Shelly Wilkes is the Director of Event Presentation for the Orlando Magic, a professional basketball team that competes in the NBA (National Basketball Association). Shelly not only directs event presentation but also oversees the broadcast production and creative services departments. The Magic are known in the industry as innovators and seek to leverage new technologies to deliver a better game experience to their fans.
The REAL cost of an Excel workflow
Prior to using Shoflo, Shelly would create a high level production schedule in Excel like most teams. Then, she’d send it to her department heads about a week before game day for adjustments and fine tuning of script copy, graphic changes and technical cues. The problem was that each of these changes required new versions to be saved and then emailed back out to everyone. All too often, various departments would be making changes at the same time and someone would then have to merge all those versions into the new master – resulting in more billable hours and wasted resources.
“The most frustrating part for me was that I didn’t always know if everyone was working off of the same document version. It was frustrating to get into a production meeting and realize that a crew member just didn’t have the most updated version and had prepared based on an outdated script” – Shelly Wilkes
Shelly started looking for a better way and soon discovered Shoflo, a real time game scripting software for live event production. With Shoflo, Shelly was able to invite her team into a real time, collaborative environment where all changes were seen instantly. After joining the Shoflo team for a demo and then working with their software development team on some NBA specific improvements, Shelly saw that incorporating Shoflo into their event presentation could really improve their ability to both create and execute their game scripts.
“We were able to see how efficient we were going to become by utilizing this product… it was just going to make everything easier for us preparing for every game” – Shelly Wilkes
Matt Keller, the Assistant Director of Event Presentation, was initially apprehensive about transitioning their workflow to Shoflo but after the first preseason game, he was sold. Matt has completely bought in and now helps lead his team in better using Shoflo to make their events more efficient.
After using Shoflo for a full season, it was clear that Shoflo’s real time updates quickly alleviated the difficulty of reconciling multiple script versions between departments. Tyler Edwards, Magic’s Event Presentation Manager, was responsible for building the Magic’s game scripts in the 2015/2016 season. After switching to Shoflo, he was able to save significant amounts of time on script preparation.
“When [Tyler] was starting with the excel system we were using, it was taking him about a day to build an entire script. He’s cut down on that time by at least 50% so that he’s now able to take on more roles and responsibilities within our department.” – Shelly Wilkes
The transition to Shoflo was an easy one. By importing their existing scripts into Shoflo via a CSV file, Tyler immediately had a base script to work from for the next game. Shoflo’s duplication feature meant they would never start from scratch, but get to leverage everything they had been building on in the last game. The software saved them effort with auto time calculations, which made it easy to adjust timing for each cue or game element. The team would access Shoflo throughout the week and make their notes, there was no need manually compile the edits from different departments or email updates every time a change was made. There was simply one accurate script that could easily be referenced by any team member, at any time. Some crew members still preferred to work or read from paper scripts, but with Shoflo’s PDF export, it was simple for them to download and print the latest version complete with highlights and formatting.
After adopting Shoflo into their workflow, the Magic’s production meetings became much more streamlined. From the very outset, the entire crew was on the same page whether they chose to use Shoflo on their laptop, tablet, phone or printed on paper. Operating from the exact same starting point made it easy for Shelly to review the game day script with her crew and discuss any potential adjustments. Shelly would lead her meetings using Shoflo’s Show Caller Tracking feature, which allowed her crew to automatically follow her as she jumped from element to element.
The Magic run a complex and professional in-game entertainment show, coordinating an array of technical elements for the jumbotron, LED ribbons, lights, sound and more. Shoflo’s real time software not only helps production teams build their scripts, but the LIVE features of Shoflo helps execute production cues more efficiently. Changes always happen in a live production with elements getting cut or times getting extended. Because Shoflo is real time, Shelly & Matt were able to make those changes mid-game and know that the crew was going to keep up. They were able to run elements out of order or skip over elements easily using the Show Caller Tracking feature.
“Now when we make changes on the fly during a game everyone knows exactly what’s happening and exactly what’s been changed. It’s been a great change to our workflow, it’s made everyone much more efficient as well as more knowledgeable about what’s going on during the game.” – Shelly Wilkes
Matt uses Shoflo’s Show Caller Tracking feature to help him call the game from court side. Show Caller tracking allows crew members to automatically follow an individual as they advance through the game script element by element. When the current game element is highlighted, Shoflo displays what needs to be done by each department as well as the amount of time remaining before the next begins.
Industry Leaders in Sport Production
As the Director of Event Presentation over the past 10 years, Shelly has watched event technology develop and constantly seen how strong an impact it has on the game entertainment industry. As an industry leader, the Magic seek to be the first in the market to leverage new technologies and be ambitious with production of their in game presentation. Working with Shoflo to create a better workflow has provided another opportunity for the Magic to lead the industry and continue to be at the forefront of professional sports production.
“At the Orlando Magic we try to be very technologically advanced and be the first to try new products. Shoflo was an opportunity use a new technology that could be used to create a better work environment for everyone on our staff” – Shelly Wilkes
Visit the Orlando Magic’s official website.