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Friday, February 10, 2006

Tougher than I thought

Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,

The process of making films is harder than I thought. I'm trying to learn everything at the same time (writing, storyboarding, directing, film equipment, purchasing, production design, and editing) and it feels really overwhelming. But what is even more difficult is trying to put together a crew and supervising them. When people hear about making films, they are often intrigued and want to help. The problem is that they want to be told what to do but I myself am still in the early learning process so I don't even have that answer for myself. Thus, I find myself on a one-way street trying to contact and motivate those who initially showed excitement, hoping that they don't lose motivation. I have the feeling that if I don't call people about the film, I won't receive a call. If I don't set goals and deadlines, then others won't either. Its almost like everyone is "on-call", waiting for me to tell them what to do next. Keep in mind that if I don't contact people on your team on a consistent basis, then you're going to find them working on their own personal projects, and the group project ing going to get thrown in the backburner.

Though my experience of working on different projects, I have learned that it is VERY rare for people to taking the initiative. Society teaches us to be followers and doesn't encourage us to lead. So most people need to be told what to do and find it difficult to bring in and lead others. The fear of failing is in all of us, leaders and otherwise, but failing isn't always bad. Each time you fail, you get stronger...you get smarter...you learn from that experience.

What I'm trying to say is that if you are going to start your own film company, be prepared with the idea on doing everything yourself. The fact is that we live in a world of coca-cola people (when you shake them, they get excited but the fizz quickly goes away). I hope the Ummah Films crew that we have now is different InshAllah and their motivation will last till at least one film is complete, but its still too early to tell. Everyone is excited, everyone is motivated, but that is expected with a new company.

I suppose the reason why I studying everything about film making (instead of focusing and specializing in one skill) is because in the back on mind I'm preparing myself for the worse-case scenario of filming the movie without a crew like Robert Rodriquez. I hope it doesn't come down to that InshAllah because we really have a talented group of creative people with Ummah Films. In time we’ll see, InshAllah.

I really would rather just focus one learning one part of the film making process (i.e. editing) and be an expert at it so we can come out with a better film, but at this point I don't have that luxury.
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At August 03, 2006 3:15 PM, Blogger Chris Baines said...

I am writing here in the past of your weblog, so perhaps you have ironed out how to deal with issues of generating autonomy amongst team members.

Additionally, I can see you have been there before (i.e. worked with teams).

It came to my mind to make team members involuntarily empowered with a view to finding their role in the project and also helping you to find a framework yourself.

Simple brainstorming sessions, where everyone contributes ideas (which are neither accepted or rejected, regardless of how rational or far-fetched they appear to be) would easily satisft removing the burden from you of giving everyone a role and also trying to work out how the project should shape-out.

Once ideas have been provided from a brainstorming session, it should be just a simple job of deciding not only what everyone is good at (from the types of ideas each unqiue individual has submitted) but also form the basis for forming a framework in your own mind and then using the ideas as a basis to negotiate with each individual participant a "job description" (which they should already be happy with, given that it is based on ideas they have suggested).

This whole exercise should also separate the "talkers" from the "walkers", although I can see that as a seasoned revert, you are already adept at working out who fits into these two categories in a short space of time.

This is some advice from my time in managing projects.


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