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core curriculum handout detail

APPROACHING YOUR COLLABORATION HAND-OUT


TO ACCOMPANY THE: COLLABORATION ASSIGNMENT

The most important thing to remember as you enter into a series of “forced” collaborations over the next several months is: RESPECT.

If you treat your collaborators with respect, your experience will be far better - even if it is not the perfect collaboration that will turn into a life-long partnership.

DEADLINES: The first thing you will want to do when you begin a new assignment is to make a PLAN with your collaborators about how you will communicate, and what kind of internal deadlines you want to set to make sure the team can meet the assignment deadline(s). RESPECT your team by observing those deadlines.

COMMUNICATION: During the length of your collaboration, make sure you stay in touch with your team. If life intervenes and you can’t make a scheduled meeting/conference call/deadline - make sure you contact your team and let them know what’s up. RESPECT your team by staying in communication.

THE PROCESS: Every new collaboration should start with a TEAM DISCUSSION about the project so that everyone can contribute to the DESIGN and PLAN for the final product. If you are the bookwriter, don’t think you can just go ahead and write the outline and the dialogue without input from your lyricist and composer. If you are the lyricist and composer, don’t think you can just sit back and wait for the bookwriter to get things rolling. EVERY ONE NEEDS TO SIGN OFF ON THE PLAN and the DEADLINES at the very start.

Once you get into the thick of the writing – don’t STOP collaborating. If the lyricist is going first on a song, and turns in a lyric to the composer – that doesn’t mean that now the composer will complete it and present the song next month without the lyricist getting a chance to weigh in. Or without the bookwriter getting a chance to weigh in on whether or not the song is remaining true to the story; or if revisions to the book are going to be necessary.

This means that when you are planning your deadlines – you need to plan for the initial collaboration; the initial writing period – and then the REVIEW period when everyone gets a chance to weigh in and suggest and/or make changes before the final product appears in the room.

And this means that you have to leave enough time when planning the deadlines for the composer to do their notating – which is a process all it itself that is separate from the artistic creation of the song.

DIVISION OF LABOR: You will be required to sign a Collaborative Agreement before you begin work on your assignments for the Core Curriculum. The purpose of this document is to establish your ownership of any of the work you present in the function to which you have been assigned: bookwriter, lyricist, composer, or some combination.

Please know that we expect you to take the division of these functions extremely seriously. You are certainly encouraged to have as much input as you want into the other areas on your project: if you are bookwriter, you should feel free to offer suggestions for song spotting; if you are a composer, you should feel free to suggest a particular line of dialogue; if you are a lyricist, you should feel free to argue strongly for a melodic or style choice.

But remember this: the ultimate decision belongs to the person who has been designated to the function. The bookwriter has the final word on dialogue. The lyricist has the final word on lyrics. The composer has the final word on the music.

Offer suggestions, request changes, argue your case as strongly as you can. But know that you only have the final word in your own arena.

Also – do not offer suggestions if you are then going to want to be given credit. Just because you suggest a couple of great lyrics does NOT mean you deserve to be credited as a co-lyricist. If you can’t make a suggestion without wanting credit for it, don’t make it.

Even more importantly: never, read NEVER, take it upon yourself to actually make a change outside of your function.

Bookwriters: If you are responsible for incorporating lyrics into your document, make absolutely sure you have accurately reflected the lyricist’s choices. Feel free to make suggestions for alterations, but do not make those alterations yourself and ask for permission later. If you have been asked to supply new dialogue to be spoken during a song, make sure you respond quickly and collaboratively.

Composers: NEVER submit a piece of music to a lyricist in which lyrics have been changed without permission. If you have a suggestion or a request for a change – make the suggestion in person or by email, but do not type it into your score and THEN ask for permission. If you can’t set what you’ve been given – type “la la la” into your score, and ask the lyricist to provide replacement lyrics. Don’t type in alternate lyrics and tell your lyricist they are just “dummy” lyrics and the lyricist can feel free to change them. Don’t do it. It is disrespectful.

Lyricists: NEVER submit a lyric in which you have revised the bookwriter’s words to suit your lyric. You can let your bookwriter know you need a line of dialogue, and possibly type “I need a line here about Joe loving Jane” – but do NOT write the dialogue yourself and then ask your bookwriter if it is okay. Don’t do it. It is disrespectful.

Some other things to remember:
Do YOUR work even if your collaborators bale
This is NOT a competition
Do the work
Do your best
Be a good collaborator
Show potential for growth