BWW Exclusive: Creator of THE RESIDUALS Explains How to Collaborate With Your Partner Without Killing Each Other
In today's American society where half of all marriages end in divorce, any couple that has a strong relationship is a success. Dealing with work, money, kids, and in-laws can be treacherous, but what if you also work with your partner? What if you not only work with your partner, but you co-create an artistic endeavor that you hope millions of people will see?
Michael Paul Smith and his wife Gillian Pensavalle are the co-creators and stars of the webseries hilarious THE RESIDUALS. Recently, this adorable couple have been giving us here at BroadwayWorld insights into their lives and their show (Check out Michael's very funny 10-Tips to Commercial Auditioning and the conversation Mike and Gillian had with BWW about THE RESIDUALS). Now Michael, with some help from his better-half, has given us "Five Rules to Collaborate with Your Partner Without Killing Each Other!"
It's about to get all Dr. Phil up in here!
It can be...shall we say, hazardous...to navigate the potential treachery that is a personal relationship/creative/business partnership. As far back as when Gillian and I first started dating, we always wanted to help each other however we could, and to be included in each other's projects whenever possible. We took that to the next level last year when we decided to take on nearly every task involved in the production of our webseries about commercial auditions, "The Residuals."
Few choices in my life have seemed so logical, and yet so insanely naive. Luckily, insanely naive wins sometimes! I channeled Dr. Phil and thought of 5 rules for creative people that want to collaborate with their partners, then I got some of Gillian's input as well.
Rule #1: Make sure you're on the same page
Make sure you're both aware of the risks, and the time and financial sacrifices involved in your project. More pragmatic (and perhaps less creative) people might invest in a 401K. We invest in ourselves. Your partnership won't last long if you don't talk it through and plan it out.
This one was easy for us. We met and first bonded over a webseries that we were both in. So we wouldn't have been this compatible if we weren't each other's "consigliore" right from the start.
Rule #2: Compartmentalize
Make time for work and then make time to be in love again. Save your exciting work-related epiphany for after the fun date-night wine/cheese bar with the outdoor patio and a view of multiple fire escapes. Better yet, write it down in your "notes app" and save it for tomorrow. You're drinking wine. Work's over.
I didn't do this nearly enough. But I learned. My mind works differently from Gillian's. While we're both equally excited about everything we have going on, I like to talk about it at the wine/cheese bar just as though it's light conversation, and then segue right back to my favorite Tyrion Lannister quotes.
Gillian: "I usually feel more like if we're going to talk about it, we should be prepared to do it right away. It can make me anxious once that part of my brain is shut off."
You have to defer to the one that doesn't wanna go there right now. Besides, breaks are healthy. You have to remind each other that you're not at work anymore. Especially when work goes on in the same 1-bedroom apartment as the rest of life.