So this blog is going to be another one from me that’s focused on our specialism here at MWS of video production. However, I think that the process of building a strong team is something than can be applied to most other professional sectors.
I’m going to use the analogy of a sports team to represent how we focus our services at MWS. The obvious choice would be football seeing as its the most popular sport in this country however, I personally don’t believe in a sport that involves diving without any water so I’m going to use rugby. Joking aside I think that the roles in rugby are more specialised which does lend itself better to the point I’m going to present.
Don’t worry no revision or research is required as I’ll explain the roles on pitch and their transferable companions in the video world. Observe:
The Forwards 1-8
The Tight 5 - Production Crew
In rugby the forwards are the big players (see above) and they use their considerable frames and weight to win and control the ball. The tight 5 are 5 very specialised individuals who have key roles each of which contributes to winning the ball at set pieces; jumping in a line out, striking the ball at a scrum. This relates directly to our production team on the ground. We chose them because of how good they are at specific skills; camera operator, sound recordist, lighting technician, grip. They are the crew on the ground in the thick of it, getting their hands dirty and working as a unit (see above). Much like the tight 5 they are closely knit, often dependent on each others skills to be at their most effective. And they always argue amongst each other about things you don’t really understand. “You’re binding in the wrong position and I can’t get a clean strike!!” Said the director of photography.
Back Row 6-7-8— Specialised Crew/Actors
The 3 remaining forwards are called the back row. These players are still up front winning the ball but they are able to operate slightly more independently and may have further specified roles and skills depending on the game/production. So on set we’re talking about actors, makeup artists, prop supervisors, carpenters, set designers. People who contribute to production, often in their own individual way, but also working with the other forwards when they need too. They also tend to be better looking than the tight 5 on account of less broken noses and cauliflower ears caused by clumsy boom operators.
Half Backs 9-10 - Director/Producer
So in rugby the scrum half and the fly half, as epitomised by household names Austin Healy and Johnny Wilkinson (see above), are the guys who run the show. They may not be seen getting their hands dirty very often but their job is to orchestrate the rest of the team to get the best results. The scrum half is by association in charge of the forwards so the closest comparison is the director. Their job is to get the most out the forwards and then deliver the ball to the fly half when they think its ready. The fly half is the producer, often the ideas person, key strategist, overseer and often puts a lot trust in the director to get it right for them. As a result these two are closely knit, always communicating and often driving the whole process. They usually have a key working knowledge and a hand in choosing the rest of the crew for each project. They will also be heavily involved in the planning stages of projects, figuring out the best strategies and plans of attack. Due to them not being in the thick of the action these people will almost always have immaculate hair and will often have active endorsements from hair product companies.
Midfield/Centers 12-13 - Production Assistants/Assistant Directors
These guys are there to do some of the legwork alongside the two half backs. They will receive specific direction about what they need to do from the director and producer. Their roles may vary from game to game/project to project but they are the main support team on set. Often competent directors/producers themselves, they usually know where they need to be and what they need to do before they’re told. These people are your assistant directors, production assistants, runners, script supervisors and other such roles.
Wingers/Fullback 11-14-15 - Post production Team
Often simply called the back 3 the wingers or fullbacks primary function is to finish the job, score the try and bring it home. You can probably guess were I’m going with this one in terms of the production team. Our editors/animators/audio mixers are the people that take all of the hard work done before them, add some graft of their own and carry the whole thing over the line. Often we specialises further in the field of post production using different skills in areas of design, animation, sound, colour correction or narrative editing. So you always pick the best played for the job. The full back also has another key job in rugby. Their job is to tidy up when things don’t quite go to plan. It’s often not a mistake were talking about, it could be something that’s out of the hands of the production team like weather, traffic or something similar; much like a great piece of skill by an opposition player can cause problems for a defence in rugby. The fullback or editor however has the skills to allow them to fix such problems, hide things away and otherwise help the rest of the team out. It’s worth noting that there might be occasions were the back 3 can’t cover the issues. In this case we go back and start again and it’s normally up to the producer and the director to rally the troops and get the project back on its feet.
So just a bit of fun with two things I share passion for but if you take any key messages from this it’s that we choose people with specialised skills in specialised areas in video production just like they do in Rugby. As a result we have a functioning team of lots of people pulling their weight in different areas to deliver the best possible result.
We’re a multi-skilled unit at MWS and we have worked with plenty of people with skills extra to this. As a result when you come to us with a project we select our strongest team knowing what challenges are presented and how best to overcome them.