Big Board Meetings Solving Creative and Production Problems

Every day Anthony, Ross, Bryan, Fred, Rick and Ron met at for the "Big Board Meeting" at 5:00 to plan what would be done the next day or week or month. We accessed what sets, wardrobe, rigs and props were ready, or yet to be made and how long before they would be ready. Priorities were constantly changing because of availability of any essential component for a shot. Animators were then assigned to shots they were best suited for or where needed the most. It was a constantly changing jigsaw puzzle.

During the big board meetings problems with the script were discovered, noted and sometimes fixed on the spot. Often solutions were found after some mulling around in our heads.

If the weekly dailies from the lab had arrived we would look at them with the whole crew before starting the meeting. Everyone was urged to made comments. Dailies were also a morale builder.

If issues involved the sets, we often went to the stage or shop to have something tangible to look at and talk about.

These meetings saved a lot of time. Almost every frame of film that we shot ended up on the screen. We found solutions to mistakes often not recognized at the time of shooting. They were solved by changing a future shot or adding a cut-a-way. Cut-a-ways solved many problems and could be picked up after a set was broken down and a simple matching background and lighting could be reproduced.

As sequences were edited together from the telecine or from Lunch Box video images, we could see holes or editorial problems that needed repair. We addressed solutions during the meetings.

Personal conflict does not promote solutions, but challenging questions do. A question should be asked to avoid any perception by the recipient as an attack or criticism. "We" works better than "you." It is "my or our" mistake is infinitely better than "your" mistake.

If you let others discover answers it keeps them encouraged, involved and participating. If one person dominates the discussion, others will loose interest. Credit for solutions helps keep participation up.

It is helpful if the participants see each other as equals and not bosses. People are protective about their territory of expertise, but careful building of confidence that no one is trying to take away their territory, helps break down this barrier.

The leader of a meeting should ask mostly questions and let the rest of the team come up with the answers and solutions.

© Copyright 2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.