Collaboration is key in the world of unscripted production. Between fast-paced schedules and unpredictable conditions, the production team’s ability to work together can make or break the success of virtually any unscripted shoot.

To help unscripted production teams establish effective collaboration, Wrapbook sought advice from some of the top professionals in the industry and collected it into one in-depth eBook. It details tips, tricks, and strategies proven to upgrade collaboration on real sets and across multiple unscripted genres. 

In this post, we’ll give you just a taste of what our eBook offers. We’ll walk you through some of the key highlights and big picture principles you can use to improve your next shoot.

Download our eBook

Why settle for a preview when you get the whole thing for free? For a deep dive into unscripted collaboration, take a second to download the full eBook

The eBook offers a unique look into collaboration in the top tier of unscripted productions, drawing on insights from industry veterans like Shannon Perry and Irad Eyal. Inside, they share their hard-won wisdom in the form of practical strategies and principles that any unscripted producer can put to personal use on their own projects.

Let’s take a look.

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Tips for Better Collaboration in Commercial Production

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Optimize communication

Unscripted productions tend to be fluid by nature. Rather than adhering to a rigid production plan, unscripted crews must be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. For exactly that reason, unscripted production teams are usually smaller and more dynamic than their scripted counterparts.

Here’s how Shannon Perry describes it: 

“The job descriptions are blurry in unscripted production. There are [fewer] people needed to do the work necessary to make a great project. In scripted, you have an infrastructure that’s time-tested and time-worn, but it can be a little staff-heavy.”

This pared down approach to production can increase speed and flexibility, but it can also create new challenges that producers must be prepared to meet. To maintain its advantages, a smaller production team must learn to optimize its communication practices.

For example, if a crew member is picking up the slack in one part of a project and doesn’t adequately communicate that fact to their teammates, they may unintentionally create a gap in the production’s workflow. Critical tasks could back up or, worse, be overlooked entirely. A simple miscommunication could inadvertently lead to difficulties for the entire production.

Under the pressure of a tight deadline, miscommunication is a real risk that unscripted productions must face on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are clear steps producers can take to minimize and mitigate their vulnerability.

Our free eBook expands on three basic steps for optimizing communication:

  • Hire people with active production experience
  • Set expectations from the outset
  • Formalize your communication strategy

We won’t get into it here, but our eBook breaks down each of these steps one-by-one. From putting together the right team to managing the complexity of hybrid work, the eBook digs into everything you need to know about optimizing communication within your own production systems and processes.

Use effective digital tools

Unscripted production moves at high speed and is often spread out across multiple locations simultaneously. To keep everyone on the same page, the flow of information between crew members, talent, and other stakeholders must be managed as deliberately as possible. Simply put, emails and phone calls are no longer enough to maintain the necessary speed or precision of a modern unscripted production. 

This is where the right digital tools can make a real difference. In commercial and traditional scripted productions, technology has always been a critical component of the industry. In unscripted productions, however, the power of tech is often underestimated.

According to Irad Eyal, that shouldn’t be the case. 

“In the old days, all this stuff would be happening over email. Now we’re using Slack for that kind of thing… You can ask an editor about how a certain cut is going. They can send you, you know, a time code or a clip or whatever… [It] really helps with the asynchronous- but faster- communication.”

Notice that Eyal doesn’t focus on disruptive innovations or cutting-edge software. Instead, he highlights practical tools that use digital power to upgrade a production’s efficiency.

Wrapbook, for example, can consolidate core production functions like onboarding, payroll, and production accounting into a single intuitive platform. Automation features enable production teams to move faster while making fewer mistakes. Built-in tools for production management increase flexibility by giving your team more direct control.  

The result is an easy-to-use digital solution for a wide variety of the analogue problems that often slow down unscripted productions. Wrapbook is just one of many digital tools that producers can leverage to make their productions run faster and easier, with less risk and more confidence. 

Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it. You can see Wrapbook in action for yourself here.

Foster a collaborative environment

On any type of production, environment is everything. Workflows and hierarchies and digital tools will only get you so far. Ultimately, if you want to maximize your team’s capacity for collaboration, you have to create a culture that prioritizes exactly that characteristic. 

Naturally, this brings us to the human factor behind every unscripted production. Producers need to take care of their people. They have to treat their crew with respect and encourage them to treat one another the same way. 

According to Shannon Perry, the core of a collaborative environment is strong leadership.

“If you lead with respect and treat others as you want to be treated… you are so much more likely to have somebody in one of your departments… flag when they see an issue coming. If you have opened this spirit of collaboration, then you’re going to have that person that’s not afraid to speak up and not afraid to say, hey, we’ve got… a major issue coming down the road.”

As Perry implies, a culture of collaboration is important for both creativity and efficiency. It creates an environment in which a project’s success becomes a team endeavor, with each individual responsible for overall quality as well as the prevention of mistakes.

Andy Olymbiou, Senior Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis at Fremantle, draws a line between group morale and a producer’s ability to invest in the success of individual team members. 

“One of the big challenges as a manager is making sure that we’re still teaching and inspiring people to progress in their career.”

If you treat every team member as if they are uniquely valuable, then each team member is more likely to contribute unique value to the project itself. When your crew feels invested in a project’s success, problems can be mitigated more easily, and creativity can blossom. 

Wrapping up

Collaboration is a fundamental characteristic for the success of any unscripted production. It requires the intentional combination of systems, tools, and enthusiastic human beings. 

The strategies outlined in our eBook can help you bring these ingredients together to upgrade your next production, but what we’ve covered in this post is just a sample. Download the eBook to experience the full breakdown yourself.

Wrapbook takes pride in putting as much power as possible directly into the hands of filmmakers. Check out our demo to find out how or visit our resource center for free templates, guides, and much more.

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Collaboration at the Speed of Unscripted

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Last Updated 
February 22, 2024


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
Loring Weisenberger

Loring is a Los Angeles-based writer, director, and creative producer. His work has been commissioned by a diverse range of clients- from Havas Worldwide to Wisecrack, inc.- and has been screened around the world. Through a background that blends project development with physical production across multiple formats, Loring has developed a uniquely eclectic skillset as a visual storyteller.

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