(Article published in StudentFilmmakers Magazine.)
Collaborate Like a Pro
6 Helpful Tips
By Daniel LeBlanc
Collaborating is one of the hardest things to do effectively. Here are a few thoughts you might want to consider when deciding to collaborate with someone.
Collaborating in the creative world is a very difficult thing to do as most everything is subjective and there usually is not a right or wrong answer. Finding someone to work with that you respect creatively will make it easier to accept when something doesn’t go your way. Working with someone who you don’t feel is at your level or above will make it hard to give up on your brilliant ideas. Let’s face it, we all love what we do.
 Don’t Work with a Doormat
While this will make it easy for you to get things to go your way, it defeats the purpose of collaborating. You want someone who will push you to be better and bring great ideas that are different from your own.
 Find Someone Who Isn’t Your Twin
Finding a collaborator who brings a different skill set than you do is very important. This will make your project much better than it would be otherwise. This will also help to keep your relationship from falling off the rails.
 Giving Up Some Control
A very hard thing to do for most creative people. It can also be very liberating and help you grow as a person in all aspects of your life. Really.
This is also key to keeping your partnership working. Both sides need to feel like their opinions are valued in order to stay interested and give their best.
 Pulling the Plug
When people talk about collaborating together, it is much like dating. Everyone is on their best behavior and saying all the right things.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind if you feel that things are just not going to work out. Often times, even when a person knows that things are not working, they will see things through to the end. This will occasionally be the right choice, but usually you end up with a mediocre result that no one cares about. This translates into a huge waste of time for both sides.
 Is It a Collaboration?
Make sure that you understand what the relationship is. Did you bring the person into the project? Did they bring you into it? Is it 50-50 with regards to finances and creative? Sometimes a situation may appear to be a collaboration but is only that in name.
To Sum Up
Collaboration is a great thing if it is a good fit. You will learn a lot from working with other talented people. As you become older and possibly more successful, it can sometimes become harder to find good collaborators as you may become set in your ways and less willing to compromise.
I would say that learning to (sometimes) let go of your ideas and your ego will help tremendously.
I hope you experience many happy collaborations.
Daniel LeBlanc is an award-winning music producer, arranger, performer, and composes scores music for motion pictures and television. As a writer, Daniel has penned songs with names as diverse as Alanis Morrisette, Dean McTaggert, Harry Hess, Saskia Garel, Creighton Doane, Samantha Collard, and Julian Austin. Daniel has been nominated for CCMA Record Producer of the Year three times, has won numerous song writing awards and has been the recipient of gold and platinum records for his work.