I’m currently in pre-production for several projects, and decided to test out the new AI powered script breakdown app – Filmustage – as part of this process.
The platform offers an array of pre-production features, ranging from script analysis to scheduling, with more tools on the way soon. Certain tools are more AI driven than others, but in one way or another AI is integrated into each facet to help streamline the process for filmmakers.
Below is a quick summary of my thoughts and experience so far with Filmustage.
Filmustage: Pre-Production Features
Let’s start with a brief rundown of the major features that Filmustage offers:
- Script Breakdown
- Breakdown Summary
- Script Tagging
- Production Scheduling
- AI Script Analysis
- AI Synopsis
For the purpose of my upcoming projects, I primarily used the app to break down my script into the essential elements (cast, props, locations, etc.), and then created a production schedule based on that. I also experimented with several of the AI tools like script analysis and synopsis, just to see what it was capable of.
As a whole, the feature set was really well rounded and integrated. I tend to prefer apps that offer a streamlined workflow – in this case by taking you step by step through the pre-production stages, using AI to eliminate redundant / time consuming tasks.
More features are on the way, including a tool that will use AI to help itemize elements for budget estimation purposes. But even now, it covers all the basics (with the integration of AI technology), plus some bonus features.
It also integrates with Movie Magic and Google Sheets, so you don’t have to use the entire toolset. You could use just one or two features and then round trip it into your usual workflow.
When testing out Filmustage I was most interested to see how and where the AI capabilities would be used.
What I’ve found so far, is that the heart of the AI capabilities are really in the script breakdown. Which is massively beneficial, and can save you a ton of time in pre-production.
As opposed to manually going through your script to break down locations, props, characters, and other key elements – you can do it automatically using their AI system. Within seconds of uploading my 90+ page feature script, I had a full breakdown of all the elements mentioned above, and more.
Here’s an example of a color coded sample script (Forrest Gump), showing some of the highlighted elements –
In terms of accuracy, Filmustage generally didn’t miss any elements from the script. It would however, sometimes add an element I didn’t need, or that was already accounted for. For example, in one case the word “students” was interpreted as a casting requirement for extras, when it wasn’t used in that context in the script.
That said, these minor discrepancies were easy to identify and adjust. And the overall process / workflow was still drastically faster than any manual process.
Once all of the elements from the script breakdown were itemized, they were automatically published into the other tools in the app (reports, schedule, etc.) to help simplify those tasks too.
I didn’t use the “Analysis” function much myself, but it takes the AI integration a step further. You can use it to analyze a scene or script based on certain criteria.
For example, it can flag any scenes in the script that require stunts or that have child actors. This feature could seemingly be very useful, but I don’t have much direct experience with it yet, beyond initial experiments.
Once I used the platform to break down my script, the next step was to create a shooting schedule.
Filmustage offers a nice strip board interface that is clean and easy to use. It’s also quite similar to other common online scheduling apps, so there is very little learning curve.
The key to streamlining the scheduling process (and saving time) is making sure everything is tagged properly. I don’t recommend building your schedule until thoroughly reviewing the project tags, otherwise you might make a scheduling error based on incorrect tagging.
Assuming your tags are all correct, the tool can be used to quickly build out a schedule in any number of ways. You can auto-sort the schedule based on location, scene length, time of day, script order, and many other parameters. From there, it’s easy to add day breaks and shuffle individual scenes around if needed.
Real World Benefits
As advertised, the most obvious benefit of Filmustage is the time it can potentially save you in pre-production. Particularly on a low-budget feature length narrative project with minimal resources.
DIY films can often stall in pre-production, or worse – rush through it and miss critical elements. Tools like Filmustage are helpful in giving filmmakers some time back to focus on the creative work. This is refreshing right now, especially as other AI technologies are impeding on the creating process.
Filmustage is quite versatile too, with the Movie Magic / Google sheets integration. So inevitably I’m sure it will continue to find a home on larger projects too, including those using it for specific AI-based tasks.
Feature Idea: AI Scheduling
One capability that I would love to see integrated into Filmustage in the future, is prompt-based scheduling.
It would be amazing to type in a prompt, and have the AI create a schedule based on those parameters. For example:
“Schedule these 80 scenes over a 25 day period with no more than 6 pages per day. Group them together based on location and cast for maximum efficiency.”
I don’t know if this type of capability is even possible, but if so it could go a long way in saving filmmakers even more time up front on their projects.
For now, Filmustage has an impressive toolset, and a lot to offer to filmmakers. It’s easy to use, flexible, and for the right person might save a massive amount of time.