Ep. #94 The Key to All Creative Collaborations

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #94 The Key to All Creative Collaborations

“Negotiation” shouldn’t be a scary word.  Advocating for yourself and your values is cool, AND it is part of the job! In this episode, I discuss the role of intimacy coordinators and how much they can teach us about establishing and communicating boundaries in our work (and in our lives).  We practice using the terms Yes, AND” and “No, BUT” to set clear parameters that will help to protect your mental and physical self as well as your time, money, and energy! So, if you are someone who struggles with setting boundaries, THIS ONE’S FOR YOU!

Quick Links:

Tits and Teeth Podcast Intamacy Episode: https://podcasts.apple.com/il/podcast/christina-pitts-jazzar-intimacy-coordination/id1417619719?i=1000526228784

Episode 15 with the Seaweed Sisters: https://www.thedanawilson.com/podcast/ep-15-the-seaweed-sisters-who-are-we-and-what-is-this


Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight, but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place. 

Dana: Good day. Good people. What’s up and welcome to words that move me. I’m Dana and I, as always am stoked about this episode. The subject for today’s episode came up from one of my beloved Words that Move me Community members. And I actually cannot believe I haven’t done an episode about this yet, so thrilled about it. Um, but before we dig in wins, would you wins at the top of every episode? And this week I am celebrating last week’s episode with the one and only Nina McNeely was officially our 100th episode that is including bonus episodes and our first episode, which was episode 0.5, which is funny, but also how many times can I say episode in the introduction to the episode? So many times it turns out. Um, so yes, I know last week’s episode was number 93, but, uh, yeah, I’m celebrating it as 100. That is my win. Um, because that’s how many episodes I recorded. So I celebrated by taking myself to my favorite vintage shop in the valley. It’s called Yes Baby, by the way, it’s quickly becoming my favorite vintage shop in all of Los Angeles. I spent $100 there. I got a jacket, a hoodie, a sweater, two t-shirts one of which I’m wearing right now. It’s gigantic, almost comes to knees. Oh, and an enamel pin. Pen, pen pin. I’m really still working on the voice you guys. And it turns out being a girl from the Midwest. I have some interesting speech patterns and inflections. An enamel pin for Smac. Smac Mcreanor. Or if you’re listening, I have a gift for you. Um, yeah, total jackpot. I love you Yes, baby. I love you listeners. I love you. My team, Malia Baker, Riley Higgins. Thank you for helping me reach that 100 mile marker. And for actual episode 100, which is still out there in the distance. Uh, numerically speaking, we are having a $100 cash prize giveaway episode. 100 will come out on November 24th. So this contest, this giveaway contest will happen for the whole week of that episode. Starting on November 22nd, ending on November 26th, we are going to have an Instagram contest, $100 cash prize giveaway. It’s exciting. Stay tuned here and also follow us at Words that Move me podcast on the gram for more details about that. All right. Woo-hoo for winning. I hope you win the contest by the way. And I do hope you’re winning, uh, in your life and in your career. Go ahead and, and take the floor. Take the mic. If you will, for a moment. Think about and tell me or someone that you’re with about what is going well in your world. Let’s hear it.  

*Cup Bubbles* That’s just me and my cup, bubbles working on my voice. Okay. Congratulations. I’m so glad you’re winning. And I want you to keep winning, keep celebrating all of the good things going well in your world. Now, speaking of things going well, I want you to use your imagination for a second. Imagine your hero. This could be a real person in your life. Someone that you know, someone you don’t know yet, or it could be a full-blown superhero action, figure, animated character, your call. Imagine your hero. And imagine that they have just handed you a gold token, like a coin, but I’m going to go with token. It’s heavy. It’s gold. It’s shiny. It’s perfectly new and glorious. It’s about the same size as your favorite slammer. For those of you who used to play pogs dammit. Now I have really dated myself. Anyway, your hero hands, you this slammer coin token thing, and they tell you that this token can be exchanged for success in any creative collaboration. Yes. This coin buys you a happy, healthy, fortunate, flourishing nourishing experience on any slash all creative projects. And you take this token coin slammer thing, and you’re like, thank you, whoa, whoa, dope. You sure you don’t need this? And they’re like, yeah, hang on to it. So you keep it and you take a close look on one side. There is a picture in your imagination. Just use your imagination, a vast boundless body of water. Maybe that’s California king size water bed. Maybe it’s an ocean. Maybe it’s a river, vast something almost endless as far as the eye can see. And on that same side of the coin are the words, “Yes, And” on the other side of the coin, there is an image of a lifesaver. No, not the candy. Okay, fine. Maybe the candy I did ask for your imagination after all. Um, but I was imagining, you know, the, the rings, the, you know, the, the inner tube type inflatable hoop, what is that thing even made of probably foam. I digress on the side of the coin that has the image of the life saver. There are the words. “No, but.” Yes. ‘No, but’ is the focus of our conversation today? If you are a person who struggles with setting boundaries, this one is for you, my friend. Way back in episode 15, the seaweed sisters, and I put a magnifying glass on the power of yes. And the seaweed sisters trademarked this philosophy that we 100% borrowed from improv comedy. Um, if we coined the technique, ‘yes, and’ then on the flip side of that coin would be ‘no, but.’ No, but is equally as powerful. And oddly, I really haven’t talked about it on the podcast yet. Honestly, that’s because it’s newer to me than “yes, and” so in this episode, I want to unpack how the “no, but” mentality can empower you, your physical and mental self, but also your time, your money and your sweet, sweet energy.  

