You are on page 1of 46

Film Project Management

Olga A. Burukina, PhD

Associate Professor

Project Management Department

Moscow, March 2014


Film project processes

Optimizing Project Delivery Strategy
Agile Methodology
"MoSCoW" approach
Waterfall Model
Infowit Creative Manager
Available Software Programs

To let the learners get acquainted with basic
film project management approaches and
To develop learners understanding of PM
application in filmmaking industry;
To develop learners competences in creative
industries PM;
To develop a network of professional creative
project managers;
To establish fundamentals for a network of
professional film project managers

Film Project Manager

The line producer, or production manager.
This project manager has to work in
coordination with
the films director and
while leading the production staff as well.

Basic Project Processes

monitoring and controlling,

Initiating Stage
First process of film production development
stage: there is a thought or concept created onto
which the film will be based;
then, this tiny thought is expanded into a much
larger screenplay, which is the deliverable of this
This stage can last for a very long time and can be
repeated various times until all the stakeholders
are content with the screenplay.
The screenplay is similar to what the scope of a
project is.
Also in this stage, an approximate budget is
created in accordance with the financers and
actors are selected for roles in the film.

Planning Stage

In this process, also known as pre-production for films,

the line producer makes the actual and more detailed
Further, all the resources that are needed for the film are
obtained, including the hiring of crew members.
Also, a schedule is created to estimate the length of all
activities and to avoid any limitations, such as talent
schedule, costs, release dates, locations, daylight.
Some helpful budget and schedule templates can be
used, such as the Gantt Chart.
All aspects of the film are considered in this process,
including background score, songs, and costumes.
Finally, the strategy and preparation of promoting the
film begins.

The Gantt Chart Sample

Executing Stage
This is the process where the film is
actually shot and everything that was
planned is carried out.
In addition, the film is edited and credits,
graphics, and visual effects are added to
This process can also be referred to as
production and post-production and
takes approximately a year or two to
complete depending on each films various

Monitoring and Controlling

While the entire film production process is going
on, the line producer continuously makes sure
everything is going as planned and the film is
following the script.
However, if any process is going against what was
promised and planned with the stakeholders, such
as producers, director, crew members, and the
studio organization, the line producer has to find
out what the cause of this problem is and try to fix
it to get the film back to how it was supposed to
One example of seeing if the film is going as
planned is to see the rushes of the film and show
them to all the stakeholders.


Closing Stage
At this last process of film production project,
there are special screenings of a film held for
certain stakeholders to see if the film has met
all the objectives they asked for and to review
the film.
Also, after the project product, which is the
film, has been approved by the producers, who
are the main sponsors, it can be marketed and
promoted for a theatrical release.


A Film Team Work Overview

an Executive Producer controlling the chequebook;
a Producer furnishing the idea, financing and
arranging the deals;
a Director to control the Art;
a Completion Bondsman as the finance guarantor;
a Line Producer who is the Project Manager;
a Production Manager controlling day to day
budgeting and accounting;
a First Assistant Director managing the set and
shooting schedule;
and a Script Supervisor to ensure continuity and
doing the reporting.


Film-making Process
Hire crew, cast talent and scout shoot locations.
Upload and store relevant photographs and
information logically with simple casting and
location modules.
Archive valuable information for future use.
Budget for above and below the line expenditures
and track investor or client contributions with ease.
Work Together
Collaborate effortlessly with your production crew
and project stakeholders no matter their location.
Assign and track tasks, milestones and project
notes in real time.
Allow your team to contribute to the production
plan and own the execution.

Film-making Process-2

Schedule your film production to tasks and milestones.
Link this to a detailed shoot list.
Breakdown and storyboard.
With simple casting and location modules you can cast
and keep all your talent.
Upload images and information.
Store releases and production material.
Post and Distribution
Manage any large digital media collection and collate to
post produce your project.
Utilize tools to assist your distribution plan and
distribution channel tracking.
If a channel is identified as successful, easily position it
for your other projects.

