Whether or not you watched the Academy Awards this past weekend, you’ve likely been bombarded with memes, video clips, and articles desperate to rehash what went down, who got snubbed, and which jokes landed. I love the Oscars. Yes, I love to critique the outfits, the hair, the beards, the jokes. But one element that stood out to me this year was the acceptance speeches.
While each speech was unique, including some political call-to-actions and plugs for various important causes, something that was apparent in every speech was the idea of team. Some winners hit that harder than others; Alejandro González Iñárritu, the director of Revenant, poured adorations on a humble Leonardo DiCaprio and a long list of other writers, actors, musical producers, and editors. Some went simpler, mentioning their coworkers, their family, their friends, and, of course, the Academy. To ensure no one got forgotten, nominees had prepared a list of people to thank, which scrolled across the bottom of the screen.
Not a single person stood up to receive their award—perhaps the highest accolade of their craft—and took all the glory for themselves.
As communication specialists, we don’t have many opportunities to stand before millions of people and accept an award. But anyone who works in communications could tell you that solid marketing content is also dependent on a group effort. Few successful people—whatever their profession—work in a vacuum. Surgeons rely on a team of staff members, musicians work with producers and audio engineers, even teachers attend conferences and discuss lesson plans in lounges. Good writers are no different: Community is key.
That’s why freelancing is such a difficult trade. Working alone is fundamentally different from working with a group of other highly trained professionals. When a business or organization outsources a document to a communications company, they get an entire team of extremely proficient writers and editors who likely take not one, not two, but three or four swings at the thing.
Being a terrific actress/athlete/lawyer/writer is not a solo endeavor. The entire process relies on the help and participation of other qualified professionals. This year’s Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller, couldn’t have done it without T.J. Ward and the rest of the Broncos defense. Leonardo DiCaprio, the best actor of Sunday night’s awards, would not have even had this opportunity without Iñárritu’s vision. And your writer couldn’t put together your important PowerPoint presentation, white paper, or annual report without her team of coworkers contributing ideas, editing out inessentials, and offering fresh perspectives.