Thursday, January 10, 2013
Acclaimed comics writer Gail Simone wrote a great piece about breaking into the comics biz. Read that here and then come back if you dare.
I say the same stuff to "aspiring" writing talent over and over again. The bottom line is that if you don't have a finished product to show, then shut up and go away to work on that until you DO have a finished product to show. Asking questions is great, but people need to do their research and bust their ass.
I moved to LA with next to nothing and suffered from 2008 to the beginning of 2011 and no one gave a shit until I had a product on the table. That's what it comes down to in the end: PRODUCT. If you're wrestling with your concepts and talking about writing but spend all your time playing video games, chatting online, watching TV and other non-productive stuff, you'll still have nothing to show and you're wasting your time by pretending you're going to be a professional.
It isn't that complicated. Do work. Finish it. Edit it. Finish it again. Get it drawn up. Then market yourself smartly. You cannot market yourself with just pinups or concepts or nervous conversations at a convention. You have to have a product in hand. There's NOTHING that Gail Simone wrote in that piece that hasn't been repeated by hundreds of other acclaimed writers on multiple occasions.
More often than not, there's NOTHING holding a writer back other than their own crappy personal life habits. When I was starting out, the internet had little to no information about breaking into the business as a writer, and this meant that I had to do my own footwork, my own research, I had to shake a lot of hands and have a lot of people scoff at me for trying to learn more about the path to success. Now, google.com can provide you that same information for free. Without the cynicism and snark from petulant jerks.
There are many sites like my WRITING FOR ROOKIES podcast that provide you a ton of information for free. If you're still wringing your hands and wondering why your career isn't where you want it to be, it's usually because you're sitting on your ass wringing your hands instead of writing with them.
I am one of the most supportive professionals out there when it comes to working with new and unpublished writing talent. Me and a few of my comrades regularly give panels at conventions like WonderCon, Stan Lee's COMIKAZE, PopCon LA, etc. and I will continue to be a resource for new writers.
However, there comes a time when you need to move beyond the "fledgling" status and move to becoming a producer of content. It's really that simple.
For those serious about learning the comic book writing format, I am teaching a course on February 2nd, 2013 in Los Angeles. Check it out:
PANEL-TO-PANEL: Writing Comic Books and Graphic Novels.
Here's some other articles I've written about breaking into the business as a writer -
THE PARADIGM SHIFT: Part One - Moving From Being a Consumer to a Producer of Content.
THE PARADIGM SHIFT: Part Two - Preparation.
NAVIGATING THE CON: Get Yourself and Your Work Noticed.
Good luck out there.