What do Lee Child, Joshua Ferris, Roxane Gay, Gary Shteyngart. Jonathan Ames, Billy Collins, Jonathan Coulton, Sloane Crosley, Jonathan Safran Foer, Chip Kidd, Valeria Luiselli, Alain Mabanckou, Aimee Mann and Joyce Carol Oates have in common? They're all part of a big campaign from Xerox called Set The Page Free. Produced in collaboration with the famed 92nd Street Y, Set The Page Free is a giant collaboration featuring 14 different writers, and creative talent.
So what is it, you ask? Simple. They were given the task of collaborating on a project revolving around the modern workplace. Each week a different person will unveil another chapter, or in two cases, a poem and a song. Each creative will have a unique take on the work place in the modern world. The website which just launched will start with short video documentaries, exclusive photos, book excerpts and podcasts for the first wave of contributors.
The first installment features video documentaries, exclusive photos, book excerpts and podcasts from the first four contributors. Lee Child of Jack Reacher fame unlocks the secrets of creating suspense, Joshua Ferris becomes invisible, Roxane Gay talks about architecture and affairs, and Gary Shteyngart shares the fundamentals of great writing which involves having food delivered by drone and wearing a bathrobe. Hilarious, perhaps, but let's just say some videos are more instructive than others. And at the end of the day they are writers not teachers. Asking a writer to describe their writing process is interesting but in my experience rarely helpful.
It'll be interesting to see how many of these writers (and songwriters and poets) who presumably don't spend a lot of time in traditional offices, have to say about people who do.
As part of the project, Xerox is aiding global literacy through donations to the 92nd Street Y and Worldreader. And I'm glad for that, because the world needs more encouragement not just to read but also to write.
As interesting as this project sounds, it's also startling in how basic it is, too. I first experienced round-robin writing back in my high school creative writing class. Classic idea, taught to every writer who's taken a class. The borrowed interest will help. Then again "Set the page free," also sounds like it could have been made for imprisoned journalists, but I suspect they fell in love with the name and stuck with it.
It's also from my perspective a really neat experiment to show whether or not collaboration is worth it. Guess we'll find out in November when the book comes out.
CMO – Toni Clayton-Hine
Vice President, Global Brand, Advertising and Media - Barbara Basney
Director, Global Advertising and Media - John Fredette
Manager, Digital Advertising - Linda Bandith
Marketing Coordinator - Kirsten Foulke
Chief Creative Officer - Leslie Sims
Executive Creative Director – Joao Coutinho
Creative Director - Fern Cohen
Creative Director - Margot Owett
Head of Integrated Production – Greg Lotus
Executive Producer - Mathieu Shrontz
Associate Producer – Brit Hager
Executive Producer/ Head of Music – Lauriana Zuluaga
VP, Account Managing Director - Britta Dahl
Account Director, VML- Seth Galena
Account Supervisor - Arantza Urruchua
Production Company – Ghost Robot
Executive Producer(s) – Mark DePace, Zachary Mortensen
Head of Production - Kacie Barton
Director(s) - Benjamin Dickinson, Alex Markman, Christina Wadsworth
Producers – Zachary Kislevitz, Judy Craig, Amber Schaefer
DP(s) – Matthew J. Santo, Milos Jacimovic, Justin Kane, Jon Peter
Production Managers - Allegra Isenberg, Caroline Conrad, Richard Theisen
Post Producers - Jill Ferraro, Katie Meyer
Editors - Alex Amoling, Jae Lee, Liz Bilinsky
Design - Griffin Frazen
Animation & Compositing - Chris Mennuto, Kim Dulaney
Assistant Editors - John Mattia, Emmett Ashton
Sound Design / Mix - One Thousand Birds
Color Grade - The Mill
Colorist - Damien Van Der Cruyssen