I am convinced that there is no better truism about busines relationships on earth! Team-building is the best thing any project can do for itself.
The, legendary, Mr. Zanuck would certainly know! Having worked for Warner Brothers' Hollywood Studio System. He then took his marbles and went off to found Twentieth-Century Studios. Thereafter, he, and his partners bought out Fox--- creating the, ubiquitous, Twentieth-Century Fox brand, which we know today.
Now, in all of my career options, I insist on being surrounded by the very best colleagues I can. The ass kissers seldom last very long. Why?
Because they're useless. They have no value!
"If two men on a job agree all the time,
then one is useless.
If they disagree all the time,
then both are useless."
— Darryl F. Zanuck
I, too, am not a Toochis-Kusser! When someone asks my opinion, it is my obligation to be candid, yet polite, with them. It is a behavior, upon which my REAL friends have come to rely, appreciate and trust.
I've been tapped, of late, to get involved with a good number of Independent filmmakers, each with tremendous stories to tell. I presume they have booked me because they value and seek my input. That is the job for which they pay me.
Some are more experienced than others. I have consulted on a magnificent project backed by Academy Award winners, and nominees. THAT isn't the point... really.
The point is, that these varied creators have asked for my input as a fellow Creative. There is, necessarily, honor among creatives! We rely on the honesty --- however "brutal", of our colleagues, in the SOLE interest of producing excellent work, making art, and getting properly paid for it, in the process.
I'm of ZERO value to a project, if I mollycoddle and suckle partners who are too connected to the piece to do the tough work. Sometimes that means, putting your big-boy panties on, sucking it up, and getting on with it. In one case, an EP (Executive Producer), does ask my input, and, even where we differ, they are able to see the intrinsic value, and supportiveness, of an opposing viewpoint or perspective, or experience.
The great majority of my input, as well as some "business", and even dialogue, has been adopted into the final script. This EP says they "took a (critical) BEATING" from me. I assure you, while lovingly stringent, it was all, ALWAYS, provided with love and compassion, and with the best intentions for the project in my heart. THAT is the job!
I another case, with a, nearly guaranteed, "hit", with the potential to rival other hugely successful films in its genre, the EP, and another team member, seem to expect, or prefer (??) something different. In their naïveté, they permit their ego(s) to block the growth, development and forward motion of the project. This will not ever work. This will SINK the project in hypersensitive tears. When one is drowning in their "Everyday Me" ("People who think like, and agree with, them" --- Thanks Professor Mitch!!!), it's only a blind "Pep Rally" of "That's what IIIIIIII think TOO!" What's the point?
I don't tend to connect with projects, of any kind, with any great alacrity, when people, or their teams, are unable--- or unwilling--- to take constructive, valid, critiques, solely intended to be of help to them. In fact, I RUN from them, and never look back. I, ALMOST, always have. "Business is business", is the chestnut I'm so fond of using as a mantra.
It's a new century, and a whole new business climate... in the arts, or otherwise. One owes it to one's friends, colleagues and clients, to give your all when they ask your help or your true opinions. Say what you MEAN! But there's no need to be MEAN! That's what I would want from another, shoes reversed. I am honored that that is EXACTLY the love, courtesy and respect I receive from the amazing people I ask for opinions.
No matter our field of endeavor, however, I believe that Mr. Zanuck's sage observation is priceless!
USELESS = Teats on a BULL! Don't be teats on a bull. ;-P