June 30, 2021
Wow! I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I’ve been here! Well, blame that on Covid. For over the past year I’ve felt like a turtle laying on it’s back, kicking my legs in the air.
Dark Cloud is now Published! It’s released in Digital Form as of today! Check it out on Comixology at the following link:
I don’t know what to make of things today… I should be jumping all over the place with joy. For real? This almost feels like it’s happening to someone else. I’ve got a lot on my plate now. The next step is mastering advertising so I can get the word out.
But Dark Cloud is now Available, in it’s First Form – Digital, to the General Public! =)
June 4, 2020
I may just have a publisher for all this… No promises, and I don’t want to jinx things by naming the publisher who’s expressed an interest, but it may be on it’s way.
I’m currently waiting to go into negotiations with them. This has been the case for a couple weeks, but there have been things that have had it all on hold. Things like that happen. This is not a death march.
But I will be so happy when I can announce to the World who the publisher for Dark Cloud is…
I realize this isn’t much of a post, but this is to just let people know what’s going on, for as much as I can at this point.
Looking over the rest of this in the ‘status’ section, I keep thinking there should be more here. ???… What happened? I’ll have to look over it more, later.
March 11, 2020
Amazing how quickly things change….
This Graphic Novel has turned out so well, that I did the math and realized it’s going to be a lot easier to tell all these Dark Cloud stories via Graphic Novel than pursuing a film franchise first and foremost.
After talking with Paul, that A-list Literary Agent I’ve been talking about, he said I don’t need his help approaching Publishers. I can do that all by my lonesome. OK. Not a problem. I’ll do that. I even talk about the frequent networking I do in the Blog section of this site.
But one thing I do want to emphasize here, now that I got some feedback from Chris Ryall, CEO of IDW Publishing: I WANT TO TELL DARK CLOUD STORIES. If I can tell more of them via Graphic Novel than a film franchise, then that’s what I’ll do. A film franchise is still a goal, down the road, but I WANT TO TELL THESE STORIES!
Chris did not ‘get’ that this is NOT a one-off knock to get a film! [That’s partly my bad, since he was right when he pointed out that the website has emphasized Film really too much. I didn’t realize that people were not going to get that my focus is to tell Dark Cloud stories, irrespective of medium, provided it’s a visual. Also, I come from that background, so guess what I’ve talked about, here. It’s not a bad background for visual story telling in itself, since if you’ve ever focused on screenplays, given how ferocious the competition is, your writing standards and the quality of your story telling is going to be very high!]
I repeat: I WANT TO TELL DARK CLOUD STORIES. Plural. Visual. I’m just flexible about the medium is all. I find a publisher? I will be sharing with them future Dark Cloud stories as well.
Still, Thank You for taking the time to talk with me, Chris.
I’m giving another Publisher I spoke with some time to read and digest the hard copy I gave him (This is still not self-published!) before following up and seeing what he has to say. Hopefully he has some good information for me.
I want to get this story out there – And then I want to follow it up with MORE Dark Cloud stories.
Post-February 14, 2020: Actually Getting the Graphic Novel to Market:
(To read about the creation part of Dark Cloud as a Graphic Novel in the first place, drop down to the next Bold subject line, and start reading from there.)
Now the Real Work begins…
Laying things out, I will need to get a Literary Agent. Honestly? If I just wanted it published, that wouldn’t be a problem. Why? Read about it in the Blog, too! (In fact, one Publisher I talked to said I didn’t need an agent. “It’s just an excuse to lose 15% of what you get,” he said. Maybe “Si,” / Maybe “No.” In part that depends on experience.) However, I want the best placement, advertising, and marketing for this, and it’s got a specific genre. For that, I’m willing to share a percentage and get this to a Literary Agent. After all, they know a lot more about the business than I do. It’s worth it.
Before I approach any Literary Agent (and I still owe copies to a ton of people who have been waiting,) I need to:
- Print out a copy of the final draft and sending it snail mail, along with Form TX, to the Library of Congress to register my copyright. (The copyright already exists, but registration affords some important rights and remedies should someone do a knock-off or try to claim credit where none exists.) I’ll also be including it on flash drive, but I just have a sneaky little feeling that files can get corrupted… That’s why I’m not doing an electronic file upload to the Library of Congress. The fee is still $85.
- After I get the postal Return Receipt back, approaching that particular Literary Agent who expressed an interest. He’s the best choice for the job, so I’ll give him a shot first. If it doesn’t work out there are always other Literary Agents.
- If he decides to pick it up, I then need to bounce off him that I want to do a personal print run, since I can think of where to place 100 – 200 complementary copies right off the bat. Most of those are contacts in the Film Industry. I’ve had a dickens of a time getting people to read the screenplay, but a lot of people want to see this! I’ve been itching to tell this story and still want at least one film out of it. That means that people need to know. One agent told me that as long as a dollar doesn’t change hands and there’s no ISBN on the book, then it’s not considered self-publishing. But at that number of copies? I’m just double-checking.
