TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Moviemaker
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:10
Column Tag:Inside info

Think Like a Moviemaker

You may have a roster that really does look like movie credits

By Chris Espinosa, Apple Computer, MacTech Magazine Regular Contributor

If your development shop is more than just yourself, you probably have some separation of function among the people working on a project. Usually there’s a separation between development and testing; if you’re big enough, documentation is a third branch. Some organizations last a long time without really breaking the organization up into more parts than this.

But as your development team gets bigger, you may need to break the developers into teams. Often one team is set to work on the core technology and another on the interface, or one team does user interface work and another does system-level stuff. If your project gets very large, you may have more than two teams working on different modules of the project.

And everybody knows that as you increase the number of teams, the development time increases geometrically, because of the added burden of communicating among the teams. This stage of growth can be fatal for small companies. Things stop working like they used to. The kind of easy collaboration that happened over cubicle walls doesn’t happen from hall to hall, or building to building.

And unless carefully managed, the teams can go in different directions, duplicate each others’ work, or leave holes in the product big enough for competitors to drive through.

And nobody’s making it simpler for you. With each year the requirements on you go up: you need experts in cross-platform development, better user interface designers, and multimedia mavens to keep up with new technologies and user demands. At some point the credits in the About... box start looking like the credits at the end of a movie.

Take a cue from that. Movies are pretty complex creative processes, taking dozens of people months or years to create. And while the analogy breaks down pretty easily (a bug in a movie doesn’t generate tech support calls, for example), there’s a lot to be learned from the way a studio organizes a movie production.

And I’m not talking about big-budget epics here. Thousands of made-for-TV movies, direct-to-rental releases, and minor studio pictures are made each year, and there’s a lot of consistency in the way they’re put together from studio to studio.

First of all, somebody’s in charge: there’s a producer responsible for bringing it to market and managing the investment, and a director responsible for the creativity and quality of the picture, and managing the people. The director may work on only one picture at a time. How different this is from a software company of moderate size! In such companies, people probably report up through functional organizations that work across products, and there’s no equivalent of a “producer” until you get to a division VP, who doesn’t have enough personal involvement to make authoritative decisions. To correct this, you may have a project leader to function as a “director,” but without the management authority to tell people what to do.

Next (and most distressing for people who want job security in high-tech): most people who work on a picture are independent contractors. There was a time when actors, directors, and cinematographers were firmly attached to one studio, but nowadays they float from studio to studio, picture to picture. Even sequels and serials are made by different teams of people. This is easy in Hollywood, where tools, equipment, and raw materials are pretty much the same from job to job. The training time currently needed to learn and understand a large body of C++ source code puts a damper on hiring journeymen programmers for a specific job, and the desire to not have your trade secrets go to the competition is a reason to keep your engineers around.

But I predict that over time that will change, as less and less coding is required to develop saleable software, and more and more the job of creating applications becomes one of fitting new components into an existing structure, or redefining the relationships among components. This is already happening in other areas of technology (like VLSI design, where designers rarely work at the gate level, much less the transistor); that software programmers still write code a line at a time is as crazy as trying to make movies with a still camera.

So in the organization of an application team, you may have a roster that really does look like movie credits: a producer and a director; a couple of assistant producers and directors to manage the relationship with the platform vendor; an overall architect (like a scriptwriter) and a few lead programmers (the lead actors); a supporting cast of programmers and testers, brought in for the job; an interface stylist, a sound editor, a technical crew doing tools and integration; and of course second unit to port the application to a different platform. After the project, the work gets filed in a good source repository, the leads may stay with you, but the majority of the team moves on to other studios and other jobs.

Next month: making the movie

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Opera 47.0.2631.83 - High-performance We...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
Vivaldi 1.12.955.36 - An advanced browse...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind... Read more
Apple Configurator 2.5 - Configure and d...
Apple Configurator makes it easy to deploy iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV devices in your school or business. Use Apple Configurator to quickly configure large numbers of devices connected to... Read more
Smultron 10.0 - Easy-to-use, powerful te...
Smultron 10 is an elegant and powerful text editor that is easy to use. You can use Smultron 10 to create or edit any text document. Everything from a web page, a note or a script to any single piece... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.304 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Drive Genius 5.0.5 - $49.50 (50% off)
Drive Genius features a comprehensive Malware Scan. Automate your malware protection. Protect your investment from any threat. The Malware Scan is part of the automated DrivePulse utility. DrivePulse... Read more
Apple Keynote 7.3 - Apple's present...
Easily create gorgeous presentations with the all-new Keynote, featuring powerful yet easy-to-use tools and dazzling effects that will make you a very hard act to follow. The Theme Chooser lets you... Read more
Apple Numbers 4.3 - Apple's spreads...
With Apple Numbers, sophisticated spreadsheets are just the start. The whole sheet is your canvas. Just add dramatic interactive charts, tables, and images that paint a revealing picture of your data... Read more
Apple Pages 6.3 - Apple's word proc...
Apple Pages is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully. It lets you work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices, and... Read more
Smultron 9.4.2 - Easy-to-use, powerful t...
Smultron 9 is an elegant and powerful text editor that is easy to use. Use it to create or edit any text document. Everything from a web page, a note or a script to any single piece of text or code.... Read more

