A Lean Take on the Creative Industries
Posted in agile, Lean on 13/02/2021

What follows is an excerpt from our upcoming e-book, Future Proof your Organization with Lean.

Lean has been adopted and applied to most sectors, but here we will showcase the opportunity to adopt Lean and Agile in the filmmaking and creative industries where continuous improvement is still in its infancy. We are now working with several clients in the sector and spoke with Media Consultant – Clodagh McCarthy – to discuss the emerging opportunities that Lean offers.

 

Clodagh, could you please tell us a bit about your background and experience in the filmmaking industry?

I bounced around a lot before I landed in film and TV. I studied Egyptian Archaeology when I was at university. I thought I wanted to be Indiana Jones, but eventually, I realized I wanted to make Indiana Jones! While trying to get into the industry in the UK, I worked in property management, real estate and ran my own dog training business. In 2009 I emigrated to Vancouver, Canada determined to get my big break. I started working for free in live news, reality TV, and TV drama. Luckily, I was sponsored for a work permit by a high-end retirement community as a sales and marketing executive. Once I became a permanent resident I could work freely in the industry, at which point I focused primarily on post-production. It’s an area I have a natural affinity for; it’s technical and creative, combining lots of skills and disciplines, and it constantly throws up new challenges. When I returned to Ireland in 2016, I spent a few years working with Windmill Lane Pictures in Dublin and, of late, I’ve been exploring different management systems –  programs like Agile and Lean and how they can be applied to the industry. As technology develops, we have the opportunity to be more efficient, more productive, and, hence, more creative. Lean seems to be the perfect methodology to enact that change.

 

What has led you to explore Lean management systems?

I organically found Lean because I have a natural tendency towards being efficient. I’m always looking for a better or more productive way. It satisfies me to identify problems and come up with solutions. I find that, as an industry, we have a tendency to just get the job done because we’re constantly constrained by budgets and schedules. Our jobs fill every hour of the day without dealing with any contingencies. That’s just the way the budgets work. I started thinking there must be a way to eliminate certain steps from the process that will allow the creative part of the job fill more of the time and the logistical part of the job fill less of the time. That is what led me to Lean. It just seemed like the perfect solution for an industry that is a production line – just not a production line in the traditional sense. We have a product; we have inputs and outputs;  we have people that do jobs that affect the final outcome and there is waste in those processes. The challenge is that we are a contract-based industry and, until you get to production budgets in the hundreds of millions, you never have enough time and you never have enough money. So how do you convince people that it’s worth investing time and money into developing continuous improvement processes? Once you see the benefit of those small incremental changes, that allows you to really invest in the vision of continuous improvement. It’s also something that we need as an industry; we are constantly working more hours than we should and lots of people struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance. If we can do as much work as we are currently doing in less time, why would we not welcome that?

 

If you are considering exploring Lean or Agile but don’t know where to start, contact the Leading Edge Group today to help you write the script: info@leadingedgegroup.com