October 26, 2023
·

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration

Shiv Rajagopal
Free ebook
Tips for Better Collaboration in Commercial Production
Download Now
Free Template
Download Now

Commercial production is fast-paced and intensive. Heads of Production (HOP) must efficiently manage multiple productions at the same time. This requires seamless collaboration between the HOP and their production managers, which is not always easy to achieve when budgets and deadlines are tight. 

So, to help improve production collaboration, Wrapbook has reached out to some of the biggest names in the commercial production industry and condensed their advice into an easy-to-read eBook. It lays out simple yet effective strategies to improve your approach to collaboration on set.

Download our eBook

This blog post is a preview, highlighting some of the key talking points explored in the eBook. But to really level up your production collaboration skills, download the full eBook!

Free eBook

Tips for Better Collaboration in Commercial Production

Download Now

The eBook is our essential guide on how to collaborate on set. It contains insights from production executives working at some of the top production companies in the business, such as Anonymous Content, SMUGGLER, and Partizan. They break down strategies for communicating effectively, using digital tools, and developing interpersonal skills. 

Let’s dive in!

Communication

Here are some golden words from Ani Mikirdichian, Head of Production at Partizan.

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - Quote 01

Many line producers or production managers describe their day-to-day job as putting out fires. However, if you fail to address or communicate these issues, they can spiral out of control, costing time and money. 

The first step in understanding how to collaborate on set is improving communication. So, here are a few tips for building a robust communication strategy. 

1. Share your problems

Issues will arise on set. That’s the nature of the job. Most people will want to tackle these issues independently because they don’t want their superiors to know about a possible mistake. To combat this, building a culture of open communication is important. 

For Alex Hughes, Head of Production at SMUGGLER, this means empowering production managers to identify problems as soon as possible, no matter how big or small.

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - Quote 02

No matter how effective someone is at their job, they cannot help if they don’t know what is happening. Effective production collaboration requires a culture of trust and open communication. 

It allows problems to be identified early and dealt with quickly, ensuring that ‌production stays on schedule. 

2. Keep a proactive call schedule

At any production company, HOPs oversee multiple projects simultaneously. And sometimes, issues are only brought up when they have spiraled out of control. 

Instead, take a proactive approach. Check in with production managers/line producers regularly via email and phone calls.

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - Phone Call
Keeping a regular call schedule is an easy way to track a production’s progress. SOURCE

Daily emails providing status updates are a simple and highly effective production collaboration tool. But Mikirdichian mentions that:

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - Quote 03

Speaking over the phone, in real time, allows you to gain instant insight and feedback on any issues your team might be facing. A five-minute phone call is much more efficient than sending multiple emails back and forth. 

3. Manage the flow of information

At smaller production companies, a single person at the top usually oversees every step of the production process. They are the go-to authority on everything. 

However, as a production company grows, this type of centralized communication strategy can be slow and lead to delays. 

Ena Nicole Abadjian, Head of Production at Anonymous Content, has a critical piece of advice for a production company growing in size:

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - Quote 04

At big production companies like Anonymous Content, you cannot wait for someone to approve every task. Information must be shared freely. But this comes with problems of its own, as information can be lost in translation and cause confusion. 

So, how can you manage the flow of information to maintain smooth production collaboration?

Digital tools

Production collaboration is much easier in the digital age. Communication is instant, and digital tools have replaced the need to print physical copies of paperwork. However, information can also be easily lost, causing long delays.

So here are some important tips on maintaining digital clarity.

1. Use cloud-based storage

Storage solutions such as Google Drive or Dropbox play a massive role in any team-based work environment today. These cloud-based collaboration tools make sure that all production team members are always on the same page.

Cloud-based tools unlock production collaboration by allowing users to work together and update documents in real-time. Supervisors can also track progress without having to call or email.

2. Employ consolidated digital tools for important tasks

Digital tools like Wrapbook are built with production collaboration in mind. 

Our platform is a centralized hub for all project data. Manually tracking payroll, expenses, and accounting can be time-consuming and challenging to organize. As an alternative, Wrapbook provides an easy-to-use, all-in-one platform that helps speed up these key processes.

Hughes, a proponent of Wrapbook, uses it as part of his workflow. He highlights that:

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - Quote 05

See how Wrapbook makes on-set collaboration easy!

3. Use digital tools for communication

In the post-COVID era, remote work has started to replace the traditional workplace. While digital communication tools enable remote collaboration, they can also pose a problem. 

Preparing for a shoot can be intensive and requires constant communication. However, at times, remote work can feel isolating, which can lead to your team feeling disconnected from the production itself.

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - Zoom
Zoom calls are the go-to virtual communication strategy used by production teams. SOURCE

Therefore, deploying a hybrid strategy to maximize production collaboration is important. This allows people to share their problems and feel connected with the rest of the team while also having the freedom to complete their tasks independently. 

Interpersonal skills

More than organizing budgets and paperwork, producers must manage people. Each production employs dozens to hundreds of people who need to work together to create a final product. 

Managing personalities is essential for effective production collaboration. To do so, Abadjian says that it is important to,

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - Quote 06

But how can we put this into practice? Let’s take a look. 

1. Prevent interdepartmental competition

Film sets consist of multiple departments, and each department is allocated resources according to the project’s requirements. However, this can cause friction between departments. 

For example, the camera department might be frustrated that the art department’s budget is higher. According to Abadjian, it is essential to make it known that,

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - Quote 07

A disconnect between different departments creates a bad working environment for everyone involved, which leads to delays and additional expenses.

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - On Set
A successful production requires effective collaboration between many departments. SOURCE

On-set harmony and successful production collaboration go hand in hand. So, as a leader, set the tone and communicate how each department fits into the project’s overall success. 

2. Avoid micromanaging

Film production is a high-stakes profession, and the best producers are always detail-oriented to make sure the production runs smoothly. However, this can also lead to micromanaging, signaling a lack of faith. 

As trust breaks down, so does communication, which can lead to bigger issues. So as a producer, you may ask yourself how to collaborate on set without micromanaging?

Well, it begins by empowering your workers and trusting them with decision-making authority. If they feel empowered, they will solve problems independently without asking for approval at every turn. This will have a positive impact on production collaboration.

3. Translate between departments

Each department on a film set should be the expert in their specialized craft. However, this also means there will be friction when collaborating with other departments. 

Therefore, as a producer or production manager, you must be familiar with each department’s core processes. Mikirdichian echoes this sentiment, saying:

Strategies for Effective Production Collaboration - Wrapbook - Quote 08

Facilitating communication between different departments is vital for frictionless production collaboration.

Wrapping up

The collaboration strategies mentioned in the eBook can be implemented very easily and will help you stay on schedule and under budget. These strategies promote effective production collaboration, the key ingredient in success.

Download the eBook for a more detailed look at strategies that can unlock seamless production collaboration. For all your production payroll and accounting needs, check out Wrapbook’s all-in-one platform!

Free eBook

Tips for Better Collaboration in Commercial Production

Download Now

Disclaimer

At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
Shiv Rajagopal

Shiv Rajagopal is a filmmaker based out of Hong Kong & Los Angeles. With a background as a producer of indie films, music videos, and commercials, he writes about the entertainment industry at large. He is also the Co-Founder of Forgotten Films, an indie film company with a slate of films revolving around superheroes from the golden age of comics.

Stay In The Know

Sign up for the Wrapbook newsletter where we share industry news along with must-know guides for producers.