Let’s face it, it’s 2011 and at some point you will be doing a project with someone that lives far away from you. That’s just the way it is... But it doesn’t have to be scary. Before I bombard you with website information, let’s break down the basics that you need to know before you share a project with someone across the internet.
Many people have this idea that as soon as you put something up on the internet, it’s going to be stolen, hacked and redistributed to a giant pirate website. In most cases, this is actually far from the truth. Unless you’re putting up a major video game to share with someone else, or a script for the next Batman movie, even the hackers won’t care. Quit worrying!
If you’re sending an audio project, remember to label your tracks. If you’re sharing a Photoshop project, remember to label your layers, brush presets, etc. so that your co-collaborator knows exactly what’s what. Nothing is more irritating than getting work from someone and not being able to proceed because you’re completely confused!
Before you send anything to your cyber-collaborator, make sure you make your work easy for them to understand. For example: if you’re sharing a musical project in Logic Pro with someone, and you send them your actual Logic Project file with all of the audio, make sure you label your tracks with names that are well, "Logic-al". If you have one track with just the kick drum, label it ‘Kick Drum’. If you have one synth that acts as your lead synth within the song, label it ‘Lead Synth’. Some people have the idea that labeling a track ‘Kick Ass Synth’ is somehow helpful to a co-collaborator. But, ‘Kick Ass Synth’ doesn’t explain the intention of the track, which leads to a phone call asking, “Where do you see Kick Ass Synth fitting in to the mix... ?” Blah, blah, blah... Keep things self-explanatory to avoid needless conversations.
If you have certain notes to share with your collaborator, make sure to include all notes in either a text, or spreadsheet file. Personally, I like spreadsheets because you can make certain requests to your collaborator, then leave a comment spot for your collaborator to respond with notes of their own. Additionally, within those notes, make sure to leave Skype, AIM, or phone numbers in case your collaborator needs some real time instruction.
Finally, let’s talk about how to share your files. Here are some great services that make this a snap:
[Ed: Also check out Dropbox as a great way to share files over the net. It's as simple as dropping a file into a folder in a Finder window. You can also get notifications to see when a file has been added, edited or removed in the Dropbox folder you've shared with your collaborator.]
There are literally tons of other ways of doing this, on top of the suggestions listed above. In fact, if you have any favorite file sharing services not mentioned in this post, be sure and leave a comment!