GRAYHAVEN COMICS APPRENTICE- 3rd Challenge- The Boardroom



RAY- Mary and Nathan what were your impressions of Jeremy as a PM? What did he do well, and what do you wish he did differently?

MARY– Jeremy had a lot of enthusiasm when he started the week as Project Manager. He volunteered right away. I had no reservations about supporting him in the role. He started by making sure that each of us had a specific job to do and that someone was responsible for each part of the deliverables. He was organized, communicative, and on top of things.

When the rest of the team voted to take on V for Vendetta, it seemed to me that Jeremy became a little bit lost. He appeared very uncertain about the material. From that point forward, Jeremy seemed to take somewhat more of a back seat, allowing the other team members to pull the deliverables together. He would read our drafts and be supportive, offering ideas here and there, yet I had the feeling that he didn’t know the material (V for Vendetta) and therefore didn’t believe that he had much to add.

On Friday evening he seemed quite anxious to submit the deliverables quickly. Nathan and I finalized that document and put it with the others for submission that same night, so it was a surprise when Jeremy suddenly told us he would send them in on Saturday morning.

Overall, I thought he began his week as PM quite well – organized and in charge – but as the week wore on he seemed less consistently engaged with the team, or perhaps wasn’t comfortable with the material, or both. Ultimately, I think he needed to submit the deliverables as promised, and if something was going to prevent him from doing that, then he needed to delegate the task, but that didn’t happen.

NATHAN– I thought Jeremy did a fine job as PM, I thought he did well getting us organized initially. I think he could have been better at setting deadlines.

RAY- Jeremy, what do you think your best points were as PM this week? What would you do differently if you were project manager again?

JEREMY– I think that I did well at having a plan of action. I knew I wanted people to be responsible for different deliverables. Everyone stepped up and volunteered for the stuff they felt they would be strongest at. The way this team works so well together makes the PM position easy. To be honest I’m really proud of what this group did so I’m not sure I would change anything in regards to leading. The few little problems that I saw, once the judges pointed them out, would of been fixed or affected by changing my “leadership” style.

RAY– Mary and Nathan, what would you say were your best contributions to the team was this week?

MARY– My best contribution was on the project due date, Saturday, August 10th. We had finished our challenge response late on Friday. On Saturday, I decided to make sure that the deliverables had been submitted as Jeremy promised to do at 6:00 AM PST, but at 8:00 AM PST discovered that they had not been sent. I immediately inquired with Nathan and Jeremy as to the status of our submission, and also wrote to you, Ray, asking whether you had received them from Jeremy.

Neither Jeremy nor you appeared to be online at the time. Nathan wrote a note of support, saying, “Go ahead.” Sam was offline in England.

Without evidence to the contrary, I assumed that our documents had not been submitted and so I stepped in to send them on behalf of the team. Had I not taken that initiative, then our team could easily have missed delivering a response to Challenge 3. I could not let that happen, particularly in light of all the hard work put in throughout the week.

Jeremy did contact me to ask me to make the submission, but I had done so just minutes before receiving his message. I felt that delegation of that vital task really needed to be done much sooner, particularly if Jeremy was feeling pressured at home.

NATHAN– I’m very happy with the contributions I made toward the synopsis, especially the climactic scene between Evey and Savage.

RAY- Jeremy, was there a time crunch this week? Do you wish you had more time to think things over or develop things?

JEREMY– With most projects with deadlines, I believe more time could only add to the creative process. I think we could of used a little more time since a good amount of time at the beginning was trying to pick a franchise out of a few each of us threw out there.

RAY– Did Andrew’s departure mid-week affect the team?

MARY- While I think we all knew that Andrew was having a very difficult time juggling shift work, time zones, family, and the Apprentice, it was a shock to learn that he chose to leave at that point in the competition. Andrew had great ideas, worked hard, and made great contributions to our projects. I was surprised and sad that he felt he had to leave the competition, but as the rest of us continued to work I felt myself shift into overdrive because that left only Nathan, Jeremy, and me to finish our deliverables. (Sam was taking brief, well-deserved family time, having either written or had major input into more than 50% of the Challenge #3 documents.) Nathan worked tremendously hard on the story outline while I seemed to be constantly checking the rest of the documents, formatting them with consistency; writing the regrettable characters list; and editing the story outline back-and-forth with Nathan. Personally, I was feeling pretty anxious about being down – temporarily – to a team of three. We had all experienced hectic weeks in real life, and with time so short, I rushed through some material that I wish I’d had more time to review. However, that same sense of urgency led me to check on the Saturday submission, which saved us the embarrassment of not delivering any response at all.

NATHAN– The biggest thing that I think changed with Andrews departure was that Sam had to step in and take over the deliverable, by that time we had a pretty basic plot hammered out.

JEREMY– I think the affect it had was losing a creative piece to our group brain trust. Everyone of my teammates are creative superstars. I love the creative flow we have together and how no idea is balked at. Everyone is very open to any and all suggestions. I wouldnt trade this group for anything and wish we could have had Andrew tell the end.

RAY– Did you have any other property ideas besides V that you wish had been considered?

