As the video producer in content production I cannot remain silent on this situation. First, because this has become an incredibly frustrating environment to work in and I do not blame my CU facilitator @seth one bit for that, and second, that this situation is going to lead to an significant loss of opportunity and resources for the DAO and I do not see anyone, anywhere on these forums addressing this. . .
We are literally about to film the very content we were criticized for not providing and you’re going vote to offboard us right before ETHDenver less than two months after approving our six month budget? We have planned and set in motion the following content to be filmed in 4 weeks: promotional video showcasing Maker’s presence at ETHDenver including highlighting growth’s offsite event and our CU’s offsite event, sit down interviews for short documentaries and social media cutdowns, and photography.
I already have crew and transportation booked, equipment quotes and commitments from vendors, an off site venue for filming interviews secured, shot lists, shooting schedule, question lists etc.). This is in addition to the venue and offsite event booked, planned, and catered by our CU with efforts lead by @JerryAG. Personally, this whole situation has the potential to hurt my reputation with the filmmakers I’ve hired for this content, something I take very seriously. I know this isn’t going into anyone’s decision and it’s not personal, but it is important to point out the work situation this is putting me in as an example of what it’s like on the inside. Since on the outside, there’s a lot of talk on the forums that these situations are harmless, or even productive.
This entire MIP is a lose-lose. If it gets voted NO: Yay we get to keep our jobs! But with a serious impact on our productivity. We’re in a complete hiring freeze, I still have no assistant, and it’s impacting our ability to plan for ETHDenver content. It also gives our core unit legitimate leverage against complaints of our performance at the next budget cycle, and who wants that? I loathe excuses. If it gets YES: then all the money and resources poured into the ETHDenver content goes down the toilet and a wonderful opportunity goes with it.
That’s a kind offer to some of our members and I appreciate that our talent is recognized. However, even if another CU would like to retain any of our talents, it still leads to this massive loss of content and resources at ETHDenver. There’s no way around it.
I fail to see how this offboarding proposal benefits anyone. Offboarding proposals are not a painless process for CUs and have consequences for their work. The benefits of putting units in the hot seat are already laid to bare everytime they’re on the chopping block with their budget proposals. There comes a time to allow a group space to work and grow. Criticism does not need to come in the form of offboarding proposals and could be addressed in positive, constructive ways. If the DAO decided to not renew our next budget proposal and offboard us at that time, I can understand that. Obviously, it’s up to MKR holders and delegates to decide which CUs bring value and which do not. At least at that point in time, we had the chance to complete a large amount of the content we sought out to create and were requested to create, and overall, the DAO would have a much better amount of content to judge our unit against. This is literally clipping our wings just as we are about to fly. Let alone that this is the very type of content I’ve been looking forward to producing since I started. Video production takes money and time. For reference, see my previous post.
I would also like to add that I believe our unit’s work is mischaracterized by certain individuals and myopically viewed by others. Before commiting to a decision, I recommend looking at our unit holistically as we are talentally diverse and provide value in very different ways, often beyond the definition of “content production”. I fear this value will only be apparent in our absence. Despite the claim there are core units who do not trust us to my dismay, there are most definitely core units who do value our work and support. And much of that support is not getting translated. I’m proud of the work we do, the hurdles we overcome, and every member of our unit. I stand by all of them.
Since we’re staring down the barrel of an offboarding proposal, I do not want to end on a negative note or coming off disgruntled. I’d be remiss without saying thank you to all the wonderful people I have worked with in the DAO and those who have stuck up for us. Despite this situation and no matter how it turns out, I was still happy to have time here at Maker. No regrets. It challenged me in new ways and forced me to think radically different from traditional media and I got to meet some great people along the way. This is a special community; everyone here knows it. So sincerely thank you to everyone for that.
Really, REALLY appreciate this post @jmarshall as it puts some real personal and business color on the people and professional level effects of ‘offboarding’ in this fashion.
