creative

Why You Should Think Twice Before Collaborating


In my twenty plus years of writing and creating art, I have rarely collaborated with other creatives. I enjoy being a stand alone, independent person. Experience has also taught me some harsh lessons in regard to collaberating.

There was one good time on Paltalk in the early 2000’s when I sang a hook for a producer in Las Vegas. We did that for fun, creating a parody song. I still have the copy of it and occasionally listen, enjoying the memory. That one was a casual and positive, collective collaboration.

The few other collaborations I’ve done have left me jaded. I hear this often from indie creatives. So why does collaborating with other creatives end up like this?

What I have experienced is a simple lack of ethics and a self-serving intent. They simply don’t give a shit. They don’t think their behavior will ever come back to haunt them.

When I say I’m going to do something for someone I do it. If I’m having struggles producing the exchange I promised, I communicate about it. I care about my character as a creative being.

In my experience, ethical creatives are difficult to find, especially when dealing with any Hollywood related type individual. My personal experience had been that many of them are narcissistic sharks who will love bomb a person with a fantastic promise; a lie to get what they want. If you plan to deal with Hollywood types, armor up and lawyer up.  Frankly, lawyer up period. 

Sometimes collaborating can be a great advantage for a creative who is starting out. It allows for networking and connection. I support guest blogging for writers. You get to control your content and you can share it as much as you want. I highly recommend this platorm for writers. I don’t consider this to be collaboration persay, as there is normally no exhange promise or writing as a collective. Guest blogging expands the reader platform for your writing.

However, in regard to exchange collaboration, the question remains. Is there going to be a balanced exchange of product and the sharing of creative work?

My previous, and certainly final, experience in being burned on exchange collaboration happened like this.

In 2015, I made a collaboration exchange agreement through email with a videographer. I wrote a poetic script for the videographer’s short video. In exchange, the videographer was going to make a video for one of my pre-recorded spoken word poetry pieces.

I emailed the videographer three of my recorded pieces. In a return email, they decide they liked my poem “Illusion”, a piece I had not publicized and would do so with the video was given to me to publicize. The videographer asked if they could put some music to to my poem. I agreed.

I waited. I watched the videographer making videos for other people, but my video had not arrived. I gave them time. I understand that paying projects come first. That’s how I work as well.

The following year, the videographer and family went through a transition, moved, had to re-settle, and so I gave space for them to balance out. Being patient and giving allowances, I waited, didn’t bother them, figuring when their dust settled, I’d receive what I was promised.

I observed as they did just that, becoming a part of a sensationalized situation. I still held space, feeling that advocacy work came first.

Yet, I saw the videographer was making videos and doing photo shoots for people. So, I decided to email and see had they forgotten about me? Possibly. It can happen when people go through life transitions. 

Ok. I stay in my critical thinking, hoping I’m not witnessing what my gut had really told me from the beginning; that people will use others for gain, then throw them away.

I messaged the videographer on Facebook messanger. I could see the person had just been active a mere fifteen minutes earlier.

Again… my message Ignored.

They’ve been active on Facebook messenger since I sent the message.

Still ignored.

So, I am resigned to take it for what if is and let it go. Now I know how these people are. True colors have shown themselves. They attach to people for as long as they might gain from them and then its seemingly over.

I do things in writing for a reason. I am a writer who likes to have proof of truth. I document. I keep emails and messages.

It was 2015 when I originally handed over the script for their video. In 2016, I have Facebook communications about the video I was supposed to receive. It is now 2017. I still have nothing.

This is about seeing the ethical system of other people. Instead of a simple response of “hey, oh gosh, so sorry this has taken so long thanks for being patient.“, I am ignored.

Guess what that triggers? Shunning. Being extracted from.  A myriad of emotional battery replaying. 

When I am treated this way, if someone asks me about them, they’ll get the truth of my negative experiemce. I don’t run in popularity contests. I don’t use people for personal gain then throw them away.

I’m not as pissed off at the lack of being given what I was promised, as I am at the blatant disrespect of being ignored. I’m no longer promoting those who are unethical people. I don’t care who they are. If you got mentioned by me in a radio interview, or your work shared to my thousands of followers and then fucked me over, you will never be promoted by me again.

There are no second chances when someone openly disrespects me. I don’t play nice. I don’t kiss the ass of academia, which is slowly phasing and dying out. I don’t worry whether someone is going to like or even endorse my work. Why?

