Skip to main content

Working Collaboratively

Working collaboratively is a style of working in which everyone brings their strengths to the table. Ideally, instead of seeing certain people as senior or as junior to one another, and instead of thinking about a dynamic through a lens of people whose skills are lacking or those whose skills are overflowing, we can consider that everyone has much that they can give to the team. Some people in the group might have more years of experience, but everyone can have a slightly different focus and have picked different disciplines, different languages, different frameworks, and different paradigms to follow and for which to have a passion.

When Daniel Kwan, co-director of Everything Everywhere All at Once, gave his acceptance speech for Best Director at the 95th Academy Awards, he viewed the accomplishment not as an individual one but as a result of the work that everyone in the film put into it:[1]

If our movie has greatness and genius, it is only because [the cast and crew] have greatness and genius flowing through their hearts and souls and minds, and they gave that precious gift to our film. The world is opening up to the fact that genius does not stem from individuals like us onstage, but rather, genius emerges from the collective. We are all products of our context. We are all descendants of something and someone. […] There is greatness in every single person. It doesn’t matter who they are. You have a genius that is waiting to erupt. You just need to find the right people to unlock that. Thank you so much to everyone who has unlocked my genius.

At the Ineos 1:59 Challenge, Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to ever run a marathon distance in under two hours. Though his accomplishment is seen by many as an individual achievement, he has always given much credit to the people who have helped and aided the process, seeing it as a group effort and achievement. While training for a previous attempt as part of the Breaking2 project, he said the following in a documentary film:[2]

This is teamwork. I get information from the scientists, information from the management, from the coaching system. So it’s really a circle. You cannot train alone and expect to run a fast time. There’s a formula: 100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team. And that’s teamwork. That’s what I value.

Greta Gerwig, director of Barbie, shared in an interview about her appreciation of everyone who put in the work to help make such a big project come together and her desire to be humble and share credit with everyone, regardless of title, who contributed to making things happen:[3]

Every film I make has to come from a personal place, and I’ve honestly always wanted to credit a movie—there’s […] “Written By,” “Directed By,” and then, there’s a credit where you can say, “A Film By,” which is a director’s credit, but I’ve always actually wanted to do “A Film By” and then have a card with every single person who worked on the film because I feel like, what I love about movies is it’s a collective art form, and I wanted to do that, but I was told that I’m not allowed to.


  1. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert Accept the Oscar for Directing on YouTube. ↩︎

  2. Breaking2 documentary on Vimeo. ↩︎

  3. BARBIE director: Greta Gerwig special interview on YouTube. ↩︎