Filmmaking is not a cheap line of business to undertake. Adding the word “film” to a product description seems to increase its price by at least fivefold.

I can remember starting out in university and using my student loans to finance the purchase of camera gear. It was a Canon GL2 right out of the gate but very quickly that was far from enough. We needed multiple angles, so we bought another camera. Then the tripod couldn’t keep up with the better camera, and it was a coin flip as to whether you could understand the audio.

As anybody who’s been in filmmaking for more than a nanosecond will tell you, the cost of being in this business adds up really quickly. But thankfully, there is a new breed of online tools, platforms, and services that can lessen that pain. These are filmmaking tools that help you be both more efficient and more profitable with your filmmaking.

Now, let me make one thing clear before we start: we built this list thinking not about software and tools that make you a stronger storyteller (though many do that). Our focus here is on sharing tools that will help you be more efficient and profitable in your business.

Okay, let’s roll. Here are 7 platforms for being a more efficient and profitable storyteller (plus a chance to win some signed KNOW books for sharing your own favorite tool).

7 tools to be a more profitable & efficient storyteller. Click To Tweet

Video feedback, reinvented—with Wipster.

What it is:

Wipster is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that allows you to upload a video, invite others, and leave feedback right on that video. You can leave feedback in a few different ways, including leaving comments on the exact frame that caught your eye. You can also leave feedback about elements within that frame by attaching your comment to the particular element that needs to be addressed. You can “like” and reply to others’ comments, and your editors can resolve items as they address them in the edit.

Filmmaking tools - Wipster

Why it makes you more efficient/profitable:

I can remember cutting #standwithme in our studio and having nights that regularly ended at 4 or 5 a.m. When we wanted to review a cut, we would all come in the room and view it together. Each of us would take out our notepad and make notes as we viewed. After we watched it together, we’d go through the cut point by point, discuss the ideas, and hopefully it was communicated well enough to be translated onto the editor’s notepad to be looked at later.

Flash forward to just over a year later, and we were going through a similar post-process with our latest feature-length documentary Our Journey Home. This time, however, we had Wipster. When a scene was ready for feedback we didn’t have to wait to be in the same room. No longer did we have to try to scribble down a bunch of notes with the hopes that those notes would eventually have the opportunity to influence the story.

Formerly hour-long review meetings were now a matter of 10 minutes, whenever and wherever we wanted. And, more than that, it was a powerful way for everybody on our team to have a voice (not just the loudest or the quickest to respond). It let us consider, reply, and align our comments with incredible efficiency.

In short, Wipster makes our post process much more efficient by reducing the time required for a feedback loop. An edit receives comments more quickly, each idea is actionable (it can be checked off when resolved), and we can get a revised cut back to the client in less time. Plus, we get to skip the addition of another meeting to our calendars.

For most of us, big backlogs, and wanting to get more out in less time in post-production, is a real issue. Wipster helps us do more in less time without hurting the story, or reducing the contributions from our team.

How much it is:

Head over to to try a two-week free trial. Regular plans are $15/user per month.

Go beyond seeing just video plays and loads with some of the best tools we’ve seen for managing videos online–Wistia.

What it is:

Wistia is a video hosting platform on steroids (the legal, all-natural kind you can tell your mom about). It’s an alternative to sites like YouTube or Vimeo and is geared towards those who use video for their business.

Filmmaking Tools - Wistia 02

Why we love it:

Last June we launched Muse along with a cool (yet story-relevant) animation of Mark Tesky’s experience using Muse. We found a guy in Michigan who works on old school light boards, makes physical characters, and then photographs them with his DSLR and animates it in After Effects. It was a simpler and more time-intensive approach to animation but it felt very fitting for this piece.

Making our own film of a case study was quite the investment (and therefore a risk). We were super stoked with how it came out, but more than that, we were hoping that all of you would connect with the story as well.

Our old approach was to pop it up on Vimeo, check out the view counts over time, and use that as a metric to understand how much people were liking a film. But now, with Wistia, we can get engagement graphs. We can see far more than just plays and completions, we see how long people are watching our films. When this data is visualized it’s super powerful. It brings to our attention different issues with our pieces, including when we’re losing people’s attention.

Then we go back, work on the piece, and see if the analytics improve. It’s a powerful way to create hypotheses about a story and then actually test them.

But here’s the other thing, we’ve had some films over the years that have gotten an amazing number of views. Spelling Father, as one example, is over 2 million. Now, if we wanted to reach out to those viewers and follow-up with another story that we thought they’d enjoy, we’d have absolutely no way of doing that.

A high view count may be cool to look at, and it may affirm that you’ve told a story worth sharing, but you’ve also got a business to run. It’s therefore important to be able to develop a relationship with those who see your work.

With Wistia, you can have social information pop up in the video so viewers can connect with your Twitter account, for example. Even more than that, you can offer a call to action at the end, whether that be a simple link or the option to leave their email addresses so you can follow-up with them later.

Plus, it’s very customizable in look and feel. It also has some powerful embed options, including the ability to have your video pop up in a window when you click a link.

