Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The Pros and Cons of Creative Collaborations
“Two heads are better than one.”
Creative collaborations can be a great way to expand your portfolio, increase your bottom line, and partner with someone whose artistic strengths complement your weaknesses. Whether it’s a graphic designer teaming up with a writer for the creation of a website, several authors coming together to pen an anthology, or a lyricist providing just the right words to complement a musician’s score--it can definitely be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
But much like a marriage, these alliances should be approached sensibly and with great caution. The wrong partnership can be as harmful to the creative process as Kryptonite to Superman!
This epiphany came to me after working with folks with whom there was the best of intentions initially, but very little compatibility in key areas.
I learned the hard way that what makes for a good personal union does not necessarily make for a good business relationship.
The price for these mismatches? Strained relations, frustration, and lost productivity.
So if you’re considering joining forces with someone for future business growth and better opportunities, take heed.
Here are ten ways to make your vision a reality and create a winning combination!
1. Get your project off to a good start by providing for the “right fit.” Don’t be fooled. Not everyone we like, or with whom we enjoy a friendship, makes a good business partner. Is he or she like-minded? Do you have a similar work ethic? Are your temperaments compatible? Choose wisely.
2. Not sure where to start? Get recommendations from people whose opinion you value—people in your creative circle or writers’ group.
3. Put in writing who will be responsible for what and when. The more parameters you have regarding roles, the better.
4. Make sure that your strengths and weaknesses are complementary and not conflicting.
5. Learn the art of compromise. Even in the best scenarios people disagree on how things should be handled. Be willing to see your partner’s perspective, and to find a happy medium.
6. Carry your weight. There’s nothing worse than working with a slacker. It can also be a detriment to future referrals.
7. Brainstorm individually and collectively. (Some of my best creative ideas actually come to me when I’m all alone in the solitude of a bubble bath, when my muse is not being pressured.) Your “genius” may come to you while working in your garden. Whatever works, work it!
8. Make sure that you and your partner not only have the same agenda, but also the same sense of urgency. In other words, if you are very deadline oriented and the other person has to wait for the “right mood” to move forward on things, it will cause tremendous stress, and potentially sabotage your collective success.
9. Remember to treat him/her with respect and as a valued professional. In too many scenarios, one person wants to act like a parent or supervisor. Let go your ego! “You are not the boss of me.”
10. Be each other’s cheerleader. It’ll keep you both motivated and bonded, and give you a sense of fun until you reach that finish line!
Keep in mind that not only can creative collaborations enhance your professional horizons, but many have actually resulted in romantic relationships, or long term friendships.
And certainly there's no better profit than that!
Thoughts? Have you ever collaborated on a creative project?
Note: This piece was originally published in Hope Clark's Funds for Writers. It also was included as a chapter in the book, "The Write Direction"-by Author Donna Goodrich.
Image Salvatore Vuono