Improve Your Workflow Episode 07 with Darius Family

4 September, 2019

Darius Family is the Technical Director & Founder of Post Lab IO, a technical post production services for film and television productions.

Improve Your Workflow is sponsored by Digital Pigeon. For an extra long free trial, visit https://www.digitalpigeon.com/workflow/ and use the coupon code: WORKFLOW.

Learn more about Post Lab IO:

Products and software mentioned in the show:

Movies/Televisions shows mentioned in the show:

  • Mission Impossible

Methods mentioned:

  • Inbox Zero
  • Kanban boards

Transcript of Improve Your Workflow podcast with Darius Family of Post Lab IO

Voiceover:

Welcome to the "Improve your workflow" podcast, brought to you by Digital Pigeon. Learn from other creative and many a business, about attracting more work, delivering projects efficiently, getting paid on time and everything in between.

Paul Evans:

Hi there and welcome to the seventh episode of, Improve your workflow. My name is Paul Evans and I'm your host.

As always, the format for the show is really simple. In interview owners and managers of media, marketing and creative businesses about their productivity and operations hacks, as a way we can all learn from each other. And hopefully, make our lives that little bit easier.

Today's guest is Darius Family, of Postlab.io. Welcome to the show Darius. Could you please tell the listeners what you do and who you do it for?

Darius Family:

Yeah. So, I run a post production company in Melbourne, called Postlab IO. And we provide, I guess, post production services to film and television productions. And we sort of, do a different twist on post production. We're not a big all-under-one-roof sort of, big facility.

We work on decentralised post production and management. Which means that we come onto productions really early days, often during development to help the production establish their workflow and procedures and processes, for the film. And a film or TV production can stand a few years. So, we work to establish good processes, right up front.

And every production is always very different, so we tailor that process and workflow on a per-production basis.

Paul Evans:

Yeah, okay. So from memory, you run kind of, like a product-tie service? Is that fair to say?

Darius Family:

Yeah, I mean, when we started that's what we were looking at doing. We wanted to go down a path of post production on demand, was the idea. As the business has been developing, we've actually now, moving away from that. Moving more towards a traditional post services company, with the difference being that we prefer, rather than a production would normally contact a post house and just get a quote. And then, they'd go off and do their thing and then, once they finished editing. Then they take it to the post production company to finish.

We prefer to actually, be involved all the way through. So that they don't make any mistakes. Because, a lot often the mistakes that get made have time ramifications and costs. Ramifications, down the tracks, so..

Paul Evans:

Sure. Kind of like a re-shoot, or?

Darius Family:

Yeah, you know. They might have converted things into the wrong format. Or just not kept files the right way. Or, there's so many different hurdles, trip-ups.

Paul Evans:

Yeah. Okay.

Darius Family:

Yeah, we get, the productions really love it, because they know that they can call us anytime of the day, at any point and ask us. They go, "We're not sure. We have to shoot with another camera and it's got these different format options. Which option should we pick?". Then we'll go and research and find out what's the best option. For it. Rather than them guessing and potentially choosing the wrong option.

Paul Evans:

Yup. That makes a lot of sense. So, obviously workflow and productivity is a big part of your business. What would you say is your number one hack or tip, that you could share with the listeners?

Darius Family:

Probably the biggest productivity hack for us really, is communication. I think that's probably a common thread for a lot of businesses. Is maintaining really good communication with your clients. And that's something that they really value. They want to know that you're, because we're not working in the same room as them, so it's important for them to know that we are working on them and that they are a priority and a focus for us. And not on a back burner or anything like that, which can happen, they can feel that way very easily if you aren't in constant communication with them.

Paul Evans:

Yes. So you're doing it by phone, or by text, emails?

Darius Family:

Pretty much we use email a lot. We rely on email for most of our communication. The biggest hack that I use for my communication, is this method called 'Inbox Zero'. And it's like an ethos for how to maintain your inbox and also it applies to other communications as well, I think. SMSing.

Paul Evans:

Yeah. I think I'd freak you out. I think my current inbox count is four digits. I have heard of Inbox Zero.

Darius Family:

Inbox Zero is awesome. My inbox right now, have only got 15 emails. It works really well with Gmail, because Gmail has categories.

Paul Evans:

Yeah. Filtering.

Darius Family:

It's a feature, you can turn it on. So categories is a bit different to filtering. Categories is like, they have four categories, or five. Primary, Socials, Promotions, Updates and Forums.

Paul Evans:

Oh yeah.

Darius Family:

You can't rename them, but basically you drag emails into one of those categories. And then you can tell who to continue to bring emails into that spot. So is someone, like an actual human, sends me an email it ends up in my Primary inbox.

Paul Evans:

Yeah, okay.

Darius Family:

That's kind of, my phone will go for that. That's kind of like, my meth master, I need to reply to this straight away. And then, things like invoices, or if I make an online payment, or if I receive notifications or a password reset link, or anything like that. Goes into Updates.

Paul Evans:

Yeah, so you don't need to...

Darius Family:

I never need to look in there. I look in there, when I'm doing bookkeeping, because that's where all my invoices and receipts will be. All of the newsletters that I get. Australian industry newsletters and things like that, goes into Socials. I can just click in there and I get to see all of my magazines and all of the updates, from founding bodies and stuff. And I can scan through it really quickly. And I can just delete anything in those other categories. I know that I can delete, because there's nothing in there that's from an actual person.

Paul Evans:

Yup.

