This week we were really excited to release the second episode of Common Ground; a mental health & wellbeing resource aimed to support the parents, family, and friends of young people. We’ve been collaborating on the project with The Mental Health Foundation, Youthline,  Skylight & Innovate Change for the last 18 months. 
 
We released the website and first episode a few months ago, and have already received some really amazing feedback from supporters of young people who have found the resource useful.
 
The web series tells stories of young New Zealand characters that are, in some way, having experiences which impact on their wellbeing. These stories are designed to start conversations about the way to best support young people in these situations.
 
The journey so far has been huge; the website & web series has been one of our biggest story-telling projects to date - not only because of the time required to make four 10-15 minute, fully produced episodes (with potential for more to come - watch this space), but also because of the large number of people involved in bringing it to life.
 
In fact, the whole process of making Common Ground has been about collaboration; which makes sense because the whole message of the resource is about coming together, about working collectively to find common solutions.
 
All counted, Common Ground has already included a team of over 60 people to make it work. From our awesome and committed acting talent, right through to our incredible team of creative, technical and production experts, and numerous other collaborators and friends from all over the place. And every single one of them has been a part of making these stories come to life.
 
They’ve helped give the story depth, and helped build a coherent world in which the stories take place. They’ve been provocative, constructive, and forced us to work in new and challenging ways.
 
Working with such a large group brings challenges, and it really seems that with projects like this, it’s really important to:

  • Have a clear vision
  • Have defined roles and responsibilities 
  • Make sure everyone can do what they do well 
  • Create space for everyone to have their voice heard

On an entirely practical note, project managing something with so many moving parts called for some ridiculously detailed spreadsheets, teams that had the agility to respond to frequently-changing schedules, and perhaps most importantly having  everyones phone numbers saved on our phones. 

I don’t think I’ve ever made so many “...just wanted to make sure…” calls ever before. So I guess the main message is - never underestimate the time it takes to collaborate well. 

While the best storytelling is simple, sometimes the best stories have lots of components. Creating Common Ground has definitely been a case of lots of moving parts coming together to make something truly beautiful.
 
Check it out. We recommend a cup of tea for this watch. 

Eddy #2