Saturday, September 22, 2007


You may have heard me rant on this around the office, but I really believe there's a little bit of 'magic' in creating good multimedia projects. It's that magic that makes it difficult for a print designer, a C++ coder or a textbook editor to simply 'slot' into a position at FableVision.

I think one of the best ways to learn how to perform this kind of 'magic' is to better understand everyone else's jobs. If you look around the office, you'll see a number of people with crossover skills. On the Developer side, for example, Jay can design the crap out of a T-shirt, Matt studies multimedia in college, Ryan is a designer as well as a programmer, and I errrr.... I was voted most artistic in 8th grade.

I've been trying to think of ways to educate the rest of the team on what it's like to be a developer on one of our multimedia projects. Here some thoughts I've had:

  • Similar to that fileprep meeting we had a while back, I'd love to have one that focused on how a developer takes a prepped file and makes it into a multimedia application.
  • I will soon be setting up monthly developer brownbag-type meetings to discuss relevant technologies. These meetings will be open to the staff as well our freelancers.
  • I've been tossing around the idea of some sort of 'job shadow' that we could do in the office. I haven't worked out the details, but I'm thinking something like buddying up with someone else in the office. Then, one Friday afternoon you'll explain to your buddy what you're working on for an hour or so. The following Friday, your buddy will show you what he/she does.
Anyone have any thoughts on these ideas and/or other suggestions for helping foster our MULTImedia skills?



Bob Flynn said...

Fun ideas. Of the 3, I'm thinking job-shadowing might be a little less practical. But the brown-bagging is an awesome idea, as well as the necessity to continue to talk about file prep. I know that I personally feel like I haven't learned anything new to Flash programming in at least 3 or 4 years. I'd love to have a better understanding of class files, and what the deal is with AS3.0. Especially because we need to think of a new way of prepping files from the art side.

Brian, I tossed a bunch of art links on the side panel of this blog. Shoot me some of Flash/coding/tech links you frequent. That goes for everyone else.

John L said...

Brian, these are awesome ideas. It seems like what you're getting at is more fusion of our combined skills, so that we aren't just cranking out our tasks (one person designs, one person programs, one person manages) but really collaborating to create something special, not just another web game.

Expanding our knowledge of other people's roles would be great, it would get us thinking more globally. And as you say, there are two sides to it -- what the person does in their job, and what other skills they bring to the table. We designers have also been wondering how we could expand our design horizons, perhaps with a sharing session similar to your brownbag event.

And beyond just doing our jobs better, there are also bigger concepts like the role of multimedia, and pushing it in new directions. Devices like the Wii are so inspiring, in the way they can change a whole industry. I see FableVision as having that unique combination of people and mission so that we could be innovators too, and push the envelope in new directions.

Renee Kurilla said...

I looooove your ideas!

Collaborating, even just a little bit, has already made some of our newest games so fun to play.
It'd be really cool if we could find new ways to, as John said, "push the envelope."

I really enjoyed having all of us in a room on the big screen dissecting a file. (I'm a nerd.) If we could do that again in some other way, that would be great.

Flash is an art form in so many ways. And it's such a huge part of what we do...the more everybody knows, it can only lead to bigger and better things.

Bob Flynn said...

Taking off from where John left off, when were were a smaller team, I think we did tend to share in the workload more. Not long ago, Renee and I were programming games on our own. It was more commonplace that I would sit down directly with the programmer and develop a strategy together, which I still do on some projects. As we've grown, we have become more compartmentalized, and I think it probably has to do roles becoming more specialized out of necessity. I think now is as good as any a time to take a step back and see how working practices could be improved. I'm smiling now about my gut reaction to be pessimistic about job-shadowing (I said "less practical" for lack of time). But it's probably exactly the kind of thing we need to do.

I would point to what John says about collaborating to create something special and unique. It would be great if we could find an opening to make a FableVision interactive project, not unlike a Dot or Ish animated film (completely homespun)--a true blend of all the talents of FableVision. Maybe that's what the new FV website could or should be. Or maybe it's something entirely inconceived of at this point.

This is awesome!