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Software Review-Gorilla


If you can live with FileMaker Pro’s jack-in-the-boxstyle, you’ll probably love Gorilla. Once you get past its pop-upmodules, the program is intuitively laid out, with simple icons andstraightforward tools.
It’s worth noting that Gorilla isn’t only abudgeting program. Gorilla sets itself out to be the single source,Swiss-Army-Knife program for indie filmmakers. It will hold a pitch andtreatment. It imports screenplays. It schedules, maintains a calendarand keeps lists of festivals, vendors, contacts, actors and crewmembers. It tracks income and expenses, divides points, shows profitsand delivers edit lists. And it budgets, too. The options are vast.

Trueto industry standards, lists produced by its scheduling module forcast, crew, locations, etc., can be imported into the budgeting module.Even more enticing, scheduled shooting days become a budgeting global.When your schedule changes, your budget is updated automatically.
Likemost budgeting programs, there are categories, accounts and details,though newer subdivisions like sub-accounts and fourth level detailsare absent. As elsewhere in the program, there’s great preoccupationwith crew names and contact info.
Reflecting its indie spirit, thebudget tracks in-kind donations. It might have been accomplished with anegative line or a subgroup that could be turned on or off. Here, theinformation is afforded its own column.
Of better use, is thelocation column, permitting active locations to be attached to anydetail item. These, much like subgroups, can be isolated and printed ontheir own.

Gorilla includes a ratebook module asa $49 add-on and fills it with union feature and commercial rates. Withan eye on its core audience, users can pop $20 to get “low-budgetrates” in lieu of the full book. Rates can be user-edited, so they’realways current and local. And users can build personal ratebooks, ahuge budgeting advance. Look for it to become part of every budgetingprogram before long.
As expected, there are globals, althoughGorilla users must make do with only one level and a single folder.It’s much the same for fringes – they exist, but the fancies found inmore sophisticated programs are missing. Still, both are functional andwill suffice for most less-complex tasks
Gorilla includespercentages for contingency, overhead, insurance and completion bonds.Unfortunately, those are the only four. Anything else (such as afinder’s fee) must get slotted into existing spaces. Oddly, percentagesmake no consideration for costs (like executive producer) that normallyget excluded.
Tracking costs (actuals) is a fairly new feature inbudgeting programs and it’s especially pleasing to find an accountingmodule here. I might quibble with its implementation, but the fact thatit exists at all is a huge bonus.
It’s much the same storythroughout; every standard budgeting tool is here, most in a pared-downversion. The goal, it seems, was never to make the market’s bestbudgeting program, but to deliver the most all-inclusive filmmakingprogram with a budgeting module among its many other goodies.

Itsmyriad functions are represented by a plethora of columns (sortnumbers, in-kind contributions, percentages to apply and many more),but there’s no way to exclude columns or even to change theirpreordained size or position. Users are left scrolling back and forthto see an entire screen of data and everyone is forced to view the sameitems, whether they’re used or not.
Like most budgeting programs,notes can be tacked onto items. Here, that’s limited to the detaillevel. Worse, there is no option to print selectively – you must printthem all or none at all. Unfortunately, some notes are meant to bepublic (like assumptions) while others are meant to be private (likethe status of negotiations).
Entering new budget lines at anylevel requires its own entry form which blanks the screen, preventingany reference to prior entries. Nothing, it seems, can be entereddirectly. That’s unfortunate.

Using a vast databasecreated from the original script breakdown, Gorilla can automaticallyenter lists of items like actors, crew, props, locations or vendors topopulate the budget. That’s handy and helps circumvent errors.
Uniqueto Gorilla is its table view, displaying all detail lines in oneeyeful. It’s a useful tool for a quick overview of the budget.

Ifyou’re an independent filmmaker, far removed from the studio system,looking for a single program that can handle every aspect of an entireproduction (except the shooting), there is nothing else quite likeGorilla.
It’s unfair to judge Gorilla against standalone budgetingprograms. It’s not a budgeting program but a filmmaking program thatbudgets. And this program is far greater than the sum of its individualparts. It may not be the best budgeting tool available, but no otherprogram can perform as many feats as Gorilla. In fact, nothing can evencome close to such expansive views of every task in an entire film.

Jungle Software
12711 Ventura Blvd., Suite 345
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 508-7090
[email protected]

Gorilla Student ($199) handles up to 14 shoot days and budgets under $50K.
Gorilla Standard ($299) handles up to 48 shoot days and budgets under $625K.
Gorilla Standard ($399) has no limits.
Each version can be upgraded to the next level for $100.

Written by Norman Berns

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