By Dan O’Reilly-Rowe, 2009.

The goals of community media are not the same as those of mainstream commercial producers, and nor are its production models. This activity helps participants break down the crew roles and their organisational model in mainstream film and television production, and then encourages them to consider what type of organisational structure is most appropriate to their own community media production.

Goals

  • Familiarise the group with the standard roles and process of film & video production
  • Critically re-evaluate an appropriate crew organisation for the group’s own production process

Participants

  • Unlimited

Duration

2 hours

Equipment/Resources

  • Index cards (some blank, some pre-prepped with a film crew role written on them – eg director, make-up artist, sound recordist… etc)
  • Markers
  • Butcher’s paper

Instructions

  • Place three pieces of butcher’s paper in a line on the floor, and have all participants gather around them.
  • Label the three pages: PRE-PRODUCTION, PRODUCTION, POST-PRODUCTION
  • Ask the group if anyone knows how each of these three main phases of film production (sometimes referred to as five, as in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filmmaking). Describe each phase and check for comprehension.
  • Distribute index cards with crew roles written on them randomly among the group so that each participant holds a few cards. Keep some blank cards in reserve.
  • Go around the group and ask each person to share the roles that they hold, and describe what that role’s responsibilities are.
  • If they do not know what a role is, appeal to the rest of the group to see if someone can explain the role before describing it yourself.
  • Once all roles have been described, have participants place the card on the page of the production phase in which that job occurs. If the job appears in more than one phase, participants can use blank index cards to make duplicates.
  • After all roles have been allocated to a phase, stand back and ask the group to evaluate if any need to be moved.
  • What is missing? Participants can suggest other roles that might be necessary (especially to their own production) and use blank cards to add them.
  • Now, have the participants work together to rearrange the roles into a hierarchy that resembles an organisational chart, or a chain of command.
  • Discuss the appropriateness of this type of structure to your crew’s production. Very often this type of organisation is not appropriate or desirable in community and youth media because it tends to concentrate decision-making power in the hands of one or a few participants, whereas the purpose of much community media is to promote an equal distribution of power among the group, and to craft a production as a collective.
  • Participants should propose structures that are more appropriate to their situation and demonstrate them by manipulating the cards, perhaps layering them on top of one another or changing the shape of the organisational chart.

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