As two self-employed gals with a variety of clients, we're used to being "do-it-all" types. Everything from concept to production, and delivery to billing is in our wheel house. Literally everything falls under our job description. We've found over the last couple years that working alone can be hard on the creative flow and energy. Luckily, we found fellow creatives—Cord has the Dwellers co-working group in Michigan and Maddie works with Home Reserve in Fort Wayne.
Working alone provides a ton of freedom, but collaboration is a multiplying force on the focus and talents involved, making the process and product so much greater than any single effort. It's why the saying "it takes a village” exists. We find ourselves craving that community in our work now and then. Recently we had the best experience of bringing our working environments together to create a commercial for Home Reserve.
Here's how it went down
Dwellers moved to a new location and needed some new furniture for their unique space. Maddie manages partnerships and special content projects for Home Reserve, so Cord reached out to see if Home Reserve would trade furniture for some film work with Dwellers. Perfectly, Brandon Deel (creative genius at Home Reserve) already had an ad message in mind, and he let Maddie loose on it. Seth Haley, owner at Dwellers, is an incredible film maker. Match made in freaking heaven! Maddie got to work concepting, storyboarding, and scripting and Cord got Seth on board to shoot the commercial. Dwellers got a new sectional and 10 days later we were filming.
Here is a glimpse of our to-do list
- schedule the shoot
- script the commercial
- design 7 sets
- design 5 furniture pieces
- story board
- story board again
- and again
- hire a voice actor
- review story board with Seth and Brandon
- shop for needed items
- pack needed items
- get everything to Michigan
- work on venue
- build all couch sets
- set up shots
- change sets
- set up more shots
- change more sets
- voice recording
- editing and all post production
In reality this was too big a project to take on with just 3 people, yet we would do it with this team any day. It really did take a village—Home Reserve and the co-workers at Dwellers, strangers from two states, backing the two of us. This was more than getting a couch for Dwellers and a commercial for Home Reserve. It was a testament to the beauty of collaboration.
What we received from the team at Dwellers, was an insanely talented bunch of buddies wiling to drop what they had planned on a Saturday, to stand in support of what we were doing. To move props, to help with lighting, to fix hair, to press record on the camera, to eat dinner with us, to laugh with us. People who weren't getting anything from the project. They didn't get paid, they didn't get rewarded. They just gave.
What we got from Home Reserve was a lightning-quick production team on the manufacturing floor who built and shipped five couches for us in less than a week with no mistakes or complaints. We received nothing but support, freedom, and a "you got this" from directors who trusted Maddie and the Michigan gang to pull off something new. No red tape. No doubt. No pressure. Just belief and whatever we needed to make it happen.
This is the heart of it, what we really received: collaboration takes willingness and bravery. It cannot come from a place of fear. Fear that sharing our talents with others will use them up. Fear that we won't getting anything back. Fear that we will use up our good ideas, or they’ll get stolen, or that we don't have any at all. Fear that we won't get recognized, it won’t pay off, or it won’t be good enough. Collaboration is a pure willingness to put in our best, with and for others, to connect. It's a way of loving, to give freely and expect great things will come of it. It’s real life magic.
We want to say thank you to each and every human who contributed to this project. You have solidified our faith in the classic group effort. You've fueled our creativity and confirmed yet again that there's no shortage of good ideas and possibilities. You're all proof that our limits are illusions and we can do more than we can imagine together.
You gave us something unforgettable and for that we are grateful!
We're stoked to share the final video video with you all.