This I think is a critical point which shows how much damage was done bringing these offboarding MIPs out of the blue. Honestly it is going to make me want to suggest changes to the process on these. Meaning no offboarding MIP should be taken seriously by any CU until some sort of forum post is put up explaining issues someone may have with a CU unit that allows the unit or person to address. Literally unless a CU is affecting critical business operations in a negative way MakerDAO needs to stay the course with onboards (EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM being allowed a fixed amount of time (determined in advance in the onboarding MIP) to prove themselves. Sure governance or anyone can be critical but literally once MakerDAO makes a choice to onboard these people need to have a reasonable amount of time to get up to speed and a reasonable and mutually agreed set of goals to be met in the alloted period.
Onboarding anything should undergo a stringent vetting process including a time frame and mutually agreed set of performance goals.
When nearing the end of the agreed time frame a CU performance review should be undertaken by the community to determine if the CU has met expectations and whether it can reasonably be expected to continue or whether the unit or particular members have failed and need to be offboarded.
From my own delegate comments:
At this point given the statements above I am not even sure me switching to NO will change this. But in light of my own comments above - and what we saw with @SebVentures as well I think MakerDAO should take a serious look at what kind of timelines and performance metrics are going to be laid out for onboarding CUs because frankly if I am looking to onboard as a CU at Maker the above activities would scare the hell out of me, and should scare the hell out of every CU at MakerDAO because if anyone can for whatever reasons propose a MIP to offboard without a single poll or at least a reasonable objective fair and critical discussion of performance or lack thereof Maker is going to get quiet and unproductive very quickly.
This literally creates a passive aggressive work environment which we all should want to avoid at all costs.
We need a much nicer process to bring CUs under performance examination lights and a well defined process for how to first have a critical objective discussion (for how long), and then to poll the community (for how long), before we finally move to a formal MIP to remove a person or a CU and removal (with certain exceptions) should not be even possible until near the end of the trial/performance period.
If there was one discussion I think MakerDAO needs to have at the next Governance Call it would be how we as a collective group want to handle this as a process so everyone ends up with equitable treatment, and anyone can bring up questions in a way that is healthier for everyone involved and MakerDAO generally vs. this attack defend approach that is now being employed.
Hey J–thank you for posting a response to the Delegate Pre-Vote Notice I posted this week. Please note that there is over 850,000++ MKR that is currently not voting and can dictate the outcome of the current Poll. Including a lot of Recognized Delegates, and MKR token holders who actively vote.
I truly understand your frustration and appreciate the work that you are currently performing for the upcoming ETH Denver event.
You know… I think about things like, why has it taken more than 6-months to finally produce Content for the many events that were showcased across the World in the same 6-month time-frame. Last month I attended DeFi Con and a good amount of DeFi protocols were there. I didn’t see any “Marketing” for MakerDAO, and the same occur at other events throughout Europe. In fact, MakerDAO is rarely represented at any of these events. But okay. I get it. Folks can’t travel because of the pandemic, or personal reasons, things happen, humans sometimes like to tackle things, “tomorrow”.
I believe that MKT-001 has had a sufficient Budget allocated to their Core Unit. If my memory serves me correctly MKT-001 operated on 50% of the budget and it failed to scaled up. What happen to the the MKT-001 roadmap and the game plan for a product-driven viral growth theme?
Also, as MakerDAO moves to a Clean Money Initiative, we need to campaign, market, push for DAI driven-viral-scale, hence: we need a marketing leader that can create a brand vision. Don’t you agree?
I can tell you that I have a friend who is a Video Producer that was hired to work for Harmony One blockchain, and within 1.5 weeks of being hired, he envisioned, produced, and release this promotional video:
And I’m not going to compare your Skill Set to others, but MKT-001 has had ample time to produce results–and for the Budget that was allocated by MKR token owners, I am willing to bet that many don’t believe they are getting the results they expected.
I URGE to continue to push forward and achieve greatness. SES is looking to incubate a Marketing CU–the opportunity is there! Don’t give up because we believe this Core Unit needs to be revamped. There is nothing wrong with reinventing yourself. Push forward JMarshall.
