VFX Showrunner™ User Guide

What is VFX Showrunner™?

VFX Showrunner™ is a Filemaker-based VFX Production Management tool.
It is intended to contain all the essential management tools you'll need to ensure that your VFX production proceeds smoothly and that you have all the information about the current status of your show at your fingertips at all times.

Every member of your team: Supervisors, Producers, Artists, Coordinators, and Editors will find Showrunner™ a helpful tool to simplify their jobs. Best of all it eliminates a lot of redundancy in record-keeping and aids communication throughout your production team.

When shared on a network, VFX Showrunner™ can keep your production humming at home, on location, and with all your vendors.

With Showrunner™ you can:

1. Break down and budget storyboards or script pages into elements and techniques during the pre-production phase of your project.
2. Manage shipping and receiving so you always know where that negative or firewire drive is.
3. Collect and organize editorial and lineup data.
4. Organize film info for scanning.
5. Schedule your production
6. Track the progress of CG models or miniatures
7. Maintain a show-specific address book so all contact info is at your fingertips. You only enter each address once. Several Showrunner™ functions can then utilize it.
8. Create and print line-up sheets to easily communicate shot specifics to your artists.
9. Communicate shot notes between VFX central, vendors, and production.
10. Track every detail and phase of every shot!
11. Sort, Sort, Sort! You can sort and analyze information about every aspect of your show. Sort shots according to their type or status, check to see how many finals you have, or how many shots need color correction. Whatever information you want to track, Showrunner™ has a place to find it.

To use Showrunner™ you'll need a copy of Filemaker 12 or later on each Mac or PC that will be accessing Showrunner™. If you wish to share Showrunner™ on your network or over the Internet it is STRONGLY advised to run the Filemaker hosted version of Showrunner™ on a server running Filemaker Server software from Filemaker Inc.

Follow these steps:
1. Immediately make a backup of the entire Showrunner™ Folder and all its contents and put it in a safe place, preferrably on a CD ROM.
2. If you do not have the stand-alone version of Showrunner™ make sure that Filemaker 12 or later is installed on your machine.
3.When you are ready to start a new project with Showrunner™ duplicate the Showrunner™ folder and RENAME the new duplicate folder to the name of your project.
4. Enter your Manager account and password.
5 Showrunner™ contains sample data so you can see how it operates. Once you have finished exploring the sample data and are ready to do your own work you'll want to delete the sample data. To do this select Scripts > Delete all Data. You can only do this with a Manager account. The script only deletes records in the major tables. It does not remove default Value lists for pull-downs or the Addresses. These you can edit yourself as the need arises.

Filemaker Database Basics
Like most databases, Showrunner™ is an application and data records all rolled into one bundle. You do not load and save documents like you do with Word or Excel. Instead, if you wish to back up or save a version of Showrunner™ you must make a copy of the entire Showrunner™ file, preferably including the folder in which it sits as well. Any time you make a change to any data in Showrunner™ it is automatically and instantly saved. Occasionally you can undo an action. But keep a recent backup around at all times, especially before and after you make major changes to Showrunner™. (Filemaker Server can help you do this automatically. During production we recommend having several tiers of backups made every few hours by Filemaker Server.)

Showrunner™ basics
Showrunner™ is a collection of interlinking tables of data, a Showrunner main table that contains all the shot data, an Elements table that contains element data, a Shipping and Receiving table that contains information about physical materials and their movements, a Budget Breakouts table, an Editorial Codebook, and an Address Book table that contains show contact data.

You won't need to worry too much about these tables since Showrunner™ generally uses them behind the scenes. But knowing about them is useful to understand the workflow: "Shots" are composed of "elements" which in turn can derive their existence from items listed in the editorial codebook, or "shipping and receiving."

Showrunner™ Conventions
Most functions in Showrunner™ have both a list view (for groups of records) and a single-record detail view. These views take various forms throughout the program but a similar principle is used for shots, elements, addresses, models, change orders, etc. In List views you can always access the single record detail view by clicking the small Gray Arrow to the left of a given list item. Also, In many layouts you will find a small gray Shot button that will take you to the Shot page for that item

By merely navigating to a page or layout by clicking buttons, Showrunner™ is working behind the scenes to ensure that when you are ready to print a page it will print out in a manner you expect. Page setup is accomplished automatically every time you hit a button that navigates to another page. In addition, most pages are set up to print out well in Black and White. The Green header bar with all its buttons NEVER prints. And other interface items are print-suppressed as well to give you good looking print-outs.

Some pages are set up to print in Portrait mode, others in Landscape mode.
If for some reason you wish to print a Landscape page in Portrait mode simply select Scripts > Portrait Print.

You can always do a quick "Print Preview" by selecting Filemaker's Preview Mode from the pulldown at the very bottom of the Filemaker interface. And if you ever have real problems printing you can still resort to Edit > Page Setup.. in the Filemaker application menu bar.