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Want to get in over my head

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Mary Tracy
Want to get in over my head
on Mar 14, 2010 at 4:22:44 am

I may have the opportunity to bid on a job producing interactive video for law enforcement training. I have no idea what the system is that plays this video, which offers different video scenarios to the trainee. Somebody told me the editing is "really complicated" with "different branches", but I don't think the guy knew what he was talking about, since he isn't involved in business.

I was thinking a deliverable on a project like this would be a number of different individual video clips that would be fed into whatever hardware/projector system the agency uses. I am told the agency has special equipment that plays the training scenarios. I would imagine that this hardware allows the "controller" to feed different video clips to the projector, on demand.

Anybody know anything about this type of work, can you point me in a learning direction?

thanks

MaryT


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Mike Smith
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 14, 2010 at 10:49:36 am

Typical authoring software, to link together multiple video clips with other bits and pieces, includes Director http://www.adobe.com/products/director/
Toolbook, now under the SumTotal brand http://www.sumtotalsystems.com/products/toolbook-elearning-content.html
Authorware http://www.adobe.com/products/authorware/

and at a more budget end you might get what you want to work in Flash or in Illuminatus Opus http://www.digitalworkshop.co.uk/

There are probably other guides than http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/Directory/Tools/instructional.html

There are some "standards" for managing online courses - if your client uses one of those, you need to know about it and make sure your tool produces output to that standard.

Creating interactive learning is normally a team game, and there's a big place for someone in the key contact / producer role to get all the specs really tightly defined, get a video team and a programming / wuhtoring team together, and manage the project.

Good luck with it.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 14, 2010 at 2:56:04 pm

[Mike Smith] "Creating interactive learning is normally a team game, and there's a big place for someone in the key contact / producer role to get all the specs really tightly defined, get a video team and a programming / wuhtoring team together, and manage the project."


Your points are on the money, Mike. This really is a team sport.

This job is so complex, with many of the steps requiring demanding levels of knowledge, planning, execution, and infrastructure support, that thinking you can do this as a single person with no experience is not just getting in over your head -- it is like cutting your head off and burying it in the bottom of the sea. That is how far over your head you are asking to go, Mary.

We have a team here, we have the infrastructure, we have the ability to pull off most of what's needed now -- and still, I WOULDN'T do it. Why? Because even with all of this to start with, it would still be a nightmare job that would require so much that we wouldn't want to do it.

But as a single person with no idea what they are up to and with no experience? Well, let's be nice and say that there's no way in hell I'd attempt it, unless no one had forewarned me as to what I was about to get myself into.

Sorry to be so blunt and caustic with you but this job is not for the inexperienced -- even the obscenely confident inexperienced with tons of time on their hands.

Did I mention that this kind of thing is really expensive to both produce and to implement?

Beyond here be dragons.

Ron Lindeboom


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Mary Tracy
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 18, 2010 at 9:36:04 am

This line has been rattling around in my head this week and has left me HOWLING.

"...that thinking you can do this as a single person with no experience is not just getting in over your head -- it is like cutting your head off and burying it in the bottom of the sea."

This is the cops I'd be dealing with and they would put a few extra weights on me and make sure I landed there, I suspect.

Before I read all the other comments I went back and said my elders said my head would be cut off I tried this, but how 'bout if I participate in some other ways, like script writing or production assistance and watch whoever does it and learn.

I do believe the person appreciated the fact that I didn't try to get in over my head and also is in a position to let me learn from this, which I will.

You guys are great and you crack me up!

Mary


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 18, 2010 at 8:42:00 pm

[Mary Tracy] "Before I read all the other comments I went back and said my elders said my head would be cut off I tried this, but how 'bout if I participate in some other ways, like script writing or production assistance and watch whoever does it and learn. I do believe the person appreciated the fact that I didn't try to get in over my head and also is in a position to let me learn from this, which I will."


Yes, and some of us are more "elder" qualified than others, of that I can assure you. ;o)

Always shoot for new and higher levels of accomplish, Mary. That is a good thing to do to excel in your career over the years. But as you learned in this exchange, just don't shoot so far out to sea that you can't swim back to shore if you need to. ;o)


[Mary Tracy] "This line has been rattling around in my head this week and has left me HOWLING.

...snip...

You guys are great and you crack me up!"



Thank you for realizing we were only trying to help you and not to pick on you, Mary. With your attitude, you will go far.

Good luck on the job.

Ron Lindeboom



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Tim Wilson
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 18, 2010 at 9:11:09 pm

As Ron mentioned in a later post earlier in the thread,

[Ron Lindeboom] "Thank you for realizing we were only trying to help you and not to pick on you, Mary. With your attitude, you will go far."