Actually, in an indirect backhanded way you are and I have to address it. . .
One reason I’ve worked exclusively with production companies, agencies, and internal corporate marketing departments my entire career is to avoid conversations like this. “Why does this cost $xx,xxx when my friend who just graduated film school can do it for $1000?” type conversations. I like to be insulated to just focus on doing my work. But with the good comes the bad, and this is something I need to learn to get used to in the DAO. If this situation has revealed anything to me, managing community expectations for video content is something I have to find a solution to.
This is an apple to oranges straw man, and I sincerely have to address this as well, because 1.5 weeks turnaround for a Branding Advertisement is ridiculous. Just by saying that, you’re now placing that expectation from everyone who does not understand what kind of work and resources go into this kind of content.
There’s not a production company or agency that would ask a producer to start with a blank canvas, produce it, push it through post, push it through revisions and then release it in that amount of time for a global brand. Why? Because there’s a proper professional process to creating this content that inhibits it from being rushed.
Here’s a general order of operations:
Concept creation → Treatment/Boards → Pitch → Preproduction (location scout, securing permits, production insurance, hiring crew, selecting and hiring talent, selecting and renting equipment, shot lists, shooting schedules, catering, logistics, contingency plans) → Production (Can take multiple days depending on the number of pickups and locations scheduled) → Post Production (Edit, Color, Vocal Talent Recording, Music licensing or scoring, VFX, Graphics, Sound Mix, Master) → Revision, feedback → Release
Does that sound like a 1.5 week turnaround to you?
With all of these moving pieces and complexity, Murphy’s Law proves itself; which is why producing is a lot of clever contiguity plans and damage control.
Projects often get trapped in a loop during the treatment pitch process and the revision feedback process after the initial edit. Also, if we’re talking about some of the biggest brands in the world, that simple process is even more complex. Advertising agencies will work for months crafting a campaign and image they want to project. The agency comes up with the entire spot and then asks multiple directors to pitch on their concept to bring to life. The agency and brand select their favorite pitch. Then that director and production company are hired to make it. There’s intense oversight on set and lots of revisions and oversight in post.
General Production Cost Reference
Also for cost reference, here’s what an average film crew can cost assuming I’m included as producer/director. All crew rates are based on 10 hour day:
DP $1100/day Subject to Negotiation (“STN”)
Key Grip $750
Assistant Camera “Focus Puller” $700/day
Makeup Artist $600/day
Production Designer $1000/day STN
Production Assistant $250/day
SAG Talent ~$500/base (these are incredibly varied and complex. It requires an entire article to really breakdown the complexities of on-screen talent)
And this is considered a small crew.
A commercial camera and equipment package can run another $2500-$10000/day depending on the production’s needs. Not to mention costs of a grip truck, potential overtime, catering, insurances, permits, and locations. This also doesn’t include the cost of post production. A solid VFX/Coloring/Finishing house alone can easily charge $1000’s for a commercial. There is nowhere in our proposed budget to handle these types of productions. Realistically, they will most likely have to come in the form of a SPF.
So what is a reasonable amount of time?
About 4 weeks is fairly standard. Pitching process can be about a week, sometimes less. Many filmmakers work brutal hours just to get a good pitch in. At the higher levels, they have a personal assistant to help them. About a week of pre-pro, a week for production, a week for post, and then a revision cycle which can be a few days or well over a month. And that content is literally the director’s baby during the entire process. Bare in mind, there is often a concept already developed for the pitch. The pitch is the filmmaker’s vision to bring it to life.
How 1.5 weeks?
How could your friend do it in such a short time with probably little money? Well they cut some corners some of which there’s nothing necessarily wrong with. I do not know the context, but here’s some options: leaning on licensing stock footage thus skipping huge amounts of production and pre production time and costs, but consequently not having unique content, using non-union talent, a bare-bones crew, having the concept already developed before even starting, working extreme unsustainable hours, guerilla filmmaking, and/or avoiding proper revisions and community feedback.
