When thinking about the implications of such a situation, one tends to cringe. However, that is because the upside is overshadowed by the downside of distance. True, it is much easier to create and edit when the team is together, plus the communication is clearer, but the piece will not always turn out as diverse as desired.
Personally, I live in California, but collaborate with people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Europe, so; trust me, I know the frustrations of remote partners, but there are several advantages, too. We rarely get to see each other, but we still are able to function. Indeed, it takes a bit more time, but the end results are always very pleasing to us.
Here are some of my most importantly learned lessons and ‘things to keep in mind’ of hundreds:
1. There are great things about having members across the world. In a sense, that broadens the range of what footage can be captured. Even if it be B-roll, the more places you are in, the more you can capture. The limitations of one person is great if you choose to see it like so. However, if you work hard and keep in contact with your other team members, your production group will have the advantage over others, and you will end up that much ahead of others.
2. Covering more land-space directly connects to who will see your work. If you shoot in LA and gather footage from China and Europe, then your team members in China and Europe will show their friends and networks, which will broaden your project’s viewership. That’s three times as many people who you wouldn’t originally be able to reach. This is an advantage that is rarely present but a great you that one would be foolish to overlook or grumble about.
3. A more dynamic reason to have people stationed in different areas is to keep your cool with everyone. Let’s face it; during production, some of us get hot-headed. When at a distance, the inability to meet up face to face might be a good thing. Distance and phones sometimes help the events flow smoothly. Naturally, it could also cause confusions, but on a large scale, in an actual big production, all communication is done online, on phones, and NOT in person. When better to practice than now, when you’re just starting out? If you level out your bumps now, then the future will be smooth sailing for you and your partners.
4. With people at a distance, your growth is unlimited. Not just in networks as aforementioned, but also personally. Physically, you are challenged to do more and learn basic skills of your craft on your own. Mentally, you become more focused and motivated. Spiritually, you need to relax and just understand that things happen this way for a reason. You could make the best out of it and reap the positive benefits in such a circumstance, because if you focus on the negative, you will be miserable and nothing will get done.
So, keep up the positive attitude and be determined in your work. If you find a certain member of your production group slacking, either slow down or move on. Only the most determined stay in this field. Most would refer to the phrase, “Survival of the fittest,” but in this case, I would say, “Success to the most passionate.” If someone can’t keep up, perhaps they ought not be on that specific project. Let distance be the challenge your team conquers instead of letting it conquer you. Good luck and happy filmmaking!