Director’s Think Tank Malaysia aims to keep production timelines on track with its teams working from home
In light of the Malaysian governments Movement Control Order last week closing all non essential services, Directors Think Tank is doing everything in its power to keep production on track with its team of 30 working remotely from home to prepare for the upcoming festive season.
Film production is traditionally a hands-on field where face-to-face interactions are detrimental. Usually at this time of the year, all production houses are in full swing mode, with back-to-back physical meetings and discussions to plan, prepare, shoot, and edit Raya films.
With the stay at home order in place though, DTT’s Co-Founder and Director Maurice Noone said, “Things are certainly different this year but we have adapted quickly. We are already accustomed to finding innovative ways to stay in touch with everyone in different time zones and geographical locations when shooting overseas. So this is a natural transition although this is probably the first time where every single shoot in the region is on hold.”
Noone continued, “Gone is the usual way of how we approach production. Everyone must adjust to this new normal. Even after we get through this together, there will be new processes in place to meet the necessary hygiene and safety precautions during work meetings and production sets from temperature checks to having hand sanitisers and masks easily available at shoots.”
A remote set-up has already been in place at DTT for some time with working documents securely stored online for easy access by staff. To minimise disruptions with the current restrictions, each team member is working on their respective production projects individually from home. This entails everything from ideating storylines, brainstorming new initiatives, briefing storyboard artists, planning production timelines and details, and even the much-dreaded editing videos on laptops! The teams come together daily during their work-in-progress meetings carried out via Skype video calls. DTT even recently carried out a Pre-Production Meeting (PPM) involving the agency and client calling in via Zoom video call. In the industry, PPMs notoriously take place with everyone in physical attendance to allow for smoother communications in battling out last minute production details.
“We just have to adjust,” said Intan Sham, Executive Producer at DTT. “We’re encouraging talents for upcoming projects to self-cast at home and send us their videos. We even live-streamed a workshop with talents. It was challenging as you need to deal with technical issues, spending time making sure everyone is connected and speaks clearly to camera, but we have to make it work,” she continued.
Co-Founder and Director at DTT Rajay Singh added, “Are we worried about everything piling up when we get through this? Of course everyone is! But what’s most important is staying agile and flexible, while balancing our clients’ needs and keeping everyone around us safe. We are embracing technology more than what we already have in place. We are experimenting with new tools and solutions to ensure the process remains productive and efficient, minimising disruptions to the business. This is forcing our teams and the wider industry to think creatively, to find a new way to get things done.”
Singh concluded, “Our biggest challenge? We miss our team lunches AND dinners! In the meantime though, stay safe everyone. And stay at home!”