This was an article I wrote that was originally published on Praverb.net.
Collaboration is an awesome tool when executed effectively. The benefits to the parties involved can make a huge impact on their individual careers but occasionally, they can go wrong. Sometimes things just happen that can throw off planning, other times people just happen.
When “people” happen, it is not due to anomalies but rather reoccurring habitual actions that lead to expectations not being met. Some of these characteristics can leave a bad taste in the mouths of collaborating artists, producers and promoters, potentially causing social backlash.
If you recognize these traits in anyone you have worked with, are working with or desire to work with you can make adjustments accordingly to spare yourself some headache. If you recognize any of these traits in yourself, reflect on it and take the opportunity to become a person people love to collaborate with.
1) The Unintentional Absentee
It seems as if this person has an excuse for everything and nothing is ever their fault. Somehow circumstances always tend to get in the way of their good intentions and the only thing you can count on them for is their inconsistency, be it accidental or willingly. They haven’t written their verse yet because they worked 33 hours a day for 9 days at their job last week. They missed the studio session because they had to take their aging grandmother to the casino for her birthday and they were the only one that could do it. They haven’t come up with their portion of the money yet because they gave their check to a lady in need in the grocery store parking lot. They missed sound check because the cable guy didn’t show up when he said he would, etc. No matter how legit or far fetched the excuse is, the fact is the job didn’t get done. Curve-balls do get thrown in life, that’s undeniable, but reliability is important if you wish for your business relationships to flourish.
Know This Artist? Cover yourself with conversations and contracts or simply work around them.
Are You This Artist? Evaluate what’s happening. Is there a reason why everything else takes precedence over the task at hand? Bad timing? Fear or anxiety? Is your heart really in it? Reflect on it and be upfront about it when you are discussing collaborations.
2) The Self Admirer
This person is rarely on time for anything and when they do come through, they act as if you should be honored they chose to do what they said they would do. Though this person is extremely talented, often it feels like the headache included doesn’t make the end result worth it. People may deal with this temporarily, but patience is likely to wear thin, negatively impacting career longevity.
Know This Artist? Decide exactly what it is that you are trying to achieve. In the long run, you may be better off working with someone who understands the value of what you’re trying to do as opposed to someone who is only concerned about their personal agenda. If you feel you must work with this person, cover yourself with conversations and contracts to be sure you can keep things moving.
Are You This Artist? Know your worth, but remember your humble beginnings. Be sure to remain professional so that you don't alienate the people who can help you maintain the level of success that you presently have or desire to achieve.
3) The Perpetual Procrastinator
This person acts as if everything is a big surprise. As if you hadn’t asked them to be ready months or weeks prior. They didn’t write or practice before the studio session. They didn’t bring their CD or flash drive to the show, wasting precious time and/or money.
Know This Artist? Check with them ahead of time to see how they’re coming along. Arrange a meeting and/or rehearsal to check their progress at which time you can also collect any CDs or flash drives you may need from them.
Are You This Artist? Do everything you can to stop. Procrastination is a real issue for many people, but if you wish to continue to be contacted for opportunities, you must put forth your best effort. Be mindful that bad experiences travel rapidly, so if you have unsatisfied clients your reputation could be quickly damaged. Give attention to detail to everything you’ve been asked to do as if your career depends on it because in reality, it does.
4) The Project Snatcher
Even though It is not their project or show, this person knows exactly how everything should go down. While input can be helpful, this person takes it upon themselves to insert their views into every aspect of the collaboration whether it fits the originator’s artistic vision or not.
Know This Artist? Be upfront that you do not wish to stray from your original plan. You know exactly how you want things to go and although you appreciate their experience, they can just come along for the ride, focus on their art and not worry themselves with planning.
Are You This Artist? Understand that the person you are working with has a specific goal. This is something they have dedicated time to and have asked you to be a part of, not plan. If you have suggestions, ask if you may offer them. They may be receptive to listen, or they may wish to stick with the original plan...it’s their choice.
5) The Dream Dealer
This person has tons of brilliant ideas that never seem to come to fruition. They know all the right things to say to get you high on the possibility of what may be before they fade away into one of the aforementioned personalities or simply off the map.
Know This Artist? Talk is not cheap when you start putting money behind someone’s ideas and they’re not serious about making it happen. Cover yourself with a contract before you move into anything serious with this person so that you’re not left trying to pick up the pieces alone.
Are You This Artist? Be open and upfront. Let the person know if you’ve got a lot going on and you’re just throwing ideas out. There’s no benefit to you to get someone’s hopes up to let them down. Perhaps work out a deal for them to collaborate with someone who can help carry out your ideas and just get a percentage of the action.
Whether you’re working with any of these personalities or happen to be one of them, honest communication from start to finish will make it a much more pleasant experience for all parties involved. Are there any personalities you’ve come across that have caused challenges in the collaboration process?
Image Retrieved from Alley Watch
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