TMC Resource Kit Hugues Sweeney CoProduction Interview NFB

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An Interview with Hugues Sweeney, executive producer of interactive production with ONF/NFB Montreal, on successful strategies for international coproductions

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TMC Resource Kit Hugues Sweeney CoProduction Interview NFB

  1. 1. HUGUES SWEENEY (onf/nfb) Strategies for INTERNATIONAL COPRODUCTIONs
  2. 2. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! part 1 of an interview with HUGUES SWEENEY Executive Producer Interactive media onf/NFB Digital Studio Montreal
  3. 3. Hugues Sweeney is head of French-language interactive media production at the ONF/National Film Board of Canada, based in Montreal. Sweeney's recent production credits include the webdocs, The Devil’s Toy Remix (2014), My Tribe Is My Life (2011), an online interactive web art work, Bla Bla (2012), & Rouge au carré (2012), an interactive web-based response to the 2012 Quebec student protests. Multiplatform works include, A Journal of Insomnia (2013), a webdoc & installation on insomnia, inspired by the lack of sleep Sweeney experienced in the summer of 2009, when he and his wife were up nights with their newborn daughter, and the web/installation/mobile work, Barcode (2011). In 2012, he was president of the jury of the 18th edition of the Concours Boomerang, honouring the best advertising and interactive websites by Quebec companies. From 2000 to 2007, he was head of Radio-Canada’s Bande à part, a multi-platform project to promote Canadian independent music. Hugues was then head of programming at Espace Musique from 2007 to 2009. He studied philosophy at the Dominican College of Philosophy and Theology in Ottawa and multimedia at Université du Québec à Montréal. who is HUGUES SWEENEY?
  4. 4. Right now Canada is viewed around the globe as a great place for interactive and cross-platform production. ! The ONF/NFB has a number of ongoing partnerships, with ARTE for example, where first the ONF takes the lead, then ARTE. And, with trilingual projects like Fort McMoney, you’re working with multiple national partners, French and German. ! Do you have any tips, guidelines or insights for international co-productions? 1 HS. [bluntly ] No. [laughs] It’s an empty space. We [the ONF] been very opportunist with this emptiness. We have one partnership with ARTE, one with France Télévisions, one with Encuentro (Argentina), one in discussion in Columbia. So we’re developing very strong relationships with South America right now. Also with Cartiers de Spectacle in Montreal for the public installations downtown.
  5. 5. cont. 1HS. I don’t do co-productions with producers -that’s the weird thing - my natural co-producers are broadcasters, sometimes newspapers. We’re in discussion with the NY Times to do something as well. ! We’re in a void, a blind spot where we know that if we juxtapose ourselves with institutions like ourselves we’ll get somewhere we wouldn’t individually. So with ARTE, we write global agreements and then we do projects inside that agreement.
  6. 6. BODY/MIND/CHANGE coproduction ONF/nfb + ARTE (Fr & GR) Mobile & interactive installation
  7. 7. When developing co-productions is there a discussion as to how you make the content relevant for different national audiences?2 HS. Yes. Absolutely. ARTE was a co-producer on Fort McMoney and we like having their editorial input as the universality of the piece was a concern. Insomnia was not built with partners but it was built with an international mindset of being relevant for people in Spain or Japan. I think that today cultures don’t have to be defined in a territorial way, it’s more by interest and preoccupation. This is what has happened with music in the last fifteen years, and we have to follow that track. We’re really careful about thinking about how the audience fits altogether and we make sure that the content is relevant wherever they are from.
  8. 8. How do you manage building components in a partnership? How do you find working at a distance with co-pro partners? Any tips?3 HS. We do it all the time. If I look at our slate of productions over the next 12 months, almost every project has an international partner linked to it. North/south is easier to manage, rather than a 6 or 7 hour distance. There are limits though to digital communication. If we work together for 12 months, we have to see each other 2 times - to have the informal nourish the formal. Skype can almost do that. For instance, my vis a vis in Vancouver, we speak every week. Skype makes a big difference vs. email, but we need to work in physical proximity.
  9. 9. BODY/MIND/CHANGE coproduction ONF/nfb + ARTE (Fr & GR) interactive multi-player docu-game
