Collaborative Unicorns | They do exist
When Tishanna W. approached me to shoot a personal project with her my answer was Yes. Yes, Yes, Yes. Why?
Because she's what I consider a Collaboration Unicorn, among many other things.
I say unicorn because since starting my creative journey I rarely come across people like her. Because since embarking on following my curiosities and creative passions I've been approached by persons who did not understand the concept of a Collaboration. At least not as I saw it.
I believe collaborations are where people/ persons come together and work together to produce something. I like to think of collaborations as something that is mutual, beneficial and something producing some positivity outcome or the other. A win-win situation for all parties involved, where no one leaves or walks away wondering what just happened there? Feeling as if time had been wasted, of with a feeling of being robbed, used even.
I have been approached with exposure, reposts, and the like in exchange for my work. If you know me, and the introversion I deal with, you'd know that that pretty much meets me with the same response. Me running in the opposite direction, sometimes politely declining and other times just plain and frankly declining.
- Firstly, what rubs me the wrong way was that these persons did not understand the concept of introversion and that the attention associated with reposts and such online makes one even more recluse.
This Collaborative Unicorn didn't attempt to sell me her influence and any promise of exposure in exchange for my time, effort and skill. She understood this. She and I worked out what our time and effort were worth. We'd previously spoken about this concept before. Where we'd provide a quotation for our services regardless of what they were.
We'd outline exactly what we are offering and the rates (if any associated with same). We'd be clear of what can be waved and what cannot. We'd then share that with each other. At which point, there is a clear indication of what the investment would entail both the monetary aspects and the non-monetary aspects. We'd detail things like transport and any miscellaneous costs that one can easily overlook in situations like this. Then we'd collaborate. With a full understanding of what we are dealing with. The result is always filled with lessons learnt and ah ha moments.
There is an opportunity to also in the bank anything that can be claimed later. For instance in this particular case, as Tishanna is a also a writer, an article or two articles of such and such length can be written on an agreed topic for a specific purpose. Or perhaps for me, she can at a later date claim a photo-shoot of such and such length, at this or that location and we'd cash it in in the future. This transparency works.
- Secondly I usually find it completely disrespectful and as a result I have turned done not one but all the jobs that I was approached to partner on in this manner. Why? I have found that persons who have little to no respect for the investment of your time or effort, in my case for my photography, typically would not value the work produced and would quickly walk away the moment they learned the service they were inquiring about costs. Typically they would no longer want the photography they found 'was amazing' and 'had to have" prior to finding out it's cost. You'd notice that by being upfront about this in the earlies allows you to identify who you really should be working with. In my case approaching things in this manner allowed me to identify those after free, as they put it "beautiful, soulful and captivating, imagery" from anyone and not necessarily YOURS. Those same persons also were quite comfortable with paying another photographer for photography services. Count yourself blessed having identified them. I learned that instead of feeling disrespected to feel appreciative that I can identify with whom I want to work with and for and with whom I do not. Instead of feeling disrespected I spent time developing a Photographer/ Client Questionnaire that I send to any and all those interested in my Creative Practice and Business and I leave the next step up to them. Our time together after that point depends on their response to that questionnaire.
- Thirdly it isn't about the money. It is about the feeling after you create something that enhances and is useful to others. It is about satisfying personally that creative itch. Following curiosities once passions are found. It is also about not loosing more that you can sustain to create. That feeling you get when the work you produce and create enhances and improves lives and supports goals. It is about respect and satisfaction. It is about producing mutually beneficial work.
Tishanna is an Art Education Facilitator. A Writer. She sings. She acts. She is an entrepreneur. Aside from these labels Tishanna is the woman who I worked creatively with in January of this year. She approached me years ago with this idea she had for personal passion projects and imagery she needed to support same.
Here's why I was excited to work with Tishanna. She understood what her time and effort was worth. She also understood the time and effort of others. After our talk in December she touch based in January. She phoned and shortly after in my inbox appeared a brief of what she expected for our session. She was professional. She prepared a vision board and that showed me commitment. I was in awe. I always knew off the bat whom I didn't want to work with solely based on the attitude and approach when they requested my Creative Photography Services. This was a breath of fresh air. She called again. We firmed up our shoot day and I created her client page. I drafted up our Client Photographer Agreement and we were all set. All that was left was my only aim and hope that I met her expectations and worked for her as well as she expected and then some. These are things I'd do differently now after this my second collaboration in 2 months and I will keep you abreast of my learnings as I embark on a year worth of collaborations working with others.
With a Collaborative Unicorn, someone who understands collaborations so comprehensively and thoroughly, that it's possible they'd teach you a thing or two, there is no saying no.
READ ABOUT A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CREATIVE, and the link between ROUTINE and ritual (HERE) & about THIS COLLABORATION (HERE)
This time I shared creative space with Tishanna W. She envisioned this beautiful idea to capture the day in the life of a creative. Her as a creative and the beautiful mess it truly is. The photos captured in this Journal entry have ALL been made by Ruhi, a talented photographer who assisted me in capturing behind the scenes moments that I'd never have had recorded had she not been present and part of the special collaboration.