On collaborations and professionalism

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of collaborations with other individuals and groups as part of the Psyche Corporation project, or as offshoots thereof. These include, but are not limited to:

-contributing vocals for someone else’s music project
-working with photographers to make lovely images for publication in magazines
-working with fashion designers as a fit model or fashion ‘engineering’ consultant
-working with events/conventions on programming development
-working with artists on designing/building art installations
-working with dancers on choreography
-curating tech/robotics art made by other people as contributions to special interactive theater-esque editions of Psyche Corp. shows (One of the contributors to an early Psyche Corp. show went on to co-found MakerBot Industries.)
-composing musicals for librettists

In all these working/collaboration relationships, I have endeavored to be polite and professional. Overall, it has been a delight to work with the people I’ve worked with over the years, and I think fondly of them. Part of this hugely positive work experience arises from my commitment toward honorable behavior in myself and others. If someone is grossly inappropriate and unprofessional toward me, I simply do not work with them. It’s not worth the drama. I get involved in art/music and related projects because it’s something I like to do, and I assume the people I work with have similarly pure-minded goals. If your primary goal in collaboration with me is not to make a great event/piece of art/music/product, I confess I have no idea why you would suggest a collaboration in the first place. It just doesn’t make sense, if you think about it.

I got to thinking about this because of younger relatives who are interested in the entertainment industry, and the unfortunate truth that there are folks out there who do try to mix business/collaboration with coercion and drama. It really does not have to be like that. The person who tries to hold you hostage emotionally or financially and then tells you it is “normal” or “everyone does it” in the entertainment industry is missing the point. You don’t have to put up with this. Furthermore, you do not need them in order to succeed. In fact, they may hold you back from working with far better people. There are people out there who will treat you professionally, and with respect, and still (surprise!) be friendly and care about you as a person if we get to know you better and we happen to click. And I promise not one person I’ve worked with has tried to micromanage my personal life. If they did, I wouldn’t work with them.

Just keep practicing your craft, get better, talk to people, avoid drama, and don’t forget that we really do exist: professional-minded, talented people who care about art and want to collaborate with other professional-minded and talented people.

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