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Backstage Experts

How to Make Partnerships Work for You

How to Make Partnerships Work for You

As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. It’s no secret that working with collaborative team members can double or triple your level of productivity. 

This is especially true for actors who are producing their own projects, writing their own scripts, or starting their own business. Teamwork and partnership are essential elements of creative work, but sometimes can be scary. We’ve all heard the stories about screenplays that were never finished because of disagreements between the writers. 

The good news is working well with others is 100 percent possible if you put a little structure in place. 

Here are three tips for how to make partnership work for you, so you can watch your creativity flourish with the help of another person. 

1. Tap into your fears. You know how helpful it would be to work with a partner, but is there a part of you that is afraid to relinquish control or ownership of the project? Hone in on that fear and get really clear on it. Is that a familiar feeling? If you notice that your emotions seem too big or irrational for the actual situation, it’s a good indication that you may have some history around this fearful feeling. 

Sometimes the fear is less attached to what’s happening, and more attached to an experience you had in the past. Spend a few minutes in meditation, or go on a walk. Explore that feeling and become really present to what’s actually going on so you can distinguish between what’s really appropriate in the moment, and what’s leftover from past experience. 

2. Set structure in place. Before anyone begins working on a major studio film or television show, extensive paperwork is drawn up, reviewed by lawyers, and signed by all parties. This is important so that each person knows exactly what role they have in the project, how much and when they’re going to be paid, and what their credit will look like when the project does well. 

When you’re working with others, it’s a good idea to have agreements clearly laid out before work begins. 

Now, this doesn’t have to look like fancy law office paperwork. It can be as simple as having a conversation where each person states what they would like to get out of the project. Maybe your collaborator wants a percentage of deferred pay, or maybe they just want experience and credit. 

The most important thing is that each person feels heard, and everyone is clear on what will happen if the project does well. 

3. Know your deal breakers. Creating this sort of structure is a great way to make sure that you feel taken care of, too. Think back on your fears that were coming up at the beginning of this process. Some of them may be very valid concerns. If you know that you want to maintain 100 percent ownership, then that absolutely needs to be in the agreement. 

I suggest having a conversation with your future collaborator and asking them what they would need to get out of the project in order for them to feel really great about working with you. If they say they want part ownership, and that’s on your list of deal breakers, you’ll know that you aren’t a good fit. 

But many times your potential collaborator will come up with an idea that you hadn’t even thought of. Let them speak first, and consider what they say. You’re on your way to what could be an incredible partnership. 

Have you had an experience working with partners? What was it like? Leave a comment below to join in the conversation.  

Dallas Travers teaches the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her book, "The Tao of Show Business," garnered five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival, the London Festival, and the National Indie Excellence Award. Through her workshops, Dallas helps thousands of actors increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation, and book roles in film, television, and on Broadway. She is a certified life coach and entrepreneur with over a decade of experience implementing marketing and mindset strategies that work. 

For more information about working with Dallas, visit


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