Filmmaking Tools - Wistia

Why it makes you more efficient/profitable:

First and foremost, you’ll get actionable data well beyond a view count. This allows you to know what is—and isn’t—working in your films. You can see where your viewers are located, how much of the video they watch, and if there are patterns in where viewers are falling off.

This means you can get better feedback on your films, allowing you to make better decisions moving forward. And this, hopefully, helps you arrive at stronger results with fewer revisions.

In terms of being profitable, Wistia is a powerful tool for building a list of contacts who are interested in what you do. At the end of your film, simply ask if viewers would like to be notified of your next film by collecting their email addresses. Then plug that right into a variety of email programs, such as the ever-popular MailChimp.

Keeping in touch with those interested in your work is a great way for your business to stay top of mind, while also giving you the ability to reach out to your contacts if you have promotions or other news you’d like to share.

And hey, it’s important to note that all of this happens in a really smooth, not-obnoxious way. So if the viewer isn’t interested, no biggie. But ultimately, this type of call to action connects you with more folks who could be helped by what you do.

How much it is:

Wistia offers a free account that comes with 25 hosted videos using its branded player. If you give them a try and it’s working for you, you can upgrade from there.

Start building an email list with the easy and intuitive MailChimp.

What it is:

We just mentioned MailChimp up above, but it certainly deserves its own section. MailChimp is a platform for building an email list, and sending emails to that list. It’s not an alternative to mail services like Google or Apple Mail, but rather a tool for building a list of people you can communicate with regularly, like what we do here on Learnstory in emailing folks every Tuesday morning.

Filmmaking Tools - MailChimp

Why we love it:

It was only a couple years ago when we had no idea what an email list was. We didn’t ask for emails, we didn’t know what they were for, and it was absolutely not on our radar. We’d make a film or write a blog post, publish it, and hope that people would come. And sometimes they did.

But we had no way to help the process. And when we rolled out something new, we had no way of getting in touch with those who might be helped by it.

Then came along Adam Baker, founder of Man Vs. Debt. He taught us a heck of a lot about how to build an online business. The first thing he did—before he even setup his desk—was get an email list going.

It was a simple white box on the side of our blog that allowed people to sign up to our list if they wanted to be notified when something new on our blog came out. It was simple, but that one change became so incredibly important. It meant that we could grow a group of people that enjoyed the stories we were telling, people who would welcome a new one when we shared it.

Most of you work in filmmaking in one role or another, and a huge thing that we creatives often forget is the business side. When you put out a new piece of content, whether it be a film or a blog post, it’s a great time to ask viewers if they’d like to hear from you again.

So now, rather than just hitting publish and hoping readers will come to your blog, you’ll have a ready-to-go audience that enjoys what you do.

YouTube has many folks who put out regular content and get millions of views. A huge part of being able to do that consistently is having millions of people who get notified every time you post something new (in this example, that’s through YouTube’s subscribe-to-channel option).

Why it makes you more efficient/profitable:

Well, it may not make you more efficient. In some ways it will, in others, it won’t. It adds a little bit more to your plate, as you’ll now need to write an email to accompany the release of new content.

That said, it can make you more efficient by giving you just one place to go to reach out to all of your contacts interested in hearing your updates. You can also create automations, such as an auto-responder email that goes out when someone signs up. This email could share more about who your business is and what you do.

And in terms of being more profitable, it’s one of the least expensive ways to grow your business and develop new leads. Seth Godin calls it “permission marketing” because you’re asking if people want to hear from you, rather than the more common approach of putting ads in places, attempting to interrupt somebody’s experience to get noticed.

And remember, MailChimp connects directly to Wistia. This allows for those email addresses you ask for to go directly to your email list.

How much it is:

Head over to MailChimp and sign up for a free account. It’s totally free to use, and continue to use, until you reach up to 2,000 subscribers or over 12,000 emails sent per month. This is a great way to test it out and see if it’s for you without having to pay anything.

Allow the footage you worked so hard for to work for you–Story & Heart.

What it is:

Story & Heart is a platform built by storytellers for storytellers that includes footage licensing and an educational community. Full disclosure: Stillmotion helped form Story & Heart so our passion for what they do is certainly biased. Today Story & Heart is its own thriving company and we’re proud to be a part of its community. The focus here, for this post, is the opportunity to license your footage and, in that, have it generate revenue for you.

Filmmaking tools - Story and Heart

Why it makes you more efficient/profitable:

I can remember spending nearly 100 days shooting #standwithme, our documentary that told the story of a 9-year-old girl trying to change the world with lemonade. We travelled to Namibia, Ghana, the Dominican Republic, Nepal, and countless trips across North America. We acquired nearly a thousand hours of footage throughout the process, yet our film only ended up being just over 60 minutes. What happens to that 95% of footage that didn’t make the final cut? Well, for most of us–nothing. We wrap a project, back it all up, and the rest of it never sees the light of day.

But now, with Story & Heart, there is an opportunity to do more with everything you shoot. You can take your footage, upload it to their platform, and license it to other storytellers. And you get a little bit of extra revenue at the end of the quarter with every clip sold. It’s now become a regular part of our workflow. We do our rough cuts in such a way that we can export and upload all the licensable footage to the Story & Hart platform. The additional time is minimal and we’ve already seen some solid returns.

