“The first draft of anything is shit”, said Hemingway (not known for mincing words, that man), and I find his insight both profound and intensely liberating. Because if you really own that statement, if you truly accept that nothing comes out perfect on the first try, it’s that much easier to put those first, clumsy words to paper. It means allowing yourself to ignore the glaring plot holes, the flat characters and trite dialogue, knowing full well that whatever you are producing is not the finished thing. It can’t be the finished thing, and that’s perfectly fine. It will be iterated on (writing, after all, is rewriting, as someone else said).
That’s not to say that a first draft can’t contain nuggets of gold, originality, and even pure genius, but by truly internalizing Hemingway’s statement above you don’t expect that to be the case, and that can mean the whole difference between finishing a first draft and never even starting it. And it also allows for a vital component of the collaborative creative process: daring to share your work before it’s “done” (the very definition of which is a whole discussion in itself…).
That’s a big part of what we mean by “Creative Generosity” - daring to be generous with your own thoughts, ideas and WIP tasks, be that level art, dialogue scripts, lines of code or whatever else the game needs to get out the door.
And then another crucial component of Creative Generosity comes into play. Because such daring deserves to be met with respect and generosity. Indeed it must be. And that means nurturing a studio environment allowing for a truckload of shit ideas so that those gold nuggets can be found and washed clean. It means allowing for creative discussions where everybody has an equal voice, regardless of title or seniority. It means striving to get to know one another so that we can come to better understand our different aesthetic preferences and opinions (thereby better understanding each other’s reactions to new ideas). And it means providing thoughtful and workable feedback whenever someone dares present an idea to you.
And yes, what I am describing here is an ideal. People will have bad days and occasionally give less than workable feedback. There will be irreconcilable differences of opinion on any number of topics, and at times it will fall on someone to make a creative choice that not everybody is happy with (and sometimes, horribly enough, that choice will turn out to be wrong…). That’s the nature of the business we’re in.
But if you join us in whatever capacity, I pledge to you that you will be listened to. Your opinion will be valued. We want you because we also want your ideas - shit or not, and we will do our utmost to create an environment where you will feel safe to share them.