MARY– I actually liked the idea of V for Vendetta, and would still choose it today, albeit with a few changes to how we approached our content. I was a bit out of my element with this challenge, since my background knowledge of comics is not as extensive as that of the other team members. I spent quite a few hours searching for properties that fit the challenge (I was certainly willing to put in a long night reading, if necessary), but in the end I came up with the same names as were put forward by the others. V for Vendetta was the one title about which I had at least had a working knowledge. Clearly, at least two of my teammates were very familiar with the property and since we worked so well together, I knew I could count on them for astute analysis. Even now I am not aware of any other franchise that would have been as comfortable for me – in this particular challenge – as Vendetta.

NATHAN– V was my suggestion, though I did also suggest a spinoff of Scott Pilgrim that focused on Knives Chau

GLENN- You guys settled on a V sequel very quickly, any regrets?

MARY– I don’t have any regrets about V as a choice for this task. I still believe it was an interesting and challenging selection that fit the criteria. It is a complex and moody story from which to create a new arc and although it took a while to get moving on this due to rather extended delay and debate about the selection, I believe we made a good choice. Could we have done better with a different property? It’s impossible to say, but even in retrospect I would not hesitate to use V again.

JEREMY– I only regret it because of my complete lack of knowledge of the title. I have never read it and spent all day Tuesday looking at different shops for the trade.

NATHAN– I don’t have any regrets about our choice, I’m proud of our story, except…well, see the answer to your next question.

GLENN– While I did like the idea and concept behind the ‘VII’ title I think you went one step too far with the ‘for’ part.  You then went to a lot of trouble to explain it.  If you have to explain a joke it’s not funny and if you have to explain a title in such detail it doesn’t seem to work.  Who was largely responsible for the title?

MARY– The title discussion began in earnest between the two team members that I think are most familiar with V: Sam and Nathan. They took what I would call an analytical approach to the naming process, and while I was one of the people who contributed some word choices, I also professed my confusion about this title on a few occasions. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me until it was explained a few times but near the completion of the deliverables, I seemed to come to terms with the name. I deferred to team members with more knowledge about the subject matter despite persistent misgivings.

In addition, I was responsible for asking Nathan to write the paragraph of explanation about the title and it was the two of us who decided to add it to Sam’s Franchise Selection document. On some level, I knew that people would be confused or confounded by our title choice – otherwise I would not have insisted upon the explanation. That ought to have sounded warning claxons in my head, but if they were ringing, I was too distracted to hear them. My conclusions in this matter were not logical. Near the end of the week I was allowing real life problems to become distractions. This was completely counterproductive to the team’s best interests.

JEREMY– Sam was largely responsible for the title but we all agreed on it as team. If I would of had a better idea for the title I would of thrown it out there.

NATHAN– The title was a mistake, the suggestion for it was mine, based off of earlier ideas tossed around.

GLENN– Why not a British comic book writer?  There are plenty of us.

MARY– At least in theory, I agree with you. Who better to write for this property than someone who knows the reality of British culture and history? Unfortunately, I was largely unavailable early in the week when the creative team decisions were made and was not involved in those discussions. By the time I saw the creative team that my group had chosen, their descriptions and reasoning made sense to me. Also, my knowledge of the successful and up-and-coming writers in comic books is limited. It would have taken me an inordinate amount of research time to come up with other names appropriate for the task at hand relative to the amount of time available to us to complete this challenge.

JEREMY– I cant speak for the other members but when thinking of creative teams I never once thought of where there were from. I guess we could of thought of some British writers but i think that would of hinder the selection process. i don’t think it should matter where the writer is from, among other traits.

NATHAN- To be honest, a writers nationality never crossed my mind. I think we just decided who we felt could deliver the best story.

GLENN– Who should be fired? You cannot say yourself

MARY– As you know, this is always a terrible choice when you have been working successfully on a cohesive team as intensely as this group in this competition. That said, I know you want an answer. In your place, I would regretfully fire Jeremy, because although he began well as PM, his involvement lessened as the week went on and ultimately he did not manage the submission of our deliverables in a professional manner.

JEREMY– I guess I would have to say Nathan since Mary seemed to do a tiny bit more work than him.

NATHAN- If I have to choose and I really don’t want to, I would say Jeremy. Though if he hadn’t left it would have been Andrew.

RAY– Okay, the judges have talked. You all answered our questions well, so thank you. It seems to me like your team worked pretty much like clockwork this week. You were in sync from pretty much early on, and everyone had a hand in almost every aspect of the challenge. You all contributed…and so you all have to take some blame for the loss. It was close, but it was a loss.

Mary, your teammates were both in agreement that you should not be fired this week. You are safe.

Jeremy, Nathan. You both contributed a lot to your team this week. Jeremy, you got off to a strong start as project manager, but your teammates said your involvement waned a bit as the week went on. Nathan, you’ve been strong until this point, but you did have a hand in parts that the judges had issues with.

When a loss happens, someone has to leave the game.

And this week, someone has. Andrew quit the game, shortly before deadline, leaving you understaffed. Last week, both teams had someone leave early in the task, but this week, only one team did. The judges had to consider that as well, and while you did lose, none of us felt this loss was bad enough to warrant you losing a second person from your team this week. So the four of you will continue on to next week.

The next challenge will be announced tomorrow.

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