/Building Your Team
Silhouettes of a film crew at dawn.

Building Your Team

Something I see come up often in several groups I follow is how you find people to help you – especially when you’re just starting out and you can’t pay much, if anything. This point alone keeps many people from even trying, and that’s sad. There are passionate, talented people who will be willing to help you – if you approach them the right way. Let’s take a closer look.

Keep the Scope Tight
Many of us have grand designs for our art – an ongoing comic series. A weekly web series. A feature film trilogy. It’s great to dream big, and you should. You’ve got to have aspirations to bigger and more complex projects if you want to grow as an artist.

This ambition needs to be tempered in the early days. The first few times you should tighten the scope of your project and see how it goes. A smaller project will have a shorter commitment from everyone involved. You’ll be more likely to attract the people you need to succeed by doing this.

A smaller project will also give you the chance to test people out before you commit to a longer and more complex project. You’ll get a chance to learn how these people work. Would you want to find out you’re not compatible on a one-off that takes a few hours or in the middle of a massive undertaking? Personality clashes will happen, and you’re better off finding them early on smaller projects.

Rinse and Repeat…
If you find people you like working with, and produce content you want, then you should return to these people and work with them again. You build a relationship this way; over time you’ll come to know one another and prove whether you’re compatible as a team or not. If it works out, great, you should continue the relationship. There are good people out there who will take a chance on you for a possible chance of paid work in the future.

…But Try to Grow the Pool Every Project
I would do a tremendous disservice if I didn’t say you should try to find some new people every few projects. There are going to be numerous reasons for this: people leave the business. People move. Good people find other work. If you don’t constantly expand the talent pool, you will hit a standstill at some point. You should continue to bring back people you enjoy working with, but don’t let them become security blankets.

Above All: Be Respectful
You would be amazed at how far a little goodwill will go. A few months back I rebranded the cover for my novel, THE TRIP. I got an email from one of the artists as the project wrapped, thanking me for being so easy to work with and respectful of his time. He’s become one of my go-to people for art, and I think in part he continues to make time for me in his busy schedule because he knows I’m not going to be a jerk.

Are you having difficulty building a team? Do you have a tip not mentioned here? Leave a comment and share your experiences.

Some know me as...Tim...