Week 3 of my MA course we are asked to provide an example from our own practice or to explain our understanding of the terms collaboration and participation.
Collaboration, cooperation, participation all usually have some purpose and usually a shared goal or interest, however, I think these terms are very overrated, as was the case with Sony’s attempt to compete with the iPod (STILLMAN, 2009).
The internet is littered with collaboration failures and successes. I think we should be pragmatic about the whole thing. This study in this MA module while looking at strategies and methodologies of the way we approach our work, we never hear the word marketing or branding or web design, but this is what we are doing in addition to the creative thinking. When we talk about collaboration, the process is part of the marketing process and strategy.
For example, the success of the Portable LAB-BOX (Barnes, 2017) used a form of crowdsourcing using a kick starter fundraising website (ars-imago, 2017) to promote a groundbreaking product that can potentially change the way we view film photography.
It’s clear there are many issues with collaboration (Lavoy, 2016) if the management of that collaboration does not have a clear trust and agreement then it can result in frustrating distractions towards our intended goals. While we all need to work with other people and cooperate I do find being drawn into someone’s ideology about what it is we should be doing is quite often (but not always) a hindrance to my workflow.
I have recently taken part in a project with a local independent filmmaker here in Hong Kong. I participated and collaborated, during a small acting role for a commercial. The work I did was just a three-second acting role, which I did really as a favour. The spin-off from that was that I was asked to (if all goes to plan) take photographs of the filmmaking of the production team as they go about their work in different locations, so through collaboration, an opportunity arose, and also I get to do something that would be of interest to me.
I’m the Angry boss right at the beginning of the video commercial lol
Having discussed my views with my peers and tutors, I received quite a few comments to further expand on the collaboration theme.
Comment from Peer 1
Good acting Paul 🙂 Thanks for sharing the link. On another note, I think you made a good point about collaboration having a marketing process to it. Even with the weekly assignment, we’re doing this week, I realise that it’s not just as simple as putting something up on the internet. I knew that–the internet is messy and overloaded with information, projects, ideas, etc.–but the reality kicked in when I didn’t wake up to people saying they’d participate in the project. The reality is that if you are not very good at marketing or don’t have a wide network of willing people, then it might be a bit harder to pull something off, especially in a short time.
Comments from my Tutor 1
Very poignant aspects you raise Paul really enjoyed the Western Angry Boss portrayal! It is true that with the advent of the internet and so many possibilities opening up on a global scale and sometimes the boundaries are not clear, and indeed probably this is not the intention of crowdsourcing campaigns.
Do you see collaboration as something that could, like in your case, also happen as a side project, through offering your photography services, rather than fully signing up to someone’s plan?
Reply to comment to my Tutor 1
Thanks for your kind comments. The short answer is yes, but in my case, my cooperation was born out of my direct contact not via the internet. Crowd sourcing collaboration is not the only way to do something as a group, sometimes direct word of mouth can be very effective also.
I remember a video from the first module on our MA course about collaboration it went on for a very long time, the video was to show how collaboration worked, there were two people talking about there so called collaboration, but it struck me when they talked about what they were doing it seemed they were talking more about their own work and what they did individually, but very little about what they actually did as part of a partnership or if you like a team. There was never a sense of enjoyment in their tone of voice, it sounded more like they had just worked as separate people. So what I’m really saying is collaboration is not always what it seems to be. I only work with people I know and trust and I know will do something to contribute to the given goal.
I have had many different kinds of jobs before I became interested in photography, so for my project, it’s just another way to learn about photography not always about me making a living out of it, but If feel I can then fine I can do that, but it’s not the only thing. I think the crowdsourcing concept works on some levels, but I prefer a more targeted approach. We need to talk to a marketing expert maybe lol
Comment from Tutor 2
ars-imago, a. (2017). LAB-BOX – The first multi-format daylight-loading film tank. [online] Kickstarter. Available at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2017788873/lab-box-the-first-multi-format-daylight-loading-fi/description [Accessed 11 Jun. 2017].
Barnes, S. (2017). Portable ‘LAB BOX’ Lets You Develop Film at Home Without a Darkroom. [online] My Modern Met. Available at: http://mymodernmet.com/lab-box-film-photography/ [Accessed 11 Jun. 2017].
Lavoy, D. (2016). Why Collaboration Fails. [online] CMSWire.com. Available at: http://www.cmswire.com/social-business/why-collaboration-fails/ [Accessed 11 Jun. 2017].
STILLMAN, J. (2009). When Is Collaboration a Bad Idea?. [online] Cbsnews.com. Available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/when-is-collaboration-a-bad-idea/ [Accessed 11 Jun. 2017].