Whilst spending time in Pennsylvania with family over the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of helping my brother-in-law design a logo for his business systems consulting company. It was a fun burst of collaboration to turn the pun representing his business name into a visually stimulating, modern artistic representation. Reminded once again was I that collaboration remains a fearful experience for me. Countless examples come to mind wherein my ego and laziness conspire to encourage me to fight efforts by others to join a creative process. The associated speed, efficiency and ease of working alone has an intoxicating allure, yet as many times as I've fought for flying solo and lost, I have recognized beyond doubt the superior quality and utility of these collaborative works. In this case the communication between myself and my brother-in-law was facilitated by our co-habitation and previous frustrations experienced by mocking up an idea and having it picked apart piece by piece over email were averted. We were able to go through the composition elements, fonts, and color in a methodical manner and after each step I could disappear for a half hour and play around with different options. Being able to run through forty fonts in 60 seconds and preview ten different shades of teal was much easier in person than by email.
The key in this process was a clear division of labor and the ability to get quick, honest feedback. In the case of a video project, the complexity of many of the filming and editing functions negates the practicality of anyone other than the director of photography or the editor exercising precise creative license. What must be established, in any creative collaboration, is a clear delineation of what the "creative engineer" is seeking to accomplish. Am I being paid to use my creative judgement to manifest a final product or any I using my technical skills to help a client navigate the creative forest and find the style and look that "feels right" to them. Finding out half-way through a project that you are not in fact the painter but instead the brush can be a jarring revelation; more so for those of us who perceive the technical skills needed to navigate software, hardware and firmware as the act of breathing which, while critical, does not represent the creative beauty of a song. So I must know from the start whether I am being paid to sing or being paid to breathe; if that makes any sense.
So in lieu of any other work emerging from this brief hiatus away from the rabble and rockets of Israel, I want to remind the universe not to be afraid of collaboration and always keep communication lines open, clear and honest. It makes everything a lot more shiny.