- NEW YORK
As remote working has increasingly encroached on the concept of the “work/life balance,” the AICP Post Council decided to address the issue. The Council, an advisory group to the AICP National Board, has created a set of common sense guidelines for working remotely, and is recommending to AICP members--particularly postproduction companies--that they be referenced in the notes section of all upcoming bids.
Designed to help agencies and clients better align their work habits and expectations in ways that are most efficient and effective, the guidelines address the importance of recognizing normal operating hours; the premium costs associated with after-hours work; the value of following an agreed-upon communication process; and respecting the roles of all involved to ensure a smooth experience. The guidelines were shared with hundreds of agency production professionals earlier this month.
Sections of the guidelines specifically address:
- The role of the post producer in helping clients and agencies manage the remote working scenario most effectively and being the gatekeeper for communications between artists, editors and assistants.
- Scheduling and time management recommendations that take into account things such as lunch breaks and child care, the vagaries of internet speeds, how quickly one should expect responses to after-hours emails or texts and the overall importance of observing regular business hours.
- Communications protocols covering cancellations, the importance of ensuring appropriate lead time for video conference calls and best practices for managing supervised sessions on platforms such as Zoom.
The guidelines include an advisory that can be inserted into the notes section of postproduction bids. It reads:
- “Your project is incredibly important to us. We have all adapted to working from home, and with help from our industry leaders, we have determined best practices to help us all communicate more efficiently and execute projects in the most productive manner possible. Please refer to the AICP Post Production Guidelines and Best Practices: Working Remotely. Thank you!”
Yvette Cobarrubias, managing partner/executive producer at Cosmo Street, who serves on the Post Council as well as the AICP National Board, spearheaded the effort along with the full Post Council to develop the Remote Working Guidelines. “Our motivation was to bring back a sense of normalcy in our day to day lives,” Cobarrubias explained. “Due to varying lifestyles, we saw many of our clients and internal teams operating around the clock. To save everyone from burn out, we came up with guidelines to unify our WFH experience. We recognized that every single person on the project, from agency to editor to producer to assistant, was grappling with these same issues, and we needed to find a solution.”
Cobarrubias pointed out that while the guidelines are more specific to the nature of postproduction work, where artists spend hour upon hour sitting in suites or bays, “this is not just a post issue. It’s a production issue, an agency issue and a client issue, too.
“These were written with all of us in mind, not just post production,” Cobarrubias continued. “We all need time to stop and eat a sandwich, help our kids, or just not look at a screen. The language is there for companies to include on their bids, and also to spark conversations with clients about the importance of boundaries when working remotely.”
The Remote Working Guidelines will be a living document, revised and amended as circumstances and conditions change, Cobarrubias noted. ““They’ll evolve as we learn new things about working remotely, set different boundaries and realize we all have similar needs. We hope they will be adopted much like the AICP guidelines for cancellation and postponement.”
Here’s a rundown of the common sense guidelines:
If the postproduction company is prevented from operating within its traditional office environment, it may offer its services via a Remote Work set up. In this scenario the postproduction professionals involved in the project may be working from home, or from other remote locations. For this reason, the AICP offers this guidance and recommends the following in order to maintain the integrity of the project, acknowledge existing labor laws, respect each other’s employees’ personal time and continue to provide first quality work under even the most challenging circumstances.
The Role of the Post Producer
- While the position of post producer is an important role in every project, it is an integral position in a Remote Work situation; therefore it should be recognized as such and be included as a line item in every bid.
- With the exception of creative discussion, it is extremely important that all communication with the post company be directed to the post producer who is responsible for keeping all appropriate personnel informed and the project coordinated.
- All parties should abide by their regular business hours. In most cases those hours fall between 8 am and 7 pm, depending on employer and employee schedules. The specific working schedules should be outlined from the outset of every project.
- Weekend rates may apply and are set to cover premium hours that directly impact the company and the artist involved.
- Lunch breaks at a minimum of 30 minutes must be maintained for all employees, (including exempt employees such as artists and post producers) unless prevailing law require otherwise.
- While emails are welcomed around the clock, replies should not be expected until business opens the following day. In all instances, texts should be reserved for needs that require immediate action.
- All parties involved on a project may experience varying internet speeds when working remotely. When creating schedules, all parties should build in additional time for postings, transfer of data, and receipt of deliverables.
Communication between Parties
- Ample lead time should be provided to schedule video conferencing calls. This will allow all those involved to allocate their time accordingly when multitasking from home.
- While supervised sessions on platforms such as Zoom are imperative, they should be utilized for reviews and to communicate during live sessions. Once feedback has been provided and the team has their instructions, it is more efficient for the team to log off and rejoin as needed.
- While most post companies are able to quickly facilitate last minute bookings and put together a team at a moment’s notice, an approved bid (or start-up costs) should be provided prior to starting any work. For any work canceled or postponed, please see the AICP guidelines on cancellation/postponement.
By following these simple Guidelines, the AICP Post Community can continue to deliver the highest quality of work and maintain effective and efficient working conditions for the industry.
To view this document as well as revisions and amendments as they evolve, click here.