And of course their platform is also a viable option to source footage for your next project. Need an aerial over the desert? A young child playing with a sparkler? Because the footage is supplied by real filmmakers, just like you and me, it doesn’t have that “stock” feel. And it’s a much more cost-effective way to fill the holes in your edit. It’s rare these days that the Stillmotion team completes a film without licensing a clip for at least every one of two projects. In fact, we’re doing some Super Bowl work right now and they were one of the first calls we made.

How to join:

Head over to Story & Heart to apply to be one of their filmmakers. The application takes a few minutes but it’s pretty awesome how much they care about actually getting to know you and your goals.

Manage your projects and team with as much care as you produce your shoots–Trello.

Because it’s her most oft-used word, as well her lifeline, I’m inviting Jessica (our GM at Muse) to share her thoughts on Trello.

What it is:

Trello is a project management tool most easily linked to a style of project management called “Agile” (capital “A” because there is an official school of project management theory, turns out). Aglie—which is sort of an umbrella term for methods like “Scrum” and “Kanban”—is “iterative, incremental, highly-flexible, and interactive” (or as we call it, “Tuesday”). This is the basis for Trello.

The interface is card and list based, but you can create, move, organize, and work out of your boards in an infinite number of combinations.

Filmmaking Tools - Trello 02


Why it makes you more efficient/profitable:

A while ago @dcrowephoto aptly observed that we had a lot of projects spread across a bunch of different teams.

Filmmaking Tools - Trello 01

To folks outside of our organization, it looked like we were project management savants. Internally, this tweet was emailed to me with a subject line of “HAHA.” This was before Trello.

We’d used a couple of different tools before—affairs with Basecamp, a series of color-coded spreadsheets that resembled a Piet Mondrian painting, but nothing ever really stuck with our team. With the launch of Muse and the overwhelming response, we knew we had to get serious about how we organized our team and our work. So serious that we hired a project manager. Me. I brought the Trello hammer down, swiftly.

What’s great about Trello, and why it’s on this list instead of “Hire a Project Manager” is that it’s infinitely flexible. We’re able to use boards to layout checklists for production from start to finish, assign team members to those tasks, and add due dates to ensure everything gets done. Not only does this keep us on track timeline wise, but it allows everyone to see everything that’s going on and how they fit into the big picture. The commenting system keeps all of our discussions contextualized around the work, and the list of integrations grows every day, from Twitter to Google Drive to Salesforce.

No more missed deadlines, no more last minute tasks we forgot to account for. With Trello we build and manage our task lists for every facet of our business in one central place.

How much is it:

This is the best part of Trello: it’s free! You and your team can get on the road to 100% efficiency for $0. Once you’ve nailed Trello 101, upgrade to Business Class to get access to some of their more robust integrations for $8 per user per month.

Quench that gear lust without the long-term commitment–LensProToGo.

What it is:

LensProToGo is a gear rental site that’s staffed by real filmmakers and photographers. These are real people who understand what you do and are therefore offer super-qualified help. They also offer affordable rentals in everything from cameras to lenses to support with shipping across the U.S., with delivery as soon as the next day.

Filmmaking tools - LPTG

Why it makes you more efficient/profitable:

One season early in my wedding days I actually bought, and sold, nearly 15 cameras. Ya…I had a problem. I would read the forums late at night and see a new film that caught my eye. If it was shot with a new camera that I hadn’t tried, I’d be off reading reviews and checking out more samples.

Then it was off to try to convince Amina that we really needed this certain camera if we wanted to make films of any value. I’d buy a used camera with the intention of giving it a test run and then turn around and sell it weeks later when something else caught my eye. I got rather good at the exchange and could almost be profitable at the whole game until the day a dude on eBay sold me a camera but shipped an empty brown box in its place.

As much as I stand on my apple box and preach story, I still love the gear and love to add new toys. But nowadays it is so much easier to just call up our friends at LensProToGo and rent things when and where we need them. Since we rarely shoot at home, we can have the gear show up at our hotel in whatever state we find ourselves in and we’re ready to go. And if we find ourselves renting something often enough, well then we know that it’s wise to consider purchasing.

As a filmmaker, LPTG can help you be more profitable by reducing the amount of gear you purchase (or owe money on) and you can instead attach gear rentals to your project budgets as you develop them. The cool part about that is that within the commercial and doc world it’s common practice to bill your client for the use of your gear. The key here is to carefully look at what you truly need to own (say, your core camera and lenses) and look to supplement with rentals to keep your debt down while still not holding you back by limiting gear.

How much it is:

Something like a C100 camera rental will run you $266 for 4 days, including shipping. A common lens like the 24-70mm f2.8 is only $85 for 4 days. And something a little more aspirational such as the Canon Cinema Prime 50mm T1.3 is $213 for 4 days.

Stay in touch with your team and ditch that email labeling system that makes your eyes bleed—Slack.

