What is it like working on projects together?
Working on projects together becomes this symbiotic frenzy where when we are in “The Zone” as we like to call it, we are one. We lose ourselves and don’t know where one of us begins and the other ends. The projects become this true blend of the best of both of us, whereby we often forget who thought of what, who suggested what, who wrote what. All we know is that we have this beautiful, amazing creation that at the end of the day, MUST be seen, heard, and felt.
But we often disagree. Sometimes disagreements are just that – differences of opinion. For these, we objectively see what might work best and we incorporate the changes for the benefit of the project. Sometimes we are completely on board with the other’s decisions. Take for example a member of our recent casting for our short play “Commuters”. He wanted one person, I wanted the other. Ultimately he conceded to my gut and we are both SO completely thrilled with the choice. I am a big proponent of gut or instinct-based decisions. It’s psychology. It’s me. (That’s why I could never online date – not that I need to date anymore, thank God! We need to feel our decisions as much as analyze them.)
Other times the disagreements are bigger than both of us. We are both strong Alphas. We both are intelligent, creative, stubborn. This is when it gets hard and sticky. As a male, Wayne is all about the words, not the music. Black and white. Left-brained in these contexts. As a female, I am all about the music, less than the words. The read-between-the-lines stuff of communication. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes Wayne forges ahead with what he thinks is best, and I see it as him not considering my feelings – not the black or white, but the gray.
Ultimately we know what we’ve got. Two amazingly talented and committed individuals who have a shared love for creativity and a goal for success – big time success. We want it all – theatre, film, TV, books. Setting aside the egos for the betterment of the project is a tough and challenging task at times – but our symbiosis trumps all. We’ve got what it takes. And we’re going for it.
There are very few, if any, media platforms that do not involve some sort of collaboration of some kind. Even poetry needs to be edited, published and distributed. Accordingly, when someone creates a media project, whether it’s a screenplay, film, theater piece, etc., there will be any number of people involved during the process. Accordingly, the vision of the creator/developer will always be compromised to a certain extent. For example, the projects that I’ve written and even directed do not match the vision that I originally saw in my head at inception. In fact, the creative process is one big compromise. The goal is to try and make the project as close to the vision you see in your head as possible.
That being said, working together with a partner or others is a fact of life in the arts. The problem is finding compatible people with whom to work. I’ve had disastrous working relationships in the past.
I am thrilled to say that my working relationship with my better half, Stephanie, is perfect. Yes, we may have major disagreements. But, overall, we complement each other perfectly. I’m a broad brush stroke type of guy. I see something in my head and I write it down. She is more detail oriented. And, of course, God is in the details.
The times we are in major disagreement are few and far between the times that we are in the “zone.” As creators, one can always be “too” close to the creation. It is nice to have someone who can give you a second opinion or constructive criticism. One of the biggest problems, however, is letting go of an idea or concept. As Kenny Rogers said, you have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.