Internal vs. External Content
There’s a big difference in producing internal community content and external advertisements. This type of content informs your audience and clients of your brand in deep and subconscious ways. Who are your clients? What does your brand represent? Would that example really be good for Maker? It might seem like it, to get a quick hype boost, but does it inform an audience of a brand in a deep and effective way?
Maker is a Global Brand
I view Maker as a sophisticated global brand and believe it should be treated as such. It takes a lot of minds to come together for that content. Sure you could push it out quickly, but if done incorrectly it could damage our brand and dilute it’s message. It’s better to have no advertising than sloppy, rushed advertising. The world’s biggest brands know this, and spend obscene amounts of money creating that content. For some reason in the crypto world, it’s a foreign concept.
No Room for Failure
It should be pointed out that in this hyper critical environment we are operating in, we have no room to fail. Sure, I can have some delays or an unsuccessful social media video, but if I swing for the fences big and miss once, we’re gone. So in addition to the complexities and resources for this type of content, there’s an internal fear to even touch it.
Different Content has Different Timelines
So clearly 1.5 weeks is not a wise or repeatable pattern for output for a Branding Advertisement. In addition, different content has different timelines. The animated educational content that is 5-10 minutes long has a 2-4 week timeframe, from writing, animating, and revisions. There’s a lot of bottlenecks in the process, many that are out of my control. A short documentary takes weeks of work, most of that work is done in the editing process, sifting through hours of interviews to compile a story. One thing even producers forget, is the longer the content, the more complex the editing process because editors have to keep watching the piece over and over as they craft it plus it requires a much more sophisticated file management than say a 60 sec spot.
Unfair Content Comparison
No one, at any point has mentioned to me that they want branding advertisements from our core unit.
I directly asked if there was a type of content you wanted to see and you never once mentioned this or any other content to me. As a matter of fact, no one did. The last time we were criticized for not making promotional content at Lisbon, well here I am producing it for ETHDenver and I’m getting my legs taken out while I do it. Now, you’re indirectly criticizing us for not making a whole different type of content, that we were never asked to make, never said we would make, and that quite honestly, our unit is severely crippled from executing. This constantly shifting metric of what we should be creating is not a fair way to judge any group. What’s next? At the next budget cycle, is someone going to complain that we haven’t made a superbowl ad with Matt Damon?
Severely limited resources
We are regularly being pushed and pulled to fill in everyone’s different ideas of what we should be, with only 5 team members and constant headwinds. My production budget is so razor tight for ETHDenver, I am donating over $5000 of my personal equipment to it (Photography Camera, Zeiss Lenses, MatteBox, and Filters). I never do that for companies.
Attempting to Fill Marketing Gap Against Direct Attacks
Our unit was not set out to be the Marketing core unit for the DAO, we were the content production unit assuming there would be a Marketing core unit. We are doing our best to fill that need, but we cannot even onboard the necessary talent to even assist with that. The number one reason our budget to output is not making sense to budget scrutiny is that we have the following unfilled positions.
One of the positions we tried to hire was directly sabotaged. I was genuinely excited to bring him onboard because he filled a major gap in our group. This is the tip of the iceberg, but I will leave it there. I will touch upon this again delicately towards the end.
My Concept for an Ideal Model in the DAO Based on Real-World Corporate Models
In my opinion, under the current structuring of the DAO, it would be ideal to have both a Marketing core unit and a Content Production Core unit. These units would work closely together. This models the real world external option: Ad Agency + Production Company or internal option at a large corporation: Marketing Department and Video Production Department. I should also point out that a production department typically will have a producer/video production manager like me, and multiple editors, animators, or production people to assist in productions. Often these productions are only for internal use only and are much larger and more expensive units than ours.
For example, one previous corporate client of mine, had a massive multi-layered marketing department, two independent video production departments, and a design department. They also had an advertising agency client and they would independently contract production companies to produce commercials. In addition to all these resources, they still would contract me for additional video, motion graphics, and photography services. And they were not a global brand or a Fortune 500. I’ve worked with them as well, and their resources for video content can be astounding.
To boot, these organizations all have a human resource department, and I see their value after this environment.
