PM at the Movies

I recently watched Night at the Museum with commentary turned on by director Shawn Levy. He stated that he story-boarded Night at Museumalmost everything and that really helped stay focused and get the shots he needed when the [project] team was there to film the movie. It also helped him get sponsorship to film certain sequences or special effects that needed funding because he could describe in detail why, what, and how the scene contributed to the project.

He also stayed flexible to ideas from star Ben Stiller and other cast members. Their creative moments contributed tremendously to the movie by capturing authentic reactions. Some priceless scenes occurred this way.

The director was also disciplined with a strong sense of values about the importance of the story. He did not want the movie to get carried away by special effects, just because they could do them. If the effect did not contribute to the story, it was not used.

Does all this sound like project management? The director had a vision which he made real through a work breakdown structure: the story-boards. He communicated effectively with sponsors and team members, both talking and listening. He stayed true to the goals through a disciplined prioritization process. The commentary itself served as a post project review, sharing with others both the process and the results.

Randy Englund, www.englundpmc.com

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