Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Zuma Dogg Applies Deming's 14 Points to City Council's new Film Commission Idea (To Help Promote/Market Hollywood To Production Industry)

NEW MOTION from today's City Council meeting...A NEW FILM COMMISSION:

* To promote the benefits of L.A. to the international film industry. Mainly, nice weather, like today was the main benefit being touted by the first three councilmembers who spoke on the Richard Alarcon motion.

Things to consider

  1. * First of all, I'm not big on a "bring 'em back" strategy. My belief is once something has left the building...it's time to look to the next horizon, cause it didn't leave (the problem wasn't created) out of lack of publicity or awareness around Los Angeles and Hollywood. The problem is that the system is broken (city is too impossible to deal with, too expensive, too bureaucratic and people would rather fly the production to an island off Boston that deal with L.A. County and all it's infrastructure nightmares on top of the process itself.

YES, there is FILM L.A., a city and county project, which is supposed to facilitate the permitting process for production. I don't know how effective it is, but conceptually, that is a good (customer service friendly idea, which is the foundation of Deming's 14 points -- putting the customer's needs first.)

So the problem is with an L.A. Film Commission who's task it is to "promote and market" Los Angeles to the film industry is that you are only promoting a broken and outdated product. I would like to add that I am not saying the city should not try to market and promote and fight for it's share of the production market -- and Alarcon even mentioned, "that this is only on piece of the entire puzzle." BUT THIS IS THE PIECE BEING DISCUSSED FIRST! Without ANY discussion as to what the city needs to do in order to facilitate a more customer friendly work environment. So they are dealing with the last part, first, as usual. (Desert before the nutritious part of the meal. Then bypassing the nutrition part of the meal, entirely.)

WITH THAT SAID, not that any of this will be the magical solution to, "bring back the film industry to L.A." (because again, like manufacturing and other industries, once it leaves, it ain't coming back -- or it wouldn't have left. Tom LaBong actually made a good point that Hollywood basically used to OWN the industry because they had all the technology to themselves, but now COMPUTERS has allowed any production company to operate on a level playing field from anywhere in the world. So right off the bat, it ain't never gonna be what it was. But let me try and put on the "Deming" cap and try to apply concepts from the 14 Points to this Film Commission project:

* L.A. will have thousands of employees in the area, who have recently left the city workforce through early retirement, who would probably jump at the chance to work part-time in the production (and related services) industry since many of them aren't actually ready to retire (have many more productive years) and would be happy workers since they already have a nice pension so it's not "do or die" for them from a salary perspective, but they wouldn't mind the added Hollywood salary, benefits -- AND MEALS. (Cause when you work on Hollywood productions, you get all you can eat, top quality meals -- so you can cut way back on your personal food spending.

* What assets (properties, parking lots, land, technology, vehicles, building space, etc.) does the city have that they would be more willing to offer up (even for free) to production companies as a "loss leader" to keep productions in town -- so that the city can benefit by all the other related businesses that are suffering as a result. (Restaurants, dry cleaners, florists, coffee shops, carpenters, electricians, drivers, etc. -- all losing out when Hollywood productions runaway.)

* TAX BREAKS & INCENTIVES: Hate to say it, but HELL YEAH, you better bend over backwards and use the TV and Film production industry as a TOTAL loss leader to keep all the other products and services (like the ones mentioned about) along with the city's tax revenue that is tied to it all. You elected officials know where all those breaks and incentives can be found. But don't be greedy. This is do or die time. You gotta go with the "loss leader" strategy now. Don't be like the record industry once the internet came along. SORRY!

* MOST IMPORTANTLY: Regarding the process (broken/bureaucratic system), and I know Council will be quick to mention, "FILM L.A.," and their permit process facilitation, but relating to ALL processes in a film and tv production: THE FIRST THING THAT MUST BE DONE...

I REPEAT...the FIRST THING THAT MUST BE DONE IS, the new Film Commission (in coordination with FILM L.A.) must draw a "FLOW CHART" of the entire process that it takes to get a project off the ground and on to the streets of L.A.

If you cannot create a simple flow chart of the process in the first place, YOU HAVE A BROKEN SYSTEM TO BEGIN WITH. You create a flow chart to see how a widget moves from Point A to Point B. And when you look at the chart, you will probably find a bunch of processes that are not necessary, but merely City and County Bureaucratic B.S. But I'm not pointing fingers, or blaming anyone specifically -- because the problem itself (of bureaucracy) is part of the overall broken system that must be addressed through the 14 Points ("Methods for Management of Quality and Productivity).

So it's not about pointing fingers or blaming, because the city is addressing the issue, now...so I will try and apply the 14 points, the best that I can, for now -- to try and spark innovative ideas from the TRUE EXPERTS...the city workers -- which may even include some city councilmembers.

SO YOU HAVE TO DRAW A FLOW CHART OF THE PROCESS FROM MOVING A WIDGET (the production process) FROM POINT "A" TO POINT "B." (From the customer's FIRST CONTACT with the city to the director's first shout of the word, "ACTION!") Then the inefficiencies will be exposed for the city and council to better understand.

AND FINALLY...A BIG, BIG PART OF ALL OF THIS...is the city and county is going to HAVE to become more comfortable with having employees under them at the lower management and employee levels be EMPOWERED to make decisions on the spot, on their own -- without having to wait days (or weeks) or a manager to "sign off" on it (usually without even looking anyway, but just trusting the person who is placing it in front of them.)

YOU MUST REALIZE THAT PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS ANY COMPANY'S (OR MUNICIPALITY'S) BIGGEST ASSET! Not the computers...not the office furniture...not the software or treasury itself...BUT THE PEOPLE!

An environment of "fear based" management has been the cause of all of this. So to EMPOWER the employee is to realize they are usually the ones who have the answers to the problems (since they are the ones having to "fudge" for your broken system) -- and with a little education/training -- and mostly trust you can eliminate a lot of the needless and immeasurable bureaucracy by allowing people on the front lines to simply do what they already know...without having to sign off on every little detail that adds days, weeks and months to the process.

MORE TO COME...

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