Creative Space: Collaborating

Posted by admin

Categories Blog, Creative Space, Events

Comments 3 comments

I love collaborating with other wonderfully creative people.  In a sense, while myself and my team produce Dr Sketchy’s Dublin events, they are truly a collaboration with the models and performers who make or put together their own costumes, source and bring props and often create unique routines to suit the theme.  Our models are, without exception, creatively invested in each event that you are a part of and I am incredibly lucky to have never encountered a model who “dialled it in” or didn’t give their all.


On a larger scale, it is great to step out of your comfort zone and create or develop new events and ideas with other creative people and organisations.  I have had some incredibly successful experiences collaborating with Denise from The Doorway Gallery, PaperDolls, Nicky from Wake-Up Productions and the crew from The Little Green to name a few.  Even when a collaboration hasn’t been successful, I’ve learned valuable lessons from the experience.


Firstly, when deciding to approach people to collaborate with, ensure you are bringing something to the table that will benefit the other party – e.g. Do you have a large following on Facebook that might not be aware of the other party’s work?  Have you existing relationships with venues?  Have you access to cheap/ free equipment?

Equally, when someone approaches you with ideas for a collaboration, be aware of what they are bringing to the table.  This is so important to ensure that this project is not just going to add to your workload without improving your business.  Ideas are wonderful, but the world is full of good ideas, the skills and talented to realise the ideas are valuable.

The best collaborations work when both parties have different and complimentary strengths.




Be Clear

Once you have decided to work together on a project, be very clear from the outset about what your expectations of each other are.  Talk about the roles you will each be playing in the run up to the event and be precise – in your mind ‘promotion’ might mean contacting media agencies, posting in listings pages, physically putting up posters and distributing flyers but to someone else ‘promotion’ might mean posting the event on Facebook and inviting their friends.


Be reasonable in your expectations

There is nothing that will sour a working relationship faster than expecting something from your partners and being disappointed when they don’t deliver.  Look at your timelines, plan for the worst case rather than the best case.  Also, don’t over-promise and under-deliver.  We’re all guilty of making promises that are impossible to keep just to ensure our clients or partners are happy, but when that day arrives and the particular performer hasn’t been booked or the venue is smaller than expected, well, you can bet that you won’t get the phonecall the next time an exciting project comes around.




When the event rolls around, no matter how prepared you are, there will always be situations that you can’t control.  For example, during summer 2012 Dr Sketchy worked with PaperDolls on a fundraiser for their Fringe Festival Show.  Both organisations promoted the event, send out mailing lists, etc etc but in the middle of one of the worst summers I’ve known in my lifetime, that Saturday afternoon the sun decided to come out and shine down over Dublin.  We still put on a wonderful show for the people who came to join us, but no doubt the weather deterred others and there was nothing we could have done to pre-empt that.  Chalk it up to experience and plan the next event!

Afterwards,  always be sure to credit the people you have worked with.  Ensure the world knows that the success of the event was due to all parties involved.  Thank your collaborators publicly and privately, if it was a positive experience, you will work together again.  If it wasn’t such a wonderful experience, try not to be negative about it, don’t hop on your social networks and tell people how terrible it was – that will definitely put everyone off working with you!  Sometimes, we need to have bad experiences to highlight the good ones.

Remember, sometimes you’ll have an idea that NEEDS other people, so don’t try and do it all on your own.  We all have strengths and equally, we all have areas that we are weak in – after all, we’re only human!


Measuring success

Sometimes a successful collaboration is not measured by the number of people you got through the doors or how much money is in the till, sometimes a successful project can be measured by how well you worked with your partners, how you communicated and how much you enjoyed the process.  You’ll each take away something positive from the experience and learn from the things that weren’t so successful.  All in all, it will most likely lead for further, possibly more lucrative and profitable collaborations in the future.




Photo Credits: Kerri Cherry and Nicola Timmins

3 comments on “Creative Space: Collaborating”

  1. Amy Chessman

    Love this post. I help my boyfriend with his charity events, a month ago one of his friends told him he would be able to supply the sound and do the sound engineering. A week before the event we was told we couldn’t get the sound system and two days before the event he ignored our phone calls, so we had no sound engineer! We managed to move the bands to another event & still managed to make some money for charity. But it caused us so much stress! We have learnt that collaborations with other people will only work if you know they are 1000% reliable.
    Thank you for the good advice! xx

  2. Not So Frivolous Friday |

    […] Scarlett Nymph talks about how much she loves collaborating with other creative  people […]

  3. annie godmom

    excellent, don’t promise what you can’t deliver, don’t measure success by the till receipts, collaborate with heart and enthuasiasm and success will follow. great blog


Leave a reply to Not So Frivolous Friday |

Click here to cancel reply

Please wait...