Members Helping Members - Educating, Informing, Supporting
I was recently talking with a friend who shoots tv commercials, clothing ads, and other multimedia at different locations. He was lamenting over the trouble he and others in his field have knowing where to find equipment they need to rent in an unfamiliar city. He explained how he frequently tries to track down someone who is familiar with the area, but usually ends up cold calling for prices. One place might rent grips but not lights and stands. Another one might rent camera equipment and backdrops, but not lights.
This got me thinking... If people in his industry had a website where businesses posted their inventory, pricing, and contact info, then crews like his could go there to find what they need an post reviews after they do business. Crew coordinators could also post tips specific to a shoot location to save others time and enegy. This could save them big bucks not only in cost but in man hours. Rental companies would love the pinpointed marketing.
This is an issue that creeps up repeatedly in situations where you need a centralized data resource for collaborative/consolidated data from various places. The barriers to entry are:
1. Where do you get the data from in the first place.
2. How do you keep it updated and valid?
#2 may be a bigger problem than #1. That might seem a strange thing to say, but it is difficult for us to think continuously. We want to get the answers and be done with it. Unless there is a direct event to bring it to our attention, we'll have no idea that information has changed or is no longer there.
To illustrate, look at the post I made this past Monday, referencing a Wall Street Journal article about the similar difficulties of keeping MLS listings updated. Designing the website is not difficult. Designing the database is easily done, and the reports would be run of the mill.
It's the administration of the system that will make the system succeed. That's one of my core business philosophies: Don't neglect the people-centered processes which interface with the technology system.
Interesting and valid points, Monica.
I invisioned a forum-style site where multi-media and movie companies would frequent while planning a shoot. Much like Yelp or Travel Advisor, users could input suggestions, notes, and ratings that would populate the site as they shot at a location. Then they would enjoy similar feedback from others who had set up somewhere else.
To allow the best rentals/services/sites to appear no matter what, site members could enter recommendations and if a business were mentioned by 3 separate sources, they would get added to the database with special recommendation status. Likewise, poor ratings would appear under the same conditions as well.
Businesses who weren't well known could pay a small fee to be listed. They would be inclined to retract their names when they no longer want to advertise the service. Businesses could also pay to advertise specials and discounts that users could look forward to.
I'm meeting with a programmer this week to talk about what it would take to get started. Was hoping to find an EOK member interested (since I'm a TERRIBLE programmer). lol
There are several clients I have been working with, that share a similar need - I know most people go to http://www.productionhub.com/directory/ but a lot of what is there is not frequently updated. I reached out to a few people I know in the industry and all have cited this site as a reference but would like to see something more intuitive. If we can help, please let me know as it seems our clients have similar needs.