Written by Sarah Yoon
Art can be a lonely endeavor. Your muse spills onto a canvas, a page, a screen—and that intense focus often requires solitude. Your mind delves into invisible worlds, trying to pull slivers of imagination into reality. It takes a lot of work to communicate your original vision but, no matter what, it will be a shadowy simulacra of the original thought. Though solitude can be a helpful meditation to invoke your muse, community remains an essential component both the creative process and your survival in the ever-competitive professional realm.
Networking is a hive of potentiality. But before I explain, let’s do away with any negative connotations that may buzz around your brain. Sometimes people think that successful networking is handing their business card to as many people as possible, or latching onto more successful people and hoping to get pulled along for the ride. Upon hearing the term network, some shiver with the overwhelming, intimidating, dry, dull, selfish chaos of it all. To avoid these instances of networking gone wrong, you must give into the relationship as much as you take and connect with those who are willing to do the same.
Beautiful symbiotic networking begins when you connect with people who inspire you. You may have met this person at the party of a mutual friend, at a writing group, artist guild, festival, conference, or book club and felt an interest in getting to know him or her further. You stay in touch through a friendly email or tipping your hat through blog references and comments. Maybe ask the person out to coffee, where you can catch up on any projects in process. Swap ideas. Share inspiration. And remember that it isn’t selfish to hope that the connection could lead to something bigger.
Creative Teamwork and Business Partnerships
Once a connection sparks, you may find yourself hatching plans for joint projects. Writers join with artists—similar to Rachel, Allison, and Shelley’s collaboration for House on Writer’s Block. Composers meet with screenwriters and film directors, as the Forge’s house musician Duncan works alongside the Critical Hit podcast team. A poet and a novelist meet in the middle to craft the perfect short story. In films, video games, and transmedia, collaboration is a natural and necessary element. If we offer our skills to each other, we may be able to create greater works of art than we could by ourselves. Hundreds of opportunities to create unique art lay at your fingertips.
Along the way, you might even jump into the business side of networking by promoting each other’s work or combining each other’s art. Throughout all of your endeavors, StoryForge Productions hopes to be a helpful resource. We enjoy collaborating with artists, and we’re jumping into the conference circuit to get to know our community better. Though exciting adventures await, many risks must be considered before you dive into the complexities of collaboration, which is why Part 2 dissects the varying pros and cons.
Want to read more? Check out Elaine Phillips’ “Transmedia Storytelling: The Heart Behind the Hype” or Sarah Yoon’s FireStarters: Multi-Disciplinary Inspiration for Writers.
Throughout this article series, StoryForge has the pleasure of collaborating with many talented artists: Sayuri Romei (Artwork: November. Sayurimvromei.deviantart.com/ or at sayuri.romei @ gmail.com), Ryan Miller (Artwork: Winter and Waverly. http://www.rmcartoons.com. Winter and Waverly are characters from the Dysfunctional Systems video game, which encapsulates an incredible collaboration between artists, animators, writers, designers, etc.) and Gabriel Picolo (Artwork: Magic Books. http://365-daysofdoodles.deviantart.com)