What it is:

Slack is a messaging app for teams that aims to make your work communication pleasant, effective, and fun. There are private #channels for ongoing threads on big projects, public #channels for office chatter, and direct messages that let you check in with team members and collaborate back and forth without having to compose bulleted emails 10 to 15 times a day.

Filmmaking tools - Slack

Why it makes you more efficient/profitable:

When we launched Muse I was preparing for a month-long workshop tour across Australia. We’d just hired three new team members, were in the middle of production on Our Journey Home, and I was about to be spending 12 to 14 hour a day in workshops (all of which took place in warehouses ill-prepared for a deceptively cold Australian winter, I might add).

Working with people remotely wasn’t new to me, but we’d just doubled the size of our studio and welcomed a thousand new learners into Muse. This was a different kind of challenge.

Slack offered the chance for me to chat with the team in real time. I used our #museteaching channel to go deep with our Story Guides on Muse theory and research, sent timelines and priorities to our project manager via direct message, and shared set photos from all of our workshops with the whole team.

Now, I can’t imagine life before Slack. No more wasting hours a day writing carefully bulleted emails, instead I can talk with the team about projects without interrupting my workflow, sync it with my calendar to make sure I’m in the right meetings at the right time, and we can even use a service like Zapier to connect new Muse registrations, Trello updates, or blog comments to specific Slack channels. Pretty rad.

How much it is:

Just like Trello, small teams can use Slack for totally free (the desktop and mobile apps are both free as well) or opt for a monthly user fee for access to more integrations.

And while you’re here, we’ll share some honorable mentions that made our list:

XERO: It’s the 21st century. Keeping all of your financial data in a spreadsheet like a cobbler with a leather-bound register makes paying your bills (and getting paid) a real pain. Xero hooks into your bank account, credit card, online store—pretty much anywhere—and spits out real-time reports that let you make better financial decisions.

Gusto: Payroll is the kind of administrative task that is very little fun, but stupidly important. The good folks at Gusto have found ways to inject a bit of joy into running payroll by empowering team members to be able to edit, modify, and store all their individual payroll data electronically (no more watching everyone recycle their paper pay stubs minutes after you pass them out), making it super easy for employers to remember that paying people is fun.

CorrelloYou’ve got analytics for your company’s website, projections for your financials, and you’ve taken 7,624 steps so far today. You’re tracking your progress in all the areas that matter…except how fast you’re getting projects done. Things like your team’s velocity (how fast work gets done) and burn down (how much work remains on the project as a whole) are crucial to the growth of your business in every area. Once you’ve got Trello fired up, installing Corrello gets you a dashboard that let’s you track your performance by members and boards, historically and comparatively.

There you have it. Seven platforms for being a more efficient and profitable storyteller. Some free to join, others with free trials, and all of them well worth you checking out.

Here’s the truth–I simply cannot imagine running our studio without these 7 services. We use them day in and day out and they make a big impact on both the Muse and Stillmotion teams.

What’s your number-one favorite platform that helps you be more efficient or profitable as a filmmaker?


Patrick Moreau

Director, educator, and student of human life. An architect of meaningful connections–to story, to self, and to others via story.

  • Christopher Robinson

    Hey Patrick, Those are some great tools: I especially like the video content delivery network that provides more in-depth statistics, along with the team-and-client feedback SaaS.

    While I do like Trello (from afar), as a smaller organization, I thrive on using – It has the same Agile columns that you can move around and rename as desired. I happen to use it as my Kanban board, which is a super Lean Agile approach where there are only 2-3 accomplishment stories per day that get full-throttle unbridled laser focus attention. At the end of the day, those 2-3 stories/items need to have been moved to “Completed.” The Kanban way is to have a feedback loop at the end of the day as to why things went great or why something didn’t get done or if it was even fun at all.

    When I bring on a team for a project, I really like using and opening up specific boards and documents for specific people to view/edit/upload/add… and encourage them to write “chat message” updates into the Activity Board. I have found BaseCamp to be a great place to link to videos and ask for a client’s feedback–while keeping it secure. But that was back before the Pro share page (I do not like the feature where anyone with access to that page can go ahead and download the posted video) and back before the tagging feedback option you mentioned at the top of this article (which I will try!).

    Also, I’m a huge fan of for brain mapping. I find it’s easier to be flexible about a story and its approach when I only have the ideas jotted down as a spider-flow mindmapping chart. Although, once a brainstorm mindmap gets heavily populated, it becomes next to impossible to read without resorting to a giant printout from the print shop… which is definitely a counter-point to having a nimble system that encourages innovative connecting ideas and re-connections.

    Things can always be done better–and nothing stays the same! Thanks for this article and opening this discussion.

  • First, I can tell you that Slack is just a killer tool. Super simple to use, communicate with anyone you add, and separate conversations into threads, so no more finding that thing someone said in an email somewhere.

    We have two tools I would add to this list. We’ve been using Asana as our project management tool. It’s a super simple way to create a ton of tasks, in the order you want them, then you can assign those tasks as needed. Story & Heart it in a tutorial recently as well, which really allowed us to turn it into overdrive. It’s a super powerful tool, that is free. (there’s a paid version, but we haven’t hit the need for it yet).

