Last week we had a shoot in High River, Alberta with one of the popular chuckwagon drivers, Gary Gorst, for the Calgary Stampede. Gary does the racing circuit trucking all over Alberta and Saskatchewan for 56 racing days. This was a solid basis for a good story.
The client was organized, and had everybody booked for the big day: our celebrity driver, his crew, the VP interviewer, a director, the folks at the charity we were sponsoring and myself. There was a shot list, a script, maps and a creative brief - the ingredients for a perfect shoot.
The plan was to shoot at the High River rodeo grounds with a focus on the chuck wagon highlighting its features. The forecast had been for showers, which typically are short and come and go around here. When the day came it began with heavy clouds and a forecast for rain. The client made the call to go ahead, with so many people booked and the Stampede coming up quickly.
When everyone gathered at the rodeo grounds, it was raining steadily and it continued to do so for the day. We had a solid plan for the shoot. It became obvious that plan wasn't going to work. We could reschedule with everyone involved. Some major flexibility and thinking outside of the box on the spot was required. As a team, we reconfigured the plan to shoot in the horse stable and tell the story around the horses. Instead of static shots around a chuck wagon, we now had an interview around lively horses which added so much more life and interest to the whole shoot. Gary was able to tell a personal story about one of his favourite horses and the races they had done together. This was completely non scripted and outside of the plan.
In business and life, despite our efforts, our projects have glitches and plans change spontaneously. Some people react with a harder push for everyone to follow the original plan. These are opportunities for you to take a moment to stay calm and think outside of the situation.
Are there different angles you could look at this project from?
Do the people involved have hidden abilities and could adapt to a new plan with you?
How can you encourage the team to problem solve with you?
Would a new approach gain benefits never considered?
I often resist change. But when I look at them as opportunities, sometimes the payoff is even better than originally hoped for. I drove home in the pouring rain that day thinking about what a great project that turned out to be.