Project Management

Impossible Filmmaking (Part 1)

Kevin Richardson is a motion picture development, games and story professional with feature films, TV series and games to his credit. You can follow him on Twitter @K_Richardson.

Picture this: One day you find yourself in Shenzhen, China. You don’t speak the language, you’re a foot too tall and you don’t eat frog legs. You’re there to prototype an animated feature film on storyboards, managing a nine-person team, half of which doesn’t speak English while the other half has worked for animation titans like Phil Knight, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Brad Bird. Oh yeah--there’s no script and the storyboard deadline is only six months away.
This is where I found myself last year.

I’d all-nightered my way through CalArts’ animation program, slaved over special effects at Industrial Light and Magic, developed a TV series that had been optioned by Bertlesman Media and pounded out casual games for EA, Nickelodeon and Mattel. I’d seen executives lose their hair while developing feature films, then watched in horror as the same thing happened to me. Nothing in my experience prepared me for my time in China.
Except one thing: earning my certification as a PMP. Project Management Professional training is a method and philosophy for orchestrating hairy projects of any size and scope. It applies to any kind of endeavor in any industry--from formulating mouthwash to building bullet trains--providing a structured approach to the chaos wrought by human beings and acts of God, so you can keep …

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