“One of my goals is to form a local collective where artists, writers, filmmakers and animators can come together and create content from which we all can benefit. I know it will be difficult, but I think that as we all progress as individuals, we might be able to pool our talents to create successful projects. It may be a pipe dream, but it’s a goal worth working toward.”
Now, Milton and I have collaborated on two successful anthologies, two short films, a feature film, a dozen wildly successful and popular events, the founding of a movement (Steamfunk) and the founding of Black Speculative Fiction Month. However, he – and I – desires to see the scores of Black artists, authors, filmmakers, fan convention planners and animators out there come together to create so great as to resonate throughout fandom, the conscious community and the unconscious community worldwide.
Why is such collaboration important? Why is collaboration valuable, you ask?
Here are a few reasons:
When you work with another creative person, you create this sense of collaborative energy some call “synergy.”
Think of all the times when you came up with ideas with the help of others that you know you wouldn’t have come up with on your own; that’s synergy.
Another reason to collaborate is because it is fun and you can make friendships that will last a lifetime. Collaborating gives you a needed respite from the lonely work of the artist or author that can be refreshing and enhance your productivity!
Be warned, collaborating with just anyone is not good.
While collaboration is often good for creativity, be sure to make smart choices about the characteristics of your partner and how you decide upon who does what and how critique is handled. The right collaborator has an enormous influence on the product and the pleasure of the exchange. If the chemistry is not right, the roles are nebulous, competitiveness looms and the collaboration can be draining.
It comes down to knowing whether this person and the collaborative process bring out the best in you and your work. You have to be honest with yourself. You may dearly love someone who nevertheless is not a good creative partner. It’s about how the work gets done and the end result of that work.
Good collaboration is based on trust and the inner freedom that ensues when you come together. Ideally, there are unspoken understandings and ways to anticipate the other’s state of mind without direct discussion.
Milton and I have a third collaborator, who, at times, probably has no idea he is collaborating with us.
The famed author, Charles R. Saunders, the father and founder of Sword and Soul, has an indirect, but significant involvement in our works. Charles is muse, friend and Jegna to us both. His “voice” feeds our will, determination and creative courage.
It is important to have a treasured “other” in your life that bolsters your creative strivings. The sense that someone is there for you, even if they are not hands-on with your work, can make a huge difference in your creative output.
A great writer, artist or thinker, alive or not can guide you internally. Just remembering things they expressed in their works about living, about creating, or even about you moves you forward.
Sadly, most people become inhibited and competitive in groups, even if they are encouraged to feel the opposite.
Often, in a competitive business or academic setting, creative interaction is hard to achieve. People feel self conscious or insecure or want to maintain strong boundaries. They don’t wish to risk a blunder, put forth a bad idea or look foolish. Often fear rules them.
Furthermore, for many people creativity is a solo affair. While solitude and solo time are less and less a part of our cultural fabric, many introverted people require such solitude.
Milton and I both happen to be extroverts, which has made it much easier for us to collaborate with great success.
When Milton and I first met several years ago to discuss developing his story Ngolo into a feature film, I told Milton that he will find that I operate from a position of power, not fear; that I believe the world – and the Heavens – favors the bold. Milton told me that he operated from that same position. I knew then that we would do great work together.
When collaborators understand and trust one another; when they are equally fearless, dedicated and hard-working, they can always make great things happen.
On June 7, 2014, Milton Davis and I are collaborating to make another great thing happen. This time, we are partnering with our dear friend, Kiyomi Rollins, founder and owner of The Good Hair Shop, the premier natural hair shop in the Southeastern United States, to bring you an exciting evening of Sword and Soul, Steamfunk and Urban Fantasy.
We will share excerpts from our works – including a hot, new Rite of Passage short story Milton and I cooked up exclusively for this event. It will be the only time we read it before a live audience, so don’t miss out. Be sure to be there!
We will also answer any questions you have about Black Speculative Fiction, the process of writing, publishing, plotting, the true history of the universe, how to file your toenails without a file, or anything else you’d like to know – just be sure to direct those kinds of questions to Milton!
All-in-all, it is going to be a fun and (Steam)funky night, so please, join us!
The Good Hair Shop
2001 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SW
Atlanta, GA 30310
4:00pm – 6:00pm