Chris Boardman Music Blog: Vital Collaborations Part 1

Friday, August 8, 2014

Vital Collaborations Part 1


(This is an excerpt from a speech I gave at the VizualNow Event July 27th).

Part One

It is easy to see successful working relationships. They seem effortless, almost magical.  Have you ever really wondered what makes them work? 

Have you ever been in a situation that didn’t end well? If so, have you ever asked yourself the question: “What did I do to contribute to a less than positive outcome?

All too often we are afraid to address our failures because we won’t like what we see.

When I started doing films I had already established myself as something of a hotshot arranger/orchestrator so I walked in the door with an attitude...self-confident about my musical expertise. Everything seemed to be working fine until I failed miserably on a show and had no idea why or where to turn? And then, I failed again, and again.

This was quite a blow to my ego....expert that I considered myself to be. 

I quickly realized that I had a big problem. 

Failure was not an option so I had to address why I was failing and figure out what I had to do to turn the ship around.

Truth was: I had no idea what I was doing. 

I thought that everyone would just love my music and I would be done. I was the expert. Right?

Wrong. 

In desperation I decided I need to know as much as I could about making movies... that I had to become an expert in moviemaking to continue working....My approach was based on what had worked for me in the past....become the expert and everything would work out fine.  What I didn’t realize was that I was replacing one widget with another. 

What I missed completely was my glaring lack of interpersonal skills.

I would get defensive if criticized
I had no idea how to articulate my position.
I had no conflict management skills. 

I was the expert right?....

Creating media is a collaborative exercise....You need not be the smartest person in the room to be a successful collaborator.
And those that have succeeded have much more than personal expertise to offer. 

I looked to my heroes for guidance.

When I studied the icons of film music, John Williams, Alan Silvestri, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Hans Zimmer, it appeared that they were all truly gifted collaborators as well as being musical giants.

If I ever wanted to reach that level of success I had to find out how get some of that “gold dust”....that something special that my idols seemed to exude effortlessly.

What was it they had that I didn’t?

It was obvious these guys had mastered the art of collaboration....but there seemed to be something more that I was missing. 

It was pointed out to me that: 


“we unconsciously sabotage our relationships because we are not aware of how our subconscious behavior affects our actions. In addition, we can be confused about who are and why we do what we do."




Taking an objective personal inventory I discovered that:

I was an expert musician but...

I was terribly insecure
I had no idea how to resolve an argument
I needed constant validation for my work....(the curse of the artist-to have everyone love them).

In this moment of awareness three different topics emerged:

1- Embrace your fear....

2- Focus your attention 

3- Add value 


What does this mean?

Part Two coming soon:


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