Dropbox Business Blog UK — Creativity and Collaboration in the cloud

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30th Sep, 2016 — 4 min read

Creativity and Collaboration in the cloud

A while ago we at Dropbox had a challenge. How do we represent all of the collaboration, creativity and downright brilliant ideas of our millions of users? How can we get all that creativity, bottle it, to show the rest of the world what it means to simplify the way we work?

Calling on 72andSunny and Nexus Productions to help us fulfil our impossible brief, we met with director Johnny Kelly who instantly nailed the perfect solution; work with creatives, from all over the world, on a collaborative project to create our video.

We asked Johnny to talk us though the process and how over 100 creatives, from around the world were brought together, through one shared Dropbox Business account, to create the above short film. Here he tells us, in his own words, the process he went through…

“72andSunny, the advertising agency in Los Angeles, came up with a lovely idea for the campaign, simply put: Dropbox gives you creative freedom. You can make something, and share it, with anyone, no matter what type of industry they’re involved in. –We soon realised there were (and are) a diverse range of people using Dropbox - it wasn’t only designers and tech people, it was teachers, scientists and chefs. Dropbox enables a lot of incredible stuff to be made and we wanted to find a way to visually show that.

Given the theme of ‘creative freedom’ I scrambled around for a bit and eventually hit on an approach that seems obvious in hindsight. Making the film ourselves would be too limiting! I wanted to see if there was a way to open it up, make it a collaboration, between all of the people using Dropbox. My idea was to give micro-chunks of the film to amazing minds around the world - artists, food photographers, programmers and anyone else we admired - and ask them to create a piece of the puzzle. In this way each part - but also the entire film - was a creative collaboration.

I structured this loosely around the story of an idea, the ups and downs of creativity. Beginning with a sketch, a recording, then testing, building a prototype, hitting a few hurdles and frustrations, before evolving into a final result. I wanted to show how this process is universal, whether you make buildings, design websites or run a business.

In total we asked over 100 illustrators, photographers, animators and more to create a segment of the film each. We divvied up a 60 second animatic into 141 segments. These varied in duration from a few seconds long to 1/30th of a second! Each shared their submission, and by the end of the project we had a few hundred shared folders - which included the final creatives, user guidelines and accompanying assets. Geography wasn’t an obstacle – we had contributions from over 20 countries.

There were surprises along the way and that’s what made this project so different to anything I’ve worked on before. The shots were very short - sometimes only a fraction of a second. As such, .my role became less of a director, and more of a curator.

I’m a control freak at the best of times, so this was new territory for me - a giant leap in trust. We literally sent contributors a blank guide frame, gave them a few weeks to create their sequence, and then opened each file with bated breath. There was so much variety that Dropbox, 72andSunny and ourselves had no idea what the end result was going to look like, right up until the final days of completion. And, as for the contributors, they were in the same boat as us - they only ever saw their own section, so had no idea how it was all going to come together.

What I like about the final film is how it could only have been made using Dropbox. Together we made something we couldn’t have made individually. And as much as I like each chunk - it’s not about looking at them individually, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

To find out more about how the cloud can unlock creativity inside your business, click here.

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