So let’s dig in. Okay. “Yes, And” is powerful because it makes room for new ideas and growth. It fosters safety, freedom, collaboration, risk, and no, but is powerful because it sets boundaries. It protects you. It also fosters freedom and respect, but for your physical and mental self, that can mean big, big, really, really important stuff. One of the best examples of the “no, but” mentality in action came to me last summer when I was deep into listening to other people’s podcasts, I was listening to an interview with dancer, choreographer and intimacy coordinator, Christina Pittz Jazzar . She was on the tits and teeth podcast. So super shout out to them and big shout out to intimacy coordinators all over the world. I will 100% link to that episode, um, of tits and teeth. It’s a, it’s a really good lesson. That’ll be linked in the show notes.  If you haven’t heard of intimacy coordinators or aren’t entirely familiar with what they do by all means, listen to that episode, but we’ll give you a very brief explanation now, just for context, intimacy coordinators advocate for the actors. And they are the liaison between the director and their vision and the performers who will be portraying intimate moments, which don’t necessarily mean simulated sex scenes or nudity or romantic affection. They could also include any spectrum of physical contact with minors like mother/daughter, or father/daughter scene. Any, any minors, any physical contact exchanged, um, between minors, the intimacy coordinator basically communicates consent and make sure that everyone feels comfortable and safe well before. And also as the cameras roll in that episode, Christina talks about how her job usually starts by dissecting the script and any scenes that call for intimate exchanges between characters. She also communicates with the director to get a grasp for their vision, and then discusses that vision with the performers. That’s where “Yes, And,” and “No, but” come in very handy, no pun intended during these conversations, performers get to voice their concerns, questions, sensitivities, et cetera, and a negotiation may follow. For example, “are you comfortable simulating sex?”

“No, but I’m comfortable with kissing” or “no, but I’m comfortable with partial nudity” or “no, but I’m comfortable using a body double” or “yes, And I would like to add to the writer that my partner or representative be present for all rehearsals and the shooting of those scenes.”

