This week's Answer:
The “Joy” of Collaboration
Yes, Fred, I do.
Get another partner. I
know that sounds rather blunt, but maybe I’m in a blunt mood.
The meaning of “collaborate” comes from the root words,
“work” and “together.” Or
maybe I just made that up. Let
me check my dictionary and I’ll be right back.
While I’m gone, why not call your partner and see if you can
get in one more argument before I get back?
I’m back. With
no proof of my erudite declaration regarding the root words.
But the big book does mention that to collaborate is to work,
one with another. That’s
good enough for me. And
it should be for you, too. And,
if you don’t like it, you can buy your own dictionary! The preceding
was an example of a “noncollaborative” moment brought to you by
yours truly. Now
shall we look up the word, “partner”?
(I couldn’t help myself.)
Ol’ Webster, here, mentions words such as “sharer,”
“partaker,” and “associate.”
And “associate” does not mean “the ass I have to
ociate with.” It does
however come from a Latin word meaning “joined to.”
So, Fred, let me ask you a question:
“How joined to this ‘partner’ of yours are you?”
Or possibly a better question would be, “How are you
joined to this ‘partner’?”
Keeping with my blunt approach:
If it’s just about money and fame and awards... forget it.
It won’t woik. If
you two don’t have a natural creative flow between you like I have
with my writing partner (I just made up the word “creative flow.”
I need to call and tell him so he doesn’t try to take credit
for it later in our next screenplay that will make seven figures and
catapult us to the Oscars stage.
I’m going to have to be in better shape than he is that night
so I can reach the stage ahead of him.
Better get to the gym. Come
to think of it, I need to be sure that I don’t tell him what kind of
tux I’m going to wear or he’ll get his sooner and make me a
laughing stock before all my industry peers, who love me and hate
him.), then I suggest that you’re most likely wasting your time.
I’ve collaborated with several writers and have
found that there must be a natural give-and-take.
(I give, give, give, and he just takes and takes, takes all my
creative fire and fuel and has the audacity to put his name on the
script along with mine. After
one, grueling writing session, he even told me that he wanted his name
above mine on the title page. I
stayed calm and collected, but, as soon as he was gone, in the
“credits” section, I inserted an “Over My Dead Body” clause in
our contract – which I doubt he’ll ever read.
He never reads; for that matter; he never writes.
Just sits there, drinking my coffee and nodding his little
pea-brained head incessantly like one of those dumb, bobbing figurines
with a spring for a neck, a neck I could so easily wrap my artistic
hands around and... Anyway,
where was I? Oh, yes.
Give and take. You
know... I could write an Edgar Poe-type script called “The Telltale
Neck.” I’d finally be
free, free at last, free, I tell you.
No partner to slow me down as I jauntily make my way to the
stage in my one-of-a-kind tux.) Esprit
de corps. That’s what my writing partner and I have and it’s what
you and your co-writer need to have.
(The word comes from the French, but I’m not looking that
one up for you, too. The
truth is I... can’t find my dictionary now.
I gave it... tossed it... okay, threw it... at... him.
He ducked... a window was open... you know how the
collaborative process goes.)