Working in a group or team can be a challenging dynamic for some people who are used to working independently. But as film, television, and radio are mediums that require collaboration, its important to develop healthy interpersonal skills. If there have been times when you have offended or upset people you were working with, whether it be accidentally or not, take a look at these tips for collaborating healthily.
When working collaboratively, it is important to work in a way where you can respect the opinions and feelings of your collaborators. To foster an effective collaboration, keep some of these tips in mind:
1. Respect the vision of your collaborators.
Although you may have your own vision of what you want the work to look like, being mindful of the perspectives of your collaborators is necessary to collaboration. Because even though you feel as if your vision is the best way to complete the work, remember that your collaborators probably feel similarly. Film is a collaborative medium, so it is necessary that you can cooperate with your collaborators in order to make the best film possible. Ask yourself when working with others, "How can our perspectives together create better work?"
2. Ask questions to your collaborators.
Ask your collaborators about what they think should be done on the project. Try to gain a better understanding of your project by using their expertise to inform yourself. Also, don't be limited to asking work related questions. Ask your collaborators personal questions: do they have siblings? Pets? How long have they been at AFTRS? Do they have a favourite movie, TV show, or radio programme? The more you learn about them, the more you'll find you have in common.
3. Be polite to them.
Maybe one of your collaborators acts or speaks in a way you find unusual. Don't take this as an opportunity to bully them with name-calling. Instead, try to engage them; do they have an accent because they immigrated? In that case, where are they from? Hopefully, by asking them questions about themselves, you can reflect on whether you've been rude to them and try to correct that behaviour in the future. Even if you don't ask questions about them, try to recognise them as their own person with thoughts and feelings. You should respect everyone and be polite to them, because that's how everyone should expect to be treated.
4. Recognise their boundaries.
Maybe you've been hitting it off with a collaborator and after a while you ask them out. If they reject you, don't take this as an insult. Their reasons are their own and they aren't entitled to tell you why. Instead, take it in stride and respect their wishes. Your collaborators may see the relationship differently you to; it could be a work friendship to them, one that doesn't involve a lot of out of hours hanging out. Don't ask overly personal questions, because they might feel pressured to answer if the power dynamic favours you. Instead, let the relationship build organically and keep it in perspective.
It's important to be sensitive to people when you give feedback. Maybe you think someone's idea wasn't the best possibility, or maybe you want an actor or crew member to improve on their job somehow. In which case, read the tips below to see how you can sensitively give feedback: