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A commemorative video project

posted Feb 17, 2014, 3:56 AM by Ioannis Moutsatsos   [ updated Sep 26, 2015, 11:51 AM ]
In 2014 the St. Athanasius Greek Orthodox Community in Arlington, MA celebrated its 50th anniversary. As part of the commemorative activities I suggested we prepare a commemorative video presentation. As a result, I was assigned to manage it's production. As with most projects of this type, the founding goals of the project were not clear, the material was not readily available and a single hobbyist (like myself) ended-up in a not so envious position to fulfill the responsibilities of an entire professional production team.

Below is a list of some of the challenges I faced working on this project. Some were of my own doing, and some somewhat unavoidable. I just mention them so that they could be of some assistance to others that perhaps will work on similar projects in the future.

Challenges

  • The initial project goals were not very clear. Given that key people were involved in their own set of activities for the 50th anniversary events I was left to develop directions and goals for the video project on my own.
  • The available time for the project was shorter than I originally anticipated. Although the project extended over about 8 months, 3 of those months overlapped summer holidays during which not much work was done.
  • After some initial unanswered requests for assistance (from people that I considered technically competent to be involved with the project), I was left to manage, research, direct, edit, narrate(!) and produce the entire project on my own.
  • Scheduling interviews with original founders of the parish was challenging. Some were deceased, some were infirm and no longer attended the community, and some now lived far away
  • No video material was available from the early days of the St. Athanasius community and even worthy photographic material was not easily accessible. Most of the early historical parish information and pictures came from two older anniversary albums for the 10th and 25th parish anniversaries.
  • One or two weeks before finalizing the video production, many of the Church organizations started flooding my inbox with random pictures of every event or fundraiser they ever hosted wanting me to 'somehow' incorporate these into the project.
  • The production equipment and software required for this project were beyond what I had immediately available. Eventually, I had to purchase or fabricate some of my own audio and lighting equipment and had to purchase some new software to complete the project.
  • I did not have adequate feedback on the project until 10 days before we were ready to go into the large scale duplication of the final DVD. This almost derailed the entire project!
Support from a few critically important people was pivotal for successfully completing the project. In retrospect, I should have had these people actively involved from the foundation of this project (but I did not). Continuous feedback and 'institutional memory' are critical for these projects. Establish an advisory group early in the project and go back to them with some project drafts at regular intervals.
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