Darius Family:

It makes it really easy, because it's day to day, with all of the updates and promotional emails and stuff. I probably get hundreds. You don't want cluttering your...If my phone goes off when I'm out, I want it to be...

Paul Evans:

Like a real thing.

Darius Family:

Yeah. I don't want to be swiping like, ah bloody 40% off discount.

Paul Evans:

Yeah. Good advice. All right, so. In terms of your text hack, you've obviously mentioned well, Google apps and Gmail. What else do you use to get the job done?

Darius Family:

A big one that we've been using lately, is Airtable.

Paul Evans:

Oh yeah.

Darius Family:

It's sort of, like a new version of the spreadsheet.

Paul Evans:

It's kind of like an Access database, isn't it? Sort of, as well. Somewhere in between an Access and a spreadsheet.

Darius Family:

Yeah, that's it. I love spreadsheets and I still use, we use G Suite to relieve for all of our docs and stuff. We still use spreadsheets for financial things and estimates and stuff like that. But then, Airtable is, it's a database. And we use it for so many different things. We use it for leads lists and we've got another one for job database, to keep track of our job numbers. What kind of jobs they are. In certain jobs we'll use them to keep track of how much footage is being used per day, what cameras are being used on a production. The great thing about Airtable is, you can have a spreadsheet, you can have different worksheets within one spreadsheet. Airtable, rather than just being numbers focused, it's actually, you can have a column where you can create your own custom dropdown and you know.

I never used Access, but I think it is very similar to Access or File Maker or those kind of things.

Paul Evans:

Database-type functional. I'm probably showing my age saying Microsoft Apps there.

Darius Family:

Yes, it's a bit before my time. But I think I would have been all over those programs. Years ago. But, Airtable, that's a big one that we use day to day, to keep track of, just so many things. Shipping. We might have a job where we would have to send out, 50 different cinema packages to cinemas and we want to keep track of where they are, what the shipping numbers are. What stage, you can do can ban [inaudible 00:09:12], so it's like, this is been transcoded, now it's processed, now it's ready for dispatch, dispatch return, blah blah blah.

It's super useful.

Paul Evans:

Yeah, cool. All right. We're just going to take a few seconds now to hear from our sponsor.

Voiceover:

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Now, back to the show.

Paul Evans:

All right. So, if you could work with one brand, that you don't already work with, who would that be and why?

Darius Family:

That's a good question. It's a tricky one. I think, probably I'd have to say, rather than a brand, it would be a movie franchise. There's always TV shows and feature franchises that I'd watch and I'm like, "Ah! I would love a franchise.". And it's like great, big

Paul Evans:

Certainly brands there. Big brands, yeah.

Darius Family:

Definitely. My personal favourite franchise at the moment, is Mission Impossible. And it's been a long-term childhood favorite as well. I love the Mission Impossible movies and the recent ones have just been absolutely amazing. And have really taken them in them in a really cool direction. I think they're really, arguably, some of the best action films, going around at the moment.

Paul Evans:

Is that storyline, or is that visual effects? Or?

Darius Family:

Yeah, storyline. It's just, the storyline and the storytelling is just really top notch, and yup. Visual effects. The recent Mission Impossible: Fallout, the visual effects are quite minimal. It's actually... A lot of it is captured. Tom Cruise loves doing his own stunts so, he's flying the helicopters himself. They actually have really cool, amazing set pieces that, it would just be a dream to edit and to be working on and to be delivering. That would give me immense satisfaction, if we were to work on something like that, so.

Paul Evans:

Great answer. All right. How do you go about solving problems? You can't say Google. Do you use specific blogs for help, or YouTube? Which I know is owned by Google but...mentors?

Darius Family:

Well, other than Google, I don't think that there's any specific websites that we use. It's just Google and find the right ones... But, I think we have a really good network of people that are specialists in their fields. That we rely on to talk to. And I've got this certain, there's only a handful of them that I would contact, in various departments. Cameras, sound, post production, colour grading, things like that. That, if there's something that I'm stumped on, I can't find the answer to online, I will call them and bring them in to the fold.

It works well, because usually it's something that isn't available to find out online. So then, we get to have discussions with people who know what they're doing. To assist in coming up with a solution.

That's just, I'll be on the phone. We'll be on the phone, for like an hour and a half, discussing, fall acts and codecs and what's the best way. You always have a, we usually go into the call with an idea of what I think my solution is. And then, hears my hypothesis for how I think we should handle it and what do you think, from your point of view is that a ... does this make sense? Would that be easy for you? Blah blah blah.

Yeah.

Paul Evans:

Very good. And finally, how can our listeners connect with you?

Darius Family:

Just on all the usual. On social we're on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @postlabio and then also our website. We've got on our website, all our current productions, all of our active productions and completed ones as well.

Paul Evans:

Cool.

Darius Family:

Yeah.

Paul Evans:

Awesome. Thanks for being on the show Darius.

Darius Family:

Thanks so much Paul.

Paul Evans:

Well, there were some interesting insights there from Darius. I conceptually like the idea of Inbox Zero myself and I'm working pretty hard on getting there with the help of my assistant. Only a couple thousand emails to go.

Normally I tend not to focus on the tools at the end of the episode, but I'm going to agree with Darius on this one. Airtable is a very awesome tool!

Well, until next time, keep on delivering!

Voiceover:

Thanks for listening to the "Improve your workflow" podcast. If you enjoyed the podcast, please leave us a review on our iTunes. Go to www.digitalpigeon.com/reviewpodcast for more info and we'll add you to our monthly draw to win a Digital Pigeon T-shirt.

Bye for now!


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