Indie Filmmaker Hunter Weeks Tracks All the Key Business Elements of documentary film production with Bento 4
When you produce and distribute your own films, it's easy to get overwhelmed with information. Inspiration and creativity collide with nitty-gritty necessities like funding, distribution, and administrative tasks. That's why documentary filmmaker Hunter Weeks uses the new Bento 4 to keep track of ideas, possible locations, contacts, and more.
"You need a place to hold all that information so you can focus on the task at hand, on being creative," he says. "Bento is a really easy way to organize all the day-to-day tasks and keep track of the people I meet when I'm working on a film. It's a fantastic tool and, ultimately, it helps me make more films."
Weeks is best known for following a guy who traveled cross country on a Segway. His documentary film about the comical and leisurely journey, 10 MPH, won critical acclaim and launched his career as a documentary filmmaker. Since then, he's made multiple award-winning documentaries and commercial spots. Today he's producing and distributing more films than ever.
Through it all, Weeks collected hundreds of documentary film contacts. "I needed a way to keep track of everyone I met," he says. "Address Book worked well, but I needed to add more information. That's why I started using Bento."
Weeks built a Bento database around his Address Book contacts. Then he began expanding. "Building the custom database was very straightforward and intuitive," he says. "It was simple to add new fields, forms, and libraries. I started keeping track of distribution channels, film festivals, ideas for documentaries, everything."
Today Weeks uses Bento 4 to organize nearly every aspect of film production. "I keep track of contacts, funding, production schedules, and more," he says. "And with Bento 4 I can link Address Book To Do items to my records." With To Do item linking, Weeks can set email alerts and reminders to help him follow up with funding opportunities and keep up with contacts.
The filmmaker can also use Bento 4 while he's traveling. "I can log possible shooting locations using the new Grab and Store Location field in Bento 4." The new field allows Weeks to manually enter location data that references a map, or can automatically determine his location using Wi-Fi or GPS on his iPhone. "The Location field will definitely come in handy when I'm traveling," he says. "I'll often find a good location and simply write it down. Now I can plug the exact GPS location into Bento on my iPhone and add notes about it."
Weeks is currently working on one documentary and has several in the cue. "I'm trying to expand, going from producing maybe one film a year to two or more," he says. "It's a big jump and to do it I'll need to streamline things considerably and bring new people onboard. Bento will help me do that. It's an easy-to-use database application that anyone can learn to use in a matter of minutes. With Bento, I'll simply be able to make more films."