I’m consolidating some of my far flung posts in different places. This is one of them.
I’m going through some basic business advice on making allies and as I read thoughts are popping out that I’d like to track. So here’s my disjointed notes so far.
Be strategic – Think about who you would like to have as an ally. What skills might they have? What resources? This might sound cold but running around asking everyone to be your ally is probably not going to be helpful.
Be a fan – You’ve heard the advice “be a fan of your players” that’s very similar to being a fan of other designers. Maybe they’re not making what you want to make (and that’s good) but find things in their technique or some other aspect of their work.
Compromise – Try it their way. It might not be the direction you wanted to go but try following their suggestions and see what happens.
Communicate – Ask people what they need to start a project on an idea they’re talking about. Ask them what they need to finish a project. If they ask for something you can’t offer, say so and then counter offer with any skills or resources you think could help. This doesn’t have to be you doing work. If they need a skill you don’t possess, do you know someone that does?
Give dignity – Even if you’ve been doing something for fifty years and they’re brand new, treat them as an equal. Talk about what you think they’re doing right and ask for more.
Respect Input – Even if you won’t use what someone is telling you, thank them and let them know you’ll keep it in mind.
Spend time – If they’re local or if you’ll be at the same con, make the time to at least say hi and have a chat. If you do end up working together, possibly meeting up on hangouts or Skype, is a good option for being friendly.
Your allies’ allies are your allies – That’s it I just wanted to write that.
Give credit liberally – Don’t hold back. Strive to have your next title page full of credits. Look for opportunities to credit people even if it’s just a “Thank You” section.
Don’t drop an ally – Maybe you hate their new project. Don’t give up on them yet, even if what they are currently up to just isn’t your cup of tea.
Reciprocate – When you’ve been done a good deed, do what’s practical to return a favor.
Say no politely – There will be times where you can’t help and things you can’t do. Say no politely and let them know what to expect from you in the future.