What makes Simian so indispensable? Here’s what CUTTERS has to say.
Cutters Studios has been a Simian user since 2014. All of its offices and brands use Simian – including its network of award-winning creative editorial studios that operate under the Cutters name, encompassing offices in Chicago, New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Kansas City and Tokyo, as well as the live action production company Dictionary Films, the audio post and sound design shop Another Country and the visual effects and design studio Flavor.
Cutters uses Simian for both building reels as well as for review and approval. It’s proven to be indispensable to its marketing teams, who can quickly and efficiently access the right work among the company’s vast library when putting together showreels and pitches for new jobs.
We spoke with Julie Koss, Cutter’s I/O Specialist and Resource Manager, about what makes Simian so valuable to the creative and marketing pros at the company. Her department assists producers, editors and reps across the full run of Cutters companies and brands. They handle everything from transcoding dailies to tagging the content, generating thumbnails, managing the digital library and uploading of all final work.
What went into your decision to make the switch to Simian?
We transitioned from a system we built ourselves, and in the process we did lots of tests to make sure Simian was right for us. Overall, it’s been a great improvement for our marketing team.
What features did you find most appealing?
The ability to tag was huge. Before, we didn't really have a great way of tagging anything. But now, we can tag things so well, any person on our marketing team can call up spots quickly – they don't have to have to have that encyclopedic knowledge of our work. Another aspect was the ability to brand all our work for our different divisions.
And then there’s the staff – Kellie Atton and the whole team over there. If we have an issue, we just go to them.
What else do you find really valuable about Simian?
Their ability to set levels of password protection is just incredible. At times we have clients with stringent security issues. So we use the Projects tab with our assistants for review and approval and client collaboration and feedback, and they can go ahead and brand the link, protect it and set customized expirations -- that’s been really great for our clients, who need that extra security.
What’s been your experience working with Simian in terms of its responsiveness?
They’re just incredible. Whenever we've had an issue, they often respond within the hour, either with the fix or to let me know they’re working on it. It’s a huge load off my mind. And they’ve worked with our Director of Technology, Elliot Nevills, to develop automated ways of uploading via the Simian API. Everything about working with them is just so painless. You know you’re in good hands when you email them with an issue.
How would you describe Simian’s approach to implementing upgrades and new features?
I like how they always send us an update that lets us know what’s going to be changing so we can check it out before it’s implemented. I think there's a lot of software that sort of just throws the change at you and says, ‘Have fun figuring this out,’ whereas Simian gives us that chance to test it out. And we appreciate that; it never feels like you log in one day and everything looks different.
How important a role does Simian play in Cutters’ ability to deliver work to clients and partners in a timely and efficient manner?
Well, our sales team is on Simian probably all day, every day! The fact that we can have most of our library on Simian for our sales team to say, ‘you know, we're pitching a car spot,’ and they can find a ton of our car work easily and quickly, that’s huge.
Our I/O team is in Simian just about every day, too, getting stuff ready for marketing. So we’re in the interface a ton. And the ability to work quickly is huge, because sometimes our sales team needs a spot up really fast to pitch a job. And my team can quickly and efficiently get that file uploaded, thumbnail ready, everything tagged. Quick is sort of the name of the game in our business, and Simian really helps us do that.
If you were asked to rate Simian by a colleague at another post house, what would you tell them?
I love the support we get from them. It's a big load off my mind knowing I have someone like Kellie who I can email at any time, even to just ask questions like, ‘Am I doing this right?’ That’s a huge deal for us. I also love that I can set up different portals for different people, so we’re not overwhelming them. For example, I can make sure the editorial team has permission for Projects, but they don't need permission for other stuff, like the Reel Library.
Speaking of reels, our reels look nicer than before. The branding looks great, the presentation looks great and I love being able to choose how I want the work presented. And just like everything else about Simian, it’s easy to use. At the end of the day, the product looks incredible.
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