Vlogbrothers is an exchange between siblings. Rounders was written by lifelong writing partners Brian Koppelman and David Levin. Buddies Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway make “The West Wing Weekly” podcast. These are some of my favorite collaborations.
Yet all of these collaborators do things on their own too: John Green writes books; Koppelman hosts a podcast; Malina acts in “Scandal” and Hirway hosts “Song Exploder.” So why the collaboration?
Maybe doing one thing doesn’t work as well as doing several things. Especially for creatives, working in isolation is but one vein available to you, one that carries distinct advantages , like un-challenged creative control, while collaborating is something else entirely. A collaboration runs on its own rules and permits a level of reach and depth not possible alone.
Why not do both? Extroverts like me defer to collaborating, even though I know how valuable making my own stuff is, so I look for solitary projects to complement all of the collaborating I want to be doing (this is why the YoRocko Podcast was so valuable). Likewise for the likes of Koppelman and Green, supplementing their own films and books with cooperative projects helps them grow.
You need to be collaborating and you need to be working alone. Simultaneously.