I work alone these days. Mostly out necessity. But also mostly out of choice. That’s because being part of a creative collaboration is HARD.
I’ve been part of a host of partnerships and troupes and companies. Some lasted years, some lasted minutes. Some were great fun, and some were nightmares. Some were entered into with eyes open, some were the result of complete naïveté.
The truth is that almost nothing matches the magic of jamming together and the thrill of creation that accompanies it. The resource of having another head in the game, a different perspective, is invaluable when stuck or when uninspired. Lame notions can develop and evolve into monster-sized revelations over the course of a simple back and forth exchange.
And in some mediums, a la film or comics where a disparate range of skills are needed, it’s simply not possible to fulfill a vision without the help of a partner (or a team).
But a good partner is hard to find. And even if you find the perfect catalyst or compliment to your mojo, it’s not all smooth sailing from there. The creative partnership is a complicated relationship. It takes a lot of work.
There’s a reason why it’s so commonly equated with a marriage.
I’ve been burned by creative partnerships. And the disastrous results can often impact more than just the project that caused the dispute. As the result of a bad decision, I’ve completely lost all desire to write, direct, act or even buy a ticket for the theater. It just got chopped out, the love I had for this art form I’d participated in since I was small.
So be careful is what I’m saying.
Patrick Walsh, a writer on a show I really like, posted an article about writing partnerships that I think is applicable to just about any type of partnership.
Also, there’s a quick paragraph about screenwriters of the recent Star Trek movie, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, and how they manage their partnership on John August’s site.
Check out the links and then think about subscribing to the Creative Screenwriting podcast and listening to the episodes that feature writing partners, especially the one with Kurtzman and Orci.