Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling Reveal the Hardest Part About Collaboration
Recently, Levo was lucky enough to attend a talk at the 92Y in Manhattan with the fabulous Tina Fey and the equally fabulous Mindy Kaling. In other words, it was a whole lot of fabulous ladies in one room. Although they were there to discuss Kaling's new book, "Why Not Me?," the women ended up talking about everything under the sun — from the best-looking presidents (Grant for Kaling, Jefferson for Fey) to being female show-runners in a male-dominated business.
Things got really interesting when they got to talking about collaboration. Both women have worked successfully on several solo projects, but as show-runners and writers on their shows ("30 Rock" and "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" for Fey, "The Office" and "The Mindy Project" for Kaling) collaboration is a huge part of the way they work. Fey and Kaling said they enjoyed working in groups, but admitted that it can be extremely challenging at times. Fey described the hardships and rewards of collaboration perfectly. She talked about how to make "West Side Story," a lot of people had to work together (Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise) and the process was miserable. At the same time, trudging through the collaboration process was the only way they were able to get the best stuff out of each other. "To make 'West Side Story,' you have to let yourself be tortured by other people," Fey explained.
Kaling reiterated this sentiment when she talked about working with her close friend and colleague B.J. Novak, whom she wrote with on "The Office" and whom she is now working with on a book. She said they get the best material out of each other, but they fight a lot — and one of them usually ends up storming out of the room.
So there you have it from two women who are extremely successful collaborators. The end product can be amazing, but don’t expect it to be an easy journey. (If only we had to fight it out with collaborators like Fey and Kaling!)