Design Consultation . Santa Monica, California
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In early February 2009, Colin and Dean submitted a proposal to build a casting application for a film production company in Westwood, California. The people in the casting department were working from stacks of VHS tapes, primarily actors' "reels," and they were keeping hand written lists of possibilities for various parts in all of their different direct-to-cable productions.

In this day and age of the Internet Movie Database, Youtube, and personal web sites it seemed that the production company was quite far behind the times. Our goal was to present them with a wireframe application which could show them what an in-house development effort could accomplish.

Using Ruby on Rails we created a wireframe web application which had eighty percent of the functionality they had described in the first meeting. We especially liked the ability to create groups of actors and save them for later casting sessions. And the assignment of skills to an actor was done through an AJAX interface similar to a tag cloud: clicking on a current skill added it to the actor; clicking on a small x next to the skill removed it. There was a blank field for adding a new skill.

For fun the banner at the top cycled through images of Los Angeles and Hollywood taken at various times of day, keyed to the time of day. The casting people seemed to spend a lot of time in a windowless office and having a reminder of time passing by outside was an interesting feature to add.

We used a Javascript pop-up calendar to assign dates. This was much easier than the usual collection of drop-downs.

In less than two weeks we had a very definite sense of what the project would entail and we had a proposal in their hands two days after the initial meeting. Two weeks after that, the production company fired their IT director, and half the casting department. They were no longer in a position to pursue any kind of development at all.