Over the last couple of years, the traditional work model has been forced to drastically change. The number of companies aiming for a remote workspace continues to grow, limiting physical interactions, creating new opportunities, and challenging both staff and clients alike to immerse themselves in a digital landscape that is still evolving every day.
So what happens when – in this digital-first landscape – you’re presented with an opportunity to visit a place you’ve never been before, to knock out a half-week production with people you’ve only met online? A few weeks ago, Socialfly traveled overseas to conduct a creative production with American University of Antigua. The challenges for such an undertaking were clear from the start, and identifying solutions for them was key to our success. These six tips will ensure your international creative production is seamless.
When visiting a new place, plan accordingly to allow time for location scouting. Identify places that will look appealing on camera. They should have the right amount of light and be aesthetically pleasing. Think of your final product format. Will it be horizontal? Vertical? A mix of both? Consider the amount of noise in the area and acoustics. Also keep an eye out for places the client might want to highlight. Determine the distance between locations and plan easy routes to move equipment between them on the day of production. Have your phone and cameras ready, and take pictures or videos from the scouted location to reference on production day.
It’s not always possible to fly your usual team overseas. Identify a local crew ahead of time and plan your shoot schedule with them. Oftentimes, they can provide information and insights on the location that you might not have known.
Once you identify your crew’s strengths, you will be able to delegate more work. We recommend starting with outside scenes first, as those shots are more time consuming. Nature is almost always against you with different sounds, variable weather and unreliable lighting. Direct your crew to take some stills between scenes. If you’re in a shoot where there will be multiple locations with different talent, send part of your crew to capture content ahead of time. Be proactive on set – help set up and clean scenes. Organize as needed. Working with a different crew likely means you are adapting to their processes as much as they are adapting to yours.
Give your talent a quick rundown of what’s going to happen and media-train them if needed. A quick overview of where to stand, where to look, and what to do or not do should suffice and will save you time in the long run. If your talent hasn’t been in front of a camera before, maintain a positive and reassuring attitude. Be sure to give them tips and suggestions. Help them forget the lights, cameras and crew, and treat them to a one-on-one conversation. Keep tabs on them after the shoot and write down their contact information, as a reshoot might be needed. Remember, if you’re flying “solo” in an overseas creative production, you might need to take on more responsibilities like this.
No one is perfect. From hardware to software failure, human mistakes and more, a lot of things could happen unexpectedly. Stick to your run of show as closely as possible. Extra batteries, cameras, chargers, scripts, pencils and paper are always welcome. Have alternate ideas and locations in mind when you do your initial scout, as your location may be unavailable if you are not shooting in a studio.
There’s no denying that shoots can be stressful and demanding. Keep a cool head and be optimistic. Each shoot is a learning experience. Ask for advice from senior crew members, get familiar with equipment on set, and identify the pros and cons of your run of show so you can plan better next time. Stay hydrated, keep a detailed list of what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done, and make sure to collect all the shot material once the job is done. Actively improve your role as you gain more experience, and in no time you’ll be ready to go anywhere and make a killer production!
For more information on our production services and creative capabilities, email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. For a closer look at our work with American University of Antigua, check out their Instagram account @auamed and head to our website for the full case study.
Written By: Kevin Diaz, Senior Art Director