    The second is Hootsuite. Again, free up to three platforms (we have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), but you can not only see everything happening on your SM tools, but schedule all the posts you need. A great tool for when you’re overwhelmed with production tasks trying to meet a deadline, and forget to post a tweet or two. Social has been huge for building awareness around who we are and what we do, and we find the more engagement we have, the more projects come our way.

    (Side note, as a Canadian production company, it’s so brutal every time someone posts how awesome Lens Pro To Go is. I’m seriously jealous of it! It’s so expensive to ship things here, and it’s almost impossible to find a good rental option for specific gear unless you know a guy who knows a guy!)

  • KevinEly

    I’ve been using Workflowy ( as a thought-capture and project outlining service for about 8 months now and have been loving it. It’s very limited; it’s basically an outliner but that’s part of the appeal to me. It keeps me focused on the task at hand, allowing me to drill down into a specific train of thought, or back all the way out to get a big picture view.

  • Dewald Brand

    Thanks for the tips – always good to know what works well for others instead of searching for reviews – definitely going to try out at least four of these (already use two)… Would also be curious to know what you guys use for email ‘management’? We switched over to Gmail’s offerings for custom domains about a year ago, and I must say it’s by far been more reliable and user friendly than our email provider’s offerings or even Mail/Outlook- what would be your preferred platform?

  • Love Wipster, used it for the first time on a Samsung spot I did last year, definitely keeping that as a go to tool for post production! But I wanted to throw out Production Minds. Basically you can combine Trello and Slack and a ton of other tools within Production Minds (PMP). It’s a way of taking your project from concept to production by systematically walking you through pre-production so you are prepared, equipped and have a more creative hold on your project.

    Highly, highly recommend PMP. It’s not the sexiest looking platform but it works and there’s nothing out there like it! Too many features to list but go to and try it out for free!

    If you want to use it, hit me up and I can give you a discount code for any of the paid plans.

  • Adam Wormald

    We started using Slack a few months back and it has helped us tremendously. No more searching for that email thread from a few weeks ago. Plus, it’s fun to use. Thanks for the post! Looking forward to trying out some of the other tools mentioned. Cheers.

  • I think the platform/tool that I use the most is which is similar to Wipster. The functionality is flawless with tight integration with dropbox which allows material to be migrated easily. When collaborating with clients or other people in the production it is very easy to access the footage (or any other file), go through versioning, comment etc. I think it has been one of the most straightforward tools I have used and really allows 100% focus on the creative work!

  • This is a super in-depth and awesome read. Thanks for sharing Patrick!

    As an additional resource, here are some notes about how we use engagement graphs on the Wistia video team:

  • Barak Bruerd is my team’s project management tool of choice. I love Agile systems as well and we use a modified version of Scrum. Sadly the Kanaban tools out there don’t meet our needs as well b/c we have multiple teams and a lot of cross-functional staff. As a result there are a lot of irons in the fire and staff need the ability to aggregate all their work across projects/boards into a single view. Teamwork on the surface looks like Basecamp, but it’s much more robust and flexible and the developers are amazing and keep a continuous flood of features and tweaks pouring in that make Teamwork better all the time. If you come from the Agile world and are use to Kanaban boards like Trello, You can think of Projects like Boards and Task Lists like Columns, and Tasks like Cards. No it’s not as visual but with teamwork we get a few added perks including: (1) the ability to create gantt charts which are great for long-term planning, (2) tags that have unlimited uses, but we use process tags (do, doing done) and (3) an “Everything” view that lets you filter tasks by people, tags, priority, due dates, project, etc so you can see anyones work across all projects in just about any configuration.

    At the end of the day though, what we’ve learned is that the tool is just a tool. Without a solid project management process that everyone follows, the tool is next to useless. With a good process, just about any decent software tool out there will work. Other favs we’ve tried out are Target Process, Leankit, and Asana.

    A second indispensable tool for us is – “expense reports that don’t suck”. I chronically lose receipts. Well, practically anything that’s paper. And sifting through a pile of receipts after visiting 4 countries in 3 weeks and trying to reconcile that with credit card and cash advances took hours, if not days at the end of the month. On top of that, our finance manager had to then scan all those receipts in. Expensify has a fanstastic app, you snap a photo and have a choice to either let OCR scan and enter the info or you can manually enter in receipt info – and it handles any currency. The receipt photo is saved and from there you can submit a report with all your receipts in a printable PDF along with a summary table. If you want to take things further you can also sync with bank accounts, Quickbooks, enter in chart of accounts, generate invoices, and a host of other things. Saves our team dozens of hours a month, while still not fun, at least the process no longer sucks.

  • Brandon

    This is an incredible list! I’ve heard a lot about Wipster in the industry and will definitely be checking that out later today! has been an incredible task managing resource that I have recently implemented into all of my video projects. When multiple people are involved on project, it can be hard to delegate WHAT tasks are being completed and WHO is responsible for completing them (ie. backup, storyboarding, and editing responsibilities.) At a glance, Asana organizes all of these responsibilities using an easy-to-use, color-coordinating system. It’s a great visual when tasks are checked off one-by-one and your team is motivated and accountable! Each team member can see a Live feed of what is being accomplished and what still needs completed.

