AdministratorJanuary 12, 2022 at 11:01 am
We just finished the second show of the year “Planning your Comic Book” with Darren Sanchez and Mike Fasolo. I wanted to post some notes I have gathered based on the research I did. I noticed a LOT of the information on line is geared toward the creative steps that we use to make a comic book, similar to our Anthology. But there is very little about the production steps that go before that.
Watch the episode, let us know what you think was interesting or if we missed anything? I’d love to hear what you guys think. 😉
CBS – Let’s Talk Comic Book Planning!
Things to think about:
- What is the story or idea that you want to communicate?
When does this need to be done?
What is the format, materials needed, and time frame?
Who will write, illustrate, and edit the comic?
Which audience would be interested in your story? Who do you want to tell it to?
How much money will I spend?
< Why to plan? >
Why do we need a plan? How does it help us, what’s the benefit?
Accountability when you have a plan you can hold yourself and your team to a deadline, this is important!
A plan helps set Expectations for good working relationships.
With every new plan you can make Improvements, this helps you get ahead of errors and mistakes in the process.
Pitfalls, errors and mistakes can make or break comics in the creative process, planning can help to circumvent the Unexpected before they happen.
And this way you can knowing where you are going.. and clearly communicate it.
< When to plan? >
START WITH A PLAN.. even if it’s just an outline or bulleted list, think about these things BEFORE YOU START! It will save your headaches durning the creation process and when you realize at the end that you are not really done.
< Where/How to plan? >
How to plan how to create? Outlines / Bullet points / Post-it notes? How do you do it.. ?
– Everyone is different, some people use pencil and paper some people use Google Sheets, if you are the person accountable, try a few different methods and pick which works best for you. BUT stick with one All the way through a project, switching in the middle of a process can be a disaster.
< What to plan? >
What things do you need to account for when Planning a comic book: Just answer the questions = What, When, How, Who, Where, and Why (if you are really good throw ‘which’ in there for good measure. But below I put them in order, the most important first in my opinion.
What – What are you making/creating/producing?
– Is it an 8-pg printed book, 200 page Graphic Novel? Single Panel Webtoon? Old School newspaper strip? This decision effects EVERYTHING.. so Know up front what you want to produce.
– Are you producing the next Walking Dead or want to live making the next Calvin and Hobbies? or maybe your epic movie or TV idea just needs to be a comic first. Know the end goal. It will help put each step of the process in perspective.
– Know your Specs* and make sure the team does too. If one person in the chain saves the files out wrong.. it can cripple the project to go back at the end of the process to fix an error everyone missed.
– How the final will need to be delivered? Email/Cloud Drops? Scanned Artwork? PDF’s to printers?
When – Your Timeline is one of two key things you have to know before starting any creative endeavor. VERY IMPORTANT!
– How long will it take to produce? From Script to final file is the usual timeline, but keep in mind POST production, marketing, printing, publishing and distribution might not sound sexy but they are steps that need to be addressed.
– How often will you publish? Is this a one off? A series? A monthly issue? This can drastically effect your timeline, and who can join the team remember to set expectations up front and you will still have professional contacts in your network when you are done. 😉
– How many hours per day can you put into this project? Be realistic with yourself and your team.. if you have a day job, a family, or just can only work in the early am hours, be aware that you won’t be turning over pages as quickly as a 30 year Industry Veteran and plan accordingly.
– What percentage of time is invested in the business of the comic vs. the Creation? Accounting for production is a job in itself that’s why people have editors, publishers marketers, etc. Put time in your daily schedule and overall timeline to produce the comic as well as create it.
How – Budget is the other key thing you have to know before starting any creative endeavor. ALSO VERY IMPORTANT!
– How are you planning to finance the production? CrowdSourcing, Publishers, Sell-funded Other? Blended?
– Financial investment – even if you are not paying up front, you should have a ballpark idea of the cost that will need to be paid.
– Materials and subscriptions such as web platforms and websites.. or con expenses? Think it out.. have you considered what costs you will incur?
– What cost is there in your Distribution Method – Print vs. Digital in Stores/ at Cons/ or On Demand or for download? Comixology / Webtoons / Personal site, distributed files?
Who – If you have a team or are on your own, make sure it is clear in your plan.
-Responsibilities – who does what how and when? And who/how are they accountable? and who is responsible for keeping your comic on track?
make sure everyone knows who this is, because if you have multiple people trying to Lead that’s when the real problems begin.
– But also who on the team is responsible for what? so nobody is stepping on anybody else’s toes.
– Payout and Ownership.. some of this can be outlined in other areas as well but there should be a contract (CYA).
– How are you communicating? What is your method expected communication? Email? Meet in the office? Chats? Forums? Or even preschedules calls and Mtgs? Be Clear how your comics will be run.
*This helps you to professionally network and know who you are working with.
– Oh and who is your target reader? It’s something to ponder…
Where – Where are you planning working? Set an expectation.
– Do you have a studio that your kids are not going to destroy? A working folder of scripts your snooping roomate won’t trash on the shared drive? Things to keep in mind even during a pandemic.
– Where is your team going to exchange assets and files? Digital spaces such as email or cloud systems need to be accessible to everyone on the team and fit your timeline and budget.
– If you are in an office will this comic be worked in Professional world or the indie sphere…Think about the Pros/Cons of your comic and what your team might need.
– Where are you selling? Distributing? Publishing.. Where does your message need to be to get to your audience. Do you even know who your audience is bruh?
Why – Seriously.. ask yourself this question BEFORE you begin.
– It helps when thing get rough, and nothing worth while is ever easy, to know WHY you want to even make a comic in the first place?
– Why this story or this team. Why this medium? Does a book, a short film work better for this idea? If you understand your own reasons for your comic it helps to inform the creative process and keep others invested in your success.
Which – Contracts/Agreements, Money and Ownership.
– Legal – We live in a world full of lawyers; get contracts and CYA (cover your ass!!) It should cover: IP Owner Ship / Credits / Money / Abandonment Clause / Additional licensing like movie and merchandise rights.. etc.
– Check out Gamal Hennessy’s work on legal stuff in Comics and Creative industries.
(Pitfalls – Rob, Mike, and Darren Discuss -Check out the episode there were a LOT of things discussed that can help new creators!)
*Specs = Specifications: like Format/Size/dpi or Res/color profile/file type/ etc. … There are so many maybe we need a new thread just to that list all that information.
**Side bar for future episodes Branding & Marketing but something people need to think about before their comic books is sitting in boxes in the garage unsold and unknown.
** My Research so far and references:
Comic Book School.com
Comic Publishing Institute
Honestly I have a LOT of experience planning creative processes and getting teams to work together to hit deadlines and produce great work.. if you have questions hit me up. I’d love to discuss, help, and learn.
D. Alley, the RedheadedEd
PS it’s late I hope this still makes sense in the morning. 😉