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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Collaboration

Creativity, in our business is all about collaboration. Camera and Sound. Producer and Editor. Director and Actor. And so it goes. Collaboration can be bliss or chaos. Sometimes both. When two conflicting visions vie for a voice, sometimes the result is glorious harmony. Say, as in the work of Leiber and Stoller, whose book details how they came up with some of Motown's greatest hits. What was it like? Here's an inside view of their approach to working together: "I can't remember if it's Mike or Jerry who describes their relationship as a 50-year-old argument," says David Ritz, who ghostwrote Leiber and Stoller's joint memoir. In their words, it was "long, long years of stepping on each other's words and toes and sentences."
And then there's the dynamic duo, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In Keith's new book, Life, he describes yet another turbulent collaboration, but a winning partnership too. And that dichotomy is also the subject of a recent NPR story on the powerful energy unleashed by polar opposites.

For me, the key to a successful collaboration in music or any other creative effort is to find a way to harness that energy. I think it's normal, even predictable to have different approaches, different points of view. That's part of the creative process. But then it's about listening, hashing it out, exploring and synthesizing. You can travel parallel paths, zig and zag, but eventually you have to come together. And when you do, you can really rock and roll.

1 comment:

Bob James said...

There's something about music, science and math that favors teamwork. I don't know what it is. But collaboration between duos has given rise to some of the finest bodies of work you'd find. Other pursuits (art, architecture, graphic design, film, fiction, philosophy, poetry), however, favor auteurs. Why is that?