t try to get the crew using GTD.

Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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