Collaboration and trust

This this morning I received the sound file from Matthew of the main theme of This concert will fall in love with you… A really exciting moment hearing the first musical ideas taking shape. The piece may be as long as 40 minutes long, with words and music interwoven. Already Matthew has articulated a beautiful uncertainty in the music, which is perfect for the concept.

I am also currently working closely with Richard Fleming in Guernsey on a collaborative poetry project, called A Guernsey Double.

A successful collaboration needs chemistry of course. But I am a great believer in practicalities too. The most basic of these is that you need clear areas of expertise. In my project with Matt the difference is obvious: music is Matt’s domain, and words are mine.

One of the best things about having a background in a creative agency is that working collaboratively is second nature. As a writer I have usually been paired with an art director when tasked to dream up brands, or create campaigns or concepts. And this ping pong of ideas is, for my money, the most fun you can have in an agency.

Trust is the essential factor. When trust your partner, it is much easier to sacrifice your own idea when your partner comes up with a superior one – and know that they’ll do the same for you.

When trust exists it means you can make what is being created more important than either of your egos. And that has to lead to better work in the end.

As a footnote, and I don’t know if this is just one of my own foibles, I find it much easier to pitch work that I have worked collaboratively on. Knowing that it’s not just me who thinks something’s good, really helps when you are selling it into a client or, in the case of my current collaborations, when we set about promoting them to the public.