Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lessons in Agile Project Management from Big Wave Surfing

I just finished watching a great surf film called Riding Giants by Director Stacy Peralta. I had to stop the film a few times and transcribe some of the quotes because I thought they captured a few principles of Agile project management beautifully:

Big Wave Surfing Legend Micky Munoz on the first rides of Waimea:

Everything is moving. Everything is in flux. Nothing is constant. It's so dynamic that you can't pre-plan it.

Director Stacy Peralta on using a film printer to print hundreds of photos of archival film footage:

We wallpaper our offices with all these photographs. When I'm putting together a sequence I can go all over the office and say, "I need that photograph, I need this photograph, I need that photograph" and also by coming into the office and looking around these walls your constantly getting input from these photographs and it starts to get into your subconscious head. You know you kind of start to drink this stuff and it's really helpful in the making of the film.

Editor on using drawings to depict events for which there was no footage:

When you have a great story that you want to tell, but you don't have the coverage for it, was a lot of the things that we came across--especially with Macaha in 1969--and so, we use drawings; that's when we went to story boards.

Director on same topic:

One of the shots that we wanted to get in the film is we wanted to figure out--we wanted to see what it looks like--wiping out at Mavericks. Of cource we couldn't afford to get a camera down there, and even if we did get a camera down there we'd probably need a lot of light because the water's so murky and then I don't even know if we'd get the shot so we just thought, "Why don't we draw pictures? Have somebody draw pictures of what it might look like down there. Shoot the pictures on a motion mat camera, and cut it together. Just pure experimentation. Let's see if it works. If it works we'll use it, if it doesn't we'll throw it out. "

So I had an artist draw pictures like this. And he sketched them out at first, and these are all different pictures of what it might look like of a guy wiping out at Mavericks, and that led to more ideas of more drawings of, you know, sketches of guys holding onto leashes and
things like that. There was a process of experimentation--let's see what we can do--if it works, great, if it doesn't work it didn't cost us that much money to experiment.