Collaboration Potion

Collaboration is the “juice” I crave most. My newest project gave 3 of us the taste of juice Walt Disney may have “drunk” as he pushed his early teams to new heights. And now I’ll share what I learned!

Here is our creation:

Truly,  many people played with us in the creation of this video. But there were two students in particular, Joseph Limb (music mixer) and Jordan Oliver (aspiring film student) who came to me with impressive skills, asking for collaboration. My initial concept was the video equivalent of a paint splatter : Gungnam Style + What Does The Fox Say + Motown music + Handdrawn, CG, and Whiteboard animation + Live action + effects + The way I feel about the Weber State Campus Store. Together we took that mess of ideas and had an experience I’ll remember for years to come. I’d like to share a bit about the collaborative “powers” I witnessed in working with these great, rising artists.

The power of SERVICE:

When I met with Jordan and Joseph, I tried to make each meeting about THEM and tried to help them with their pursuits outside the creation of our project. This is the most important part of collaboration, I feel. It’s not about ME, yet the more WE serve the better OUR results. “People Builders Know The Greatest People.”

The power of MASTERY:

Plain & Simple, the better work we do ourselves, The better people we will attract to work with. It may take 10,000 hours or more to master a discipline. Let’s get cracking! Both of these students have bright futures because of their discipline and communication skills. With Joseph in particular, I never had more fun recording music than with him – because of his passion and energy.

The power of INFERIORITY:

I’ve met too many people who are threatened by people who are better than them in someway. Why? If you join forces with them, serve them, learn from their mastery, you may grow in unexpected ways. Try it, it’s LIBERATING!

The power of “YES”:

The best ideas come from everywhere and not from our own “EGO.” After planning together, Jordan requested I take my sheet music and break it down with drawings & our ideas. Immediately I recognized his suggestion as wisdom and BUSTED THAT OUT. If I had said “No”, we wouldn’t have been prepared. And this was just one example. The word “Yes” plussed our work every step of the way.

The power of EXPERIMENT:

This goes along with the power of “YES.” If you can try it in a few minutes, why not? Art is an editing process, throwing a bunch of ideas in and refining. If we never try NEW things, we will never make anything NEW. (Disclaimer: this project was my excuse to try out hand drawn animation. I’ve always wanted to. While the result was not perfect in my eyes, the experiment was most rewarding!)

The power of PREPARATION:

The more prepared we are, the easier it is to say yes and try and few experiments. And I’m not talking about just preparing for projects, I’m talking about LIFE. Learn all you can, develop the power of mastery.

The power of IMPERFECT:

This is a fine line we walk. We want our work to be great, but perfectionism can prevent us from finishing. Paralyze us with the fear of failure. The key is to apply just enough pressure to IMPROVE gradually with each project. As my great friend Chris Oatley always says, “Progress is better than perfection.”

The power of THE DEADLINE:

We’ve got to finish, plain and simple. Deadlines can be simple, but we need them if we are going to progress and create anything great.

The power of DIRECTING:

It’s no secret that I am still looking for a job in animation – and that one day I want to be influential in developing animated stories. I just have to share this book “Directing For Animation.” It was incredibly helpful and insightful as I tackled this challenging project. It was like standing on the shoulders of GIANTS!

Being in MOTION:

That’s the only way to “taste” this “potion.” These are likely all powers we have heard of before. They may mean very little to us when they are merely a list of theories. But if we put them in motion and start collaborating … in my experience, it’s as if I discovered these powers myself (Which I know I didn’t, but it was THAT fulfilling). Try It!

The power of  .  .  .

This is not a complete list, and I hope you will share any collaborative powers you know of in the comments below.

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