Resources for Seeking Creative PartnershipStoryblocks Features
June 29, 2021
Resources for Seeking Creative Partnership
Do you ever experience imposter syndrome? Ever feel like creative work is isolating without a creative partner?
If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Many creatives encounter this, particularly those who work with video, including me.
The stress that solo work can put on creatives is real. Inspired by my own experience, we sought to explore these common feelings of isolation amongst creatives in our latest series, Partnered. We wanted to see how the experiences and work of video creators change when they are paired with a dedicated creative partner — and we couldn’t think of a better fit for this than Bryan Francisco.
Bryan is an experienced videographer, content creator and YouTuber who values collaboration and understands, first-hand, the benefits of having a creative partner. We paired Bryan with five video professionals who each had two days with him to produce a major project.
…Oh and just one added challenge — the collaboration between the partners and Bryan was entirely virtual.
Creative partnership doesn’t look the same for everyone but generally, a creative partner is a collaborator that you pair with to share the work and creative direction of a project. That could mean splitting the work so each person utilizes their particular strengths or it could mean tackling each step of the process side-by-side.
You can learn a lot about the different ways partnership plays out in the episodes, but you may be thinking, “Great. How do I tap into the benefits of creative partnership? Where can I find it?” We’ve got you covered with tips from Bryan and myself about where to start.
Finding a Creative Partner
1. Start with your personal and professional network.
You may not have to look very far. Bryan’s first creative partner was actually his son. “When I first started to do YouTube, a lot of the work that I did was just on my own,” Bryan shared. “Having full creative control was something that I prioritized back then. It wasn’t until maybe a year into just creating on my YouTube channel, where my son started helping me out with my content and giving me more advice. He was only eight or nine years old at the time, but I just knew he was creative. I knew he was someone that I could trust with that stuff because he was always throwing ideas at me when he was a kid. I didn’t know that he would help my channel grow the way it has. And he was just right there. He was just there the whole time. Just start off with people you know.”
2. Utilize social media.
Social networks, particularly Instagram, can be powerful tools for connecting with other creatives.
Bryan says, “One of the best ways that I’ve found people to work with has actually been on Instagram. Almost all of the creatives I know have an Instagram page and post all their work on their feed. What’s cool about it is that you can filter out different locations and find out what creatives are located in your area — and that’s if you’re looking to work with someone within your local area. I reached out to a ton of creatives on Instagram after seeing their work. Some of them didn’t really pan out, but there are a few that I contacted through Instagram, who I now talk to regularly. It’s honestly the easiest way to connect with other creatives nowadays since most of you already have Instagram and use it on a regular basis.”
3. Check out online groups, events, and workshops.
When it comes to the internet, distance has no limits.
Countless Facebook groups connect people both locally and non-locally with similar interests and careers. These are free to join, and you’re able to determine your level of engagement.
“I’m a part of several different Facebook groups right now for certain things like filmmaking with a Sony camera, a group that focuses on DJI drones,” Bryan shared. “You get to see other people’s work and get constructive criticism from other members in the group.”
There are also events, membership groups, and workshops you can pay to join which are excellent options if you or your company budgets for continuing education. The value you’ll gain is typically outlined upfront, and they are highly structured to make sure members are accessing that value. I recently completed an 8-week course for showrunners led by Jay Acunzo. I met several content creators who were all there to learn, elevate their work, and support each other. The course and people in my cohort were so helpful that I wanted to continue, so I joined the yearly membership group.
4. Reach out to creatives you admire.
Look to those whose content you’re consuming. One of Bryan’s most reliable creative partners is Daniel Schiffer. Before they were friends, Bryan was watching Daniel’s YouTube channel.
“So one of the main things to keep in mind when looking for a creative partner is to not be afraid to reach out,” says Bryan. “I know it sounds very simple, but honestly, it was a small, little thing that stopped me from working with other creatives. That was always my problem before. I always felt like my work was not good enough, so it stopped me from reaching out to other people. I met Daniel Schiffer by showing him a video that I made during one of his live streams. I was super nervous about doing it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to show him my work because I felt like his work was really great. But luckily, I had my son nudge me and tell me to just do it to see what he says about it. And I’m glad I did because now, Daniel and I are good friends and I go to him for advice since I really value his opinions. You just never know.”
Several creators thrive by connecting, partnering, and mentoring others. Bryan is one of them. “I’ve done this a couple of times where I’ve set up a creative meet with people downtown,” he says. “I’ve met so many great people this way. I’ve set up a walk-around in downtown Toronto, where we just walked around, shot different things around the area, and learned from each other just by seeing how we shot certain things.”
Tips for Effective Creative Partnership
1. Keep a positive attitude.
Once you find a creative partner, there are a few things you should keep in mind to strengthen that relationship. The first Bryan says, “A positive mindset is probably the best thing to have going into a creative partnership, even when things aren’t going too well. I was down a few times during these projects because I wasn’t sure if we would be able to get things done in time or even learn things in time to help my partner. Instead of stressing out about it, I stepped out, got fresh air, left the work that I was doing and just came back to it afterward when everything was cleared up in my head. I tried to stay positive the whole time, even though there were a lot of bumps and obstacles along the way.” Remember that a creative partner is a support system — you’re in it together.
2. Have a learning mindset.
“The willingness to learn is another mentality I feel like one needs to have when going into a creative partnership,” says Bryan. “It doesn’t matter how far up you are in your niche or whatever it is you’re doing. There is always, always room to learn. Even though I felt like I was a mentor going into a few of these challenges, I made sure that I was always open and listening to what the others were saying.” Every creative will have a slightly different approach or perspective, which is the point of a partnership. You have to be open to learning from your partner — even in unexpected ways — to achieve the benefits.
3. Give back.
If you work alone or you’re the only one responsible for the content you’re producing, keep in mind that you and your creative partner will have separate work streams and projects. This is a different scenario than when you partner up with someone to create something together. If your creative partner is taking time away from their work or personal life to provide feedback on your work, do the same for them. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will also help you build rapport with each other.