    Asana’s new brand redesign is also clean and fresh! Highly recommended to anyone looking to organize their massive production schedule.

  • JD

    I use Borrow Lenses for when I need to rent gear and I’ve been happy with their services. At times I’ve found it more economical to rent things I already have (like lighting equipment) and have it shipped to where I’m going versus paying what it costs in airline fees to have my own equipment travel with me. And then I just return it from where I had it delivered.

  • Benjamin

    I don’t have a tool to suggest at the moment! But one thing that I feel like would be helpful when going through the Muse lectures would be if there are marks on the video pane that show where the different parts of the video start. There are sometimes a few things that I want to review or listen over again and it’s hard to search through sometimes. Small suggestion, other than that I am LOVING the program so far!

  • Dan Brown

    Have to add the ever-versatile Evernote. Great usage in preproduction for research & notetaking, integrates on desktop, mobile, and browser plugin (my fave feature is the web clipper).

  • Krzysztof Bogucki

    Nice tools! I didn’t hear about most of them. They could really help to organise our work and make it more effective. For simple projects I’d recommend also google doc where we can create/edit documents together.

  • We have found Evernote to be EXREMELY useful when it come to making lists, idea management, and collaboration. It is a must for us and we use the free version! I am going to try most of these out to see if we can benefit from some of them. Thank you!

  • Kevin Solik

    Evernote is our platform of choice. We use a shared folder for all our business related notes. Production schedules, shot lists, any research notes for a story, copies of contracts, etc. It’s always with us on web, mobile and desktop to get to the info we need when and where we need it.

  • Trello is our absolute favorite. We’ve been using it for years ever since a client recommended it. So simple, yet so powerful. Also love Xero. Great list, thanks for the recommendations!

  • Jason Mattingly

    For me, it’s not software at all. I’m not a seasoned filmmaker by any means, but the one tool that I can’t live without, are those simple 3×5″ index cards. And I’ve even tried to switch over to some app like everything else I’ve done. But for me it’s the paper cards. I use 40 to outline a feature. No more no less. Each card is one scene. I use a single card to write out each character’s basic information/motivation. And after the script is done, I use them to storyboard. And mind you, I storyboard with stick figures.
    I understand this list though. And I’m taking notes for the time something like this will pertain to me.

  • Allen Agopsowicz

    Besides Wistia and Trello, the other “sharing app” that has done me well is SmartSheet. It’s like Excel on steriods without the bulk. I usually set up the budget on it and share with clients. It allows input on the fly and can give you a “realtime” view into what’s happening if you’re inclined to make it part of team procedures. A Smartsheet can transform into a Gnatt chart or calendar so important dates are easy to view.

    • Grace Gallagher (Muse Team)

      Hey Allen,
      Thanks for being a part of the discussion. Really helpful suggestion and we will check it out! We have been known to enjoy a spreadsheet or 3 million here in the studio, so I’m sure this could help streamline our process. As a token our appreciation, we wanted to send you our Know Guide. If you could email me your shipping address ([email protected]) I’ll get the book out to you this week 🙂

  • Jamar Harden

    What It Is

    Toggl is a time tracking app that allows you to track time used during projects. It is Mac, PC, Android and IOS compatible, syncs remotely, and you can build and track projects, teams, user groups, track time while offline, edit tracked time and manage members from the desktop or a portable device.

    Toggl is a powerful tool that also allows you to export time tracked as a PDF or excel spreadsheet.

    Why It Makes You More Efficient/Profitable

    This is the app we use to itemize time spent during projects. In case a client wants an itemized bill, we can show time spent on each layer of our projects. While away from our computers, in two taps we can start tracking anything. In a few moments, we can go through the details of adding a new project, selecting an existing one, adding tags, and what we are working on. Once you get to the desktop, we can dig deeper, edit, update and correct times. The same can be done from the smart phone app as well.

    Why We Love It.

    Time vanishes when it isn’t tracked for us. Being able to track our time holds us accountable and more focused on our projects. We can also look into the desktop and see what projects were worked on and how long, we can set billable rates on the Pro edition, and business edition opens even more options. You an get started very quickly with tutorial videos, GUI walkthrus and awesome FAQs. Oh, and the free version has ZERO ad pop-ups.

    What It Is

    Pomodoro – other than being a tasty (sounding) sauce, the The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.[1] The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are called pomodoros, the plural in English of the Italian word pomodoro, which means tomato.[2] The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.[3][4]


    Pomodoro is a free app (with ads that can be ignored) which prevents burn-out when it comes to projects. This keeps us focused and dedicated to one task at a time. Since I multitask more like a Rhino trying to unfold a rose, I use this app to focus all energy and thought to one project at a time, and when the bell rings, I stop.

    After my short break, determined in the app as well, the timer starts again. After multiple Pomodoros, the break time extends.