Do we want Branding Advertisements? And what Priority?
If branding ads are something you and other MKR holders want to see, then I need to know. And I need to know which types of content should be prioritized. I cannot do everything all at once. Over 20% of my work week goes to internal stakeholder content and meetings. The rest currently goes to working on educational content and pre-production for ETHDenver. We intended to add an editing assistant this budget cycle so I can start to focus more on the bigger things, but situations like this have made that impossible.
One Person Video Production Company
Do I want to make advertisements for the DAO? YES! But I’m incredibly short on resources to pull them off. Do I neglect the educational videos or the internal stakeholder content or the promotional ETH Denver content and documentary content? I said it once and I will reiterate, I am a one person video production company by myself. I produce, direct, edit, animate, color, and do some design. And at ETHDenver I will be doing some cinematography and photography on less eventful days to stretch our budget. When I’m doing one thing I can’t do something else. And someone wearing this many hats is not a standard situation in my industry either. You have someone who has been contracted professionally for each of these unique skill sets individually and it’s completely taken for granted.
Please Communicate Content Needs @ElProgreso
Even if you continue to decide to vote against our unit and our unit does survive. I kindly ask that you communicate the kind’ve content that you and other MKR holders feel we need. This method of criticism is not productive or the proper way to communicate with creatives. For example, you could say, my friend over at HarmonyOne produced this content I really like, is this something you could do? Then we can have a discussion and find a solution. We’re supposed to be one team here, and I am a professional. I feel like I work on an island that’s constantly being attacked.
Pre-ETHLisbon, this was the best work environment of my career; Post-ETHLisbon it has become one of the worst. I would say the worst, but I’ve worked some real terrible, humbling jobs in my life. My team and my passion for both Maker and the concept of the DAO are the only things holding me on. I tell colleagues and mentors in my industry about the situations I’m going through here and their minds are blown.They’re horrified to hear that we have to spend time out of our busy day discussing how to battle these passive-aggressive interoffice political attacks. It’s both unproductive and quite honestly, demoralizing. I point out the positives about working in a DAO and how they outweigh all this negative, but this MIP and its reaction is approaching the tipping point.
Quite frankly, the environment that is currently being cultivated in the DAO leaves that as the only option for someone of my skill set. This situation is devolving into Mob rule; those in the in crowd, and those who are not. If you aren’t, your only chances for survival are to be insulated in a cushy core unit or to be so mission critical you are untouchable. If that’s the environment everyone wants, then stay on course.
What a Coincidence. . .
If this is something you do want, then you will be happy to hear that after the holidays, I literally pitched a branding advertisement concept for MakerDAO privately to my team members involving clean money and the brand research we did. Prior to the holidays, we subscribed to an excellent stock footage site to license b-roll for the ETHDenver content and to cover some of the intended conversations involving the clean money initiative. Over the holidays, I started procuring shots and playing with the idea that we could make a compelling, mature, and interesting branding Ad for the DAO with it. I have no intention of turning it around in 1.5 weeks. First, I have to finish the 3 educational animations I’m juggling and get this ETHDenver content in the can. Then I can start to develop this concept with my team and gradually get feedback from key members in the community so I can really hone the message and see if it’s really something we all want. Since I intend to use stock footage, I can avoid costly and timely pre-production and production resources as I wouldn’t even dare to ask for them at the moment. For the reasons I mentioned above, I also wanted to keep this idea of mine quiet until I felt like the concept was solid enough to execute.
You give me the proper work environment, resources, and communication, and you’ll see it. But I will not stand for unfair and unethical treatment of my team members, no matter what anyone thinks about them or their competencies. And this EXTREME passive-aggressive work environment needs some light shed on it or this pattern will repeat itself.
Thanks for the cost breakdown of film production. It is illustrative and is content that would be beneficial to walk through during a budget RFC period. Doing so would help to better understand the budget ask, as well as the work going into the proposed deliverables. This walkthrough helps the community understand why the OKRs and objectives are set the way they are.
