Ryan M. Church

The Most Important Rule of Working With Others -Rewards For Taking Part and Lending A Hand: One Way or Another Everyone Must Get Paid, “Validate The Parking, And, Don’t Forget The Peanuts Please! Or Suffer The Consequences.”

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Hey, if its just you telling stories to a blank wall, writing poetry to a garbage can, or a script to a locked vault then the results of your imagination are their own reward. But, if you are sharing the load with others depending upon them to deliver, while depending on you for direction, ego’s will be hurt and offended if they are not rewarded for giving their vulnerability to the craft and art of storytelling. They may be willing to forgo monetary reward for the chance of gaining experience, but if you fail to deliver any compensation they may walk away from the project. At the bare minimum you should pay them by feeding them and if they traveled at their own expense they deserved to be housed for free.

This is one of those things I learned from experience. I got the opportunity to work on an independent feature film project with no budget, during the preproduction process in the fall of either 1994 or 1995 mostly printing and organizing the proposal for the film as well as generating letters trying to get as much free assistance as possible. Everybody was working on it for free in the hope that it might lead to bigger opportunities. It was something we believed we could do. I was summoned to be available on set before I planned on being there and worked the insane 20 hours a day work schedule for two solid weeks. I even missed my first day of classes that Winter semester leaving many of my friends making up stories of my untimely demise.

So, I was a part of the dedication to make it possible. But, I was also there when I heard the actors were about to walk and go to SAG, because of inadequate compensation during the shoot. I think they got 20 bucks or so spending money per day and were fed during the shoot. This incident taught me the most important rule of collaboration. If you can’t afford to pay them you have to give out some kind of reward for their hard work and efforts, because the hours might be the kind to make anyone crazy. Anyone in the storytelling arts are a little crazy anyway and need the validation that their efforts are appreciated or they may not care about the outcome. Usually the easiest way to make them happy is to feed them and offer them shelter.

It kind of reminds me of Kevin Costner’s character in ‘The Postman’ seeking food and shelter for doing a one man and his donkey performance of scenes from Shakespeare.

I believe the rewards for following this rule are greater than the price and the whole enterprise depends upon it. If you cannot even give them food then perhaps other prizes or rewards can be offered. When working with others you have to give them something that shows that their efforts are appreciated, respected, and that they are believed in. This is what it’s all about. Money is secondary, perhaps even tertiary in spite of the fact it is still the preferred currency. But, the need for validation is the prime motivator.

Any collaboration is guaranteed to fail If you are not prepared to keep the troops pleased. Besides when you bring together the oddly matched assortment of people crazy enough to work with you virtually becomes a family and it is your responsibility to take care of this virtual family that may just be nuttier than your real family during the holidays.

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