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The weaknesses within any structured group of workers are rarely revealed, because the abilities of the members of a group to function as a real group are rarely challenged in extremis.

I've worked quite a lot with movie crews - up to about 30 people. And the dynamics are very interesting to observe. Firstly (we are talking film, not television), everyone is usually a freelancer and though many have worked together before, the group as a whole is unique. Secondly, external social life tends to disappear during the production due to location, timetables etc. So social behaviour focuses on the group. Thirdly, working conditions are often physically extreme - long hours, weather, physical effort, concentration etc.

The short term bonding that takes place is often very powerful. It is often based on compassion and humour. You have to rely on others so much not only to do their jobs, but also to help you do yours.

Perhaps one other motivation exists too - the fact that the group is working toward a concrete end. There is a vision, you can see that vision being realised further each day, and there is a satisfying sense of completion when shooting is completed.

Then another group (the post production team) takes over to bring that vision into a self-contained little reality. There is often little overlap between the two groups, but strangely, when the movie is completed and the two groups share the occasion, there is always the feeling of one big group.

Movie production is always hierarchical, but it is tempered by a massive horizontal organic structure. The future of organizations is in how to balance or fuse these two - the vertical and the horizontal.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Feb 10th, 2007 at 04:56:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course the extreme case of self organisation and necessary combination of vertical and horizontal occurs when carrying out aggression ie the military.

A different form of shooting....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Feb 10th, 2007 at 05:57:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I was going to make that comparison - but decided to keep it simple ;-)

There are always two main elements: the strategic and the tactical. In one sense these are different magnifications of the same thing. In military campaigns the mediating factor between the two is intelligence (Game Theory, broadly).

In business, intelligence should play the same role. But it doesn't. In military structures, the intelligence (or rather the raw data) is bottom up. In business organizations it is often top down, and that explains why business needs new types of organizations.

Iraq is a good example of the misguided application of corporate methods to the military. Where you have strategic vision uninformed by bottom up intelligence or, worse still, strategic vision that ignores such intelligence, then the tactics that aim to implement such visions are always going to fail.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Feb 10th, 2007 at 06:31:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should add, (though you, Chris, are very aware of this) that the cellular structure of 'terrorist' groups and the hierarchical structure of what they are fighting against is a classic SOS v linear dynamic. Herds v packs, or flocks v predators.

IMO 'terrorism' can never be defeated by linear methods. The War on Terrorism is doomed to failure. As long as the injustices and conditions that led to people adopting such extreme attitudes continue, terrorism will not be stopped.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Feb 10th, 2007 at 06:47:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think those are the conditions that are close to ideal in breaking down prejudicial beliefs. Having a common goal, and having to absolutely depend on collaboration with persons who would otherwise be avoided, can force people to confront their mistaken ideas about "different" people. True social acceptance doesn't automatically proceed from this, of course, but it is still an excellent first step.

I will not soon forget the post-doc in our lab who was astonished to find that it was not "well known" that Irish persons were of lesser intelligence. When he had to team up with two Irish lab staff he began to realise he might be wrong.

by Kspeak (thorfinn at skip this ameritech dot net as usual) on Sat Feb 10th, 2007 at 06:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My understanding is these types of organization (temporary/goal directed) have a lateral-in-time consistency through the personnel while any particular legal/physical organization are only one-off's.  In a one-off organization, a film project, the focus-puller is very likely to have been a focus-puller for the DoP before so that's where the 'organization' exists.

 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Feb 10th, 2007 at 11:22:16 AM EST
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It is true that the structure can be cellular, the DP group, the sound group, gaffers etc, in Hollywood. The European, and in particular the Finnish system, have adapted to low budgets - usually Film Foundation money and/or TV sourced finance. That leads to a different 'feel' on set - though my comparative experience with American practice is limited to some small projects, and the anecdotal evidence of colleagues.

There are no stars in Finland, no divas. Everyone eats together. I doubt if you could recognize the producer on set purely from the age or clothing. In fact, this morning, an actor who has a lead role in an upcoming TV series dropped round to see me because he was in the area. He had just been helping the key grip on that production move some bluescreen carpet to a studio nearby belonging to the State TV company, Yle. I think that illustrates the differences.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Feb 10th, 2007 at 03:49:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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