Learning Curves

For the second half of this Trimester I have worked on two projects: a film, From Swords to Checkouts and an animation, The MechanicThis Wednesday (7th of December) is the deadline for both projects and, looking back, there are so many things I have learnt about risk mitigation, project management and working with other disciplines that I will be able to incorporate into future projects.

Let’s start with Project 2, the film. The first major change within this project was when we had a meeting with the director in Week 8. There was a lot of changes from the original pitch, which you can see in detail here. From this I learnt that when working with the film and/or animation disciplines, it is always best to communicate with the director ASAP, as it is their creative ‘baby,’ and it is ultimately their vision that is being played out.

Specific Outcomes: 

  • Positive – Our deadline was further away
  • Positive – Didn’t need a lot of focus on the Foley
  • Positive – learnt about screenings and exhibition of the film
  • Neutral – different tone to the film

Therefore, we changed our project plan to accommodate our deadline and started focusing entirely on the composition, keeping in mind the new atmosphere of the film.

The next issue we had was a lack of communication with Jonathon (the director). ‘Lack of’ meaning that we sent him multiple emails and he didn’t reply for a week. After that week 8 meeting he was supposed to send us new reference tracks and an updated sound list, which didn’t actually end up doing until about week 10 I think. In this case, as I was in charge of interdisciplinary liaison,  I’ve learnt that it is a good idea to have more than 1 way to contact someone such as a phone number and email address, rather than just one or the other.

Specific Outcomes:

  • Positive/negative: We decided to cut the Foley entirely out of our workload for this project, as we would have received the sound list much too late. A positive because we had less to do, but a negative that we didn’t get the experience of doing it.

Again, we changed our project plan and schedule to cut out the Foley.

Another issue we overcame was to do with scheduling, as we had planned to go up to uni and do some work on Project 2, but Keely had to cancel last minute for medical reasons. We then rescheduled our session for another day. For further details see this blog. From this I learnt to always have room for error in your schedule. If you have a deadline, make a personal deadline at least a week beforehand to accommodate for any unforeseen circumstances that may occur.

Specific Outcomes:

  • Positive: we booked a session for the following day, which actually worked out better because our studio was available.

An ongoing problem we had was that an instrument pack we downloaded for the composition would stop working every time we reopened our session on a different day. It said that the samples were offline. To see details and how we fixed it go here. From this I’ve learnt that someone will always know the answer, so just keep trying.

Specific Outcomes:

  • Negative: During our tuning session, our demo sounded awful as we had to replace the instrument with something else for the moment to be able to get the MIDI to play.
  • Positive: every time it happens we now know how to quickly and easily fix it, which obviously amplifies our efficiency and use of time in the studios.

Moving on to our side project: The Mechanic, which we actually did not have a lot of problems with, which has been awesome. After our first meeting with Sam, the director, we have been in constant communication with him via text message/phone, which I think is why we’ve had so little problems in comparison to Project Two.

Probably the first thing that went wrong was that same instrument pack that we used in Project Two didn’t work, but as I said Jordan figured out how to fix it so that was all good.

The only other thing was a very failed session that we had a couple of weeks ago, which I blogged about here. What I learnt from that session was always book things in advance, don’t just wing it and always bring all of your equipment because you never know what you’re going to need.

Specific Outcomes:

  • Negative: Wasted 2-3 hours attempting to work on the project, without actually getting anything done.
  • Negative: set us back in our schedule

Keely and I have had to book studios this week (week 12, week of deadline) in order to get the project finished on time, which is not ideal; however it is doable.

This trimester has been a very exciting, massive learning curve. I can’t wait to get started on new things and implement all the strategies I’ve gained.

Thanks for reading!








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