Tips for Making Films with a Remote Team

I contributed some tips to the Artella Blog. Advanced Tips Recruiting – Depending on your own strongest skills it might not be worth recruiting for some skill sets. Recruitment is a commitment in itself and it can be very time consuming reaching out, filtering, vetting and introducing new team members. That might be time better spent working on the project yourself. While some areas are easy to recruit for and benefit the project greatly. Choose wisely. Communication – This is key to every team member, especially when you’re operating a remote project. If a team member lacks the language skills, can’t write responses or even read your notes…. it’s going to be a struggle. Partnership – Find out what your team members want to get out of their involvement in the project, then make sure they are getting it. If people realize they aren’t getting what they want and they’re paid they won’t last long. But if they realize they’re not getting what they want and they’re volunteers, they’ll drop the project so fast, you often won’t even hear about it until you’ve wasted a lot of time chasing them. So make sure both sides are meeting their goals, or […]

Sir Billi – Animated Feature

It’s been a seven year wait but finally… I had the DVD in my hands. Back in 2006 I took an enormous risk to quit my seven and a half year tenure at Rare, a large character focused games studio owned by Microsoft, to work on a little known animated feature in Scotland, called Sir Billi the Vet (later renamed Sir Billi). I spent six months there, ultimately supervising about 30 minutes of the animated footage and pulling together a respectable animation crew that thrived during a very troubled production. I finally watched the film… It would be very easy to criticize it (and many have) but watching it has been quite enlightening for me. It’s possible I’ve grown my first patch of grey hair doing so, and I may have a permanent frown from the wind changing while I was watching (old wives tale). But it was interesting. It holds up as an excellent example to filmmakers… of what not to do. I think it could be used in classes to highlight many typical flaws that most filmmakers only skirt past without ever really doing so badly that they’d get called out for it. But here it’s all on […]

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 […]