Ryan M. Church

Posts Tagged ‘Collaboration’


In Uncategorized on June 17, 2016 at 3:18 pm

This torch has been passed into my hands thanks to Rami Ungar at Rami Ungar the Writer. This is the first time I have been invited to participate in an interactive pass it on type of post. So as it was passed on to me – I give you this posts proper introduction.

Now if you don’t know what #FirstLineFriday is, let me explain. On Fridays, you:

  1. Create a post on a blog entitled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  3. Post the first one or two lines of a potential short story, a story-in-progress, or a completed or published story.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback and encourage them to try #FirstLineFriday on their blogs as well (tagging is encouraged but not necessary).

As I looked over at first lines from other stories. I discovered I had a style in which my first lines are short statements that lead into that line that draws you in. For those stories that I wrote that way I am not sure I would get very good feedback, because, these first lines give weight, backbone, background and tone for the fourth or fifth line. But here is a first line I wrote that I fell in love with all over again when I rediscovered it.

“The gray afternoon was pleasantly warm with a sweet salty vanilla breeze that whispered westward off the Atlantic.”

  • Does this opening line suggest genre?
  • or a relationship between the POV and the setting?
  • Is it compelling?
  • Does it promise possibility?
  • What do you think?

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.

The Idea of Collaboration, A Guided Storytelling Experience

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2013 at 2:34 am

I am starting something new or perhaps rare, but I hope it catches on. I am hosting two Interactive Fiction (Inter-Fi) projects on the following blogs:

This is for all aspiring creative thinkers, storytellers, writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, audio program directors, narrators, voice actors, actors, role-players, set designers, prop designers, fashion designers, make up artists, and genre fans who are invited to join in and take part.

The Basic concept: A person presents their concept with the understanding that anyone can participate to help develop and execute the project. While the creator of the original concept retains creative and editorial control they allow the project to develop organically through fan participation. I think this is could be used as teaching tool for aspiring writers who still look to a mentor for inspiration, by utilizing roleplaying and improvisational tools. It also allows fans to contribute to the project. While I suppose any format might do. But, I think a few format guidelines should be suggested to provide some consistency to each project.


All collaborative project has two components Administrative and Creative. If you are flying solo you would make your own rules and there may be little or no need for the Administrative Component, and, the Creative Component will be anything you make it. But, when collaborating and sharing the process and responsibilities in creating, a few guidelines should be delineated for consistency and to avoid toxic chemistry between collaborators.


The Administrative Component is a living work in progress from project to project as needed. This component has a three-fold purpose:

  1. Facilitation – The Function of Facilitation is to keep the Creative Component consistent with the Project Bible, managing creative prompts, choosing the official content from submissions, and mediating disputes. Facilitation should be only evident by the quality content and exceptional execution of the second and third purpose of the Administrative Component.
  2. Rules of Etiquette – These rules serve to minimize conflicts between parties involved in the process of developing and adding content to the project. These Rules should be put into writing to attempt to eliminate conflict in the process. In Essence codifying submission requirements, acceptable and unacceptable behavior amongst all parties, and the process of preventing and resolving interpersonal and creative conflicts.
  3. Recognition – Having your ideas chosen and included in the content is recognition enough, but, I have found that it is essential to compensate collaborators for their efforts even if the creator has nothing to offer. That is why I think a system of offering a points system so that any contributor can see how their contribution matches up to contributions to others as an incentive to gain more points by submitting more ideas.

I have boiled the Creative component into three identifiable elements. The project itself can use the simple framework I describe here. I expect that even if the names are changed, expanded upon, or even  rearranged that they will still be present in the project.

  1. Narrative – The stories in all their forms need a central place where they can be indexed by chronology, storyline and offer access to available sources.
  2. Project Bible – The essential resource for any aspect of the project. In closed projects the Bible is only available to the collaborators. But in the case of an Interfi project the Bible should be publicly visible, because collaboration is open to public involvement
  3. The Gallery – For project inspired artwork, designs, and other fan and collaborator mayhem.aaaaaaaAa