i used to think that collaboration meant that everyone had to love/like what i was writing. “come on, love me. gimme….gimme kudos….”
i’m talking years ago.
year and years ago i gave ken a screenplay i had written, i wanted his feedback, reaction…and when he gave it back with a ton of notes, i decided right then and there, i would never, ever – NEVER EVER – give ken another screenplay of mine to read, edit, or comment on. he said it needed work, needed to be fleshed out, i told him, ‘hmmm. wrong. i don’t agree. you’re not a good collaborator.’
okay, how do you spell arrogant?
turns out i was so very very very wrong.
about both his comments, edits, notes and what it means to be a collaborator.
(fyi: he is a grand, fabulous collaborator.)
i have had the great fortune in the past twenty odd years to work with folks who are extraordinary collaborators. They make me look better, make my words sing, have taught me over and over and over what collaboration is and what it isn’t:
collaboration isn’t about everyone agreeing.
no, not at all.
it’s not about that.
it’s about bringing out the best in someone, everyone. it’s about creating an environment where everyone feels good and proud, and good and proud enough to take the lumps and bumps and rejections and disagreements. it’s about being heard and being seen. it’s about wanting the best for the project, not just one person. it’s about being able to say “i’m wrong, or… you’re right, this doesn’t work,” it’s about being able to hear opinions and comments. it’s about wanting others to be huge, and successful and rooting them on.
it’s about being able to let go. letting go of: the need to be right, the need to be the center of attention, the need to be the best, the brightest, the smartest, the fuck you i know-it-all person in the room.
collaboration – a good collaboration – is hard.
it requires patience, and kindness and the desire for all – everyone – to shine, to be huge.
it requires generosity of spirit and creativity.
it requires cultivating the passion and desire to be good. really good at your craft, your life.
it requires stepping aside, and letting others have a voice, a space, an opportunity to step up and stand up.
it requires becoming whole.
wanting the very best for each other.
the opposite of competing.
the completing of each other.