Comedy writer Ken Levine should be running development projects
I firmly believe that the development industry needs its own sitcom, but this is not the only reason why I enjoy Ken Levine's blog so much. Today's post 'Advice for first-time showrunners' is a real gem, because it captures so many important features that should be 'best practice' in the development industry at every level of its operations. Whether writing a grant poposal, managing a team at HQ or dealing with the challenges in-country - Ken's advice is almost always applicable. I do not want to copy-past his whole post, but three points seem particularly important for the aid world:
7. Hire at least one experienced writer. Otherwise, on top of everything else you're doing, you're re-inventing the wheel.
This goes out to the DIYers, voluntourists and many, many other new/exciting initiatives that are engaged in development: Engage with experienced professionals-not all of them are nearly burned-out cynics (well, maybe that is another parallel between Hollywood and Aidland...)
10. Don’t overwork your staff. This goes back to being organized. There’s only so many times you can whip the same horse. Your people are dedicated to the show but not to the extent you are. They’re not getting any back end deals. They’re not getting interviewed by ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. This show may be your whole life but they want to go home.
Getting a celebrity on the board of your project may actually enhance the chances of being interviewed for EW, but that is not the point here ;)...There is an issue in the development industry with working too much and recognising the chances and limitations of proper professional work is important. In my own experience this was often relevant for local staff who have lives, families and many commitments outside their job of driving you around town to save the world ;). And finally:
12. Respect the crew and learn their names. When you walk onto the set, greet them. They’re not just a bunch of convicts picking up litter along the side of the expressway. They’re dedicated highly-trained professionals who never get any recognition. Take the time to know who they are.
This is pretty much self-explanatory, but worth repeating when new interns, nosy researchers or any other local or international professional joins the team. All in all, a great post by Ken...but if you have any ideas regarding a development sit-com you are most welcome to use the comments section below ;)!