The image of a lone writer sitting behind a typewriter doesn’t really work for any of our jobs. Maybe it never did.
by Loren A. Roberts (guru of multi-hyphenate media)
Obviously not my bod, but it's the sentiment that counts
One more post tangentially related to the work that I have been doing as a documentary filmmaker, because it has clarified some things about my method of creativity...
I don’t like working alone.
When I started my business back in 1993, the most likely place for me to be was alone in an office behind a computer designing a brochure or logo or business card. That was productive, because I was trying new things, I was young, and I needed to develop my own style and method. The proof was in the recognition: I was getting design awards for my logos, new clients based on my published designs, and a general success indicated by the increased revenue for my business.
If I could go back, I would change one thing: I would never be alone while being creative.
Collaboration changes the game. Things in my work that are stupid are immediately called out as stupid. Things that are inspired are encouraged, because the other person in the room immediately says "oooo!" -- and then I know when an idea is working. Yes? And it’s painfully obvious that I can never attain all of the knowledge in the world, so why not add another brain to the mix? Oftentimes, the old adage “the sum is greater than its parts” is true with collaboration.
So now I share my office. My office-mate is not a designer (he’s an architect and an awesome blues guitarist), but I like the creative banter. And if I need help, I hire it -- the collaboration makes everything better. In my business, I work with a Bloomberg News illustrator, a comic book illustrator, an artist and former newspaper art director, a toy designer, and many others. In filmmaking, collaboration is even more important. I am indebted to the wonderful people that I have gotten to work with over the last several years: directors, producers, actors, and crew that teach me something every time I am on set or in post-production.
(An aside: Not That Funny, the movie I continue to work with, ushering it through pre-production, on location, and then through post-production, is now on the festival circuit. We played to wonderful reviews this weekend at the Ashland Independent Film Festival, and head next to the Newport Beach FIlm Festival. Looking for distribution. Know anyone? The best place for updates on the film is on Facebook. It stars Tony Hale [Arrested Development], Bridgid Brannagh [Army Wives], John Kapelos [Breakfast Club], and a bunch more awesome people. Not That Funny is just one of the many wonderful examples of collaboration from my work.)
So, next time you feel like you are at a dead end, ask yourself: could this problem be better solved if there was more than one brain involved? If so, get yourself a friend, a colleague, someone you respect in the business -- and start working together.
ALBUMS YOU PROBABLY HAVE NEVER HEARD
Tracy Chapman had a bunch of radio-friendly soft folk/rock hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, like Fast Car and Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution. But not many people heard this 1995 gem, New Beginning, because she took a detour and went all bluesy on us:
The lyrics are very standard for world-conscious modern folk/blues, but that doesn't make it any less powerful:
Now don’t get me wrong I love life and living
But when you wake up and look around at everything that’s going down
You see we need to change it now, this world with too few happy endings
We can resolve to start all over make a new beginning
Tracy Chapman’s voice is her strength -- she has this smooth, beautiful, unique voice that is instantly recognizable. This is a great album to put on late at night to chill out -- over a good glass of wine and a great view of the city. On Spotify here, and at Amazon here.
LOREN A. ROBERTS produces films, videos and music, designs magazines and logos, plays and sings in a rock-and-roll tribute band, and is a student of what happens when science, the arts, technology, and culture collide. www.hearkencreative.com
EMAIL HIM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | OTHER POSTS BY THIS AUTHOR