What makes any relationship work?
Seeing eye to eye? Mutual respect? Common goals? To an extent, yes, but for a working relationship one thing stands out above all others;
When that breaks down, or in my case vanishes completely, you’re in trouble.
So about a month ago I published an article called “Choosing an Artist” in which I declared my happiness at finding an artist who ticked all the boxes. Things began in earnest and progress was being made.
Then it happened.
Now I understand that life cannot be ignored and events outwith our control can take us away from projects. If this were the case then I’d be fine with it. But a week passed and there was nothing.
My messages were meek but friendly, those “just checking in” emails that act as gentle reminders.
Another week went by.
I began overthinking things (as I do) and the best thing I could come up with was to grease the wheels of progress that had become stuck with financial gain. I offered more money, not much, enough to cover some extra costs and the like but more to initiate a conversation. Even if it had been a case of a reply coming back demanding more money, at least the demand would have been a form of contact and then I could get my bearings.
Another week passed.
I had no idea what my artist was thinking. I was in the dark over his mentality; had something better come along so he dropped me? Family bereavement? Gave up? My overthinking went into overdrive by the month mark. Every attempt thus far was as productive as throwing a stone into the abyss and waiting for the sound of it hitting the bottom.
My hand was forced, drastic action was needed. Feeling rather contemptible I threatened to withdraw all contact myself. “Yes!” I thought, “surely that will make him take notice. Fight fire with fire and all that.” So I gave him a week, at the end, should there be no contact still, then so be it. I watched my project wither and die over the course of a summer month and I was done.
The day of reckoning approached and rather unsurprisingly, the silence remained, heavy as ever. By now I had become a little hardened to the whole situation. Taking my money back did make me feel uncomfortable, a bit like a scam artist,offering up money to lure someone in just to withdraw it again. But I realised I had gained nothing from the artist yet so the money I was taking back hadn’t actually bought anything.
Before the dust could settle, in an interesting twist, I received a solitary email from him. It appeared in my inbox the day after I had withdrawn the money, shattering the silence that had persisted for so long. I will not reveal the contents as it is a private matter between a writer and an artist.
Given the timing of the email I have my doubts about the legitimacy of his words but regardless I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
So where does this leave “De Profundis”?
Thankfully through airing this problem over social media has provoked a heartening response from artists, including one who has stepped in to take the reigns for the time being.
But during that lengthy void, I started working on a new script for another project that had been floating about for a while. It goes in a completely different direction and so the search for an artist begins anew. When one door closes, another one opens. I’ll write a post on it later on in the month.
So if you are an artist reading this, please, communicate with your team. This goes to writers as well of course, or any part of the creative team. As soon as one avenue of communication breaks down, the whole process stutters and collapses.
If anyone has had similar problems and resolved it or had to pull the plug like I did, please feel free to comment and share your experiences.