Because running on this mindset is a recipe for being used, being bullshitted and it’s frankly, inconsequential. Most readers don’t give a shit if your novel has a forward written by someone with PhD after their name. unless you are writing an academic book.

Readers read content. I usually skip forwards as a reader, to get to the meat of a book. Most readers I know do the same. Blurbs don’t impress me either.  You can have a blurb from a president on your publication. If your book doesn’t interest me, that blurb is not going to make me buy it.

Additionally, it doesn’t necessarily sell your book. Marketing knowledge and the money to invest in advertising will sell your book/product.

So all of the spazzing and pining and usery I have experienced in my decades of being a public creative, from my experience, means nothing except being the teacher of lessons.

What matters to your audience is how well you write and create and more than ANYTHING, personally connecting with your target market.

In summary, my advise and perspective is to focus your time and energy on YOUR own work. Don’t give it away. Definitely don’t give it away on a promise, even in writing. Unless you have the resources and desire to sue, should you not receive what you were promised, more often than not, you will find yourself empty handed.

I also don’t want you to pattern your networking based on my experiences. Just take them into consideration and move forward better armed to build your boundaries.

And without QUESTION, follow your INTUITION. If your tummy feels off about it, say no and don’t look back. Don’t live in the mindset you “need” people to be successful. You only need authenticity and consumers for your product.

As you rise, people will tell you how much they can do for you, that their collaberation will make your work better, that their written forward will boost your sells and more. I disagree. I know authors with forwards by academia who are making nothing on their books because they have no marketing skills. 

Good marketing is what matters. Investing in yourself matters. Your own voice will sell your product. So, think twice before collaberating. And remember, the imagined professional reference you think might endorse your product could also lose you consumers if that professional is not respected. 

 Don’t be afraid to stand alone.

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Creating for Fun Releases Stress

When I create art, it most often represents the mind control programming and abuse enacted on my mind and body while growing up in Sam Fife’s Move of God cult.

When I have the opportunity to create for a child, I get to revisit my own childhood.  I ask questions about the child.  If it’s a child I know,  I take their personality into consideration.  For instance, the little girl receiving this piece is rather silly.  So, recycling an old greeting card with a woman who is wearing a cake hat, is right up this child’s alley.

This is where being a multiple is at a creative advantage for me.  Because my mind sees through gendered lines, I am able to conceptualize what a person may be feeling inside.    It allows me to bring their world perspective into the piece.  Creating for someone else’s heart is a welcomed break which allows my own to rest.

This latest project also afforded me a new opportunity.  I created my first time lapse art video.  Yeah!  I enjoyed being able to watch my own process in action.  I hope you enjoy it as well!

Art Therapy for Trauma Survivers

Sometimes it helps me to dump my head through visuals.   I believe deeply in art and photography therapy for trauma survivors.   Many of you say “but I’m not a good artist!”  See, it’s not about being “good” in someone’s eyes, even your own.  It’s about figuring out your method to expel pent up energy.

Slashes of red and orange paint swiped across a canvas can be an abstract release of anger.  Photos of flowers you love can lift your spirits.  There is no method set except the one you choose.

Here are a few examples of art pieces and photos of things that called my to me.  If you’d like to see more, you can visit my art store at:

Vennie-Kocsis.pixels.com

Photography

Digital Art

Canvas art / mixed media

Now go! Create! Gather leaves and stones and paint.  Let your body naturally lead you into the outlet ever human is gifted with.  💫💫

Ruins Of a Forgotten City 

When I create art it is usually in random spaces of time surrounding emotional overflow which needs to be expelled. Free flow ability is an important element for me to be able to live a self-healthy lifestyle.

When a local woman came across my art and contacted me, she told me that she found my recurring theme of the anime warrior compelling in regards to her child, who has struggled with personal mental situations. As the mother shared why she wanted me to do a piece for her teenager, I could relate both as a mother myself and as the once raging teenager.

I was thrilled to find out that the teenager also loves anime, color and is sensitive to the world. I was even more excited when mom gave me creative freedom.

I really love coding pieces with positive elements and energy. There are patterns and codes in old sketches, in new paintings and even in old journals. This piece is filled with strength and self worth to be passed on to a young person who is struggling inside just like I did and still do.

I don’t do many pieces for others, so when I have the opportunity to do so, I feel humbled and honored. This one flowed and spilled out. The process was cathartic. I finished it feeling re-empowered in parts of myself.

