The last few days have been quite eventful.
On Thursday, we were introduced to the Short Film module, and especially to the idea of effective group formation. I couldn’t believe my eyes – a whole day dedicated to team building! The most important exercise we had was Paper Bridge Building – where we had to create a paper bridge in a group.
From the very start of the day, I joined Rebecca Jackson and Sophie Lees so we were working together on all tasks, later joining another small group for the paper bridge – but we stayed in this ‘threesome’ as a core. They are two of the people I’ve always wanted to try and work with, most of the stuff I’d seen by them had been very original, creative, and inspirational (let’s not forget the Zombie Mockumentary ‘The Life of a Dead Man’ Rebecca’s group produced last term, and I thought I hated zombie films… – and Sophie is as fanatic about sound and music in films as I am!). Also, from what I’d seen on their blogs and from discussions in workshops, I felt like it would be good to try and work together.
So on Friday, I emailed Bekki and asked her if she was up for collaboration. We took it from there really, we spent half of Saturday discussing online what we want from this project and from the team we’d ideally want to put together. Our next obvious action was to approach Sophie, and then we added the last touch to the group – inviting Seb Shaw to join us. Rebecca is working with him on one of the Iceland projects that the university is involved with, and from what we had seen so far, he is the type of person who usually has a clear idea what needs to happen, and he makes it happen.
It’s only been four days, though it seems like we’ve always been working together. Everyone seems to be excited about the project and especially the group, we’re joking we’re ‘Team ProActive’. Personally, I am loving the creative spirit within the team, as well as the mutual respect and the attitude we’re already demonstrating towards each other and towards the group project.
We’ve already discussed what main role each of us would like to be responsible for in the Short film project. We’ve decided that Sophie will be in charge of Sound and Music, Rebecca will be our Director of Photography, Seb will be in charge of Scriptwriting, and I will take the challenge to be a Director. Of course, that only means ‘in charge of’ – everyone will be involved (and is already getting involved) with all aspects of the project, but we think it is good to have a single point of responsibility for roles people want to focus on anyway.
Since we have different time schedules, we haven’t been able to organise a proper ‘face to face’ meeting yet, but we’ve already had two very productive Facebook group meetings. To be honest, I was a bit wary of Facebook meetings as all my previous experience with collaborating on Facebook and setting meetings there had been disastrous, but to my surprise our group works extremely well in this environment. We’ve already discussed most of our areas of interest within a media production, who can do what and who would like to focus on (aside from the main roles already mentioned), we’ve pitched our short film ideas and already have a shortlist of ideas we like, we’ve developed some of them, we had a brainstorming meeting for the Nokia Short assignment, and now we have an almost 100 % ready plan for the project. We’ve also agreed on a name for the group (NUFilm Productions), we already have a Vimeo account setup, the blog is on the way, and we’re drafting out a logo. Here are two ideas:
1. Sophie’s design
2. My design
I think we’re building a very healthy creative relationship within the team. The most important hint for me is the fact that we are all sharing our ‘raw’, ‘imperfect’, ideas with each other, there is no fear of misunderstanding, and I think we all feel each other’s support when brainstorming and developing our ideas. As I wrote recently, I’m trying to embrace a ‘trust not fear’ attitude in creative projects, especially when involving team work, and I think our group is definitely working from a ‘trust’ perspective. The fear that is usually associated with media projects (especially student projects), is pretty much non-existent. No idea is too crazy or too bad – each idea is used as a source for inspiration for developing it, or for coming up with a better idea. I’ve often been part of discussions where too ‘simple’ ideas have been frowned upon or reactions to other ideas have been negative, the ‘we can’t possibly do this’ kind of look… And I think in our group this is happening very rarely.
I think our main task will be to keep the spirit in the group. I believe the team attitude is what makes or breaks a project – if we are motivated, we’ll find a way to deal with whatever problems arise – be it technical or creative. But if we lose this spirit, there is a small chance we produce something extraordinary.