The Art of Collaboration

Here is a piece that I originally wrote for our company site, Expressions in Video. I thought I would share it here also.

The Art of Collaboration: Ideas

Expressions in Video has many creative partners. If you read our blog, you know that we work a lot with Zane Rutledge at ZaneTV. We also work with BW Films and Writing and Shooting. There are great DPs that we hire on a regular basis, including Tom Hennig and Andrew Barrera of 360 Studios and Vance Holmes.

As a producer, writer and director, I love collaborating with other artists. I recently finished co-writing a script with Machete writer, Alvaro Rodriguez. The reason I love the collaboration process is simple. It works. It makes the creative process better. It makes the end result better.

The first rule of collaboration is “ideas can come from anyone and anywhere.” Take for example this commercial that I co-directed with Zane Rutledge for Carino’s Italian:

The original idea came from one of the waitresses at Carino’s. Carino’s liked the idea and pitched it to Zane and myself. We also loved the idea and then had to figure out the best way to execute it. We did a series of test shoots and finally discovered the best way to bring this idea to life. This opening shot is actually a combination of shots. We shot our actor in slow motion with a Red Epic. We then shot various shots of the plate of spaghetti. Then a series of slow motion shots of falling grated cheese. With the magic of post production, we put the whole thing together and brought the idea to life. In fact, the commercial was so successful it was mentioned in a NY Times blog.

It was collaboration that made this Austin video production of the Carino’s “Let it Snow” commercial a success. I’ll post more on the collaborations of our feature films, TV commercials and other video productions in the future. Thanks for reading!

– Jeff Stolhand