Change of Plans

Full stack creator - 017

Welcome to the 17th edition of Full Stack Creator! This week's letter is being written from the PNW. Super stoked that I finally get to say that!

If you missed it, we moved to Washington.

This week we are chatting about pivoting a project, regardless if you want to. As some of you know I am making a mini-doc series called the Gray Area of Remote Work. The original plan for this documentary was to shoot most, if not all of it in person. I ordered the gear and starting planning the story composition around just that. As I have been pitching the series to interviewees this has kind of changed.

Most, if not all of the interviewees are currently full-time remote workers. Because of this, most of the talent are located all around the world. That is the point of remote work, right? One would think, but it didn’t dominate my plans when originally conceiving this film series. I had a story already painted in my mind, all shot in person, where I controlled the lighting, audio, tone, etc. I planned to drive or take trains to each interview, hoping to keep my carbon footprint down, avoiding planes at all cost. But due to the short timeline, budget, and COVID, this is just not achievable. So I am pivoting to a remote documentary.

The vision looks different, but the story stays the same. The benefit of this is that it could be trendsetting, different from documentaries of the past. My goal is to do this as best as possible and make sure that the story is received as intended.

The interviewees will be responsible for filming themselves while directed by me. The interviews will be done over teleconferencing. In most cases, they will hopefully have sufficient gear to get good video and audio, not just the potato cameras from their laptops. Luckily, most will, considering they live on video call software as a bi-product of remote work. I will interview them while they record themselves. Once the call is complete I will request the files. If they can, I hope for them to capture some b-roll of them working, day-in-the-life style content. In a perfect scenario, they will have someone to do some of this for them, to give a third party view. If not, tripod, static video will do. As a contingency and in a plan to include the audience, I will be gathering b-roll from any and all remote workers and filmmakers that are willing to film themselves or others and provide the footage to me - thanks to my wife for this idea! I plan on partnering with Adobe on this, as their reach is far wider than mine. I am hoping that over the next month+ I can gather enough to make this work as I envision. Alternatively, I will go within a few hundred miles to gather some footage of local remote workers.

If you are interested in gathering that b-roll or even being featured as an interviewee in the series, please reach out to me here or on social.

The lessons and learnings I have gathered this week are not to be afraid to pivot. Going into this I was set on my vision, even to the detriment of the project itself. I spent five days driving cross-country dreading not being able to accomplish my vision. Instead, I should have been focusing on making the best of what the circumstances are and creating something great. That is where I am at now, and hope it all comes together as re-planned in the end!