Collaborate and lose yourself
Glass loves to remind young composers, I know that you’re all worried about finding your voice. But that’s not the problem. The problem is getting rid of it. You have to find an engine for change. And that’s what collaborative work does. Whatever we do together will make us different.
That’s the scariest and most vulnerable component of collaboration. Sharing agency. Giving up your dream to merge it with somebody else’s vision.
I learned this when I began production on my second concert documentary. Because unlike the first movie I made, there wasn’t a big, sweeping aesthetic vision for the project. This time, I wanted to go into the filmmaking experience having no idea what the finished product would look like. I wanted to allow the work to unfold according to its own pace. That way, we could act in the service of whatever was emerging.
It was an intimidating process. Especially for a stubborn individualist control freak like me. I’m not exactly what you would call a team player. But what I started to learn was, if you collaborate with smart, creative people that you trust, who aren’t assholes, giving up control isn’t as scary as it seems.
In fact, it’s quite liberating. Because you know those people are going to deliver. You know they’re going to add dimensions and perspectives and ideas that ultimately make the work better.
That’s what happens when you collaborate with the right people. It’s the human equivalent to measuring twice, cutting once.
If you do it right the first time, everything else takes care of itself.
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Where will you find your engine for change?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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