When searching for a new tech provider, it is not always easy to determine which company will be the best match for you. Perhaps you asked other festivals within your network about references, or you did a thorough Google search about their background. Here we have gathered some tips to consider when selecting your tech providers, to help you make a more educated choice.
Pick a flexible tech provider
A big requirement for a festival’s tech provider is flexibility. When your festival is approaching, in those last days with many deadlines coming up, you want to be sure your tech provider is available for any questions or disturbances that require immediate attention. Make sure your tech provider knows how to deal with these stressful days and how to help stressed-out festival employees.
Check if the provider is still there in the long run
Adopting a new technical solution is no easy project. After switching to a new tool, you probably want to stick with it for a couple of years. Be sure your tech provider will still be there in five years and has a roadmap to keep developing their tool. Whether it is bug fixing or adding new features, your solution has to be kept up to date. Avoid this all together and make sure you join a team that can support you during the minimum of 5 years.
Make sure your tech providers are team players
Maybe communication isn’t a requirement you immediately consider when looking at tech providers. After all, what matters is that they provide you with what you need. However, when you do think about communication, ask yourself how many of your coworkers will need their service? Both programming and production will need to collaborate within your tool to meet different objectives. The tech provider must be able to communicate with multiple members of your team and draw upon their needs to provide their solution. So it might be an important subject to take into consideration.
Your data needs to be stored securely
Just like with reliability, security ties into the choice of which tech provider to go for. Ask them where the data is stored and how they keep it safe. Who can access it and how? Is it possible to give different users different user rights? Most likely your (film) data is sensitive. Be sure your tech provider is aware of the security challenges a festival may face.
What about connectivity?
Another important aspect is connecting your existing tools to your new solution. You probably have a whole toolbox to work with; a website, ticketing provider, film database, preview platform etcetera. The more connected these tools are, the easier your work will be. Instead of typing over data from one platform to the next, make sure the different platforms can be integrated. It saves both time and money, so you can focus on organizing the best festival possible. When picking a new tool to add to your toolbox, make sure it can connect with the existing tools.
We have placed these recommendations and tips based on our experience working with film festivals over the years. From these experiences, we created our newest solution: Fiona Festival. Together with IDFA, NFF and IFFR.
Written by Digna van Nielen
Digna is project manager at Fiona since the start of the company. She worked for various film festivals in the programme department. Digna is service oriented as wel as a problem solver.