Siggraph 2017 Panel – Online Studios

I’ll be speaking on a panel at Siggraph to showcase our work on The Wrong Rock and talk about working in an online studio environment. http://s2016.siggraph.org/birds-feather Remote Studio Productions: Online Collaboration Tuesday, 1 August, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Los Angeles Convention Center A discussion of issues related to online collaboration in production.

Production Tips – Recruiting Database

Continuing on from the last Production Tip blog about Tracking Production… The Recruiting Database This might seem creepy but I kept a spreadsheet with some basic information on everyone on the team… or anyone interested in joining the team. The key thing I used this for was to remember their strengths, up to years after I last had any contact with them. We had over 400 volunteers sign up and many more that I spoke to outside of our development site. It could get very difficult for me to remember every encounter, especially since most were only over email. I tended to remember shots in reels better than the specifics about my conversations with each artist. Some would be people that left the project and rejoined a year later, and it was key to remember their strengths and weaknesses. I would score them in a few very important areas: Talent (0 to 4) – The quality of their reel, this would be updated with each encounter and if their work on the film differed from the work in their reel. Communication (0 to 3) – Their communication skills including written English and responsiveness. A world wide project can have some severe problems with […]

Production Tips – Tracking Production

Kenny Roy asked me to contribute some anecdotes for a presentation he’s putting on, and I thought it would be a good idea to share them here. Tracking Production I’m a keen addict of a good Excel spreadsheet that tracks the progress of each project. My short film was no different and over time I was able to show the progress of each department across the duration of the film. I let Excel save out an image of two charts that were then synced to a public folder on Dropbox. The first just showed the progress level in the main categories  It was published to our development website and quickly allowed anyone to see how far we were. It was also embedded into the beginning of the animatic edit. The image simply overwrote each time I saved so it was always up to date and showed up in each export of the animatic that I published about once every two weeks. The second graph showed the progress over time. This was very useful as we could aim for a date and see roughly when departments were getting behind. It allowed me to respond by changing assignments, recruiting more or less in each skill […]

Guiding vs Micromanaging

This is a tough balance for any Director. You want to communicate your vision and give your team firm direction as they go along, but if you tell them how to do their job down to the finest detail there’s nothing for them to get any satisfaction from. They’ll quickly realize there’s no point in using their creativity, and problem solving skills, and they’ll lose their personal investment in the task. Then all you have is a clock punching drone, waiting to go home. But that’s in the work place. On a volunteer based film production it can mean you lose their interest entirely, and you lose a team member. Since ‘Devils, Angels and Dating’ was produced entirely online I can’t even be sure when that happened to my team mates. I’m positive it must have occurred on some level for some people, as we had plenty of turnover with team members, like any volunteer based project. But without dealing with them in person it’s hard to figure out where that line is with each team member. Usually in person you can tell. Body language, mood and tone of voice are going to tell you a lot about how someone is taking […]