- Then I do a print run for personal purposes. (Getting copies to send to all those people on a complimentary basis.) I’m pretty sure I’ll go with a company out of Canada, but more on that later as it happens. I’ve also scouted what looks like a promising company in San Diego, so you never know. The time that takes to happen is all of: submitting the print-ready file to the company, they set it up, they send me a proof copy for approval, then they do the print run, and finally they send the copies back to me. Then I have to actually snail mail the hard copies to those that are on the running list I’ve been keeping of who all get a complimentary copy.
Yes, the Real Work has begun…
Before February 14, 2020: Actually PRODUCING the Darn Thing:
Chapters 1-4 are now complete! It’s almost finished! There’s still some work to do overall, but relatively speaking? Not much!
So how does one create a Graphic Novel? It’s actually somewhat similar in process as creating an actual feature length film, just not as complex. Read on…
First, me and Jared took the screenplay that I wrote, sat down with it, and he did most of the work writing an adaptation for Graphic Novel format. (Well, all of it, actually. I just tweaked some things here and there. Hey! I already put all that work into writing a decent screenplay!) The medium of a Graphic Novel is different than a film. I’d have had to back up and take into account whole new considerations for telling a story: things like the portrayal of thought bubbles in this medium for example (which is not so in film.) Little touches like that. Jared was already familiar with them, and had practice using them, so I told him, “Go for it.” I also felt the story could be better, so I asked him to weigh in on any changes he thought might be good, too. I agreed with some, but not others, and we worked it out. It’s a two-way process.
It also turns out that even after I’ve learned so much about writing, nobody ever mentioned all there is to Dialogue aside from “Make it Fit the Character.” I knew something was missing, and that’s why I asked Jared to weigh in. After he wrote his adaptation, and before he got me Chapter 1, I discovered a treasure trove of information about all the in’s and out’s of writing dialogue. So that’s what was missing! I’m glad I asked someone else to weigh in, and had the where-with-all to realize when I needed help! Oh well. It just means that I’ll be that much more of an even better writer when I write the sequel. That’s a skill you never stop improving on, your whole life long, if you write.
We finally settled on a script we were both happy with.
Jared asked me if I had any camera angle considerations that I absolutely wanted in there. Actually, I had the whole script worked out when it came to camera angles – but it was for a prior version of the script, and I’d changed the story quite a bit in early 2018. Again, I told him to go for it, and he thumbnailed out the whole thing, then ran it by me. (Thumbnailing is the comic book equivalent of storyboarding in film.) Again, I only wanted a few changes, and he didn’t have a problem with that. (Really cool guy to work with! =)
Then came setting aside the time for a shoot, and casting the actors. Jared’s style is to shoot actors against a green screen, then color / ink over the stills in PhotoShop, and digitally insert the backgrounds. If you want to see more, go ahead and pop over to the Loaded Barrel Studios website. The link is on the bottom of the home page. Oh, all right. I’ll put it here, too: http://www.LoadedBarrelStudios.com
We shot the actors against a green screen over 3 days in early June of 2019. Yes! I will get each and every one of you (oh wonderful actors who participated,) a copy of the final Graphic Novel after it’s complete and I do a personal print run. =) Both me and Jared were exhausted. Nor is this his only project! Jared Directed. I worked with the actors from the point of view of watching for the little things that might detract from believability (how to hold a gun, start a fire without matches, what night time is like in the desert and away from the cities…,) character backstories, their psychology, all that good stuff. That’s more along the lines of Content Creation. What we do complements each other, not conflicts.
You’d have to check with Jared as to what is the nitty-gritty for how he does what he does after this point, but on August 17th I got Chapter 1! (Yay! *Jumps up and down!*) =) This is happening! =D Another week, and we had the same chapter finished, with the minor revisions I pointed out. (Isn’t Jared a sweetheart. Aw…) On November 7th I got Chapter 2! (*Sandra does a little Happy Dance.*) December 8th I got Chapter 3. (I’d do another little happy dance, but I was on a trip for the week following getting Chapter 3, and it exhausted me!) I’ve asked him to put a little section in the back of the Graphic Novel that talks about how he does his thing, since even in L.A. a lot of people react with surprise when I mention his method. They haven’t heard of it before – but it works.
Chapters are now coming along about once a month. There was a little bit of a delay on getting Chapter 2, since Jared has been showing his first feature length film that he Directed, at a number of Film Festivals (9 awards so far for that!); plus there was the NY Comic Con to attend along with the L.A. Comic Con (I was there this year too, in October 2019, scouting for people to take this to publishing and distribution. You never can know too many people! Read about people’s reactions in the Blog.) It amounts to about a month that was a wash, but this is part of why things take time.
Hey! This takes awhile! A Graphic Novel can easily take about a year to create. “Patience, Grasshopper.” Still, I anticipate that it should be finished by mid February 2020. Jared was shooting for the end of 2019, but part of my job is to keep realistic time-lines for people and understand that people often over-estimate themselves, so I wasn’t disappointed when he said he would need more time. I figured as much would happen, and this isn’t a death march.
It’s still in production, though this is really more like ‘Post’ if you were to use a film terminology equivalent.
Then it’s off to find a publisher / distributor… I’ve got leads there as well, in addition to a literary agent I’ll be looking up once it’s finished, who also expressed some interest. For now, read all about it in the Blog. Once it reaches that stage, I’ll start writing about it here on this page as well.