    Why It Makes You More Efficient/Profitable

    This prevents us from project over-kill and burn out. Yes it gets exciting to burn every bit of energy in a project while the energy is good, but when tomorrow comes, and there is no motivation, a project can perish. 25 minute Pomodoros keeps me motivated, fed (Warrior Needs Food) and well-paced. That way, I don’t get tired, keep my mind clear, and body full of energy. Which means I can be more timely, creative and I make procrastination kick rocks to the sunset.

    Why I Love It.

    I can focus! Being able to focus allows me to get stuff done. I can spend more time working on my projects. Once my projects are complete, I can celebrate for a short time, and on to the next paying client. Whee!

    • Grace Gallagher (Muse Team)

      Hey Jamar,Thanks for being part of the discussion here. Really great suggestions. Time management is so important; we went through a phase here where we thought we needed a countdown clock mounted to the wall in the studio… Your suggestions seems a bit more sustainable 🙂 If you send me a shipping address ([email protected]) I’ll ship the book out this week.
      Thanks again.

  • Justin McLaughlin

    Guys, I don’t know if this counts for the book giveaway, but I just wanted to say I GET IT! And now that I’m thinking about it, my number-one tool, since its currently my only tool, is in fact MUSE! Let me explain.

    So I’m one of the original pilot members to MUSE, and to be honest, I am only just starting to use the program. After trying to refund it some time ago, because I never opened the box, I was convinced by Kathryn Giroux (You Rock!!) to first give it a try before doing so, however, I still didn’t use it though I agreed. Only until recently and after making a bad batch of videos, I realized I had gotten ahead of myself and needed to take a step back. I knew I needed to go back to basics but didn’t know where to turn..until I remember MUSE! And though I’m still working through my introduction week, guys I get it! It’s literally all about story. Even in reading this article and seeing how you incorporated a story behind why you guys originally needed and still use the different tools you showcased, it hit me. Just because I could see your struggle and relate to the headache disorganization brings, I was sold on wanting to implement all these tools into my own business. So long story short (one I doubt qualifies for a book lol), I have fallen in love with MUSE and it for me has become my number-one tool, especially since story is the heart of our business.

    P.S. All cheesiness aside, this program has literally been saving my passion and my career by giving me much needed hope after my last few mistakes and failures. So thank you Stillmotion & MUSE Team! And if you could do me a favor, give Kathryn a round of applause, a day at the spa, or something…she deserves it!

    P.S.S Sorry for the poor sentence structure. To this day I over use the comma. Thanks for reading nonetheless.

  • Justin McLaughlin

    Guys, I don’t know if this counts for the book giveaway, but I just wanted to say I GET IT! And now that I’m thinking about it, my number-one tool, since its currently my only tool, is in fact MUSE! Let me explain.

    So I’m one of the original pilot members to MUSE, and to be honest, I am only just starting to use the program. After trying to refund it some time ago, because I never opened the box, I was convinced by Kathryn Giroux (You Rock!!) to first give it a try before doing so, however, I still didn’t use it though I agreed. Only until recently and after making a bad batch of videos, I realized I had gotten ahead of myself and needed to take a step back. I knew I needed to go back to basics but didn’t know where to turn..until I remember MUSE! And though I’m still working through my introduction week, guys I get it! It’s literally all about story. Even in reading this article and seeing how you incorporated a story behind why you guys originally needed and still use the different tools you showcased, it hit me. Just because I could see your struggle and relate to the headache disorganization brings, I was sold on wanting to implement all these tools into my own business. So long story short (one I doubt qualifies for a book lol), I have fallen in love with MUSE and it for me has become my number-one tool, especially since story is the heart of our business.

    P.S. All cheesiness aside, this program has literally been saving my passion and my career by giving me much needed hope after my last few mistakes and failures. So thank you Stillmotion & MUSE Team! And if you could do me a favor, give Kathryn a round of applause, a day at the spa, or something…she deserves it!

    P.S.S Sorry for the poor sentence structure. To this day I over use the comma. Thanks for reading nonetheless.

  • Angel Andres

    Oh man, this is helpful. Though, a couple of these seem to be more helpful if you’re running a blog based business.

    The one I could really use is the Trello project manager. I find myself fortunate to be bringing on a small team of Freelancers these days. As freelancers, trying to coordinate a meeting prior and after the actual shoot day is crazy hard. I can’t wait to get started.

    Okay, with that said, I’ll offer one more platform you may want to look at. It’s called It’s much like Wipster but a different presentation style. You play back a video and each team member can make time code based comments as the video rolls. You can even “stack” new versions of the video together and compare them, side by side in real time to help visualize the changes.

    Plus, they have upload support straight from the FCP-X timeline with support for Asobe coming soon.

    I’m kind of a fan. So, give them a try.

    Thanks for reading!


  • Jamar Harden


  • Daniel Crowe

    I learned about Wistia through Stillmotion at a time when many of my clients were asking for an alternative to YouTube or Vimeo.

    I would say that when making the business side of the pitch to a prospective client, the analytics, location data, and clean embedding Wistia provides has helped me win a number of corporate clients.

    I’ll also send random updates to the client, like – Hey, someone at ABC Corp in France just watched and re-watched your video 5 times – and occasionally the client tells me that the location data I shared helped them to complete deals for their business.