  10. 10. Being in the same place must be really necessary in the early stages of design, when you’re exploring possibilities, and where being able to white board or prototype is crucial. How do you do that at a distance? Do you set up key meetings at the start? 4 HS. Always with a national partner the idea is to find our project together. What’s the subject? what’s the treatment of the subject? How do we want to formulate this in terms of form and experience? Usually what we do is we lock ourselves up in a room for 2 or 3 days, we find the subject, find the treatment, some key elements to it, and then the one who is responsible for it starts working. Then when something takes shape, when the idea becomes a concept and the concept becomes tangible, we sit down physically together 4- 5 months down the road, work together for a day or two to really develop the concept to an experience. Then when it’s 2 minutes to midnight for making the last important changes, we sit down again to really deliver. So there’s always 3 meetings.
  11. 11. 4HS. The distance also changes the way we develop the project because the development phase tends to get long. It stretches & you lose the energy because you can talk about the project an hour here and two hours there. Now at the critical point at the beginning of development, we prepare very carefully a five day workshop where we have to complete all of the key artistic and editorial decisions about the experience. We lock ourselves up in a room with the creators of the project. This is what we did with the Argentine project in November. I was the puppet master of the week and I hid the schedule from the participants so they didn’t know what was ahead and each time I gave them a task, I gave them a time limit. There was a screen, a projector and a countdown. cont.
  12. 12. 4HS. They had 30 minutes and they never knew what would be the next step. Half way through the week they realized they were doing the scenario of the project, but I never told them that was the goal of the week. I only told them you have to follow the goals of the workshop. We try to spend the least time possible on infertile discussions and just ‘do’ instead. This is a good end result of the distance - you become very efficient and you cut out all unnecessary discussions. It’s more of a developer approach to do stuff, eliminate, do stuff, eliminate, do stuff, eliminate. You write the path as you go. .…
  13. 13. BODY/MIND/CHANGE The Devil’s toy remix co-production ONF/nfb + ARTE
  14. 14. You mentioned there are key components that are decided upon in that phase. Can you talk more about that?5 HS. We want to bring a concept to a 360 user experience - so at the end you can tell the story of the experience of one user completely. So you do this here, you have the web here, you’re asked to this, you do this, you do this, you do this, and you exit like this, or you do this action afterwards. We define the look and feel of all the platforms. We try to shape the workshops around the nature of the project. So if the project is highly participatory, we spend a lot of time on the audience. Often the content, the editorial, the experience will emerge from our perception of the audience
  15. 15. How do you manage building components in a partnership? How do you find working at a distance with co-pro partners? Any tips?6 HS. We do it all the time. If I look at our slate of productions over the next 12 months, almost every project has an international partner linked to it. North/south is easier to manage, rather than a 6 or 7 hour distance. There are limits though to digital communication. If we work together for 12 months, we have to see each other 2 times - to have the informal nourish the formal. Skype can almost do that. For instance, my vis a vis in Vancouver, we speak every week. Skype makes a big difference vs. email, but we need to work in physical proximity.
  16. 16. The Projects Barcode : http://codebarre.tv/en/#/en ! Insomnia : http://insomnia.nfb.ca/#/insomnia ! Megaphone : http://www.megaphonemtl.ca/home ! Fort McMoney : http://www.fortmcmoney.com/fr/#/fortmcmoney ! The Devil’s Toy Remix : http://thedevilstoy.com/en/
  17. 17. The Hugues Sweeney CoProduction interview is released under a NonCommercial ShareAlike Creative Commons license to be shared, remixed and expanded non-‐commercially, as long as you credit the TMC Resource Kit, the creator of the Case Study, Anthea Foyer and/or Dr. Siobhan O’Flynn, and license your new creations under the identical terms. ! Images from third parties retain original copyright.
  18. 18. TMC Resource Kit info@tmcresourcekit.com tmcresourcekit.com the Hugues Sweeney Co-Production interview was prepared by: Dr. Siobhan O’Flynn siobhanoflynn.com @Sioflynn contactus Get in Touch
  19. 19. Tmcrkpartners THANKS to...

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