Thursday, May 29, 2008

When the Cookie Crumbles

Fruited cake or cookie? Yep, I love me some Fig Newtons! And I've found that I can eat them in moderation even though they have seeds, which are apparently not good for the gall stones. But since I've cut out a lot of other sweets, it's good to know I can still have my Figs.

I've also started eating Activia yogurt daily thanks to a suggestion by my aunt to help with a little problem I've been having. I think that can be clearly deduced. And I have to say it works pretty well.

Today (Wednesday) I got some work done, thankfully, as it's been hard to get back into the swing of things with all the happenings of late. But I made some nice progress, and even picked up another logo job. And tomorrow, or today now, promises to be just as much, if not more progressive save any unforeseen disasters or distractions. I have re-instituted my daily schedule, and I'm once again marking things off as I go, and it does motivate me to truck on.

Aside from the norm, the job search has hit more dead ends. I'm still waiting to hear the new proposal I've talked about from the one company, but all the feelers I've put out elsewhere so far have come up empty unfortunately. But so far the rejections have been pleasant and very respectful, which is always nice.

On another note, interestingly enough, Platinum's Comic Book Challenge has changed their rules this year and extended their deadline. This year instead of having the top 50 entrants travel to SDCC to pitch live, they will make a 3 minute video pitch and the contest will last for months instead of weeks, with the entire contest taking place online. The new deadline to enter is June 14th, which gives two extra weeks to hopeful entrants.

For me, that means I may still enter. With everything that happened this month I was unable to complete the script and get it in the hands of the artist to pitch by the original deadline, which is in two days. So, while I still have reservations about Platinum's contract, I may still try my hand at it.

That brings up another point. Platinum requires you to sign over all rights to them for a flat fee plus a percentage of royalties. This is not something I take lightly as I would love, in a perfect world, to maintain all rights to my creations, even in other media. I realize that isn't necessarily how things work in Hollywood, but it would be nice. But even so, turning over all rights to my creation even in the publishing arena doesn't particularly set well with me.

Just yesterday I read an article about Tokyopop's contracts that someone pointed out on Digital Webbing in the Creator Community forum in a thread titled "Important!". Apparently, Tokyopop uses sophomoric vernacular in contracts that prey on desperate creators that require them to sign away ALL rights and create a complete comic that they may never be paid for, and even if it is accepted they may never be credited for, and Tokyopop can translate it into other media without giving them a dime. Basically, they pay a flat fee that wouldn't buy a decent computer and get the rights and credit to your original property for eternity.

So, I'm very skeptical about most publishers these days. If I ever am stupid enough to get into the comic publishing business, my model would definitely be more like Image's I think, in that all creators keep all rights to their properties. It just seems the fairer deal for independent comics. And even with companies like Marvel and DC, I think if someone came up with a character or concept they should at the very least receive royalties on those creations forever.

I don't know, I just think creators should retain rights on their creations, and if those creations are profitable they should certainly be compensated for them. There are far too many thieves in the world today. And with the comic industry being so small, there needs to be less of that mentality and more of a camaraderie. I understand and accept that publishers want to and need to make money, and I have no problem with that. But what I do have a problem with is them taking advantage of creators either lacking knowledge or desperate to be published that will sign anything or take the deal just to get work. It's just a shame that publishers like this exist and are greedy enough to prey on those less fortunate. A real shame.

And that's all I have to say about that... for now.

I was going through some old notebooks and found some ideas I had jotted down years ago for comics, movies and novels. For two movie ideas I had plots, character summaries, and possible casting matches already lined out. And for one novel I had actually already written like 40 pages or so of, which I had completely forgotten about. So as soon as I have some free time, I'm going to pore through those and see what I can salvage, what needs updated and revised, and get back on track with those.

It's funny, as a writer you have SO many ideas, thoughts, fragments and so forth of stories, poems, etc. lying around. I have a few lines of various poems I started, lyrics for songs, paragraphs or sentences of plots and many other little notes I made to my self in countless notebooks, scrap pieces of paper, and word documents on the computer. It's insane how many ideas we come up with, and how many sit there for who knows how long, and in some cases probably forever. And even funnier is that I'm always trying to come up with something new, or a lot of times not even trying, but just getting new thoughts. You'd think we'd run out sometime, right? Well, if I do I hope it's not for a very long time. And I hope some of these ideas are actually good enough to do something with someday. I guess you'll just have to wait and see.

Creators like Christian Beranek formerly of Silent Devil Productions gives me hope too. He started a fledgling comic company that had some moderate success, and now he's working in various media, and with his new Kingdom Comics has just signed a deal with Disney!

Then there's Robert Kirkman, a guy who grew up not too far from me who made it big at Marvel. In fact, I just found out this past weekend that he grew up and was good friends with my cousin's husband's older brother! Yeah, I know, it sounds like one of those "a friend of a friend" deals, but it came up very innocently. On my Memorial Day weekend retreat with the family I went out to eat with my cousin, her sister and her husband at TGI Fridays (I had Dragonfire Chicken, which I highly recommend by the way), and we got to talking about jobs. My cousin, Susan, who is five or six years younger than me, is a teacher, and she was telling me about some interviews she had recently. Her sister, Kristy, who is five years younger than her, is studying to be a nurse, and Susan's husband, Vince, who's a year younger than her, is a personal trainer (he's a big dude!). And they were asking me about this job I traveled about recently, and then Susan mentioned the local guy who hit it big, which Vince confirmed was Robert Kirkman. And of course I was like yeah, I know who he is, nonchalantly. lol. And Vince proceeded to tell me how kids would be playing Tee-Ball and stuff and would ridicule Kirkman for being immersed in his comics, but how now he had the last laugh with all his success. And how he and Vince's brother, Gabe, were good friends growing up. I thought that was pretty cool. Oddly enough, I've never even seen Kirkman around town, even though we apparently didn't live far apart. Not that it would've mattered, but it's just such an inspiration to me that someone from here gained success like he has, and it gives me hope that these many years of toiling and struggling will someday be worth it all.

And with that, I think I've talked your ears off enough for one post.



Ray said...

Hey man, that's a long post!
Always good to get some probiotics into you Brant, either through yoghurt (make sure they hae live cultures) or other probiotic formulas. Particularly if you have been on antibiotics.
Hope you're good mate

dragonfuze said...

Crazy story about Kirkman! I admire him a lot. The only work I have read is Invincible, but I think it's the best super hero book I have ever read.

Brant W. Fowler said...

Yeah, I'm a Kirkman fan as well mainly for Invincible. I've read a couple of other books he's done. I wasn't crazy about his Marvel Team-Up stuff though.

Yep, it was a long one, sorry. :) Yes, the yogurt has helped a bit. Sadly, now I'm out. :(