5 Project Management Lessons from the V48Hour Film Competition


Entering a novice team into the V48 Hour Film Competition in New Zealand was a unique, and fun, experience.

Here are some lessons that we learned about managing a project team…


Below is a quick video I did with the 5 lessons learned from the competition. Below that you can see the film we made…

The 5 Lessons:

  1. Assemble the team based on personality and attitude
    Don’t base your choice solely on technical skill if you are going into a pressure situation. It is better to have people who work well under pressure knowing that they can learn some of the skills required.
  2. Know your outcome
    If you don’t know what you want to achieve then you are unlikely to achieve anything. We focussed on having fun… and we achieved that! 😉
  3. Assign responsibilities
    If the team knows what one another can do and they trust each other to do their job then each person can focus on doing their role to the best of their ability for the next person in the process. And they have the faith that each other team member will do the same.
  4. Leading is a communication and support role
    Leadership is communicating the vision, facilitating communication between the roles, and supporting everyone in the team to ensure that they have what they need to do their tasks.
  5. Celebrate
    When you have done what you set out to do make sure that you celebrate as a team and ensure that everyone gets recognised for their contribution. It binds the team and improves your engagement for the next project.


So the way the competition works is that we are given a few elements that need to be in the film, and we also draw one of 12 genres of the film (ours was “End of the World”).
We didn’t have a sound guy so we opted not to try to add sound rather than try and make a hash of it. -And to be honest we were more interested in getting the film in by the deadline than making it extremely polished. Below the film I will mention some of the rationale behind it.

So the genisis of the idea was that this person was unlucky, and the world had to end. We thought about having a lottery winner just before the world ended, or a scientist curing cancer, and before they get their noble prize a meteor destroys the planet…

But we decided on having this Karmageddon concept, where the ‘unlucky’ stuff one person does affects another person in another ‘dimension’. This was unfortunately a play on Nicky Black and Nicky White… It wasn’t until an hour before we handed the film in that we realised we somehow got the name wrong and it should have been Nicky Brick. (I will take the blame on that one).

In hindsight the concept was too complex for a short film, and looking at other films we had way more dialogue than most. Also we sort of scripted it as it went along which is definitely the wrong way to do it. It just grew and grew. In fact we did almost 14 hours of filming for the 6 minute film we produced.

On the plus side the team had a lot of fun. We were happy with our basic filming technique, our lighting inside rocked, and our editing was great too (in my opinion). Plus we got it in on time, which is a huge accomplishment for the team, because there were many teams that didn’t make the deadline.

Got to extend my thanks to the V48 hours  organisers, and in particular Paul Barlow who talked me into entering a couple of weeks beforehand and was the organiser of the Central North Island, and who I thought did a particularly good job!

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About Chris Hanlon

Chris has worked in or owned small businesses most of his life, before lured into the corporate world where he spent over a decade. However his passion for small business has remained, and taken life in The Profit Wizard blog, his published book, and some coaching he does for a variety of businesses. You can follow Chris on Twitter @TheProfitWizard

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