In this series, we consider how the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey relates to indie filmmakers. In this post, we discuss the "Synergize" habit.
Filmmaking is a community affair. From the moment an idea pops into a your head, the community begins to gather. Friends and family gather 'round to listen to the idea and cheer you on. Their positivity and belief in your potential builds your confidence and ushers your forward.
As you put pen to paper and write your story, your fellow filmmakers weigh in on your plot development, character choices, and sense of tone. Some even go the extra mile and proofread your work to remove all of the distracting mistakes. Your idea begins to take shape and become more than the idea it started out as.
Throughout each phase of production, your idea continues to evolve. What was a toddler on paper reaches adolescence while filming and adulthood in the editing room. Your community of collaborators comes together to create something that was born of the idea of one and yet raised by the hands of many.
This is synergy.
Synergy exists when you exploit the win-win. It's when your friends and family give you words of encouragement because they want to show their love and respect. It's when your fellow filmmakers treat you like family and offer you their time and attention because they see your success as their own. It's when your production team comes together to give their best because the next step in their careers are measured by the step they are taking with you.
Synergy exists when you recognize that you can't survive in this business alone. There is only so much that one person can know or endure on their own. Synergy means recognizing the limits to your own understanding, experience, capability, and energy while leaning on others who can fill the gaps. Synergy means recognizing the strengths in your own understanding, experience, capability, and energy and offering it to those who need it.
Synergy exists when you respect and value differences of opinion. If you had all the right answers, you'd be successful already. Understanding that alternative perspectives and insights can only bring greater value to your work allows you to expand your horizons and consider new possibilities. You can take advantage of this at every stage of your creative journey by listening, understanding, reflecting, and considering the ideas of others.
Synergy is the lynchpin to a filmmaker's success because it is what brings people together to be greater than the sum of their individual parts. This is what we all aspire to be: greater. The only way we'll do it is together.
Now go synergize!