“What problem are you solving?”

This is a link to the most useful post I’ve read in ages.

Ostensibly, it’s about how Mark Wahlberg “cut some corners” to make his magnificent “The Fighter” movie. But it’s really about how to focus on what you’re trying to accomplish, and whether the methods to get there you’ve been told are the right ones really are the right ones.

It ties in with another great question to ask: What problem are you solving? The goal was to make the fights seem real. Not to make them look good. To seem real. Focusing on that changes the requirements.

And that leads to another good question you should always come back to: Is there an easier way? The HBO fight crew is made up of experts at filming fights. They don’t need to be taught how to make it look real. They’re used to capturing a fight in one take — and that’s without knowing what will happen beforehand. Shooting this way is a piece of cake for them.

And maybe the most important question: What’s the opportunity cost? The whole film had a shooting calendar of 33 days. Filming it the HBO way means the movie gets made. A longer, pricier approach might have doomed the film and prevented it from ever being shot in the first place.

Most of us aren’t filming fight scenes. But the way Wahlberg and his team challenged assumptions and questioned traditional “best practices” is something that can be applied to all kinds of arenas, not just boxing ones.


Tim Windsor

VP, Content & Conversion at LendingPoint LLC
I lead media companies and other organizations that want to develop and improve their mobile and digital strategies and technologies, grow audience, and build sustainable digital revenue.