No one does this alone. The importance of creating a great team, surrounding yourself with trustworthy, talented, dedicated people cannot be overstated. And it’s not easy. Anyone will tell you Hollywood is full of BS artists, liars and opportunists. Good people are here too. Finding the gems takes some digging and in some cases, blasting through mountains with dynamite. After a few false starts and heartbreaks, I feel I’m getting there.
I have a wonderful, hard-working, unflappable creative partner who serves as the camera op, editor and counterbalance to my planned-yet-seat-of-my-pants shoot style. I have an amazing writing partner whose laser focus with story and structure bolsters my ear for dialog and emotional content. I have an incredibly prolific writer friend who keeps me accountable and writing on a schedule while providing a sounding board for life in general and keeping me grounded. I have music people whose work I admire, creative souls who trust their amorphous babies to me for shaping and execution, and (sadly?) of equal or greater importance, a lawyer I trust implicitly.
I would be nowhere without their amazing help and support.
The lessons I have learned in my Tinseltown Team Building is:
- Trust slowly, don’t give your creative heart because someone is willing to work with you.
- There are a million (fill-in the blank)s in this town, if this one doesn’t work out, you’ll find a more talented/more trustworthy one next week – let go!
- Sometimes the quality of the human matters more than the quality of their work – you can get there together.
- Be your word. Show up when you said you would, do what you said you’d do. Don’t be another LA flake.
- Be in communication about what you said you’d do. Everyone is so busy, lots gets lost. Even if you think you’ve said it, even if you think they heard it, say it again, be clear.
- Look for the fun. My sets are fun places to be and work. They are open spaces for creativity and collaboration. There’s no point to this if it’s not fun.
- No one gets anywhere alone. You got helped. Help someone else up. There is not a scarcity of awesomeness for us to share. Don’t be a dick. Help.
- Embrace that you’ll always have more to learn. You’ll never know it all so don’t act like you do or feel like a failure if you don’t. Come to projects with a spirit of curiosity, learning and a willingness to take feedback and constructive criticism.
As a chronic I-can-do-it-myself-er, team building has been a challenge and a worthy one. I’m reminded everyday that sort of like the Velveteen Rabbit, team makes you real.