...and one for all
“That’s not my job!” is something we pretty much never say here, and honestly, I find my work more exciting knowing that my schedule won’t be the same every day.
When you have a full-time team as small and an array of services as diverse as ours, the idea of completely dividing responsibilities goes out the window. This ethos is captured in our brand elements and illustrated every day in the office in one way or another: We have a CEO who makes coffee, a Videographer / Editor who animates cartoons, a Technical Director who takes out the recycling, and a Production Coordinator who writes scripts, among the many, many other ways we keep things running.
That mindset evolved over a period of time on its own as our workload shifted and our client roster diversified, but to drive it home, I wanted to make it a priority to dispel a couple of notions within CVWmedia. One is that our production people are intrinsically possessed of some mystical, visionary capability that “other people” don’t have—and with that, I want to eliminate the expectation on them to summon and materialize idea after idea independently and at a moment’s notice. The other is that those of us who fulfill the company’s administrative roles aren’t deeply influential to the design of our projects.
Telling people to just not fall back on that kind of thinking is both ineffective and disingenuous, so one subtle way we’re able to shift our collective view is in our language. We don’t refer to our production team as artists as far as titles—of course they create art for our projects, sometimes, but their capabilities and responsibilities extend far beyond how I believe that word is generally viewed. They’re artists, and they’re editors, problem-solvers, technicians, teachers, and sometimes, just very good guessers. They have creativity in spades, and they use it bravely and frequently, but it’s not what I’d call an intangible magic so much as it is their hard work.
The proliferation of that term used in that way is a scourge on the industry.
Yes, a scourge. I said it.
Our operations team functions not necessarily as the yin to our editors’ yang—sometimes it’s the reverse, and sometimes we’re the circle that encloses both sides. We facilitate our quality control process, which tags in at least one additional production person and one operations person at every phase of every project. Together we provide fresh perspective, creative direction, revisions, and new ideas while acting as ambassadors for our clients’ expectations. I think everyone here would agree that the mental, linguistic, and scheduling feats our operations people perform on the daily ooze creativity, just not the kind that has a color palette…except when it actually does.
And yes, just in case, we have a system of checks and balances for when people disagree on the direction of a project, and we’ve all agreed in advance what combination of people can overrule someone else. In a field where correct and incorrect can be nebulous, we’ve honed our instincts enough to know who to trust and when. We don’t have to call on this system frequently, but when we do, it avoids a great deal of friction and wasted time.
The best illustration of how this loose system plays out is during what we refer to as “weeklies,” where everyone displays the work they’ve produced in the preceding week for the entire CVW staff and opens it up for commentary, compliments, suggestions, and questions. Some of our best and most surprising ideas have stemmed from this tradition, one that has outlasted many other valuable company practices of yore.
We pride ourselves on our professional ecosystem and the ways it’s nurtured our individual growth and the overall company vision. It’s not hard to pick up on the vibe here, and while overseeing CVW’s systems is technically in my job description as Chief Administrative Officer, the day-to-day work of both challenging and respecting our common goals belongs to everyone.