Sunday, 23 March 2014

production work - almost there 2


You have probably near enough finished your production work for this year, so maybe these tips should just be for next year, but I think they have a wider implication.


Last time, I wrote about the value of re-makes in building up your awareness, insights and skills. This time, I want to focus on the importance of doing your job properly and the tension between teamwork and keeping to your role. In coursework productions, print work tends to be done as individual projects, whereas video work is more often done as a team. Personally, I favour teamwork, as two heads (or more) are often better than one; though of course 'too many cooks' can also ruin a project. So how do you strike the right balance?

On a film or TV programme, any look at the credits will reveal just how many people have been involved in making the project happen; and even though there is always a hierarchy in that team, with some jobs being deemed more significant than others, without everyone playing their part effectively and bringing their particular expertise, the project probably wouldn't have happened and certainly would not have been a success. In student coursework, where the teams are much smaller, it is more likely that people do a bit of everything, but it is still important, I think, to have a clear sense of what everyone's role is at any given time.

In the industry,  particular jobs  tend to have quite clear definitions- for example the director, the editor, the cinematographer, the production designer, the producer. The Skillset definitions of each are quite useful, so I have highlighted links to them here. But when you are making something in a small team, it is much more likely that you will all take turns for a bit with the camera, with the editing and so on. Important to this process is that you don't fall out and that any disagreements you have are channelled productively into improving the project. I would suggest that you need to agree a way of working before you start that is acceptable to you all and that you stick to it throughout the project. That way an element of trust will carry you all through the project.

For example, you could agree that if one person is alone editing, they stick to an agreed plan and if they do anything 'individual' that they agree to accept the view of the rest of the group when they come back to see it. So that if the others don't like something about the edit, they agree to 'undo' it. Similarly, you could agree that each member of the group will shoot a particular proportion of the shots so that one person doesn't 'hog' the camera. It is very important not to be too precious about a project- it's not just yours, it's all of the group's.

Similarly, it is important that everyone agrees to pull their weight in a project and not leave it to everyone else to do all the work. There are few things more annoying at the end of a project than seeing someone who did very little end up with the same mark as yourself if you've worked hard throughout! Where you encounter problems of this kind, it is important to address them early on in the process, so that everyone does get fully involved.

So it's important to get that balance between pulling your weight and having the chance to contribute. It's not an easy thing to do, but if you succeed it can make your project so much better!

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