  • Ed Parkinson

    Thanks for the insights into the nitty gritty of running your business.

    I’ve used Trello for a few years now and it is a great way of managing projects and our business. Our boards are broken down like this:
    Today | With Client | To Do | Sales | Done|

    The Done section is used by accounts to create invoices.

    The Drag and Drop system is great for moving cards around and you can add a check list within each card

  • Facundo Rodrigo Campos

    Tell you what, the thing that has helped me most has been a simple investment in a notebook and a pen. Seems silly at first, but developing the process of writing down (and through) your ideas is one of the best experiences you can have as a story teller. No, typing out your ideas doesn’t work; your brain doesn’t associate keyboard clicks with letters. Whereas with writing, the simple act of putting pen to paper helps you memorize your story; the brain knows a swipe like this means “L” “R” and so on. The more you write it out, the more your brain processes your story and the more you’ll get to know your characters and situations.

  • Steven

    I have just started learning about Trello and Wipster, so thanks for talking a little about how these resources serve your team! I’m a team of one, so I’m always looking for helpful tools to help me keep track of areas that aren’t always the most fun/easiest. One particularly unglamorous area is accounting. Wave ( has been a nice, free resource I’ve started using to make invoicing, tracking, and accounting way easier and more professional looking. (Beats my old shameful spreadsheet to shame!) Granted, I don’t use it nearly to it’s full potential, but it’s been good so far!

  • Steven

    I have just started learning about Trello and Wipster, so thanks for talking a little about how these serve your team! I’m a team of one, so I’m always looking for helpful tools to help me keep track of areas that aren’t always the most fun/easiest. One particularly unglamorous area is accounting. Wave ( has been a nice, free resource I’ve started using to make invoicing, tracking, and accounting easier and more professional looking. Granted, I don’t utilize is to the fullest, but so far so good!

  • Mindy Cook

    Yes to Wistia and Slack – major time savers! We use Wistia for feedback/approval (yay timecode-specific comments) as well as online management (though Wipster looks amazing…) And a project management system is a must – our team uses Asana. We also love Google Apps for all the misc. documents – Calendar for scheduling, Sheets for budgeting, Docs for scripting, planning, etc. and Forms for repetitive requests. The real time collaboration, instant versioning and easy sharing are all huge plusses.

  • Kim Rowley

    Thanks for this great list that I will give much thought to for use in our organization. I “work” (for free!) in the video section of a non-profit organization called Focolare – a worldwide organization that has as its main goal working for greater unity and spreading the often forgotten idea that we all form part of one human family. We produce a bi-monthly webcast and our editorial and production staff is spread out. We get together on weekends for face-to face meetings but after getting buried and lost in the extremely inefficient quagmire of email threads we found “Basecamp”
    ( This tool helped us keep a project = webcast with it’s different segments clearly organized. Comments on specific topics are kept together and we weren’t losing important info, documents or comments anymore. The stress level decreased drastically not having to navigate though email threads! Having said that I’m eager to look into your suggestions to see how we can benefit from them. That kind of help is essential nowadays that staff is always less and the hats to wear multiply 🙂 Thanks Patrick!

  • Chris Rasmussen

    Hey P! Thanks for listing and explaining these tools. I use 4 of them and will check out the others.

    An amazing tool that I use for CRM + Project Management is Daylite 6 with Cloud from Marketcircle.

    It keeps everything together in one place, links everything together, has a fast, native Mac app + Mail plug-in and a full featured iOS app, etc, etc. The latest version adds cloud sync and some great improvements.

  • tylerdoubleyou

    I use OmniFocus, a powerfully simple task manager. It frees you from having to remember all the tiny things you have to do, people you need to follow up, errands you need to run. There’s a bit of learning curve (and investment), but once you’ve got it down you’ll never have to worry again if you have forgotten to do something. You’ll also never sit at your desk and wonder what you should work on to make best use of your time. I find it’s easier to be creative when you have your mind free and clear of all the little things cluttering it up. To that end I would suggest OmniFocus to anyone.

  • Sarah Kanafani

    I love all these apps…some new ones I’ve never heard of and some I have been introduced to recently. A few of my favorite apps are cinecore. It allows you to have an onset producer right at your hands at all times. You can share scripts, storyboards, location notes, shooting schedules all in one place and it’s mobile. It’s been a life saver. Here is an introduction to it. Another app I love is the kodak cinema tools. For those who shoot on film, it tells you how what types of filters to use for which types of film, what conditions to use specific film in, a film calculator based on kind, fps and it will tell you how long of shoot time you will get with each roll, DOF calculator and lab and transfer house locations. It makes shooting on film easy breezy! Thanks so much for sharing and I do hope one of those books ends up at my doorstep. I LOVE Muse!

    • Grace Gallagher (Muse Team)

      Hey Sarah,
      Thanks for sharing Cinecore and Kodak Cinema Tools with us. Really rad! And thank you for your support of Muse! We want to send you our Know Guide as a little token of our appreciation. If you email me the best address to send the book ([email protected]) I’ll send it out today 🙂


  • danielraymond

    I agree with you, Trello is really great. If you want to boost your Trello experience, give a try.