Film Production in a Nutshell

Comprehensive Project Planning, Casting & Talent
Management, Location Scouting, Crew &
Equipment, Scriptwriting
35mm/16mm Film Production, HD/SD Video
Production: Multiple Formats, Still Photography:
Large Format & Digital
Post Production:
HD/SD Real Time, Non-Linear Editing, 2D/3D Motion
Graphics & Animation, Audio Post Production
Output to Tape, Blu Ray, DVD & CD, Broadcast
Quality Video, Web Streaming

Project Goal Management:

A Film Maker's Experience

To find financing for a big film,

Make a simple, yet successful film to create a good
reputation and attract investment.
This year, the historical epic film "Warriors of the
Rainbow: Seediq Bale," a Taiwanese film, was
submitted for a nomination for a 2012 Academy Award,
a top movie prize in the United States, for best foreignlanguage film.
To fulfill this goal, Mr. Te-Sheng directed "Cape No. 7"
in 2008. It generated box office returns of more than
NT$500 million (US$16,900,249) and won multiple
Financing opportunities came easily, and the end
product was a film worthy of a submission for
nomination to the Academy Awards.

Project Goal Management:

A Film Maker's Experience2

Mr. Te-Sheng's progress recognizable to any business

strategist as adhering to the principles of program
The goal of Mr. Te-Sheng's program was to make "Seediq
Bale," but he had to complete smaller projects to achieve

Come up with a plan or project that generates a desired

Ensure the benefit can be realized with little compromise.
Balance benefit-received and cost-paid, or the outcome may
be compromised.
Consistently aim for your goal.

This example reveals a lesson in terms of organizational

Always remember to ensure the benefits of programs and
projects align with the company's ultimate objective.
Don't be distracted.

Optimizing Project Delivery

Familiarization with the overall requirements of
the project and its stakeholders
Determining the key elements of value and
success for the project
Outlining the delivery methodology and getting
approval from key stakeholders
Developing the project's strategic plan based
on the available know-how, resources and risk
appetite of the stakeholders (including the
project management team)


Problems in Strategy

This critical stage of the overall project delivery

lifecycle crosses between the project initiators and
the project delivery team.
Both parties need to be involved in developing a
project delivery strategy that optimizes the
opportunity for a successful outcome.
Unfortunately, the opportunities to engage in
discussion and planning for project delivery are
difficult to arrange.
Frequently contract documents effectively prescribe a
delivery process, and/or the client and senior
management don't know they need to be engaged at
this stage of the project lifecycle.
Project managers and project management offices
start focusing more on the project delivery strategy
during critical early stages of a project.

Agile, Waterfall & others

Agile is not a project management;
Waterfall and various forms of Agile are
definitely software development
methodologies, not project management
One can manage a waterfall development using
the PMBOK Guide processes but nothing in
the PMBOK Guide mandates developing a
fully detailed project plan before starting work
on development;
All the PMBOK Guide requires is the current
phase is planned before starting work. This is
absolutely compatible with the Agile approach
to iterative development.

Agile Methodology
Agile software development is a group of software
development methodologies based on iterative and
incremental development, where requirements and
solutions evolve through collaboration between
self-organizing, cross-functional teams.
It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary
development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative
approach, and encourages rapid and flexible
response to change.
It is a conceptual framework that promotes
foreseen interactions throughout the development
cycle. The Agile Manifesto introduced the term in



The Agile Manifesto

Individuals and Interactions in agile development,
self-organization and motivation are important, as
are interactions like co-location and pair
Working software will be more useful and welcome
than just presenting documents to clients in
Customer collaboration requirements cannot be
fully collected at the beginning of the software
development cycle, therefore continuous customer
or stakeholder involvement is very important.
Responding to change agile development is
focused on quick responses to change and
continuous development

