I’ve observed that my willingness to give attention to other members, and my strength in decision making had the effect of stopping some of the group from thinking and finding solutions for themselves. They knew they could always ask me, so they needn’t be responsible for a decision, on the other they weren’t confident in their own decision, because I always seemed so certain in comparison.
I have been surprised at how challenging the group situation can be for all involved. As well as how powerful the emotions are. At times, I got the distinct feeling of being part of a primate squad. More chimpanzee than human. There is a powerful need for people to find their roles within a structure, emotionally speaking, this often seems far more important that the tasks we came together to achieve.
We managed this fairly well. Overall our group was mutable beast with members fluctuating between different roles. The actual structure at any given moment switched according to the context. Sometimes we sat as equals discussing ideas and other times as a strict hierarchy with me dictating tasks and decisions. Most people were most happy when the roles were clearly defined, but the tasks we took on, disrupted these roles regularly.
I hoped that we might find a democratic process to work together but none of these worked. Our small group desired a leader for it to function efficiently, and I observed that the leader has to be seen as strong and above the emotional turmoil. This is not my natural position, but I performed adequately. The group trusted me because of my knowledge and tolerated my errors because I addressed them quickly and honestly, I also worked very hard, which gave them respect for me.
In this context of a creative group undertaking a project that they did not know how to achieve, our group worked very well together. This was only in small part due to my leadership. We had some advantages that held us stay on the task.
- The strength of the idea
- The quality of the concept work
- Luck with the particular mix of people
- A good studio workspace
- A well designed workflow system
- A sense of individual and shared investment in the project
- The availability of a render farm liberated us from many restrictions on the quality of output
- In most cases, a sense of responsibility to each other
These factors provided the ground for us to believe in what we were doing and the belief gave the motivation to get it finished. The quality and clarity of the early concept artwork made it relatively easy for us to design a workflow to achieve our creative aims.
The project’s ambition has outgrown the MA module that triggered it and we will continue to work on it at a lower intensity until it is ready for release. Currently it is approximately 66% completed.
The project has been very successful so far in terms of the initial objectives of creating a vehicle for portfolio content generation and for learning a host of new skills. For myself I have some very fine modelling and some well composed shots. I am frustrated that I did have more time for more modelling. So much time was spent managing and teaching. In the art and animation field. if it is not visible in the protfolio, it doesn’t exist. However the knowledge and skills I have gained from directing, teaching and creating with a small group on this intense project are very valuable to me on a personal level.
The workflow that I condensed from the research is highly effective for a small team enabled with up to date computers and software. We achieved a huge amount part time over twelve weeks from a standing start, with no budget and with very few of the specific skills required. Just a few years ago an animation project of this nature would require dozens of people and would take at least a year complete. My analysis of the impact of the software and technology led to a working process that radically condenses the time needed to complete a project.
With somemore work, the workflow that I developed for our project could be worked up into a template for an animation business based on small teams of 6-10 people.