Can you see how important these conversations are to have period and how helpful “yes, and” and “no, but” can be in having those conversations. It should be pointed out that dancers are often asked to physically engage in some sort of intimate or sexually charged connection. I’m thinking specifically of like 75% of the VMs from 2021, it was a very sexy year and sex sells. Should not be shocked that that is what shows up, um, in the recording industry. But, um, I do think it’s important to point out that whether that type of contact be in the form of partnering or a big ensemble group moment, A la: slave for you, that music video is still one of my all-time favorites. Um, we rarely have an intimacy coordinator there to advocate for us in those situations. And I think it’s a really interesting thing that it’s not discussed, um, people’s degree of comfort being involved in that sort of thing. Um, so anyways, I really hope that all dancers listening understand that you don’t need an intimacy coordinator on set to say yes and or no, but, um, you don’t need a writer or a contracted agreement to advocate for yourself. Um, I really do encourage actually that even as you’re listening, you start thinking about what you’re comfortable doing and what you’re not comfortable doing, how you might frame those parameters using “yes, and” and “no, but” um, in a rehearsal space. Also I think that sometimes those conversations are good to be had in private. You can see how the role of an intimacy coordinator is so important because I’m sure as you’re listening and imagining yourself in a large group environment, how having that conversation might be slightly uncomfortable. Yes, this is, this is why we love intimacy coordinators. Um, okay. Back up, back up, I think intimate scenes, aren’t the only times in which a dancer might use this type of language. Um, in other words, when, when we’re doing like sexually charged, it’s the best way I can think to put it right now, um, movement with other people. That’s, that’s not the only time we could use. “Yes and” / “No, but” to advocate for yourself, um, I’ll give you an example. One of my favorite least favorite questions that I get asked in auditions is can you do any tricks or can you flip well, um, never really been a, a trick type of performer and I can definitely not flip. I don’t like being upside down. I blame it on sinus pressure and also the fear of breaking my neck. Um, I truly, I think it’s too late for me to gain any acro skills. Uh, so my answer to that question is always a firm. “No, but I am super funky and I hear I’m a pleasure to work with” or “no, but I can do this big smile and two thumbs up.” Um, that’s a bad example, let’s imagine that you are someone who is skilled in the Acro department. You can flip, you might empower yourself by responding to that question. “Yes, And I have about 15 to 20 good takes of a tumbling pass before that might get a little bit risky in terms of energy” or “no, I can’t flip, but I can do an Ariel, a HeadSpin six pure pirouettes,” or fill in the blank with any move you’d be comfortable doing for eight hours.  This “yes and / no, but” approach is so much more informative than a simple yes or no. I think it’s not just informative. It’s empowering. It’s professional. Now those are both pretty clear examples of how yes and or no, but can be useful to protect your mental and physical self. Now I want to explain how “no, but” boundaries can protect your time, money and energy. Now I’ll, I’ll reach out out my dear friend from the Words that Move me community who brought this up in a, in a group coaching forum recently. They’re new to Los Angeles. They’re wildly talented. And of course, everyone is asking them to be a part of their projects. Some number of which are unpaid. They found themselves in a position where they felt over committed, underpaid, exhausted, and afraid of being forgotten under some pressure that if they say no, something bad might happen, this is the crux of loving what you do and doing what you love for a living. It’s also a huge part of being human. The bottom line here for this human is that they believed that they weren’t yet in a position to say, no, they believe they’re still in the early stages. We’re doing things for free is pretty much a given. So they did, they did things for free and in doing so, they donated their time, their talent and their energy. And yes, there probably were some non-monetary exchanges being made like exposure. My other favorite least favorite. Or good-looking material for the real, that’s a real thing or networking opportunities. So on. So on. So on, I agree. Those are all metaphorical money in the bank, but they don’t actually pay the bills like today. So something has to change for this person. And it’s not necessarily the number of jobs that they say yes to, or the number of favors that they do.   It’s the way they are thinking. And it’s the boundaries that they create and communicate for themselves. So let’s practice doing that, setting those boundaries, having those conversations in a little role-play, let’s say that someone asks you to help them out for free or do a gig at a quote homey rate unquote, which somehow means for less than what you should be getting. And that doesn’t make sense to me because I want my homies to make more money than they quote should or shouldn’t be getting. But anyways, someone asks you to do something for free or at a seriously discounted rate. You might say, no, I can’t commit to that amount of time, but I would love to drop in for an hour. If that’s an option, another option might be no, but if you need help or input styling, editing, story-boarding, I’m really interested in helping in those ways. Or also you don’t need to give a reason why you can just straight up say no, no, but I’m thrilled that you thought of me. And I hope we can kick ass making stuff together in the future. Boom, it’s so simple, right? Simple, not easy for people who are not used to saying no, this can be a challenge, but you know what else is challenging? Paying your bills and making no money and saying yes to all of the things and not protecting your time, your talent and your energy. Now, I don’t want to totally blow your mind here. No, but is definitely the soloist of this episode. But while we’re here, we might as well consider a few other options. Like ‘yes If’ or ‘yes, when’ that opens the floor for things like, uh, yes. If I meet my fixed expenses for the first or yes. If food travel gas and wardrobe are covered or yes. If I can be credited as co choreographer. Yes. When I finished my work on this other paid gig, there are so many details in between. Yes and no. We get to negotiate my friends.  And when you get clear with yourself about what you are willing and not willing to do, and when you advocate for yourself, you might be shocked to find out how much is actually in your power to change, to set as standard. You have that power to make that change. In fact, a power dynamic is exactly that a dynamic, if only one side had power, it would be a power solo. It’s not, it’s a power dynamic. It would be a power ISO. It would be a power isolation, but it’s a power dynamic. You are included in that dynamic as having power. Don’t give it away. You aren’t threatened. You are wanted, you have. Yes, you have. No, you have. Yes, And. Yes, If. Yes, when. and you have No, but. Don’t take that the wrong way. You have a great butt you have a beautiful butt even if, whether it is a Debbie cake or a wedding cake, you have a glorious perfect cake. Your cake is great. Good butts, everyone all around. No, but is powerful though. Don’t forget it.  All right. My friend, that’s it. That is the key to success. The token that I hope you keep in your pocket and use often. Yes and no, but, and all the terms in between, they are so helpful in collaborative processes, process, processes, process, you can and should advocate for yourself. And those terms can help. You can negotiate your own terms. In fact, it’s part of the job. Do you see all of the ways that you can be excited about people, be excited about together, be excited about opportunities and still set boundaries. You can be available and say, no. Advocating for yourself is sexy. It is professional. And if you’re dealing with another professional, be they sexy or not, they will likely be open to working with you. When you set those terms, they’ll likely be willing to set terms that make sense for you both. And I hope that you do that. And I hope that while you do that, you keep it funky. That’s it for me, my friend. I’ll talk to you soon. 

Me again, wondering if you ever noticed that one more time. Almost never means one more time. Well, here on the podcast, one more thing actually means two more things. Number one thing. If you’re digging the pod, if these words are moving you, please don’t forget to download, subscribe and leave a rating and review because your words move me too. Number two, I make more than weekly podcasts. So please visit thedanawilson.com for links to free workshops and so much more. All right. That’s it now for real talk to you soon. Bye. 

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