LOEWS HOTEL — With more than 250,000 iPhone Apps available, it seems like these days, there’s an app for just about everything. Jim Robertson and Richard Kwiat, creators of the app Doddle, hope to do more than just contribute to that statistic.
“We like to say [Doddle] is by the industry for the industry,” said Harvey Osborn, global head of sales at Doddle, at a press conference held Friday at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel during the third day of the American Film Market, one of the largest motion picture trade shows on the planet. AFM is held annually in Santa Monica, attracting over 8,000 industry professionals.
The original app, which was released on April 12, is like a paperless version of the Yellow Pages. It aggregates contact information about film production industry resources, such as professional vendors, crew, talent, locations and film offices, in a database and allows users to search listings based on how far it is from their current location.
So far, about 6,000 people have downloaded the app, said Osborn.
In addition to being a resource guide, Doddle Pro, which is expected to roll out within the next two weeks, offers productivity tools, such as interactive call sheets that aggregate useful information — from local weather to emergency phone numbers — into one place. The call sheets then become available for users in online and PDF format.
“The digital call sheets allow you to pull everything together you want. It makes it very easy,” said Osborn.
Some people, however, are skeptical about its usefulness.
“Something like this would probably be good for low budget stuff, but for bigger productions, I don’t see it making any difference,” said Samuel Alvelo, who has worked as a set production assistant for “Inception” and “The Hangover.” “When you come to Los Angeles, there’s a production bible. It combines that with all the [other directories] … . I can see how it could benefit people, but for what I need, most hiring I’ll do is through word-of-mouth and who I’ve worked with before.”
Currently, the database has 1 million listings that can be searched by name, location and other contact information.
“[Doddle] fills a gap, in that it enables local communities [to attract customers] … . We’re hoping that it will pull in people from other areas coming to Los Angeles,” said Osborn, referring to the restaurant, hotel and business finder function.
Brian Chase, director of government affairs at the Chamber of Commerce, sees the app playing into Santa Monica’s sustainability goals.
“All over the world and particularly in Santa Monica, [sustainability is] really a core value of all of our businesses,” said Chase. “Without resources like this, you may never know what’s down the street or what’s readily available to you. A really important element of sustainability is being able to spend locally.”
Chase said that the app has the potential to drive traffic to businesses, increasing sales and tax dollars.
“We’re global innovators in this space,” said Osborn. “The only limitations we have is our imagination.”
Doddle Pro is expected to be released to the United Kingdom and Europe next month and the rest of the world in 2011.