I am an advent child, standing in the ruins of a forgotten city. I cherish everything.

Untitled
8 x 10 stretched canvas
Elements: acrylic, metallic oil acrylic and velvet

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Hourglass

There’s a faded line
Between reality and time I
Catch myself remembering rejection
Straddling a log fence watching
Them play and laugh and shout
Odd girl out
Too loud

I used to be an expert at stilts
Stride the mud like a queen
I could do anything
If I just believed but
I never prayed hard enough to
Make God real and
It would be a version of
Drop Dead Fred who
Emerged the memories in my head

Do you know the flashes
That leave gashes behind your eyelids
Ask a soldier if he can forget
The blood of war then
Ask me if I can erase
The horror of flailing bodies
And belt straps stripping skin

No
We don’t forget

We learn to live occasionally laughing and
We hide the burning in our throat
The angst that never goes away
We become quiet
Learn to fake it
To not ruin moments
Become awkward
We pass the bread and wine
Close our eyes to the sighs
As we lose track of time

We hope we don’t carry on
The aftermath of our dysfunction
Watch our children struggle
As we cry in silence

To do it over, take the pain
Would I endure it again
The lashes and shunning
The fear and repentance for
Deeds confused and undone
Would I die again just to be here
Take the scourging of my flesh
To understand the depth
That loneliness can sink a soul
I don’t know

I am back walking paths
Running to escape shadows
Hiding behind trees and
The demons who will enter me
So they preach and I
Reach my arms to the moon

Take me home
I want to leave this place where
The babies cry and fathers weep as
Mothers scrape together meals
Where humans have forgotten to feel

Take me back
I want out of this mission
I am missing starlight and quiet
The soft green beneath my
Weeping willow tree
You promised me

I am watching sand fall slowly
Motion reversed I am poised
Rehearsed for the scene
But if I told you that
My ears can’t take the screams
And my heart can’t take the weight
Would you hold me

Would you softly kiss the spot
Above my heart and
Understand the sadness without
Judgement or coldness
Would you encase my face and
Tell me I’m safe

Because you see I am just
A little girl lost and
Sometimes I am tired, weak
Battle torn and worn
Longing for touch

So I sit beneath the pines
Write poetry lines and
Breathe in the rain because
Water washes pain and
I am an hourglass waiting it out
Until the last drop
Turns me on my end and
I restart this life again.

©VennieKocsis

Collaborator No More 

Don’t ask me to collaberate unless there’s compensation, and that compensation has to be given to me first.  I’ve been burned more than not in the area of collaborating. Giving my time and talents over to anyone is a privilege.  My gifts have value.

Collaborators are interesting creatures.  They love bomb like this:  “Vennie you’re the greatest (flattery, flattery, flattery) I’d love for you to (write/paint/sing for me)!”

In the past, my response was to trust, have ethics and step up to the plate in the exchange.  Until…

Weeks later… The collaborator had their shit from me (because I followed through with what I said I was going to do), and I had… Nothing in return. Then suddenly their love bombing disappeared, the collaborator conveniently doesn’t know me anymore and pays no more attention to my work.  They have moved on to their next victim.   They are in the business of extraction.

So when people ask me to collaberate the answer is no unless there is direct compensation.

I am sure many creatives can relate to this type of scenario. Creative exchange should be an equal flow.  Not one side using the other.

Creatives who have gone Hollywood are a turn off to me.  They are stripped of ethics and swept up into the pattern of using and discarding people. They care only about notoriety.  Where is the passion when art becomes emotional and financial greed?  We creatives should receive compensation, of course.   But when creatives use other creatives, that is not collaboration.  That is piranha ass hattery.

Erykah Badu said that once a creative gives their gifts away it doesn’t belong to them anymore.  I agree.   I give away my words every day.  I bare my soul.  I risk plagiarism, and it doesn’t matter because I’m connecting with lives.  I do so by choice.

But don’t ask me to work on your project for free.  My free time is already invested into the stock of Vennie.

Ghosts Of the Forest

“Ghosts Of the Forest” / acrylic on 11×14 canvas / artist Vennie Kocsis / 2015

While taking a walk in the woods on Monday, light patterns revealed faces and figures in the forest ground. Memories took on a mind of their own tonight as ghosts flowed from my soul. Letting them go with a brush, a canvas and a pen.

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