It is genuinely difficult to find the words that convey your gratitude for your collaborator’s work, and yet express that something else is needed. The ghosts of your own hurt feelings, the ways you may have hurt others by telling the truth, or by not telling the truth until it was too late, can be hard to shake.
That's why I started this collaboration blog. To offer a window into the process of collaboration. Often, its simple, easy and fun. Sometimes, you get nervous.
August marks the third anniversary of Acoustic Fridays with Jenny Bienemann & Friends at FitzGerald’s. Until we can be live and bring the music to you in person on the First Friday of each month, the Jenny & Friends band (Andon, Klem, Paul Bivans, Robin, Jodi, Naomi and Ron) are using the only means at our disposal to stay connected to the music and each other: we collaborate on music videos.
This month's song is "Someone," and the video is here: https://youtu.be/SmMSuuFek6U. Klem is our audio producer, and Bianca Bee is our videomaker.
The audio was proceeding beautifully, but there was just one problem: I had no idea what to do for the video. I had used all the video that I had casually amassed over a lifetime, on the previous videos. So not only did I have no ideas, I had no fallback.
As often happens, when preoccupied with other matters,a the scenario presented itself. I looked at the bathroom tile on my upstairs bathroom floor and thought, “hey…”
I sent Bianca the drawing at the top of this blog, as the storyboard.
Bianca received it and said, “Whoa! This reminds me of stained glass!”
I said, “Go for it!”
She said, “What if it scrolls all the way through?”
“Go for it!” I said.
Then she said, “Can we put the credits right behind you at the end of the song?”
“GO FOR IT!” I said.
Sounds good right? Easy peasy? Well, things got interesting during the bridge of the song.
The lyrics to the bridge go, “Holding on // staying true // is breaking you.”
In the first few drafts, the scrolling continued with the faces and the hands and the playing like the rest of the video. I asked Bianca to try different things, with increasing trepidation. There were so many videos playing at the same time, none were a standard size, and the whole thing had to scroll. It was a great deal of work to create what she had already created there.
I was nervous about asking for the first change, let alone the second, and I really had to screw my courage to the sticking place, as Shakespeare would say, to ask for the third revision.
That is because…well…it’s hard to ask for what you want.
However: the only thing harder than asking for what you want, is living a life where every time you look at the video, you know you settled for “good enough,” instead of taking the risk to ask for, and get, what you really want.
The truth is, was I was never going to be happy with good enough.
Fortunately, neither was Bianca.
I ultimately sent her an entirely new video for the bridge. It is of just my right hand, plucking a beautiful black-eyed Susan from a thriving plant, and carelessly dropping it on the ground, in slow motion, during the bridge. It is the only place in the song where there is only one image.
Bianca worked her magic on it, refracting it, making it resemble the rest of the video, while achieving what we both hoped for with the single image during the most important part of the song.
When it was done, it was more than I could have asked for, and better still, it felt like it had always been that way. That is truly one of my most favorite feelings in the world, and the mark of a true, and wonderful, collaboration.