Creativity usually stems from passion, inspiration and organisation coming together to form an idea that is like no other. It’s an incredible idea, a completely original piece of content. But it’s yours, nobody else can have it. You don’t want it to be stolen, do you? God forbid a collaborator takes your idea for their own. This can happen, I mean, look at massive copyright cases, stories of stolen ideas and intellectual property. Why enlist other people when there is such a risk? The answer is simple: because creative collaboration is KEY to fully realising a project.
Same Old Cook, Same Old Broth
Other people’s input, expertise and opinions can help better a creative project. You get stuck on how to put your idea into a good script? You’ll need help from writers, story boarders and you’ll need plenty of fresh eyes to read over your final project. Other people’s input is an essential ingredient to bringing a project to life, and whilst way too many cooks may spoil the broth, there’s nothing exciting about someone making the same old broth by themselves over and over again.
I recently auditioned for a Masters in acting at well-known drama school (more in this in a future post) and one of the key ideologies they pushed was creative collaboration. Something that really intrigued me was their approach to the audition. Acknowledging it was a competitive, difficult to get into degree, especially at the bigger drama schools such as this one, they didn’t deny that some people will not make it to the second recall or further. What they did state was whether you get into the course or not, the competition ends there and then. Once you are accepted, or even if you are not, you leave any semblance of competition in the audition room and you immediately begin collaborating with your peers.
There was a such a heavy importance on the necessity of collaboration, support and working as a team on the course and as a creative individual within the industry. One person cannot create an entire movie, show, performance without the help of others. To see this emphasised at a drama school audition was quite magical, as many drama schools and industry auditions themselves can be very competitive, corporate and callous, sucking the creativity and collaboration out of the process.
Solo and Stagnant
I’m sure any creative, in any medium of creativity, has run into this problem; you spend hours upon hours on your project, the endless grind to perfect it whittles away at your passion, sanity and creativity. In the end, you’ll stagnate, which simply put means you’ll not be able to contribute to the project anymore. Looking at it with the same eyes, the same mind, will garner nothing new. It can in fact become destructive, as you meticulously edit what was actually a good piece of work.
Working alone can be liberating, and it can be magical, but done too often it can cause you to stagnate. And as stated before, why would you want to make the same old broth over and over again? Brining in an outside eye can help you see faults in the project, It can help you overcome a problem you’ve been stuck on for weeks. Someone may be able to contribute a viewpoint that recreates a character, a theme, a colour scheme. The mental back and forth with another creative mind can inspire entire new storylines, even projects that go on to dwarf your current passion project in scope, creativity and meaning.
Why would you refrain from such great possibilities for yourself and your project? Usually it’s some form of fear, the fear of intellectual property being stolen, or it’s simply down to entitlement. Claiming that a project is yours alone, that nobody can envision it in it’s entirety but you, is a rather entitled statement. Whilst very rarely people do pull off entirely solo, self-righteous projects (and kudos to them), most of the time these projects end up being a solo, stale and stagnant affair.
Going It Alone
Say you decide you’re going to create something big and ambitious all by yourself. It might not even feel that challenging whilst you have the insatiable drive to create your dream project! It won’t take long until you realise there are many parts of content creation you’re not good at, you hate, and may require lots of expensive equipment and degree’s worth of knowledge. Suddenly, doing it all yourself becomes the downfall of the project, and without external help or input, it’ll never come to fruition or wilt prematurely.
A long time ago now, I tried to create a short film, all by myself, starring me, shot by me, everything by me. As you can imagine, I had an absolute blast! Wrong, it was an extremely taxing, frustrating and even upsetting experience that garnered disappointing results. First off, it was extremely lonely to create, and whilst sometimes fun, I found myself more annoyed than satisfied. Secondly, it was rubbish. I finished it, sure, but god was it terrible. To be fair, I had very little knowledge on other aspects of filmmaking which I now know a lot more about, but that knowledge has taught me I can’t shoot, star, light and boom the entire project myself, it’s physically impossible! These days I make projects with my creatively passionate friends, and the results get better and better with each project.
Let the Credits Roll!
We’ve all been at a busy cinema that’s packed to the brim with fans and movie enthusiasts. It’s an exciting affair. You’ve waited so long to see this film, you’ve watched every trailer, every interview with the cast and director. You’re ready to experience the film in all its glory, and it was everything you expected and more! Exasperated, on the verge of tears you forget your packed into a room like a tin of sardines which smells of some unnatural mix of body odour and popcorn, salty and sweet. Movies have such an incredible effect on us, as do many forms of storytelling. However, as soon as that credit roll begins, it’s everyman for himself trying to escape the dark stuffy room.
I completely understand this, we all have trains to catch, video games to get back to, kids to subdue, and so on. However, does anyone ever really appreciate the credit roll? (of course they do, but for dramatic effect, let’s pretend nobody does) If you ever want proof that creative collaboration is essential in creating the best content, look no further than a ten to fifteen minute credit roll. Hundreds if not thousands of names slowly roll up the screen to dramatic music, and all of them were essential to the creation of the film, no matter how small the role.
Of course, we get credit rolls in TV, video games and similar in books, but it’s very easy to close a book, turn off the TV or shut down the PS4. With cinemas, whilst you can leave, you cannot turn off the credits, and there’s something to be said about honouring the insane number of people who poured hours of their time and all of their hearts into the media you just (hopefully) enjoyed.
Essentially, what I’m getting at here is that what you just witness, played, read and enjoyed is the fruition of an unthinkable amount of creative collaboration, and that should be honoured even if for a split-second passing thought.