At this point it should be clear that I’m falling int love with HowlRound. This week, it was an interview about collaboration with Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould. It is click-baiting-ly titled: Unlocking the Mystery of Writing a Musical.
I loved it!
I’m all about collaboration. I just think it sucks to have to be the only idea-machine all the time. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else (or many someone elses) could help bear that burden? That’s part of what intrigues me about musicals. They are, in almost every case, massively collaborative. There are few people who can master lyrics, music, and plot simultaneously, and so these jobs must be delegated. Not to mention the addition of directors, designers, dramaturgs, actors, technicians, and a cascade of others. A musical is a collaboration on steroids.
(I was once involved with a project in which a single individual attempted, Wagner-like, to serve as the sole source of words and music for a new musical. And also as director and stage manager. The project was unpleasant for all involved. Especially the audience.)
How would that work, I wonder? I have wondered this about all sorts of collaborative teams. How does a team of TV writers work? Screenwriting partners? Director and choreographer? Director and playwright? Director and dramaturg and playwright? Lyricist and composer and animal trainer?
How do all of these teams work?
This article was a peek into just such a collaboration; Kreitzer and Gould have a great respect for one another, but also complement each others’ talents. Kreitzer is logical, linguistic, Apollonian, she is the mistress of the mind. Gould is Dionysian, emotional, illogical, freewheeling. Together they fill each others’ gaps and highlight each others’ strengths. As a matter of fact, it’s a lot like a marriage.
This comparison to matrimony is explicit in their interview, but I think it’s even more true than they say.
Can I tell you a story?
I met my wife in college. It was a random coincidence, we were in someone’s dorm room, I honestly don’t even remember our first meeting. But we became friend-group friends, and then friends, and then best friends. We were seeing other people, but those relationships ended of their own accord. I had a huge crush on her, and we finally kissed at a party. It was a college thing to do.
I kept expecting it to end, that there was no way my best friend and I would actually work out. It seemed way too easy! But time went on, and things kept being great. And when we finally got married it felt so right. And I felt so lucky.
Because I was lucky. I randomly found this amazing life-partner when I was 19. Total blind luck! I know lots of people who are looking for marital bliss, and mostly I tell them: “uh… be lucky?” Because as far as I can tell, that’s how I did it.
And I think collaborators are the same way. You just luck into that perfect fit sometimes. And when you find it, don’t let it go!
And I guess if you can’t find the right collaborators… uh… be lucky?
Or date around. That’s what my friends are all doing.