We can all agree the conflict on this thread is counter-productive and that there is a way to move forward productively, even if all sides are displeased at this moment.
The concerns on this thread are valid on both sides and were addressed in a post on the offboarding thread. The main issues are a lack defined work products and a budget appropriate to fund the agreed upon work. The remedy is an agreement on a vision, a scope of work, and deliverables between the CU and the DAO. Of principal concern is the funding model: content production has been funded indefinitely without agreeing or defining the scope of work they were to perform, how these tactics support a broader strategy, and how the performance or its absence are to be measured and evaluated. Still, the core unit has continued to grow their budget despite this uncertainty. I appreciate this budget growth may be a reaction to the criticism and a solid effort to create more value to address the criticism. Without remedying the underlying source of the mismet expectations it seems folly to continue along as before; these issues will recur.
The concerns were raised here in October, and a broad strategy was mentioned, but not concretized. There may have been a feeling of implicit understanding, but again, the OKRs and KPIs that were promised in June have not materialized. This has led to conflict and confusion; it looks less and less likely that the core unit management is capable of creating a vision and appropriate documentation, and then delivering on a strategy. A cohesive and well articulated vision was the promise that MKR holders funded. That is not to speak ill of any individual contributors or even the Core unit facilitator themselves, it just suggests the current structure and resource allocation is not working for all sides in the arrangement. MKR holders feel they are not receiving the value they are expecting for the spend and would like to re-establish expectations. This could mean trimming and defining the responsibilities of a marketing core unit so they may better deliver. Agreement upfront avoids uncertainty.
I think all sides further agree that this is not an ideal work environment or structure for content production, hence the desire to re-structure the core unit with a clear mandate, OKRS, KPIs and possibly a new facilitator. This would be near impossible to do under the current circumstances, a large perpetual budget, ongoing work that does not clearly contribute to a strategy, and expectations on both sides going unmet resulting in resentment, etc.
The decentralized workforce operates where CU facilitators are ultimately held responsible for core unit performance and have complete discretion with their budget. Due to this freedom, they are also at risk of replacement. This requires executive management skills from CU facilitators and the ability to establish vision, metrics, and communications with the DAO. It also requires CU members have ultimate trust in the CU facilitator to effectively manage the relationship with the Funder (the DAO).
I see Frank as being charitable in his post in the sense that he wants you to find a way to bridge your work in an effective way into a new core unit. You may not agree with some of the content of his message and maybe it could be expressed a bit better, but I think he simply intended to express his dissatisfaction with a lack of coordination and alignment, as well as a genuine desire to retain and restructure the talent.
If your concern is delivering on obligations you have already made, that could be worked out between your current CU budget and the potential reformulation of the CU. Important to note, there are contingency funds set aside in the content production core unit budget, there was also a large budget increase in the last budget cycle, and I do not believe you have yet hired the headcount to draw down that budget.
Simply put, if you can establish an objective and specific issues and costs you want remedied against your available budget in the event of an unwind, I imagine they can be addressed. It does unfortunately look like the community is to reject both the facilitator and the current structure of the core unit.
If I understand correctly, content production has approximately ~130K available in your stream and other previous contingency funds set aside, so if there are issues with the continuity of your engagements, these funds including the contingency funds can likely address obligations you have made to date.
We appreciate you taking the time to write up and help us better understand the process. In the future, it is safe to assume the community knows nothing about professional video production and go from there.
I do not have a strong personal take on the whole offboarding discussion, because I haven’t followed enough.
But I haven’t seen any MakerDAO content… so there must be a problem indeed.
I agree with both:
this is apple to oranges: @ElProgreso with all respect for your friend (amazing work for 10days!) this is not they type of product I’d expect from the Content CU of MakerDAO. It feels like this video was produced by some AI: it does not deliver any visual message, it does not have ‘character’, it just seems to be a template instantiated with a specific vocal message etc. I’d expect much higher quality.
@jmarshall you are right that you are not expected to create in a white canvas, and that there should be a protocol to follow. But this protocol should not be suffocating. What has been done so far following the protocol?