Creativity’s Secret Sauce: Collaboration

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There’s a joke in Hollywood about having a co-writer: You do twice the work and get half the credit. 

Anyone who has worked with a partner can relate to this: you have to open yourself up to another point-of-view and think through things together, rather than just blasting through a single-minded pursuit. It’s challenging, it’s not always easy, and often times the back and forth can seem interminable.

Oh, the pain.

But in the film making process, working together is critical. There are so many players, from directors to cinematographers to actors to editors, that good collaboration is often the difference between success and failure. Being able to shepherd different ideas is really a filmmaker’s strongest attribute.

At Hand Crank, we just had the pleasure of creating a regional Super Bowl spot for Billings Clinic. This is the first spot in a much larger campaign (from social to web to broadcast), and what has been particularly refreshing about this process is the amount of healthy collaboration that’s occurred between us and the client. Yeah, we came up with the initial ideas, but then Billings Clinic used this as a launch pad to push us in a much stronger direction. This is what happens when you are lucky enough to work with smart people.

You are forced to listen. And if you’re not listening, you’re going to miss the story.

If you want to know about some of the creative mojo we use in our process, head over to this cool folder of resources. In it, you’ll find how we start every project, from a questionnaire and creative brief to script templates and a handy dandy editorial calendar. These resources are the groundwork for understanding our client’s story and collaborating around bigger, better and bolder ideas. When we have a client like Billings Clinic who engages deeply in this process, it’s like manna from heaven.

Sometimes, you have to just sit in a dark room, tune people out, and spill your guts in highly solitary process. Other times though – and always in our business – you’re going to have to eventually work with others to make the vision come alive. That’s the good part. That’s the fun part. And hey, it’s cheaper than therapy.

Let us know: What are your stumbling blocks to being your best creative self?

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We’re going for the emotions. Joy, sorrow, laughter, love - we want it all. And we want to work with people that understand that language. Partners who will challenge us to be better and push us to grow, so when we share it with the world, we've made something that matters.