How a Business Partnership Gives Writers, Programming Professionals More Confidence in Their Skills
Like a plant that needs water and a partner that needs sun, contentment comes from a program that is both financially self-sustaining and creatively flourishing. Both are integral for any business.
Programming professionals (who might not think of themselves as creative) can learn from writers and directors. In the words of George Lucas, the LucasArts president and chairman of Santa Monica-based Industrial Light & Magic, “I learnt a great deal about how to build relationships with both writers and directors, and about teamwork.” When you merge the creative (aka content) with the financial (aka business), things change and you create something that has mass appeal, or at least is a profitable product.
This is where programing leads to creativity. Creative product requires a range of functional capabilities that are incommensurate with its artistic premise, which can make it seem garish if not executed with exceptional professionalism. As you practice programming, you become more aware of your need to deliver value to your clients, which can lead to development of more creative solutions. Developing a productive strategic partnership with the business has much more opportunity for collaboration and investment in content creation than is the case with a single or independent creative effort.
Programmers and writers, in particular, tend to have different skillsets and mindsets. These can be complimentary to a mutual increase in productivity.
Programmers need clients to trust them and believe in them. Just as good programmers are confident with their code and programming ability, good writers are confident with their storytelling approach and reputation. If we can work collaboratively, we get better outcomes.
Programmers like to know that their job is done. They can execute a task seamlessly on deadline, even if the client has asked for something they know they cannot deliver. A successful program is a good way to demonstrate your worth. And despite the “broken checkerboard” view of reality, hiring and directing successfully is about challenging yourself and failing, failing, failing.
Writers need to make a living. A writing career takes work: time-consuming, exhausting, and frustrating. It is not glamorous. It requires paying for real estate, with rent, utilities, and equipment on both ends of the arc from studio to studio. It requires the occasional rejection, the occasional adjustment to the job’s schedule, and some moments when your pay grade is lowered as their options narrow. Your best stories require many breaks and surprises, not just 50 episodes that are expected to hit the airwaves or the webwaves.
If writers are insecure in their craft, there’s a good chance they will not deliver. If programmers are insecure in their skills, they will not come in on time or finished on budget. That is mutually beneficial. The best programming practices come from under pressure and stress.
It’s important for programmers to remember that they serve the client, not the other way around. Programmers can gain more from their clients by staying true to their skill set and ensuring that they can deliver product that both can use. Writers can learn about account management by spending a few days with their writers and developing a good working relationship.