Digital content is never produced in a vacuum. You almost always need to collaborate with a team or client to get the job done. As a creative professional, you have spent your career perfecting your craft and becoming and expert in your creative software of choice, whether it is Adobe Creative Cloud, Avid, Final Cut, The Foundry's toolkit, Ableton, Logic, Pro Tools or your tool of choice. But you have also become an expert in how to collaborate during the creative process. Whether you are producing live action video, animated video, graphics, or audio, the steps to collaborate with your team and clients can be summarized in 9 steps:
1. Understand The Creative Spec
First you need to understand what your client wants. You discuss your clients needs and desires, and you help point them in the right direction. You ask your client for a script, flow or detailed description of what they want. You are the expert here. You have nailed tons of creative projects, and your client most likely hasn’t. So you want to spend time pointing them in the right direction. Time spent on this step will pay off down the road.
2. Gather Source Materials
You need to gather any source files or content that will become part of the finished media. You need to give your clients an easy way to provide you with this content. Or you need to do some research and source it yourself.
3. Create Content!
This is your comfort zone. This is what you got into the creative profession to do. This is where you flex your creative muscle.
4. Upload & Tag
Once you’ve worked your creative magic, you need to deposit the media files somewhere where your team or clients can review them and download them. Hopefully you can use an accelerated uploader to reduce the time you spend waiting for the upload to finish. When you upload your media files, its important to name, tag and organize your them so that your team or clients can easily find them and identify them. Your team probably has its own language and nomenclature for naming and organizing your files and this is where you apply it.
You will want to let your team or clients know that you have finished your part of the creative process, and you want them to have a look. This is when you share your work with them. If the work is not ready for public release, you probably want to share securely, making sure only the intended audience sees the media.
6. Get Feedback
Your team or clients will then want to provide feedback. If you are producing video or audio, they may want to annotate the media on a timeline, referencing certain points in the video or audio file.
Rarely is creative work a one-shot deal, where you nail it on the first go-around. You almost always need to iterate on your creative work to nail the client’s desired end-product. Once they have annotated the media, you will go back to step 3 and implement they requested changes, then loop through the process again. Once they are satisfied, you move on to the final steps.
Once the media is complete, and you, and your clients are happy with the work, its time to deliver the finished media files. This may be as simple as sharing the files and allowing your clients to download them. Or the client may want you to FTP the file somewhere, or upload it to their servers.
9. Store For Re-use
You have invested time, effort and creative energy into your work. Some of what you have done might be reusable in future projects with the same client, or with others. So you want to store the source materials and finished media files, then tag them so you can find them later.