I have had a few experiences leading a team before but nothing within such as creative project, which followed such an engaging brief. When my pitch was chosen I was very excited about leading and also very nervous. As this brief was from such an interesting looking company that has hired graduates from our course before, there was a lot riding on this, for me and my team members.
I learned a lot from this project.
I was very conscious of making sure everyone was able to get their ideas heard and involved in the final thing that is may have been to the detriment of the decision-making process.
I also had a concern of overloading my team with tasks and meetings whilst we have another module to complete, I know I was letting mine take the back burner a little so I didn't want to hinder anyone else's and micromanage when it wasn't necessary. In hindsight, more meetings may have helped keep everyone on the same page and lessened confusion in some aspects. This particularly should have been the case with the final animations.
One of the big communication problems I struggled with as the director was trying to communicate in online meetings, there would be a lot of me asking a question to my group and there was silence. What didn't help is that I was often the only one with my camera on and so there were no visual clues to help with these moments. I noticed when we started having more in-person meetings towards the end of the term that the level of conversation really improved and meetings were much more productive. However, it did not improve for members of my team struggling with the language barrier. In online meetings, a specific person uses the real-time transcript on teams to help understand what is being said. That, the recording aspect and the ability to share screen, are useful things about Teams that help make sure everyone knows what's going on.
So in the end we had more online meetings to help with this and managed to get more engagement by asking people directly what that thought.
As this was such an abstract concept to nail down there were parts that were hard to keep track of for the whole group. A particular miscommunication that happened was about all the outside-facing parts of the cube being the maze. Because all our concepts were 2D images from one angle and many of them sketches, it wasn't clear to many members on the team that it would go all the way around the cube. It wasn't clear to me that this confusion had happened until we had the first 3D model tests and there were blank spaces.
I feel this could have been prevented by treating the cube more like a character, making more contractions sheets and turnaround to get the full concept across
Whilst people with other roles in the production process could dip in and out when needed, the director had to be present and engaged at all points. My want for everyone to have their say lead to a lot of time considering the decisions that had to be made, I myself completing a lot of the pre-production concept art to try and better show what the best combination of our ideas would look like (However this was greatly helped by Xiaoxuan Zhao). More ruthlessness here would have moved our project on a lot more quickly.
Adding to this, the Production Manager (Kelly Clayton), whilst very valuable at times, was also completing the extra curricular Virtual Anatomy project so could not balance the organisation between us quite as evenly. I was happy to take on the extra general production organisation, meeting planning, meeting leading and decision making. It was still very helpful at times to have someone to talk one on one with about the project and what to do next, she also kept a good record of feedback that Wild Child was giving us in the feedback sessions and is our top 3D tech support for whatever questions we had about that.
Overall I think this model took more priority for me because of the potential job aspects and the chance to get to interact with a real studio out in the industry. I really put my all into the presentations and responding to their feedback as best we could. I do still think I have progressed a lot with my Advanced Production project this term, however, due to their being more time to focus solely on that project in Term 3, I did take this opportunity to learn everything I could about directing a team, delegating tasks and completing a project such as this.