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Guest Blog: Time isn't just for time travellers

Walking to work this morning, wondering what to write for my first blog post, it suddenly dawned on me that finding the time to blog, produce a feature length film and still hold down my full time job, was an interesting conundrum in itself.

The answer though was quite simple – delegation.

I’ve found that surrounding myself with creative, organised and dedicated people takes away most of the problems I’ve encountered with time management. As long as I know what has to be done, when it has to be done by and who can do it, it’s just case of delegating the work and ensuring communication is clear and concise.

Working as a Community Developer for a computer games company in Nottingham, communication is and will always be my top priority. This doesn’t just involve internal communications with the staff, but also speaking to external third parties and most importantly, the customer who will eventually play the games that Monumental Games develop.

The skills are easily transferable from the games to the film industry because at the end of the day, if everyone knows what they’re doing, the chances are, it’ll get done.
Now, for those of you who don’t know what a Community Developer does for a living, it’s a bit of a ‘mish mash’ of jobs. I’ve touched on the communication side of the role, but it’s how you communicate that’s the difficult part. Developers want feedback from customers who don’t really know how games are made, while the customers want feedback from the developers who aren’t always keen to give too much away. Ensuring both sides get what they want involves careful planning, creative writing and patience, lots and lots of patience.

No day is ever the same, with requests for various assets and tasks always appearing in my inbox without much notice. For example, today I’m arranging a beta test for Little Horrors, a new 3D facebook game that Monumental Games are developing. This involves contacting the external beta testers and letting them know what time the test will begin, what they are supposed to be doing during the test and then gathering their feedback for the developers. I also have to ensure the developers know what’s happening so they don’t take the servers down while we’re testing and any new game updates are communicated to the testers. Then it’s time to read everything I can on our new products and services as I’ll need to write some new copy for the Monumental website. The content may involve technical information so I’ll need to ensure I can fully understand any new product before I describe it on the website. Then I’ll need to find time to finalise an agenda for X-Box LiveAddicts, who are coming to the studio tomorrow for a tour of the Racing Studio, who are developing MotoGP for the X-Box and PS2 for Capcom. Then of course there are reports to be sent out to various departments, general admin tasks, which may involve updating our Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Forum pages and finally trying to grab some lunch to keep me going. Of course, if something really important is required, ignore all of the above as my day may change at the drop of a hat.

At 6pm, I’ll leave work and head home to check aPint Film Productions inbox. We’re currently at the casting stage for the full length feature film, Zombie Hood, so I’ll have to sift through all the latest audition submissions before answering general queries regarding the film. Luckily I’ve managed to get hold of 3 great Producers for this film, so after pre-production, I should have more time to concentrate on filming rather than dealing with general admin and organisation.

So, with the introduction out of the way, tomorrow I’m hoping to move on and spend the rest of the week talking about Zombie Hood and making films on a low/no budget.

Then next week, I’ll share a number of secrets from the game industry.