Learning to Share the Toys

In between gigs and studio stuff I am working on a series of Songwriting and Production video tutorials. More on that soon.

But as I develop each lesson I am realizing how much of the wisdom or acumen required to write a ‘better’ song applies to life in general.

For example, one of the keys to success here in Hollywood is being able to collaborate… to work and play with all the other creative bods within the same team.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an album, a TV show, a film score, an ad or corporate event or, if you are playing in the worship band of a Sunday… it all involves a collaboration of skills, gifts, ideas and elbow grease.

The word collaboration has two meanings:

1 the action of working with someone to produce or create something
2 a traitorous cooperation with an enemy:

I hope my meaning is clear that the success of a collaborative venture lies within the first definition… as the many ‘co-labor’ as one.

This has been my experience here, working with the best of the best, each musician, writer, producer and so on… sharing with each other their ‘best’ ideas… even knowing that most (if not all) of them will be trampled on or discarded altogether. It can be a brutal, painful and, most rewarding experience… to play even the smallest part within a larger creative expression.

It is however, often the second definition that many carry into a rehearsal or session… in that they don’t want to share their precious ideas in case someone steals them. This is a poor way to live… and is the cause of many a poor song, album, tour, service and so on.

I liken the collaborative process to a bunch of kids playing together in a sand pit.

There’s always one or two bigger (or louder) kids that fall into boss mode and, who take charge.  Some of the smaller kids don’t mind that… and are happy to tag along. There’ll be a few wanna’ be leaders with their arms crossed, not liking the current state of affairs. There’ll be one privileged kid who might throw a tantrum or scream above the activity to say ‘hey I have a better idea’. Then there’s the smart inventive kid, the one that will either become a rocket scientist, concert pianist or serial killer… he or she is usually over in the corner of the playground, messing with the ants nest or setting fire to the swing-set.

The keys to succeeding in any collaborative process are:

Bring your best ideas to the party… and be willing and able to share these ‘toys’ with everyone, without fear of failure or disappointment.

If you can master the art of listening to others… celebrating with them their day in the sun… well you are ahead of the game.

Good luck out there in the playground today.

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