As convergence keeps sucking traditional businesses like agencies, corporate communications, production companies, rental and post houses into its vortex, we are left with a very blurred landscape. Traditionally, a corporation or agency would call a production company who would call rental house and freelancers –- a top-down straight line framework. Everyone’s role in a project was limited and well defined. Now that chain is much more fluid, less defined and constantly shifting.
Today my key role is to get answers to the following questions: Who is in charge of this project, who else is involved and what is the end result?
It is not uncommon for us to get a call from someone at a PR firm who is working with a corporation (that we already do work for) requesting help. Great, what can we do for you? Essentially it comes down to this. Take my problem and make it go away. Not only recommend equipment and people but solve my problems, furnish my creative, handle the logistics, oh, and can you talk to our web guy? Also, we want to use this DP out of New York who has a 7D. Will that work with our in house system?
We don’t just rent a camera , direct a commercial or edit a show anymore . We have to dig a little deeper into what the end client really needs and make sure that what we produce fits in perfectly with all the other participants pieces of the workflow. Essentially we are working more and more as project managers than we are as a supplier of goods and services. So clients/partners, here are few tips to help us help you:
1) When managing a project it is best to start at the end and work you way back. Content may be king but if you don’t meet your deadline with the correct deliverables you and I are toast.
2) Bring all the players to the table at the projects’ inception. It will head off a multitude of potential problems.
3) Don’t withhold information. Working on a “need to know basis” keeps everyone in the dark and leads to assumption and miscommunication .
4) Be decisive. The biggest problem today’s interdependent fluid workflow is that someone has to make a decision. Indecision can ripple through your project causing havoc and headaches.
Now, these points may seem like common sense –- and they are. However : I would not be writing them down if I had not experienced them so often. See you on set.