Every now and then, other artists contact me after seeing my work on Instagram or other forms of social media asking to if I'd be interested in collaborating with them on a project. While I'm flattered that fellow creatives like my work enough to want to work with me and I love the idea of combining talents to create something new and exciting, it's frustrating when things frequently fall through or don't get off the ground in the first place. I think a lot of energy and time and can be saved if people reaching out kept a few things in mind:
More often then not, I receive the following message on social media:
"Hi! I'm a big fan of your work and would love to collaborate with you. Email/DM me at ______."
Okay, if you are interested in working with someone and want to convince them that its worth their time to do so, the onus is on YOU to reach out via email to contact them. In a day and age where just about everyone has their own website, Facebook page, or social media account, there's no reason why you can't find their contact info and sit down and take the time to write a thoughtful proposal. You shouldn't make the other person chase you down to follow up. More often than not, when I used to actually respond to these fleeting invitations, they often fell through and my responses went unanswered. Not only is this irritating, it makes me question your seriousness in the first place, which leads me to my next point:
This might seem obvious but you'd be amazed how people drop off in the midst of collaboration or even conversation. I don't know what happens (and sometimes there are legitimate reasons for doing so) but it does and once again I question one's seriousness about collaborating. Don't contribute to the flaky artist stereotype; follow through and keep the dialogue going.
Show Up/Stick to Deadlines
I get it; you're busy, I'm busy, we're all busy. That's all the more reason why it's crucial that if you set up a time to meet or are working towards a deadline, please don't cancel or keep changing your mind at the last minute and then cancel/reschedule all the time. It shows a lack of consideration for other's people's time and what they had to do to make time to meet with you. That's why it's important to have a better grasp of your schedule and your ability to commit to a project before you rush into setting deadlines and arranging meetings. It will make life easier for both people.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due:
A few years ago, I decided to co-produce an art show with another artist, who approached me about doing a musical/visual art collaboration. Unfortunately, there were frequent breakdowns in communication and after the exhibition was done, my collaborator chose to take credit for the production instead of recognizing my efforts which were substantial. Needless to say, I wasn't interested at all in working with this person again when they approached me about doing another show and declined.
The idea of behind collaboration is to combine energies and creativities is create something wonderful and new. It shouldn't be a contest or a way of manipulating someone to elevate yourself. Don't be a jerk; give credit where credit is due.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful for you if you're considering reaching out to another artist and will enrich your experience. I guarantee that using these tips will impress your prospective collaborator and help things go much more smoothly. Good luck and happy collaborating!