Saturday, April 26, 2008

Be a film star for a day

When you get to film school, you are immediately taught that making movies is a collaborative art. That lesson is constantly reinforced and repeated. It's a great lesson, not just for movies, but for life. The LA Times, in its almost-always interesting series about small businesses (I almost always end up reading these articles) profiles a company called "Lights, Camera, InterAction," a company that sets up corporate training events as short commercial shoots.

I think this is a great idea. I had a similar idea several years ago as a potential fundraiser for USC, but didn't go anywhere with it, and never even proposed it to anyone else or wrote it down. So now I have no proof that I had it. But trust me, I did! I didn't go anywhere with it because I have had lots of ideas that didn't go anywhere, so the whole dream-didn't-work-out thing is not that big of a deal for me.

In the business world, or just about any professional environment, you are held accountable by your colleagues. If a doctor screws up, it affects the nurses as well as the patients. If a teller at a bank screws up, it affects the manager. We all know this, but it's not always immediately obvious.

On a film set, it's immediately obvious. Every person on the shoot is intimately dependent on every other person, sometimes on a second-by-second basis. The sound guy isn't ready at the right time? That means the camera crew is waiting, wasting their time. An actress flubs her lines? Everyone has to reshoot. On a film shoot, you learn how very, very quickly who else is responsible and can be depended on. And you learn equally quickly to important it is to have your own act together.

If this whole blogging thing doesn't make me rich, I might apply for a job with this company.


ITF said...

This sounds like a variation on improv comedy as a corporate teamwork training event, which I sometimes teach. In Improv, you are absolutely dependent on everyone else on stage. Instead of "I think X." and "I think Y" you get "I think X." and "I think Y, and this is how it relates to X."

JohnTEQP said...

That's close, but there's another element working on a film set. It's not just about thinking in relation to each other - it's about doing. If you don't do your job, everyone else suffers.

Consider a production designer. She has to work with the camera crew to make sure the color and textures of the set work with the camera and film (or video) they have selected. She has to work with the sound people to make sure nothing makes too much noise. She has to coordinate with costume, hair and makeup. Same with all of the other departments. It requires a degree of coordination that most people don't experience in their jobs every day. Most jobs require interaction between departments, but it's usually over a distance, either of space or time. In my job, I don't even see most of the people I work with. On a film set, they are right there.