- ROI: Producers want to monetize their movie projects and win awards. Yet, they routinely lose money since they are forced to deal with many uncertainties that are difficult to control. Directors yearn to materialize the project they envision. Yet, they are frequently sidetracked by changing scope. We discuss how buffer management can unite producers, directors and cast & crew around the shared goal of ROI maximization. We discuss how accelerate the flow of films through all movie production stages, from development to post-production using Agile CCPM by protecting ROI from the inevitable surprises which occur during production.
- Focus: The history of movie business is filled with stillborn or never-born projects. In the fog of moviemaking, it is critical to create the visibility to see where the focus should be to reach the goal. A veteran movie production manager has said, moviemaking is a like military campaign: “There are specific objectives, fluid conditions, safety concerns, and logistics. But at least no one is trying to kill us.” Movie projects are constrained by changes in the weather, cast and crew health, and other late breaking developments. With very little room for error. We will discuss, how some movie production failures could have been avoided using TOC thinking with lessons learned. Insights will be shared from our applications to an independent feature film production in the U.S.
- Harmony: Movie production is a team sport. The better the dynamics are among cast and crew, the fewer hiccups during production. Hiccups that cost money and delay return. We will discuss how to create a conflict free movie making environment where the financial side and creative side work together harmoniously using buy in process/layers and conflict clouds. This includes the Catch 22 cloud which focuses on the following conflict: it is hard to get cast without the money and it is hard to get the money without the cast.
- Agility and Safety: Movie making is risky business. Filmmaking craves agility and resilience in the face of ever-changing production conditions. There is a need to avoid accidents and costly rework. There are countless little things that might go unnoticed. But the unnoticed can turn into a big problem later. Hence movie productions continue to be high risk operations, frequently resulting in death and injuries. We will discuss how TOC tools are complementary with the practices of high reliability organizations (HRO). We will discuss how to achieve effective and agile responsiveness for unexpected events and proactively engage problems to increase resilience. This will include insights from an application in the German film industry.
3 questions somebody would ask
- How does this improve Movie Development and Production stages?
- Which metrics are considered for success?
- What are the expected entertainment industry specific challenges and how can they be addressed?
This presentation focuses on application of TOC thinking along with complementary tools for Movie Production. Similar to like a military campaign:, movie productions have specific objectives, fluid conditions, safety concerns, and logistics challenges. We present applications from concept development and financing to post production with examples from an independent feature film production in the US. In addition, we present how TOC can further strengthen the High Reliability Organization practices to increase safety and agility in the movie sets.
Why was there a need for change?
Entertainment industry going through a major transformation with the growth of streaming options. Major Hollywood Studies are going through very difficult times. Paramount lost $450M and Sony Pictures lost over $900M in 2016. Over 50% of the movies continue to lose money. Movie production continues to be a very high risk business. In addition, current safety practices on movie sets fail to prevent deaths and injuries.
What to Change?
Planning and execution of production and post-production: Schedule, Scope and Budget Management and application of High Reliability principles in integration with TOC tools and strategies.
What to Change to?
Apply Best of the Breed techniques to improve movie production ROI and Safety:
1) The addition of scope buffers and budget buffers to augment CCPM’s traditional emphasis on schedule buffers, boosting documentary production success while allowing harmonious integration of scope-buffered project methods (such as Agile) into CCPM.
2) A key element of agility for High Reliability is predictability. You cannot be agile if you do not know what you have done on the set that has led to success in the past. Standardized performance of tasks allows for the agility your need when new or different element are presented, but elements of preoccupation with failure and reluctance to simplify mean a commitment to doing things right every time. We integrate 5 HRO principles below with TOC thinking:
- Preoccupation with failure embodies the vigilance towards system vulnerability and early engagement of problems.
- Reluctance to simplify recognizes the complexity of multiple interactions at the local level.
- Sensitivity to operations describes the priority of local discrepancies, disturbances, and interruptions.
- Deference to expertise recognizes the importance of local knowledge gained from interacting with the situation.
- Commitment to resilience supports the open-ended working of a problem until it resolves.
How to Cause the Change?
We will discuss how we approached various production teams and how we applied the best of the breed strategy and tactics with them.
What is the impact of the new knowledge to the existing accepted strategy and tactic trees?
This will result in better flow of Movie Production Projects from the initial development stage to post-production with enhanced ROI and safer production conditions.