Twelve principles
of the Agile Manifesto

Customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of useful software

Welcome changing requirements, even late in
Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather
than months)
Working software is the principal measure of progress
Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant
Close, daily co-operation between business people and
Face-to-face conversation is the best form of
communication (co-location)
Projects are built around motivated individuals, who
should be trusted
Continuous attention to technical excellence and good
Self-organizing teams
Regular adaptation to changing circumstances

Agile Application

The need for a much lighter "touch" managing an Agile

The need for a higher level of trust in managing Agile
The need for robust change management and
configuration management to track the evolution of the
Agile project.
The critical importance of developing the correct
strategy and architecture at the beginning of the Agile
Can traditional project management learn from Agile?
Some of the trends in Agile seem to have wider
application in any project involving knowledge work,
The need to trust knowledge workers more than manual
Success measured by customer satisfaction rather than
quantitative outputs.
The need to keep the client involved.

Need for Agile Approach

Project Scope Management

Traditional project management expects scope
management to define the output. The final outputs in
an Agile project should be defined in terms of
achieved capabilities how the capability will be
achieved will be discovered along the journey.
Change control will be more challenging, as is
configuration management. The overall project needs
a really good systems architect to keep each iteration
or sprint focused on contributing to the big picture.
Project Time Management
In an Agile project, scheduling and workflow become
closely aligned. The overall system architecture
optimizes the sequence modules needed to be built in
to allow progressive testing and implementation of
This defines the schedule. Scheduling should be at a
much higher level; each sprint is likely to be a single
activity of one to two weeks' duration.

Need for Agile Approach-2

Project Cost Management

Agile projects should be based on either a costreimbursable system, or the client accepts scope is a
variable based on achieving the maximum improvement
possible for a pre-set budget. This is a totally different
philosophy to traditional project governance.
Project Quality Management
This is probably easier under Agile. Quality is continually
assessed by the involvement of the client and the
iterative release of modules to production.
Project Communications Management
The level of trust needed to run an Agile project is much
higher than a traditional project. Effective
communications in all directions are essential.
Project Procurement Management
Agile works in a collaborative partnering space. In the
engineering world these are called alliance contracts.
Traditional contracts do not support Agile delivery
methods very effectively.

Prioritizing Agile Project

"MoSCoW" approach:
Must, Should, Could, Won't
problem everything is usually a must
(which doesn't allow proper Agile release
planning because the requirements aren't
necessarily put in order of priority).


Prioritizing Agile Project

The Kano model (Professor Noriaki Kano)
strives to fulfill requirements and please
This model features four components:

Must haves are elements the product cannot ship

Dissatisfiers are things the product must NOT include.
Satisfiers include requirements where the more you
have the better the product is perceived. Like a
marketing checklist, each feature adds incremental
Delighters take the product beyond simply meeting
the requirements to boosting customer satisfaction
and recommendation.


Agile Specific Tools and


continuous integration,
automated or xUnit test,
pair programming,
test-driven development,
design patterns,
domain-driven design,
code refactoring and
other techniques

often used to improve quality and enhance

project agility.

Learning from Agile

Customer Engagement
Key tenet is to engage effectively with ones customer
and end-users, understand their needs and problems,
and then deliver an effective solution.
This requires regular and effective communication,
openness and accountability, and a good measure of
trust to support robust relationships between the
project team and their key stakeholders.
Going Light and Lean
Light is focused on the minimizing unnecessary
overhead. Complex plans and processes should be
simplified, but only to remove excess complication,
not to remove core requirements.
Slimming down the project management overhead to
its optimal level is probably the easiest way to free up
the resources needed to engage your stakeholders
more effectively and is definitely supported by the A
Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
(PMBOK Guide).

Demand for Being

Self-Organized (Agile Manifesto)
"The best architectures, requirements and designs
emerge from self-organizing teams."

