Creativity is one of the great joys of the human race and it’s one of the main things that make us stand out from the rest of the species on this rock. Sure, elephants have been known to randomly wave a brush around on a piece of paper like a tusked Jackson Pollack, but can anyone say that they are consciously making art? I would say no. Creative mediums include so many areas, from script and novel writing, film making, theatre, art projects, album production, and even certain aspects of marketing and for me; one of the key aspects of a successful creative effort is friendship. Whether this for business or pleasure, I doubt there has ever been anyone who has completed a project without a little help from their friends.
Synergy sounds like one of those jargon-esque buzzwords you might here bandied around at a self-help convention, however I think when it happens it can be a magical thing. By synergy – in this context – I mean the idea that two or more people come together to create something better than the sum of its parts. I think this synergy can only happen between friends, because creating an artistic work is a deeply personal thing and could never be done effectively by a room full of strangers. Look at rock bands being formed by groups of school mates; look at TV and film scripts being written by best friends like Good Will Hunting or The Inbetweeners; and even novels need friendship, as I will come onto now.
You were probably all thinking, from the moment you read the introduction that novelists famously work alone by shutting themselves away in a small room for years at a time, before emerging from this cocoon with a perfectly formed novel. This is a stupid assumption to make as novels are often as collaborative as any other medium. There are many people who will look at a novel before it’s published, with the main one being the editor, who is usually looking at it from a business sense, but it also helps if you’re friends. The other people who will look at the novel will be a select few members of your friends and family who can be pretty impartial and will usually tell you straight to your face if what you have written is a steaming pile of that painting elephant’s excrement.
As with any group of people, whether it’s a group of sitcom writers or the production team on an album, team building is an important event. The art of creating is itself a form of team building as you will learn things about people you never knew before and your bonds will grow stronger as you create, but that doesn’t mean you can solely exist within your creative medium … look at One Direction, for an example of how strangers will explode when forced to make ‘art’. What you need to do is team build, so get out of the creative environment and spend time with each other as humans and not artists and this can be done by having a themed Christmas meal out, going to a local bingo night, or even, simply going to the pub for a few bevvies after a long day in the studio/writer’s room/editorial office, etc.
It would also seem you don’t even have to like your friends that much to be able to create artistic magic; just look at the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Police (the band, not the institution). This strange connection of love and loathing can create the perfect spark for creativity. Will anyone argue that the Beatles were a better band when they were all happy or once they started despising each other and hated being in the same room? Before John Lennon was murdered, he and Paul made up and used to swap bread recipes, meaning that the friendship never went away and that they just had to go off on their own path for a spell before reuniting.