The Good Project Graveyard [Part 1]

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Concepts, Higher Education, Marketing, Research, Thoughts, Video | Posted on 11-21-2008

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There is a place on all campuses that good projects go to die.  Usually, a thing called a ‘committee’ swings in, 7-15 people deep, and picks it apart, retweaks it, postpones it, and eventually.. that good project crawls off into a corner to die a slow, painful, uncreative death.

I hate seeing that happen. I also hate sitting on committees. So when at all possible, I just do things myself.

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So here’s the precursor to this post: I previously posted about the Butler Blue II missing mascot costume video.  Total time to make it: 1.5 hours of shooting on campus, 5 hours of editing, a few hours to process/upload to YouTube, and it was out of the door by 7am. [Read more about the video here.] [Oh, and for those who thought it was a PR hoax... 4 arrested.]
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Last week I was approached by a member of the campus community who had a video idea to promote a contest on campus. He wanted to use Blue II and for it to have a similar feel to the above video. I said I’d love to brainstorm with him, but time to shoot/edit would be more limited since it was an outside project.  Then, I get a meeting request…. to the committee.

Truth be told, the meeting slipped my mind. I got busy (it was a late Friday afternoon meeting) and missed it. But it absolutely killed me when I got the email early this week about the ‘video update from the committee’.
Video Email

NEXT YEAR?!??!?!?!??! I don’t know how the person who organized the meeting took that so well. I feel bad that I was not there to say “we can do this next week, no problem”. But, I don’t know if ‘the committee’ would have allowed it.  Scripts to write, lighting to get set, sound checks, and more…. ridiculous.

Next Monday, Part 2 – Creating a video.. good, cheap and fast [pick 2].

Comments posted (4)

It could have been worse (although not much in academia is worse than a Friday afternoon committee meeting). Missing a committee meeting can sometimes mean the committee decides on a disastrous path that you must somehow try to fix. I call it “cleaning up after the elephants.” It’s a common practice in public relations. ;)

Committees are both a bane and a permanent fixture in academic administrative life. Might as well get used to it, and try to figure out when and how to involve yourself.

Good luck!

Committee work is just a part of life. At least my life. I have been trying to keep our web task force at a strategic level lately and out of the operational stuff. There is a fine balance between getting “buy-in” and just doing it yourself.

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I agree that there is a time and a place for a committee. Each of you are Directors, and you direct, and that sometimes includes a meeting of the minds. Something like a web redesign is certainly not a one-man operation; it affects a larger crowd.

However, a small 3-minute video for an internal audience (current students and staff)….. not so much, in my opinion. Just get out there and get it done. More on that later.

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