Jumat, 27 Maret 2009

Write alone

Recently, I've been doing a lot of collaborative work. It started with MICHAEL'S RESIGNATION - writing with about 10 others to get a script. In the past few months, I've been writing with Michelle. We found each other through a group on facebook and I think the collaborative work started when we had a teen, supernatural drama idea. I couldn't get along with it, so it became Michelle's project. Then I thought about doing a web show. Michelle and I did that (which developed into a full-blown TV show) then we attacked our current web idea LOL.

A few weeks ago, Gabe Cooper got in touch and asked us to work on a script with him. Complete chance that he happened to think we were the shiniest folks from the MR crew. Don't think he knew we were already writing together.

Anyway, through all this I've noticed how fun it is to work with someone on an idea. Things develop far faster and you're constantly receiving feedback in the form of encouragement and criticism. Also, if both of you think something is a good idea, chances are it is (and vice versa). Two people thinking something is good is twice as good as one right?

If you'd have asked me a year ago (when this screenwriting nonsense started for me) if I'd enjoy working with someone else on a project, I'd probably have said no. I like my ideas to stay my ideas. I don't want them messed up by anyone else. But since they're going to get messed up by directors and producers anyway, why not eh?

Ok, that's a joke, but I now really enjoy working with someone else. On my own, LOL would never have been created. A lot of ideas start and keep going in a certain direction - in your direction. But with someone else on board, there are twice as many ideas. Some stick and some get hurled out of the window and plummet to the ground, smashing into concrete and shattering into a million pieces never to be seen again. I use this overly dramatic metaphor because the ideas that are worth anything hit the ground and don't shatter. They bounce back up, you catch them, then you use them somewhere else. Not every idea suits every project.

But if you're working alone on a project, you don't get this. Instead, you use that idea in the project, write it for hours on end, then realise that it doesn't work. In a collaborative project, I believe that if you really feel strongly about something (like you really, really want that guy to punch Bob in the face rather than kick him) then you should roll with it.

But collaborative writing is a compromising situation. If one person is for and another against and neither of you will budge, then you're at a stand-still. You can't progress until you've sorted it out. I haven't experienced this yet but I expect I will at some point. I like to think that I won't get too attached to any one idea that I'll become all stubborn and such. We shall see...

Having gone through the fun perks of collaborative work, I still enjoy writing on my own. To conceive an idea, develop it, write it and keep writing it is something amazing. I have a few films that I wouldn't let anyone in on. I wouldn't want someone to help me with the project because it's mine. Suppose that can sound really defensive, but sometimes you just want to keep things to yourself.

But never forget to get everyone you know to read through something and give you their feedback. You don't have to take any notice of any of it; just smile and nod. But there's a chance that you're missing something invaluable. Something might not seem right about the idea. And because you're so close to it all, you can't step back and look at it objectively. That's where other writers come in. As I've said before, it's much easier to critique someone else's work than your own. Miles easier!

Anyway, this was supposed to be a short post that basically asked this question -

Do you prefer to write alone or with a writing partner?

I'll put this question at the side. I'm really interested in what people think, so do vote!

Later fellow writers and people with real jobs,

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