I really like the subject of your original post, Mary. It said to me that you knew you were asking something outside your reach, but asking in good humor.

I'm reminded of something my friend Cammy's grandmother used to say: "They say 'gone off the deep end' like it's a BAD thing. Honey, if you jump in the shallow end, you'll break your neck."




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Mary Tracy
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 18, 2010 at 10:18:43 pm

Dear Tim et al;

As an Irishwoman originally from Massachusetts, humor is my staple food.

Having almost drowned once or twice before, I learned my lesson. I've been lurking for a long time and you guys have enough collective experience to choke a cow. I would be an idiot to do anything but listen.

Thanks again

MaryT


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walter biscardi
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 14, 2010 at 12:07:20 pm

[Mary Tracy] "I was thinking a deliverable on a project like this would be a number of different individual video clips that would be fed into whatever hardware/projector system the agency uses."

No, this would be fed into a computer simulation system or an online training system. If you are bidding to provide the final product, this very often includes the interactive programming which can get very expensive. If you're providing the videos only, you need to work very closely with the interactive designers.

And your friend was right, this is a VERY complicated project which will takes months of planning to ensure every angle of every scenario is correct. The 'branches' they were talking about are the various ways a scenario can unfold based on how the trainee reacts. So may end up with literally hundreds of video clips that are seamless woven together by the interactive programming.

This is definitely a huge project that will take a lot of planning, development and a really good production crew to make it come off correctly.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

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Mary Tracy
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 14, 2010 at 6:07:56 pm

Dear Mike, Ron and Walter

Now, I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid, which is why I came here to ask!! There is a significant budget attached to this project (including for subcontractors) and thus I thought I would suffer for the cause, but I would suffer a lot more if I totally failed, which by the sound of this is inevitable.

I believe you folks enough that I am not going to attempt it and will wave to the cash as it floats out to the sea and be glad my head does not lie at the bottom of the ocean.

Thank you very very much for your honesty, caustic not observed, but rather bare honesty, exactly what a situation like this requires.

Mary


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Mick Haensler
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 15, 2010 at 12:10:08 pm

[Mary Tracy] "I believe you folks enough that I am not going to attempt it and will wave to the cash as it floats out to the sea and be glad my head does not lie at the bottom of the ocean. "

Now see, that's just not right. You bailed before Bob could lambast you...yer no fun Mary.



Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Mike Cohen
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 15, 2010 at 3:36:28 pm

Just know what you are getting into. Ask a lot of questions. If you are only being asked to bid on the videos, not the programming, there should be a producer or project manager giving you directions.

And there is usually a committee involved at an advisory or approval level, so be prepared for lots of cooks standing around the chowder pot.

Mmm, chowder. With potatoes, fresh clams and cream. Is it Summer yet? Meet me in Niantic.

Oh, sorry, were we talking about business?

Having done a few public safety projects, the moral of the story is, know what you are getting into before you are into it.

For all you know they use some proprietary thing they bought decades ago. Also look up SCORM compliance - most government work needs to be SCORM compliant.

Mike Cohen


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Timothy J. Allen
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 15, 2010 at 3:33:12 pm

Mary,
Even though you probably shouldn't risk being at the helm of this project, I'd still encourage you to try to get a piece of it as a subcontractor. As Mike mentioned and Ron confirmed, there will be a lot of players to put this puzzle together.

If video production is your strong point, I'd suggest you find out who the strong bidders are on this project and offer them a proposal to develop and provide the actual video clips to the main contractor.

This could lead to future opportunities for you - in a market that you are already interested in pursuing - while reducing the risks that the project management and interface development portions of the job would bring.

-Tim



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walter biscardi
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 15, 2010 at 3:35:41 pm

[Timothy J. Allen] "If video production is your strong point, I'd suggest you find out who the strong bidders are on this project and offer them a proposal to develop and provide the actual video clips to the main contractor."

That's precisely how I've handled similar proposals in the past. I worked with an interactive designer and we simply put in a joint bid on a project. I provide all video / sound production and he did all the interactive programming. That's a win-win proposal.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Want to get in over my head
on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:27:03 pm

[Mary Tracy] "Now, I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid, which is why I came here to ask!!"

It's clear that you are not stupid, Mary. That is why we were as straight as we could be with you. You are clearly motivated and confident, good things indeed, and we just wanted to make sure that you understood the sheer scope of the job if you were to be tempted to try to head the project.


[Mary Tracy] "Thank you very very much for your honesty, caustic not observed, but rather bare honesty, exactly what a situation like this requires."

And thank you, Mary, for recognizing that in these tough times in which we all live and work, we were merely trying to keep you from taking a road that would have hurt you and your new company.

We are glad you are here.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
creativecow.net


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