8

Me and my friends started a studio for Minecraft movie production. We were only 3 back then, and it was all nice, we had a YouTube channel, Facebook page etc., we were only starting. But as people started to watch our movies more, we had to upload more movies. This of course isn't a 5-minute job; it involves:

  1. someone with a story producing the script
  2. telling every actor to come to the server
  3. person doing #1 has also be the director of the movie
  4. preparing the scene (setting)
  5. recording, editing, rendering and uploading it to YouTube.

This way we produced several movies, but the leader (he is also the founder) did 90% of all the jobs listed here and he realized we have to recruit new members. This was done by me and and the founder and now, we have 18 members + some guests. When recruiting we focused mainly on age, technical details and most importantly: time of the day, which the member is ready to actually record something.

But after some time, problems came:

  • members able to do #1 and #3 excused to do it later, because they lack time,
  • irresponsible members,
  • members being rude,
  • when we finally met to record, we couldn't get ourselves to actually do something, for no reason we just talked to each other, did random things in Minecraft, and after 1 hour we recorded that 10-minute scene, and then they had to left, so we didn't do what we wanted

The founder was angry because of this and he started being rude towards the members, and actually some members left.

And now we're stuck because key members haven't got time to come to PC (we're graduating), and we've got nothing to record. And we have to release new movies!

So what I'm asking is, how to get people to do something from #1 to #5 with them actually doing it by the deadline? How to get people to do their responsibilities when they are not bound by any (written) contract?

9

First of all, as you've noticed, a team of 70 unproductive and rude people can be much worse than a team of 10 focused and skilled people. You need to start letting people go when they cannot meet deadlines. When you do let them go, have specific evidence ready that they did not meet clear deadlines that were set and were hurting the productivity of the group. When you get your dream team assembled, now it's time to fix a few issues:

  • The rude founder: He's probably only rude because he's annoyed that members will not cooperate. Once you get to work again, he'll probably get gradually happier. It should be noted that he's probably stressed in addition to all of this. Is there anything going on in his life?
  • Efficiency: It seems to me that you could save a lot of time yourself if you automated some of the small tasks. If you have a programmer on board, you could have them edit the Minecraft server or client to say certain messages or log people on (possibly adding a fake log-on message to chat) when the director wants to. Depending on your workflow
  • Collaboration Outside of Meetings: Use a service like Google Docs so you can all edit your script at the same time online no matter where you are. If you make it super simple to work on small sections, people will be more willing to help out.

A small note: you might run into some intellectual property issues with kicking people off. If you haven't already, I would look into having them sign a copyright release so you can use whatever they make for your videos. (Again, I'm not a lawyer; seek the help of a experienced legal professional to figure out what you need to do).

  • Thank You for your answer, we completely restructured our community, and so far, it seems that the members feel more valuable. I hope it will be good in the future. PS: I didn't really understand #2 in your list about the log-on messages. – redbeam_ Apr 10 '15 at 13:56
1

First I'd like to suggest that you reexamine your presuppositions, specifically:

And we have to release new movies!

Why do you have to release new movies? To whom are you obligated to do this? Your viewers? Well, it may be disappointing to disappoint people, but you don't owe them anything.

You started doing this because you enjoyed it, right? Are you still enjoying it? It doesn't sound like it--at least, not in the current state of affairs.

As you said, you're also preparing to graduate. I suggest that you forget about making Minecraft movies for a while and focus on graduating. That is far, far more important to your future. When you have free time, spend it in ways you enjoy, not ways that are frustrating and laborious. After you graduate, when you have more free time, you can look into reorganizing your movie-making team without the competing stress of graduation.

So what I'm asking is, how to get people to do something from #1 to #5 with them actually doing it by the deadline? How to get people to do their responsibilities when they are not bound by any (written) contract?

Well, you can't. Welcome to...er...life? :) If you want to force people to do something, and you're not in the military and outranking them, then hire them--otherwise you're at their mercy.

I've seen this same thing happen over and over again with game modding teams. People get an idea they think is cool and get other people excited who say they can do this or that--then life happens and nothing happens on the mod. What sounded like fun turns out to be more like work than play, and motivation suffers.

The best advice I can give you in this regard is to grow slowly--very slowly. It sounds like you felt pressured to produce a lot of content quickly, so you expanded too quickly, bringing people on board whom you didn't know well enough.

One last piece of advice: don't bother trying to motivate people more than slightly. If they don't really want to do it, the quality of their work will suffer, and you will wear yourself out trying to get them to do what you want. You'll become grumpy yourself, you'll likely damage any friendships you have with them, and you'll become soured on your own project. It's not worth it.

Stuff like this is supposed to be fun. If it's not fun anymore, you're doing it wrong. :) Try to let go and move on. You can revisit the ideas sometime in the future.

  • 5
    Your answer isn't about building a community, it's about destroying one. "Welcome to life", not everything is fun. If he says that he need a way to manage his film crew, you can't just answer to screw it. It's true that things should be fun, however, this isn't the question here. It is how to successfully manage his film crew. Work can't be fun all the time. -1 from me. – Zerotime Apr 7 '15 at 7:40
  • 1
    What a harsh interpretation of my answer. "Destroying" a community? "Screw it"? It doesn't take much reading between the lines to see that there isn't much of an actual community here; only the core group could qualify as that. It's also obvious that a spare-time project like this needs to take a backseat at the moment to their final few weeks of school. You seem to think that there is always a way to "manage" people--or, rather, to make them do what you want. This is not "manipulation.stackexchange". But if you want "management": real managers fire people who don't do their jobs. – blujay Apr 9 '15 at 3:49

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