The business, particularly in television and streaming content has grown exponentially here in NYC. It's a great thing. As in most fields, advances in technology have had a major effect on production. A far larger community of local film crews have grown.
In my father's time doing films and television in NY (and when my friends and I were starting out), you knew pretty much everyone on your crew and that of whatever other shows were shooting in town. Now, we find there are always new folks, new names to learn. A mixed bag of terrific additions and some who are rather green who lack the skill sets that were once baseline standards. The technology helps, but is not a replacement for smarts and ability, alas!
While almost everyone who designs or wardrobe supervises has used programs to do our breakdowns of scenes, changes, etc. for years, there are programs that have become standard and all info that is input onset can be accessible to those who are invited in to a particular production.
With the likes of Sync on Set, your crew can upload a photo and information on set which you can plug into from wherever you are. Their website: https://www.synconset.com
It is one great way to bring new crew members up to speed on the look of a character and of your particular show.
We all rely on cell phones, iPads, Google and other search engines to get addresses, phone numbers, check on files stored in "the cloud". It is no longer necessary to haul note books around while hunting and gathering for costumes, props, etc... With shops going out of business on a daily basis in NYC, it's good to know if the shop you are headed to still exists.
At the production end, over the years, as information could be distributed later and later, it has had the unfortunate side effect of very last minute decision making becoming a matter of course.
At the costume end, previous to all the great technological innovations, you would make a shopping list with pretty much all your sizes and casting compiled before you left the studio in the morning. Casting was done enough ahead of time so that you could really nail a look without fear of being late for a fitting- you had some time to assemble the best choices for both the character and the available budget.
Nowadays, we all find ourselves looking for a decent hot spot to check e-mails or ever changing size charts online to see if casting has happened, what the actor looks like, what size he/she is. A big chunk of time is spent checking on information where the actual work at hand stops as you look for updates. It is a mixed bad of dealing with the pros and cons of an ever changing technology and its effects.
While sorting through old family file boxes at my studio yesterday, I came across a letter my father had received from Aaron Russo, who produced a Brian De Palma film dad was the scenic artist on.
It is an item I will treasure which shows the absolute class and personal touch that existed in the film industry and particularly of Mr. Russo. Although not every producer may have hand signed a thank you note and mailed it to a crew member, this stands as a testament to the fact that the good guys and gals exist. Sadly, Aaron Russo died far too young, but I am so glad to find this lovely note in these days where basic good manners sometimes go out the window.