Comic Creating: First step Collaborating or not? Part 1

Collaborating comes in several different forms.  Usually it's a writer who has a script or an idea and they need artists.  But it can also come in other forms.  You have part of an idea and you need help fleshing it out and writing the script. Or you have a team built up, but you want someone that's outside of your core team to be an editor. Here are some things to think about if you thinking about collaborating with anyone.

How do you find someone to collaborate with?  Collaboration should be considered akin to marriage for the life of the project.  Your collaborators will be someone you work with closely on the project until it's finished.  You have to be able to get on the same page through discussions with your collaborators.

From my experience with working in comics. I have a few recommendations:  

1. Try and really get to know each other before you begin or even think about working together.

Now I know the above seems like it might be a really difficult undertaking.  You already don't have much time.  You're working on other things, you've got other friends, you've got family. But I promise you that you will be better off knowing your potential team before you start. You may find that while that artist is spectacular at drawing and has great interior pages that he hates drawing horses and that idea you had for a western just isn't going to fly with him. He may be a huge flake and not complete projects that he starts.  These are all things you really want to know ahead of time. I'll throw a caveat here, You can pretty much get anyone to do anything if you throw enough money at them. But you have to make sure that dollar amount is going to be enough to get them to do what you want.

2. Know that laws that revolve around Intellectual Property. This is going to help with number 3 as well.

I can't stress this enough. The more you know the better you are going to structure any documents you have and you'll know how far you can take things without sign off from anyone else. As an example if you and your collaborator each own a portion of the IP, neither of you can sign a contract that give another company an exclusive right to create a move.

3. Make sure that no matter who you are working with that you have a written document that details exactly what everyone is going to be doing and what everyone is going to get out of it and when.

When I say details I really mean details.  I mean who owns what, what rights everyone has access to. Who is drawing, when that person is going to turn in pages. How much is each person getting paid and when are they going to get paid. I don't care if you've known the person since you were toddlers, get this shit in writing.  It's very important.  People change. While you might be best friends when you start, you might grow apart at some point and you want to make sure that you know what you can do with that IP without them involved.

I'll come back and right more soon.

Mark SchmidtComment