We’re a funny bunch, us creatives. On the one hand seeking the assurance of others and yet on the other hand being fiercely individualistic. Of course that’s a massive, sweeping generalisation and if that’s not you, then of course I didn’t mean you, after all, you’re perfect.
Joking aside, many of us find even the suggestion of allowing other people into our creative process bringing on a panic attack. What could anyone possibly add to my genius? We ask ourselves. Here are my top 5 reasons.
- We Don’t Know Everything.
Of course many of us know that in our minds, but letting that truth move down into our heart is a different matter. I remember the first time a producer asked me to change the lyric on a song. In my head I knew he was right, yet at the same time every emotion screamed not to let him touch my baby. In the end I said yes and the song was a lot better for it. Collaboration helps us to be better creatives.
- We Can’t Play Everything
The modern studio with all it’s VIs and samplers can lead us into to a false assumption. We may be able to get the sound of the best bass guitar on the planet, or the best drum kit. It may even have meticulously programmed patterns, but trust me, none of them will perform as good as a top player. The number one reason is that these virtual instruments can’t listen to our music and then interpret a playing response. Collaboration helps us get better ideas.
- We Can’t Hear Everything
The print industry has editors and copy readers, the reason for this is that we become author blind. The same applies to music and sound, if we spend time immersed and so close to something, over time we start to miss mistakes. I was once told that the most common typo is the substitution of the word ‘from’ to the word ‘form’ computer spell checkers are too dumb to see that. The same happens in creative processes, we make silly mistakes or we just don’t make the best decisions. I just sent an edit to a client yesterday of a video and they came straight back to me about an entire missing section we put in several weeks before, it’s was a silly mistake. Collaboration gives us the objectivity we sometimes need.
- Creativity Is A Lonely Business
I work for myself and spend hours and hours sometimes working on my own, many in this community are the same. Even though I am happy with my own company, sometimes I just need to be able to turn around and say ‘what do you think?’ or ‘hey is this a mad idea?’ Often the answer would be a positive one and would encourage me to try something that I may not well even consider without that support. Up until February this year this site was the AIR Users Blog, it was effectively me, now it’s Pro Tools Expert and has a team of 7 people. I think it’s a lot better for it and even if you don’t think so, I’m glad to have this team sharing the load and coming up with ideas that I could never have had! It’s a lot harder working in a team, I can’t always do what I want anymore, but on the other hand I don’t make as many silly mistakes either. Collaboration gives us the support we need.
- We Are Not Meant To Be Alone
If this community has proved anything, it is the value of gathering around a shared set of values for the mutual benefit of all. It’s called Pro Tools Expert, not because we think that the team are the experts, but because we think that together we should be able to solve problems and best of all, remove the barriers to our creative freedom. Often the comments on this blog are as important to the community as the actual articles - I don’t wish to embarrass him, but take a look at some of David Finnamore’s contributions, adding knowledge and perspective that we don’t have. That’s the value of surrounding youself with creative excellence, the value of co-writers, band members, session musicians, editors, ADR producers, foley artists, producers, engineers, mix engineers, mastering engineers and more! Collaboration puts creativity where it flourishes best, in community.
Home studios have given us the possibility of being able to do everything on our own, whilst creative independence may seem like a great concept in theory, in practise it rarely delivers the same results as working with others. Discuss.