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Screenwriting Product Review: Chimpanzee Software Review

This review really should be titled “What I Just Learned About Scheduling and Budgeting My Film.” I say this because I've been involved in several no-budget films as an actor, camera man, assistant director, lighting guy... well you get the idea. If you make your own independent films you almost always wear many hats including the ones I've just listed. It sounds cool to tell your friends, “Yes, I was the director on that movie” or “Here is the latest film I wrote.” People tend to admire your accomplishments when you act, direct, write and all that other cool stuff movie folks do. How often do you hear people say, “I was in charge of accounting, budgeting and scheduling”? “What?”, with a baffled look, may be your first response. Most people do not think about budgeting and scheduling because it is not a glamorous part of filmmaking.

Now to the point. I just had the opportunity to try out Chimpanzee Budgeting and Scheduling Software (on sale at The Writers Store until July 28, 2013) and boy was it ever enlightening. As I've said, I've worked on many no-budget films, you know the projects, do them for the love of the craft type of movies. As a filmmaker you always hope the correct cast show up on the correct days and on time. Did you remember the props? Do you have extra bulbs for the lighting kit? All these uncertainties can drive you nuts.

Enter Chimpanzee software. Chimpanzee, the little brother to Gorilla Budgeting Software, is an entry level software for scheduling and budgeting of films. It's main audience is first time filmmakers, student filmmakers and low to no-budget movie people. It's a nice piece of software that helps you schedule your cast, crew, props and equipment and helps you budget all the costs most new filmmakers do not even think about such as replacing burned out bulbs, food, insurance, permits and the list goes on and on. With the click of a button you can send off a schedule to an actor so that they know what days they shoot, what scenes and what props they need. Things that are pretty much impossible if you are just keeping a schedule in a notebook or spreadsheet.

Many no-budget filmmakers just kind of wing it. With Chimpanzee you do not have to. Once you have all your information input into Chimpanzee you can generate over a dozen different reports. Start by importing your script from Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter or your outline from StoryO outlining software and then start scheduling shoot days, crew and actors. Add in the props and costumes now too. You will know exactly who needs to be where and when. Believe me when I say it is stressful when an actor shows up with the wrong wardrobe. This can be avoided using the organizational abilities of Chimpanzee software. Print a report for each actor and there are no excuses. Easy for you and easy for the actor.

There are even more features too. You can create a contact list of cast, crew, vendors and send e-mails directly from Chimpanzee making communication a breeze. Still not enough features for you? You can also make storyboards and shot lists within the software so you know exactly what you are doing each day. This allows you to use your shoot days most efficiently. Remember, efficiency equals savings on the money end of things, especially as you move up to higher budgeted films.

I really learned a lot about the budgeting and scheduling end of filmmaking by poking around in Chimpanzee software. I recommend that if you are making films and are unable to budget and organize, find someone who can, and buy a copy of Chimpanzee software for them to use. Hey it's your film and the money spent on Chimpanzee can only reduce your stress levels even if you aren't the one actually using it. It will pay for itself by helping you avoid costly mistakes.

Pros: Perfect introduction to budgeting and scheduling for new filmmakers. Affordable alternative to softwares designed for big budget films. Video tutorials are available at the startup window to help you begin using Chimpanzee.

Cons: Interface is a little dated looking to me, but really no big deal.

Bottom Line: If you are new to filmmaking Chimpanzee is a no brainer and “must own” software. It will save you time and money through the whole process of your production.

See how Chimpanzee Software works!

Chimpanzee Budgeting, Scheduling and Storyboarding Software Overview from Writers Store on Vimeo.

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Chimpanzee Budgeting and Scheduling Software

At a Glance:

  • Budgeting and Scheduling software perfect for new filmmakers
  • Helps organize and manage a film production
  • A perfect introduction to budgeting and scheduling for aspiring filmmakers

Until July 28, 2013