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Archive for June, 2009

If you love a good treasure hunt, the Free Management Library for non-profits is a fabulous place on the Internet. Yes, the collection is designed primarily for non-profits, but not everything we learn is from sources written specifically for the fim and TV industry. It’s worth learning from more traditional sources too… they share some of the same management issues we deal with, just from a different point of view. And sometimes it’s the other point of view helps solve the problem.

Some of my favourite finds (in no particular order) are articles on: guiding skills (delegation, boosting morale, motivation, mentoring); the PR kit; conflict management; project management. What treasures do you find there?

Some of their links are internal to the Library, whereas others are agregated from all over the world. Good stuff! Enjoy!

Cheers,
Deb

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Keychain Clapboard

The shot had to start really close on the food buffet, and then pull out for the action of scene.

Sure we could start with the camera on wide angle, use the clapboard, and then reset the camera for that extreme close-up beginning… but all that takes precious film-rolling-thru-the-camera time.

Sure we could tail-slate – using the clapboard upsidedown at the end of the scene; however, if not well-practised, tail slates can be forgotten, providing an editing nightmare… or the camera can be in just as an inaccessible position at the end of the scene as it was at the beginning.

I like what our camera department did… using one of those touristy clapboard keychains, and very small writing – the keychain clapboard was just the right size to fill the frame of the extreme closeup. We saved precious film stock, we got a good “clap” (proportionally that is!), we got the shot.

Who’dve thought those touristy things you buy (like keychains) could actually be used on real film set!

Cheers,
Deb

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Life can teach you about filmmaking even when you’re not making films… here are 3 things I learned from racing sailboats:

1. Hire the right team & rely on them
The right team on a racing sailboat is made up of people with differing skills and specialities. With the right folk on the bow, mast, jib trim, main & traveller, winches, helm, navigating, and so on, the boat races efficiently… creating magic as it harnesses the power of the wind. The crew rely on each other – maybe taking input from each other – but each specialist has a responsibility to their job in order to support the entire crew. Sounds familar to a set and film crew?

2. Food is essential
Long distance sailboat racing reveals how critical good food is to the crew and therefore to the boat. With 4-hour watches, a racing member’s waking hours revolves around sailing the boat, taking care of nature and eating. That’s a lot of focus on very few topics for a very long time. After 3 days sailing the Mackinaw race, you’ll hear the various crews in the bar minutes after the race one-upping each other about what they ate during the race, just as much as you’ll hear them brag about winning tactics and manoeuvres. Set crews need good food and craft service just as much to keep their focus.

3. If you always follow the leader… you will never be the leader
If you can see the back end of the boat in front of you, you’ll never pass it; the other boat has the clean air. You have to try different wind, different tactics. Not just to be different – you still have to put thought into your “different” strategy. But only then may you have the chance to pass the leader and win the race. In film you can copy what’s already been done, or you can try something new… not for the sake of being new, but with thought, forge a new path that is uniquely you. That’s has to be a winning strategy no matter what happens – you’ll be true to yourself.

Fair winds and a good shoot to you!

Cheers,
Deb

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“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
 — Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – 2001)

Another great movie moment to help when times are tough. Yeah, we’ve all heard that life isn’t fair. Life is actually neither fair nor not-fair, and yet somehow that seems wrong. We’ve grown up to learn about fairness and being fair since being a tot. What happened to fairness?

I believe that Gandalf reminds us here to put all that “fair” and “not-fair” stuff aside; see and cherish what we do have. Yes, we gotta look for work, worry about finances, all that stuff. But we also have to live our lives inspite of whatever is going on around us. This is the time that is gifted to us – even if the whole package isn’t what we expected it to be. We can at least be a little comforted that we are not alone in wanting things to be different. These times will pass – the good and the bad.

What magic are you going to make out of your life today?

Cheers,
Deb

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