Whenever I have friends from out of town visiting New York, they often look to me for the cool things to do here (as if I'm cool or something). I never really know what to tell these folks. I'm usually sort of boring. I do a lot of hanging out by myself (or with cats). I do a lot of walking, eating, and drinking, but that's pretty regular for me. Basically, my life is one big swirl of semi organized chaos if you will. I like to let things come to me instead of vice versa. Frankly, the best things in NYC are of a serendipitous nature. Anywho, in saying all of this, on Sunday, I agreed to attend a very random, apartment-style performance with a chamber orchestra of young musicians and singers. The way this particular event was explained to me sounded super strange and kinda sketch, so I was skeptical at first (I even missed going to Sephora before it closed, so I REALLY took a chance on this one). What I saw, however, was pretty freakin' cool! So, from what I've gathered, The Songwriter's Orchestra is pretty much just what it says, an Orchestra with songwriters. The program was at a local Brooklyn event space (upstairs from a bar), so not too big really, but the music section was pretty expansive. There were 5 singer/songwriters who got up and performed about 3 songs each, accompanied by a brand new arrangement of their original soundtrack. They also may or may not be mostly volunteer (they sold tickets, but the tickets were pretty cheap considering how many of them there were). Overall, it was really amazing what all of them came together to create. Working in a team is something that writers rarely ever think about, ya know? The best part of being a writer is solitude! However, seeing everyone working together for a common goal got me thinking about the importance of collaboration.
One of my favorite times of my entire life just so happened to be with a team actually. In my high school marching band, I was a part of the majorettes (the baton twirlers). It was one of my very first (on my own) examples of being a part of a group. The photo above is all of us together during a competition. We had to have our hair the same and everything! Yes, it got a little crazy sometimes, but the things we were all able to come up with together were pretty amazing. And it's always nice to have someone who can relate to all the struggles of putting on a show. Now that I'm not in high school anymore, and am no longer forced to be around a group of similar aged individuals for an average of 8 hours a day 5 days a week, it's a bit harder to find the right team join...or start.
For those of you who may know me, you KNOW I'm a terrible, terrible networker. I just don't know what it is! No matter how hard I try to put myself out there and mingle with like-minded people in my field of interest, I just can't bring myself to form any sort of plausible connections. I really wish there was some sort of networking class I could take. I'm sure there is one out there somewhere (but why isn't this one of the classes people take in high school??). I'm sure we'd all love to think we can do it all alone. Some of you may even think you ARE doing it all alone. But remember those posters around your elementary/middle school that said: "It takes a village to raise a child"? Well, think of your creative ideas as your "brain child". It will definitely take a lot more than just you to make it the best it could possibly be. Believe me, I hate trusting others with my precious creations and endeavors. What if they mess it up? What if they don't share my vision? So many things are beyond your control in groups. The thing I've come to realize, however, is that it is always good to have a second opinion. Every once in a while, even I, the great and powerful loner, will enlist the help of others to proofread certain things and tell me if I'm making sense (or if I'm going off the deep end...into looney town).
Besides the obvious networking, it's good to be around people who share your same interests. Who knows what may become of the conversations you have together. Some of the best superhero movies come about when 2 equally great people join forces to defeat a common enemy. It may be hard to get others on the EXACT same page as you, but through conversations, things can for sure become much more unified. Back when I was working for "the man", I really wanted to start a union (read: form a mutiny, but "start a union" sounded better on paper). It was really hard for me to get anyone else to team up with me to combat the less than fair treatment around the workplace. The managers (so I was told) were all trained to sniff out any talks of unionization, even to the point of firing anyone who they thought was spreading the word. See, they knew there would be power in numbers because there IS power in numbers.
I may not be the most social or friendliest of people, but I am aware that this may be what is ultimately holding me back. I should really put myself out there a bit more. The world has so many other awesome and creative individuals who are probably out there looking for someone else to joining forces with. In all of this, however, it is very important to first be comfortable with yourself and not be reliant on anyone else to carry you. Nobody wants to drag around dead weight. Have something that YOU bring to the table as well, ya know? If you see someone doing something that you are trying to get involved with, reach out! They just might be more receptive than you think. You never really know until you ask. When the whole world is seemingly against you, it's good to have others on your side. We really need to help each other out more in this world. We could accomplish so many great things. Sticking together just might be the thing that saves us all. Help and be helped. Give and be given unto. Teamwork makes the dream work! Ok, I'm out of cliche's for now... but you get the point.
P.s. I remember being in the orchestra when I was in high school too. I played the violin. Sometimes I kinda miss playing the violin to tell you the truth. But string instruments and nails do not mix honey...
P.p.s. Drake gets on my nerves for many reasons, but there was one super annoying song in which he proudly declared "Came up, that's all me, stay true, that's all me, no help, that's all me, all me for real". Son, do you need me to help you make a list of all the people who helped you out? You better give that credit bro!
P.p.p.s. I think I still may want to form some kind of mutiny...