Actions taken after Scrum meetings

Good teams have frequent exchanges during the daily
standup meetings. Are people mentioning problems and
are teammates offering help? Do members take
collaborative actions to solve those problems after the
meeting? Watch for teams where people remain
individually focused.
Flexible roles
Members on self-organized teams will be able to support
each other by handling tasks outside their usual


Demand for Being

Self-Organized (Agile Manifesto)-2
Self-organized teams will use immediate forms of
communication: text messages, instant messages,
phone and even walking to each other's desk.
Role of the project manager
On self-organized teams, the project manager will
spend less time assigning work, and more time
facilitating the team as work is "pulled" from the
Role of the manager
The project manager's boss does less hands-on
direct planning, but more coaching, rewarding and
gathering resources for the team.


The Waterfall Model

a sequential design process, often used in
software development processes,
in which progress is seen as flowing
steadily downwards (like a waterfall)
through the phases of
Conception, Initiation, Analysis, Design,
Construction, Testing,
Production/Implementation and


The Waterfall Model


Royce's Original Waterfall


Requirements specification
Construction (AKA implementation or coding)
Testing and debugging (AKA Validation)

Thus the waterfall model maintains that one should

move to a phase only when its preceding phase is
completed and perfected.


Modified Waterfall
& Other Models

Royce's Final Model

Big Design Up Front
Chaos model
Iterative and incremental development
Iterfall development
Rapid application development
Software development process
Spiral model
System Development Methodology,
Dual Vee Model

Make Post-Production
Define tasks for staff and clients with unique
instructions and clear deadlines;
Create specifications for purchases like
effects, folly or special equipment;
Develop detailed estimates and schedules and
submit to clients for approval;
Manage RFQs to multiple vendors to get the
best bids;
Post and discuss each edit revision, segment,
and transition with staff and clients;
Invoice clients for your work before, during and
after the project.

Timeboxed Meetings

Timeboxing is typically used when a project schedule is

divided into separate time periods -- each period has its
own schedule, deliverables and budget.
When you apply timeboxing to a meeting, each team
member answers three questions:

What was done yesterday?

What challenges were faced?
What is the plan for today?

The idea is to hold these meetings daily with the

objective of sharing updated information quickly.
As an added benefit, ones indirectly coaching his
team members to be more focused and efficient.
In the beginning, one might want to try five minutes
per person, but reduce the number of participants.
This means one will have more than one session of
timeboxed meetings. As ones team gets more
comfortable, start reducing the time and adding
team members per session.

Infowit Creative Manager

gives the platform to make sure one maintains
those processes even as one works too fast or
grows too quickly to keep up;
is customized to ones unique business
processes, so if project plans are divided into
phases for prep and production work or if
projects are looked at as the work to be done
for editing, sound and mastering, Infowit works
the way to be done;
adapts to you, rather than the other way
learns ones business and keeps it on track to
ensure one delivers on time, under budget and
maintains ones customer's satisfaction.

Available Software Programs

Dekker PMIS
Film Fabric, especially
designed for managing
filmmaking projects


The Dekker PMIS

A complete project portfolio management (PPM)
and analysis system consisting of integrated cost,
schedule, resource, performance tracking and
financial management components. With the
Dekker PMIS, you can manage, analyze, control
and prioritize every detail of every project and
program across your enterprise. You can even
share and access project data remotely and
securely via the Internet.
The Dekker PMIS consists of the following Dekker
software applications bundled into one package:




Film Fabric
Project Management for Film and Television
Film Fabric is the only available software to
support all aspects of the Development,
Production and Post-production phases for
all Film and Television projects.

Business Continuity
Online and Offline
Mac and PC


Film industry completely revolves around
To make films in profitable and successful
ways, project management is required;
Agile and Waterfall approaches to be
applied on a larger scale;
Film PM is a fast developing applied
industry prominent for PM development;
Specific IT tools Film Fabric, etc.


Project Management in the Film Industry. URL:
Film Fabric. URL: http://
Event Report. Project Management in the Film
Industry. URL:
Agile URL:
Project Management Software for Film & Video
Post-Production. URL:

Film Project Management

Olga A. Burukina, PhD
Associate Professor

Project Management Department


Moscow, 2014