A Practical Guide to Managing Video Projects: Simple steps and tools to order the chaos

The hardest piece to manage with any production is keeping track of scripts, deadlines, changes, approvals, and all the tasks that make the project, well, a production. It’s so easy to get lost in the hustle, and getting projects completed through the final review while keeping up with all the details can be exhausting. 

Ideally, you should work with a production company to help manage the work and complete a project sheet like the sample provided to help manage the work. A project sheet or similar management tool will to help you organize all project needs in one place and can be a life saver throughout the duration of the production. It can be tricky to stay organized, especially when you aren’t sure what you should be tracking or how to prioritize activity. Below are some important things to keep in mind when you are planning your projects. 

Project Name
I can’t stress how important this is! Assigning a project name to the project when you start is crucial. It needs to be descriptive and something that speaks to the content of the video. The name you pick for your projects should remain to completion, so choose well. If it needs to change, make sure you track changes so if you ever need to reference the work in the future— months or years later — you’ll have a record. Having to search for and recover “that projects with the planes” can be frustrating and fruitless.

Providing a desired deadline is helpful to the producer or editor. Make sure to add enough “cushion time” before your hard deadline. You never know how a project might morph as you create it or how long it might take to collect for feedback and approvals from managers. 

Data Storage
Where are you keeping finished files? Do you have a hard drive or server where you keep final outputs (file.mov or file.mp4) of projects? Depending on your company’s data storage standards, plan to keep your data stored on a portable hard drive (labeled correctly) for safe keeping. Track that data in a spreadsheet or project sheet for longevity. Want to take it a step further? Make a duplicate of all your project files on an additional drive. Just in case. 

Keep track of the people who work on your project and their contact information. Even if it’s the production company’s policy to have you work through a producer, there might be times when you need to reach to them directly or refer to their work for future projects. 

Create a folder, either digital or paper, of everything to do with the project. Collect schedules, scripts, storyboards, notes, revisions - everything - all in one place. Please believe me when I say this: you’ll be kicking yourself later when you can’t remember why you made a specific change and can’t find that one email from the person who suggested it. Keeping everything that belongs to that project in one place is critical. 

Other Tools for Organizing
Frontline Production uses Google as its main platform for organization. Given the size of our team, this is ideal for managing our email, a public calendar, and the “live” documents we collectively use. Other impressive platforms are Evernote, DaPulse and Asana, and each delivers advantages based on the number of people working on your team. These platforms also allow you to give access to third party vendors throughout the duration of your project.

Depending on your current processes, the attached form may help you manage your project and your specific needs. Use this template as is or to create your own. Feel free to download and share!  Download Template 

Heather E. Wright
Coordinating Producer at Frontline Productions