The role of film teams

It would be brilliant in this section if we could present you with a one size fits all template, indicating which roles and team members you'll need to make the greatest impact with your film. But the truth is, different film teams have different goals, different change strategies and therefore need different expertise.

Crucially, most of the filmmakers we spoke to said that they started their campaign with a pretty small group of people and as funding and momentum gathered, were able to hire in additional help and support on a contract basis.

Have a look at this snapshot of a few of the films from the library - all with very different levels of resources for their campaign & numbers of people involved.


{% trans " Film {% trans " Campaign budget {% trans " Size of core team {% trans " Duration of campaign
{% trans " Bully " %} {% trans " $2.6M " %} {% trans " 6 " %} {% trans " 2011-ongoing " %}
{% trans " Bag It " %} {% trans " $102,700 " %} {% trans " 3 " %} {% trans " 2010-ongoing " %}
{% trans " Age of Stupid " %} {% trans " £110,000 " %} {% trans " 8 " %} {% trans " 2008-2010 " %}
{% trans " Give Up Tomorrow " %} {% trans " $125,000 " %} {% trans " 2 " %} {% trans " 2011-ongoing " %}
{% trans " Weapon of War " %} {% trans " $834,930 " %} {% trans " 3 " %} {% trans " 2011-ongoing " %}
{% trans " Invisible War " %} {% trans " $450,000 " %} {% trans " 3 at beginning, 4-6 at height of campaign " %} {% trans " 2012-ongoing " %}
{% trans " American Promise " %} {% trans " $1.3M " %} {% trans " 5 " %} {% trans " 2010-ongoing " %}


" %}



'We're a core staff of six, with one to two interns. In a sense, we've built an NGO – a pretty effective organisation that serves a need that's currently under served'

Lee Hirsch, Filmmaker, Bully

Let's look a bit more closely at two of the films in our library.

Through fundraising activities and as a result of Bully's success at the box office, Lee Hirsch has been able to recruit a full time staff of six to work with him on the campaign since its launch in 2011. Lee decided to take a very hands on role in the impact campaign as well as the filmmaking - deciding on the campaign's strategic direction, brokering partnerships and being the lead spokesperson for the campaign as well as the film. The Bully Project's permanent team of six keep the campaign running, but it's interesting to also note the additional consultants and organisations who have helped activate the campaign - from its distribution partners to social impact strategists, and other partners who came on board to extend the reach and impact of the campaign over time:

The Bag It team had a comparatively smaller campaign budget to play with, and so kept things pretty lean, with Suzan and Michelle taking on much of the Impact Producer's responsibilities (including project management, fundraising & publicity), and then hiring in additional support as and when funds allowed them to do so.

The following team organogram gives a snapshot of all the people who worked with Suzan and Michelle during the campaign. The dotted lines depict those who were brought in temporarily. It's also worth adding that whilst Suzan and Michelle led the team, the rest of the team are not arranged in hierarchical order!

{% trans "Four years on, the filmmakers talk about how they are able to transition projects over to some of their partners:

{% trans "

In total contrast, the Blackfish team didn't set out to campaign with their film, initially their main goal was to raise mass public understanding of a previously unrecognised issue. But due to the swell in public sentiment, the film was brought to the attention of animal advocacy groups who subsequently brought attention to the issues the film raises through their own campaign work, rather than the it being initiated and driven by the film team. It was an unexpected turn of events in terms of the trajectory of the film, but ultimately resulted in an extraordinary and organic and unprecedented outcome in terms of its impact, known as ‘The Blackfish Effect'.

If you're interested in seeing the team organograms from more films, you can find them in our library.

'The campaign is still going strong, although the campaign for ‘Becoming a Bag It Town' has now moved more into a place of resources available on our website'

Michelle Maughan, Producer, Bag It

Team dynamics

Momentum on a film project with an ambitious impact campaign can lead to rapid expansion of team. Without a traditional institutional structure, team dynamics are often overlooked in favor of production distribution deadlines. Our thoughts are a brief tangent that could be much elaborated on, to remind you that filmmaking - and impact production - is a lot about managing people. And happy people do good work.

There's plenty of theory about how to understand your own behaviour and those of your colleagues - whether they are senior, junior or on the same level. It's quite possible you'll have different working styles, and that as a multi-disciplinary team comes together, you'll have to tackle differences.

We love the Honey & Mumford Questionnaire to work out what kind of learners you are. It puts every member of your team into one of four learning types: activist, theorist, reflector and pragmatist. Figuring out your impact strategy and being self-aware about how each team member processes and contributes is very helpful to understanding your team's dynamics.

If you're interested to find out more, click on the Geek Out section below.

Geek Out: Ideas for further reading" %}


Made byDoc Society Made possible by: Ford Foundation - Just Film Bertha Foundation Sundance Institute Knight Foundation