The trick comes when all of that does stop or all the people you’ve reached that were interested in your product or online viewings reaches its saturation point. That’s when the real work comes in for staying motivated and continuing to produce past those fans you’ve already acquired to the new and upcoming fans. That means continual working with no end in sight and quite possibly no financial outcome. This separates the ‘true’ creators from the also-rans and posers.
Some of us have to do this because there’s an itch that we just HAVE to scratch. Sometimes we can’t sleep, loose days while we produce and spend an inordinate amount of time sitting at a board or table, alone and unmoved by worldly events as we get the passion in us… out.
I want to make it clear that a vanity product is fine with me. A creators passing that vanity product off as being something they’re passionate about when it’s all they’ve done isn’t. You’ll know the difference because the true creator is always creating beyond their last work. The ‘passer’ does what they do and spends an inordinate amount of time wallowing in what WAS done instead of creating new work. If you look at all the great cartoonist’s, they all have an incredible amount of pages under their belt.
Unfortunately the internet has made the non-professional as important as the professional in that It muddies the waters against the true labors of love because It fills the arena with so much product for fans to wade through that they often miss the true gems because of it. Marvel and DC know the value of keeping the path clear to their products. They fight for all the rack space they get in the comic shops and will fill them with second and third tier characters to keep other publishers, and the vanity one shots, from taking away from their endeavors and products. Imagine if comic shops became as diluted as the web. The big two aren’t going to let that happen and I side with them on that. Only the truly dedicated should take this on and only if you’re truly creating a story worth telling and not just because they have opportunity and availability.
The web is also full of what we call ‘one shot’ers’. These are fans that only want to do the poster work of creating a billion characters that have no connection to anything else outside of that. This somehow gives them the illusion they have a ‘company’ because they have a zillion characters they’ve created or had help creating them. No real stories but they can tell you all about it except when it comes time to do the actual work of drawing out the story, you’ll find they have no talent or desire for the real work of manifesting that concept into a story. I mention this because I’ve often heard people ask: why more small press people don’t band together like Image creators did to form their own company. Many of the reasons can be read between the lines in the statements above, but to put it in better perspective…
It’s hard work to create anything consistently over time and on scheduled time. We reached out to a whole lot of producing creators who were online or doing print products to have them join us in The ADAPT™ Project. The criteria: a willingness to do a strip (most wrote back and were interested to hear more) for a year (that killed off all but 14 of all the ones that we reached out to). That’s one of the bottom lines on this. The willingness to do the work over time as you build towards creating something and making that united statement for something that everyone can be proud of.
Another thing that seems to stop small and independent creators is a willingness to work with others that might do/be better at than you. This is an unfortunate side of uniting for a singular production cause: some may not make the grade. For me that’s an easy one to overcome. Step up your game. When you work with good creators or ally yourself with good creators you either get better or get shamed. The upside is that you have a wealth of creators to learn from to actually get better. The downside is that you may have to put your ego on hold to do the learning.
There are a couple of other things that would need to be addressed in having creators work together and through The ADAPT™ Project, and we’ve worked tirelessly over the past year and a half to solve those problems and are just about ‘done.’ 2015 will be the year where we put everything we’ve learned to the test and produce some products specifically for the print market.
We’ve got one more reach out for online creators in November of 2014 to see if creators can get past their fear of work, fear of uniting and fear of competition to join something larger than themselves. We’re hoping those creators that haven’t been creating on all cylinders will be willing to get off the pot and at least attempt to gear up for themselves and the products they say they want to do. This is the defining hallmark of true creators: they create without excuses or fear.