Lessons in Starting Over

The last few weeks have been both frustrating and enlightening here at Common Craft headquarters. We're in the middle of an ambitious production schedule that has us working on two new series of videos that will appear on the Common Craft Show and Store.  There are a lot of balls in the air - multiple scripts, storyboards and productions.  It's a lot to manage.

Of course, the bottom line for us is quality explanations.  Recently we put many hours into producing 3 videos in a similar theme - scripted, storyboarded and shot. A few days ago we recorded the voice-overs, and something became clear.  A couple of the videos just weren't good enough.  They were accurate and clear, but lacked heart.  Despite all the investment of our time and resources, we had to make a decision.

Are the videos good enough? Are there small changes we can make? Do we need to re-think the stories?  How long will it take to restart?

We've since talked about it and recognized we don't really have a choice as long as our goal is excellence.  If we think a video is "good enough", it's not excellent.  So, we've decided to suck it up and rethink two of the videos from the ground up - new scripts, storyboards and artwork.  It pushes out our schedule and means we won't make our production deadline, but that's okay.  It's frustrating for an afternoon, but then it feels better than it did before, as if we're traveling on an even better path.

It's certainly not the first time we've scratched an entire storyboard, and it surely won't be the last, but this is the first time it has happened on a series of videos. We're learning about our standards and how to judge our own work.  We've always recognized that iteration is essential, and sometimes starting again from scratch is a necessary part of the process. To make an excellent video, we have to be prepared, at *any* point to throw it all away and start over.