Wednesday, December 02, 2020

52 Fridays - A Case Study in Good Collaboration

I've been creatively collaborating with my friend Neil Bruce for over fifteen years. Our first project together was on my short animated film, "ZANK", back in 2005 for which he wrote a fittingly zany music score. (Catch up on "ZANK"'s history here). Our next project was a few years later when I created a music video for one of his songs "A dream of life". Neil is an idea  and creative machine, and always has several projects going on, including a podcast called "There is Another Way" aimed at anyone pursuing a creative life, multiple YouTube channels and album projects. Check out his website for more information. 

Hal and NeilI'm grateful for Neil's friendship and particularly enjoy the creative sparks that fly whenever we get a good chat on. Through the years, we have generated more movie, art and music ideas than we could ever possibly finish in our lifetimes. Finding a good creative collaboration partner is as rare as finding a good romantic partner, both contain an element of mystery and chemistry that can't be explained or quantified. Collaborating is a tricky dance as there are egos involved, so care must be taken to honor each other's point-of-view, while talking honestly about the value of the ideas and whether they support the overall vision. Beyond the alchemy of idea creation, then there's the practicalities of crafting the ideas into a coherent plan and finally accomplishing something. For all of this to happen, all parties involved have to maintain communication and enthusiasm for the project until the end. I've seen too many projects die-on-the-vine because one person or another starts "ghosting" the thread and the project sinks beneath the waves of day-to-day life. If you want to get something done, you either make it happen or make excuses. The best of creative partners can help keep your creative life going, particularly when the well runs dry. Just as it is with a running or exercise buddy, it's easier to stay on track when you have someone to answer to and share each other's struggles.

Which brings us to my latest collaboration with Neil, his weekly music video project called "52 Fridays", found on his "Light Before Sound" channel. 

I have contributed four videos for his music on this project so far and will likely have a couple more before it is finished. 

If you find your creative life is stuck in a rut, then think through your circle of friends or people in your network who might be good to collaborate with and reach out to them and give it a try. You might be surprised where it might lead. Remember, you can go faster alone, but further together.

Thank's Neil!