Last week I wrote that I finally sent off my work on the collaboration play to my partner. Yesterday we spent two hours on the phone going over changes, and reading aloud the first half of the play. It’s really coming along, and it is funny. Kate and I collaborated on a few plays back in the late 70’s when we were writing for the theatre company we co-founded (Actors’ Sorority, Kansas City, MO). In 1980 I moved to Oregon, and she became a stand-up comic (Lily Tomlin style) and went on the road. I started another theater company here (Portland Women’s Theatre Company) and turned to directing, then acting. It was eight more years before I started writing plays on my own again.
Over the years, in spite of being capable of writing plays on my own and getting them produced, I missed the wonderful synergy and plain fun of collaborating. I tried to find other people to work with. It never seemed to be the right fit. Collaborating with Kate had been so easy I thought anyone could do it. I was so wrong. Now I know that many people try to find collaborators and all sorts of bad things happen: work stalls, work is stolen, royalties are fought over… you get the drift.
Kate and I were lucky. We were easily able to solve all the problems others have faced. We were able to agree on how to divide the work, the royalties, who did what, and so on. It’s scary good now to find that we are once again able to do (albeit long distance) this crazy thing.
If you’re considering collaboration, get a sample contract from Dramatist Guild first, work out the details with each other and sign it. THEN, and only then, begin your work. Agree on deadlines, timelines, work share, royalty share, who will do what, all before you turn to the actual writing. Then, have fun! Two heads ARE better than one, if they’re good heads in the first place.
By the way, I expect this play to have a polished final draft by the end of summer.
How has your week been? And have you collaborated? What’s your story re collaboration?