When it comes down to it, if you strip enough layers off of this project, right before the final layers, you’ll reveal a layer meaningful collaboration. Stranger Dreams would have remained little more than scattered ideas if it wasn’t for collaboration – little more than unguided and valueless effort if not for a solid foundation of collaboration. For our friend, Ordet, collaboration is an integral part of how he develops sound & music for Stranger Dreams. When we collaborate, especially at the same time, we’re sharing and multiplying energy and producing things we wouldn’t couldn’t have done otherwise. Good collaboration feels like a concert of ideas. Is the concert a symphony, a jam-band, or a séance? It all depends on the spirit of your collaboration.
So you’ve found your concert partner and you’ve created a ‘meeting of the minds’. What now? If you have the luxury of being in close proximity with each other than maybe you can story-jam with little more than an notebook/instrument and a willingness to share. This isn’t always enough and you may not live in the same geolocation as the ones you want to work with. In any case moving to a digital and synchronized work format is often a good move increasing the speed, structure, and manageability of your collaboration.
Here are some tools we’ve utilized to strengthen and leverage our collaboration at different times in our pre-production and production stages of “Stranger Dreams: The Watch”:
- Dropbox – An Absolutely essential file sharing program [link]. You’ve likely heard about it or used it before. It basically gives you the ability to instantaneously and effortlessly share folders and files with the people you choose.
- Google Docs – Collaborate on documents in real time with the poeple you choose [link]. It’s more than just a microsoft office clone, the first time you see watch buddies making real-time changes to the file you’re working on (they can see your changes too) is a fun experience. Experience the energy multiplying effects of working on a game design document right long with your collaborators.
- XMind – Presentation, Brainstorming, and planning/logic tool [link]. Lay down tons of ordered and meaningful information from your head in a manageable, smooth, aesthetically pleasing way. Jackie and I employed this tool for the development of our branching story-lines and dialogue trees in Stranger Dreams. *Extra points if you use Dropbox to share your mindmaps*
- Basecamp – Easy, logical, lightweight project management with features you actually want to use [link]. Sometimes using project management software can become a project in itself. Basecamp allows you to use only things that make sense to you. Create todo lists, milestones, events for you or your work-mates and place them on a calendar. You basically have the ability to see everything people are working on in the same place and manage your project as extensively as you want.
So there you have it. You can use these online/free services as a framework for collaboration to happen. Now all you need is some inspiration, a purpose, And some friends to jam with.