How to setup a fun and worthwhile collaboration

I’ve had some of the most enjoyable times collaborating with others. I started a show in 2017 with my friends called Beware of the Leopard. Then in 2019, I co-founded an improv group called OK Stop. One of my co-founders invited me to do some voice work for an animation about a sentient, depressed tube of toothpaste. I also voiced a sea shanty about Jackie Weaver with my podcast friends. During the pandemic, I recorded a version of Don’t Stop Believin’ with my family.

Collaborations are beneficial in many ways. They push us to try new things and they improve our projects. They teach us about other people’s crafts and can expose us to new audiences. Collaborations are like grownup playtime, offering a break from regular routines.

So, how can we find people to collaborate with? I’ve met many people through classes or courses. Social media can also be useful, but building bonds takes time. Regular meetups can connect you with potential collaboration partners. If you have a specific project in mind, it makes approaching someone for collaboration easier.

Remember not to keep your ideas too rigid. Are you looking for a full partnership, or do you just need a favor? If you’re not willing to give others credit, it’s not a collaboration. Understand what type of collaboration you’re entering.

I briefly acted as a sidekick on someone’s live stream. They set the boundary from the beginning that it was their show, and I was okay with that. I didn’t gain much from it other than having fun.

In a true collaboration, everyone should be able to say, “I made this.” If that’s true, then you have a real collaboration. However, you must be okay with the project taking a different direction than you imagined.

Collaborations can be made up of two or more people where they all have equal weight. For example, a podcast I listen to has three hosts. Each one is in charge of different aspects of the podcast, meaning everyone has ownership.

What if you collaborate and don’t like the outcome? If it’s a project you initiated and you’re unhappy with the result, perhaps you need a clearer vision for the project. If you have a clear picture in your mind of how you want it to look, you might need to take a directorial role. Everyone needs to be okay with that.

So, what projects do you have in mind? Is there something missing in your work? Is there an idea you’d like to get off the ground but can’t do alone? A collaboration might be the answer, but ask yourself, how much control are you prepared to give up?

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