An ode to the back office systems of Hollywood
When we watch a film, we tend to gravitate towards the front men. Take the actors: they receive glowing words of praise if their performance in the film is superb. The human resources department, however, do not a receive a congratulations for convincing the actor to perform in that Oscar winning scene they previously refused to act in because they didn’t get on with their co-star. We compliment the director for how they shot a particularly emotional scene, but we never think of the marketing team who got bums on the cinema seats to watch that iconic scene. Or even the set designer gets a shout out for their artistic vision, but we aren’t compelled to tweet about how impressed we are that the manufacturers managed to bring the said vision to life.
An Accountant’s struggle
There’s a theme here; constantly the film industry’s back office systems are being left behind and forgotten. One role that is often termed monotonous and repetitive is that of the accountant without which we would have no film. This could not be further from the truth. Whilst the idea of finance sounds boring to all of us there are some truly exciting parts that aren’t advertised to us. When a production accountant costs the production, they are involved in understanding every department and how they use the money they need. They must assess every part of the production. And whilst their richer, more famous counterparts are winning Oscars for their creative talent, the careful, meticulous budgeting of accountants goes relatively unnoticed.
One way they keep up with this is using a back office system, software that is designed and implemented by experts to handle the administrative side of the many tasks a back office worker has to take part in. System integration brings together all elements of the back office jobs so that any member of the production team can access everything easily and everything becomes more streamlined.
What can change?
But what can be done about this? Although a radical idea, there are those who are calling for members of the back office systems in Hollywood to be included at the Oscars or, at the very least, have their own awards ceremony. This would give more publicity to back office roles and allow them to get the credit they deserve. Potential awards include, but are not limited to:
- Best Budgeting in a Film Production
- Best Marketing of a Film
- Best Set Manufactured
- Best Back Office Systems in a Film Production
One thing is clear, back office systems are vital to any film production and are not getting the praise they deserve.