No one creates musicals alone.  It takes collaboration, cooperation, and teamwork to take a musical from the spark of an idea to a finished production.

In our 2023 Musical Writers Festival, featured artists Drew Gasparini, Sam Carner, Macy Schmidt, and Danielle Georgiou chatted with Musical Writer Academy Member and contributor Kenady Sean about the all things collaboration in a session titled, “Tips and Tools for Collaboration.”

In the clip below, the panelists talk about one of the first questions of collaboration: finding compatible collaborators.

(Click HERE to watch on YouTube.)

The entire conversation is available as part of our 2023 Festival Video Archive, but here is a 20-point summary of the discussion

20 Tips for Collaboration Success

  1. Finding collaborators is similar to making friends in the sandbox, where shared interests and sensibilities are important.
  2. Laughter, shared sentimentality, and common interests like music and TV shows can indicate a good fit for a writing partnership.
  3. Start a collaboration with a shared vision, set expectations, and clearly communicate goals and responsibilities.
  4. Find a writing partner who complements your strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Build trust and a strong foundation of respect and communication.
  6. Challenges and conflicts may arise in any collaboration, but can be overcome with good communication and mutual respect.
  7. Finding a collaborator may require effort and multiple attempts, similar to dating or finding a life partner.
  8. Be open to challenging each other and pushing each other in a direction that expands artistic ideas.
  9. Collaboration with orchestrators or directors may require separate conversations that can shift the creative direction of the project.
  10. Don’t be too precious about your work, be open to changes and revisions.
  11. As a collaborator, serve the work—not just your own ideas.
  12. Accept that favorite pieces or ideas may be cut or changed for various reasons.
  13. Be willing to let go and move on from certain aspects of the work for the good of the project.
  14. Collaborators should be able to adapt and make changes based on the needs of the project.
  15. Be open to change and willing to let go of your ideas for the benefit of the project.
  16. Keep conversations open and involve actors or other collaborators in the decision-making process.
  17. Acknowledge that actors or other collaborators can bring more depth to the work than what is written on paper.
  18. Be willing to make changes during the run of the show or project, and communicate openly about it.
  19. Emphasize the importance of communication, even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable.
  20. Leave room for collaboration and creativity in the process, and be specific about what you want while also being open to input from others.

Remember, collaboration is a dynamic process that requires open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to adapt and let go of certain ideas for the good of the project. Keeping an open mind and being receptive to input from your collaborators can lead to a more successful and fulfilling creative collaboration.

Other Resources

For more collaboration gems, check out these Musical Writers Articles and resources: