I work in many collaborative mediums and often depend on others to realize our vision. In comics, I’ve watched an artist take two years to deliver page one of the twenty-two page script that I wrote in one week: a script based on his own character, no less! On set, I cried inside, as the media guy told me he accidentally deleted an entire day’s worth of footage: a day that we wouldn’t get back. As if that weren’t enough, the very next day, our main actress didn’t show and we never heard from her again: she is alive, I’ve checked.
At different points in my creative career, disastrous collaborations have turned me despondent. In the pursuit of ART, I’ve lost day jobs and fallen into depression. I’ve lived on friends’ couches and dropped out of college. (I’ve since returned, aced the last sixty hours, and graduated.)
I’ve even turned away from collaborative media, curled myself into a a little ball, and worked on my novel. It’s great. Wake up in the morning. Stretch. Make coffee. Sit down at your laptop and imagine things, exactly as they happen in your own little world. No silly voices of dissent. No incompetent mistakes, but your own. That’s the allure of the novel, right? You are in control and your words are the final product.
But there’s something powerful about art realized by the effort of many . . . when it works. Look to the names on the cover of your favorite comic (If you don’t have one, imagine you do). The writer’s words clearly communicated ideas to the penciller. The penciller gave those ideas life with line, shape, and perspective. The inker provided depth and weight, enhancing the form of that life, making it jump off the page. The colorist shaded and textured that form, providing a vibrant vision, resembling our reality and further differentiating life and object. The letterer made words sound through variety of font size, style, and placement. And the editor saw that it all happened, making sure the work had unity and fit into the greater vision.
Look to the credits at the end of your favorite movie. Here, literally hundreds of people came together under one unique vision and orchestrated a miracle.
That’s right! Make no mistake, when hundreds of people, or even just two, can actually work together and deliver one unique seamless idea or product–it doesn’t matter whether it’s a moon landing, iPad launch, or a crappy spoof of a remake of a sequel–that’s a miracle.
And I’ve been chasing miracles all my life.