In 2014, I was on location as producer of a factual TV series. Around me on that complex project was a large, talented and dynamic team. Together we pulled together thousands of ideas, made crucial decisions and planned events, harnessing our collective talents with a singular aim in mind – a program of outstanding quality. But something was wrong with this image of frenzied creativity: sure, ideas were flying, schedules were coming together and a clear direction was set but as details passed up and down the chain of command, versions changed, key messages lost clarity, and frustrations boiled over.
“Was I supposed to know that by osmosis?”
“No-one told me!”
“I put that in an email weeks ago.”
“If I’d known, I would have prepared better.”
“I didn’t understand what you wanted.”
Instead of collaborating openly, I found that resourceful, clever creatives were working in silos, duplicating systems while navigating different time zones and rosters under an avalanche of out-of-date printed documents, convoluted email chains and downloadable attachments.
In short, we were producing our series in an environment stuck in time; members of an innovative industry that, bizarrely, remained untouched by the digital revolution. It was one thing to have a vision – holding on to it under these circumstances was, frankly, impossible. In short, we had a big, hairy, blindingly obvious problem with no clear solution.
Something had to change.
There needed to be an inclusive online place for creatives, production teams, talent and freelancers to build and deliver an entire project. Sure, there were a myriad of applications and programs to solve single challenges – Dropbox, Filemaker, Googledocs, Excel and a few standout messaging and task-management apps, but there was nothing that unified an entire project from start to finish.
So, I did what creatives do: I had an idea. To enable me to execute it, I did what families do: I teamed up with my brother. For the 25 years I’d been in the screen industry, Neil Dewey had been building a career as a leading software architect specialising in secure systems and data management. As our dream took flight, another experienced and talented SaaS coder - Stuart Campbell - was inspired to join us. In 2015, Lumi.Media was born.
While I was present for the birth of Lumi.Media, I still had a day job as an executive producer (the original Lumi solution was aimed at helping me to do my job better). I started using the platform in 2017 when I was casting a documentary series for SBS and instead of giving the two new casting producers a briefing over a couple of hours, I gave them a Lumi log-in. They could see everything I’d already done, watch videos, view reference material, and find any contact numbers they needed. Instantly.
That same year, with the backing of a Screen Australia grant and several successful Australian TV programs on board, we expanded our workforce and Lumi.Media became a commercial enterprise. In 2018, experienced Senior producer Lisa Fardy joined the team followed in 2019 by gun line-producer Emma Smith, fresh from the ARIAs (Emma first used the software when she was working with me on that SBS series). Since then we've had a few more industry and dev stars join our team, as well as an AusIndustry Accelerating Commercialisation Entrepreneurs' programme grant).
Lumi.Media’s vision was clear from the start: To enable high performance teams to scale new heights of creativity and productivity, wherever and whenever they work. Everything we set out to do was (and is) founded on three core values:
We empower teams to be their best, together;
We build understanding through transparency, visibility and context; and
We make clever technology that enhances creativity and productivity
It quickly became clear that our platform had phenomenal scope. Beyond its demonstrable impact on the screen production industry, Lumi is primed to transform the way teams work across broadcasting, major events and festivals, and the sporting arena – even talent management – basically any high-performance organisation with teams engaged in ongoing creative projects. Automating time-consuming and repetitive tasks, keeping team members up to date with developments instantly, and providing a platform where all parties interact simultaneously, wherever they are in the world, offers a massive value-add for all of these industries. See faces, read bios, assess plans, coordinate movements, deliver schedules. And not a piece of paper in sight.
I am proud and humbled that some of Australia’s biggest screen production companies have made Lumi an invaluable part of their day-to-day operations – among them a live sports broadcaster and a national film and television education institution. TV programs currently being produced on Lumi include Bondi Rescue, Australia’s Got Talent, The Block, Christians Like Us, and Marry Me Marry My Family. All were looking for a solution to the production mayhem when they found Lumi. Some had tried management software and others had started writing their own. I am so grateful to these pioneer clients; they’re helping to shape our platform and make it great for the whole industry's benefit. Our power users are fantastically ambitious, which makes our product roadmap more and more exciting.
So here I am in 2019 directing one of the most exciting stories of my life. It’s about an executive producer who had a problem that became an idea and, with the help of her big brother, devised a solution. With the support of – and in collaboration with – the fantastic and innovative Australian screen content industry, we have built a unique and dynamic platform that ignites creativity, boosts productivity and importantly, helps creative and production teams work better together.
Take a sneak peek of Lumi in action - > see video
Karen Dewey - CEO Lumi.Media#lumi