Mike is also founder and executive director of Shape History, the creative agency for social change. The organisation brings together teams of collaborative creative individuals from it's extensive network to work with NGO's, charities and organisations to create powerful and impactful content.
Credence is now available on Vimeo's on demand service and has been receiving critical acclaim. But aside from the films critical success it also provides a powerful success story into how social media can be used to mobilise support, drive engagement and, what I'm really concerned with in this article, bring people and resources together to collaborate successfully around a shared purpose.
Oh....I should probably also mention I'm in the movie.....
After spending time looking at leadership and organisations through the eyes of an actor, I found myself looking at the film set through the eyes of a consultant. It led me to ask;
What can leaders and organisations learn about collaborative communities and innovation from the film set?
"To me as a film maker collaboration is a no-brainer. It is essential for any successful creative endeavour. It is about working out what the core skills needed are, what can I do and finding people that can do the other things better than me for the other stuff"
You get the picture (pun intended). In short your product becomes compromised. Also factor in stoppages to filming whilst planes fly over head, or constantly changing natural light if you are filming exteriors. Under these kind of pressures it is essential that your team are not only competent and capable but also able to collaborate in what could become a volatile working environment.
Pressure in any business can change dynamics within any team very quickly and unless the balance of skills and egos is right, fractures appear when cohesion is most vital.
High Definition Focus and Vision.
As a filmmaker and creative Mikes projects are driven by a clear message and purpose which in turn is driven by his passion to create change.
Credence "follows 2 fathers’ decision to make the ultimate sacrifice to give up all their possessions to ensure the survival of their daughter, and the entire human race". That’s the story; the purpose was to redefine "the way LGBT people are shown on screen". It is key for Mike when putting his team together that they also believe in this purpose, the “why” as Simon Sinek refers to it (see my previous article Consultancy and the Jedi Ninja).
By putting together a team that believes in and is passionate about this it not only allows the film-maker to trust that each member of the team is driven to do the best for the realisation of this message but also that decisions made by the team whether they are big or small are aligned to that message or purpose.
The clarity, strength and communication of that story and the purpose and values it represents are essential for the project to succeed. It’s the difference between an Oscar nomination and a straight to DVD release.
A couple of years ago I had a role in a very high profile and highly funded West-end musical based on the music of a very successful girl group of the nineties (I’ll let you work out what it was).
Simple really, you can dedicate your best team and all the resources you like to a project but if the purpose isn’t clear it is likely to fail.
I have worked with global organisations who have not been clearly able to define what their purpose and core values are, or if they know them are not effectively communicating them. One large leisure company that I worked with had a brand value document that spread over 50 pages! They then wander why their team are disengaged with the company and their customers, and are not performing in the way they want them to.
When everybody is working towards a clear goal and knows the “why”, they feel they are able to contribute, they have a greater sense of ownership which creates real intrinsic motivation.
“ By keeping the message and delivery accessible it means people can get involved and contribute at all levels, whether sharing the trailer, contributing via IndieGoGo or contributing skills, time and energy like the cast and crew….it’s everyone’s baby.”
If I want to do something on camera that I think will make me look cool or good looking, that is ego driven not purpose driven. No-one likes working with a diva, it diminishes the value of those around them and hinders others ability to contribute. Not sure? Search out the infamous clip of Christian Bale losing his temper with a member of the crew whilst filming Terminator: Resurrection and think about the impact that kind of behavior would have in your company or team.
Furthermore if you have a team member who is purely motivated by personal gain and not a belief in your organisations purpose, can you really trust them to make decisions that are properly aligned?
I doubt it.
Next week - Part 2:Without Trust There Is No Collaboration. Same Bat time, same Bat channel.
Anthony Topham is an actor and consultant who works for the award winning consultancy DPA. For more information or to read more of his articles go to www.anthonytopham.com
To watch the trailer and download Credencevisit https://vimeo.com/ondemand/credence