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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
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