ARise (Games)
ARise 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: **ARKit only Puzzle game****Chapter 1 available now - More worlds coming soon!** ARise is an experience about perspective. Using the AR... | Read more »
The best games to play while you wait fo...
SteamWorld Dig 2 is out this week on PC and Switch, and people are understandably excited. This clever series by Image and Form combines our favorite metroidvania mechanics with an esquisite universe, excellent storytelling, and true wit. While... | Read more »
Drag'n'Boom beginner's gu...
Have you ever wanted to burn and pillage a village as a bloodthirsty dragon? If you answered yes to that question, Drag'n'Boom offers you the perfect chance to do so, casting you as an adorable little dragon that wants to set humankind aflame. It... | Read more »
Thimbleweed Park (Games)
Thimbleweed Park 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: A brand new adventure game from Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, creators of the classics Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion!... | Read more »
The best simulation games on mobile
There's nothing like a good sim -- from the seemingly ridiculous to the incredibly mundane, you can be there's a simulation game out there for your every whim. [Read more] | Read more »
INKS guide - how to create works of pinb...
INKS puts a clever new spin on everyone's favorite classic arcade game, pinball. The core mechanics are the same -- keep a little ball pinging around the board for as long as possible without letting it fall into the precarious holes in the board.... | Read more »
Warbands: Bushido (Games)
Warbands: Bushido 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Warbands:Bushido is a miniatures board game with cards, miniatures, dice and beautiful terrains to fight on, with both... | Read more »
The best mobile games like Divinity: Ori...
Divinity: Original Sin 2 launched this week to the excitement of RPG fans everywhere. The game, which derives a lot of of its story and mechanics from old-school isometric RPGs and Dungeons & Dragons, has unseated PlayerUnknown's... | Read more »
Iron Marines guide - beginner tips and t...
Iron Marines is a brilliant RTS title that feels a bit like Starcraft. It's got a sci-fi setting and some of the most spectacular strategy mechanics we've seen in mobile games to date. With that said, the RTS genre can be a bit tricky to break... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week -...
The work week can be tough, but on the bright side, it's almost overandthere are bunches of brand new games to try out this weekend. This week definitely makes up for last week's sleepiness ten-fold. We've got one of the finest RTS game on mobile... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Is iPhone X Really The Future Of The Smartpho...
Should iPhone X even be called a telephone? It does of course support telephony and texting, but its main feature set is oriented to other things. It is also debatable whether it makes any rational... Read more
OtterBox Announces Full Case Lineup for iPhon...
Apple revolutionized the smartphone industry 10 years ago with the original iPhone, and OtterBox has set the standard of protection from the very beginning by protecting every generation of iPhone.... Read more
LifeProof Introduces What’s NEXT Cases for iP...
LifeProof built its reputation on sleek, ultra-protective iPhone cases. From 360-degree coverage to the first screenless waterproof case, the protection pioneer has always pushed the limits.... Read more
Apple Refurbished 2016 15-inch MacBook Pros a...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros available starting at $1949. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: – 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar Space... Read more
Wednesday deal: 15-inch MacBook Pros for up t...
B&H Photo has 2017 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for $150-$200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2199, $200 off MSRP... Read more
2.6GHz Mac mini on sale for $599, $100 off MS...
B&H Photo has the 2.6GHz Mac mini (MGEN2LL/A) on sale for $599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Snag a 15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro, App...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1699. That’s $300 off original MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a 15″ MacBook Pro currently offered by... Read more
Apple Refurbished 3TB Time Capsule for $279,...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 3TB Time Capsules available for $279 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more
19% off Smart Battery Cases for iPhone 7
Amazon has both Black and White Smart Battery Cases for iPhone 7s available for $80.41 including free shipping. Their price is $18.59, or 19%, off MSRP. Read more
Back on sale: 10.5-inch 64GB iPad Pros for $5...
MacMall has 10.5″ 64GB Apple iPad Pros on sale again for $599 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP and the lowest price available for this model from any reseller. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* News Product Marketing Mgr., Publish...
Job Summary The Apple News Product Marketing Manager will work closely with a cross-functional group to assist in defining and marketing new features and services. Read more
Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple Inc. (U...
…about helping others on a team while also delighting customers? As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC), you will discover customers needs and help connect them Read more
Software/Data Engineer, *Apple* Media Produ...
Job Summary Apple Media Products is the team behind the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes, and many other high profile products on iPhone, Mac and AppleTV. Our Data Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.