The webcomics blog about webcomics

Isn’t Anybody Dead?

Seems like our earlier discussions re: Shelly from Wapsi Square and Ivan from Oglaf were premature. Shelly: not dead, 80,000 year old sphinx. Ivan: not dead, some kind of magical sleep. As usual, leave it to Wonderella and/or Jeffrey Rowland to cut through the crap and figure out — no Rapture, nobody dead.

  • Not that there won’t be anybody dead. Judging from the Twitterings of a one Mister Ryan Sohmer, starting here-ish and moving forward, it certainly seems like he’s mad enough to cut some sumbitches. TL;DR version: Sohmer’s relating the story of a meeting with Canada’s Teletoon network, wherein Sohmer was privy to the pitch for something called The Dating Guy that became, after the meeting, a wholesale appropriation of Sohmer’s character designs (on casual inspection, it is rather similar to Sohmer’s own Least I Could Do).

    I am inferring (and have no specific knowledge one way or the other) that said meeting considered the possibility of a LICD tv show to be developed in conjunction with Teletoon. If Sohmer’s contentions are correct, I’d be mad, too.

    The thing is, I don’t know that TDG’s original pitch looked like, I wasn’t in on any of the meetings, and I haven’t compared the TDG online content with LICD (nor am I familiar enough with LICD to draw conclusions without a deep re-reading … it’s just not my thing, you know?).

    But I do know Ryan Sohmer somewhat, and he’s a canny businessman (cheerfully mercenary is how I once described him), smart enough not to make baseless accusations against (what I presume is) a fair-sized Canadian media corporation, on account of whatever country you’re in, fair-sized media corporations really hate getting called on bad behavior and tend to retaliate.

    He’s also ambitious enough not to let a screwing distract him from his larger goals, and if LICD on the air is one of those, a few hours of public scheming (with the equally not-going-to-let-a-screwjob-go-by-quietly Randy Milholland) has resulted in the possibility of a Kickstarter campaign to accomplish (nearly on his own) what previously might have required a fair-sized Canadian media corporation¹. We shall see soon enough.

  • Also not dead: the independent creator model of business, Snuggie-comparisons notwithstanding. Jonathan Coulton has his say on the Planet Money podcast that concluded he was a fluke:

    The thing that I think most got in the way of what could have been a much more interesting discussion was some confusion about what a business model is. “Writing a song that gets discovered on Slashdot” is not a business model, any more than “putting sleeves on a blanket” is a business model. It is a thing that happened to me, that part is true, but it’s not really much of a strategy. I make songs that are good and then I sell them (and concert tickets, and Tshirts) to the people who want them – that’s my business model, and it’s patently obvious that it’s replicable because I stole it from every other recording artist in the world.

    Here are some things I do differently from some other artists: I own all my music 100%, which means I have complete control over how I sell it (or not). I can give it away, I can bundle it on a USB key or in a zip file, I can allow people to make and post music videos, and I don’t have to deal with lawyers or labels to do any of that. I also get all the profits.

    I am extremely public about my creative process, hopes and fears, victories and failures. I communicate directly with fans as often as I can without letting it become my full-time job.

    I have never spent any money on marketing and rely completely on blogs, podcasts and social networks to spread the word.

    My business model is designed especially for me, by me, and it constantly changes and evolves. Nobody, not even me, should try to do exactly what I’ve done, because there are parts of it that won’t make sense for who you are or what you’re interested in.

    Creators of any stripe may want to keep this line in their heads, substituting their own means of expression in for “music” as appropriate:

    Know only this: to do this you need to work extremely hard, make music that is great, and find people to buy it from you. The end.

    And having listed off other creators that work off a direct-interactions-with-fans model:

    I obviously don’t know the details of everyone’s business, but I’m guessing that we have this one thing in common: we’ve all decided that it’s fine with us if we reach fewer people as long as we reach them more directly.

    I truly believe that the sooner we all acknowledge the internet is not actually killing art, the sooner we can get back to making things that are awesome.

    Good thoughts all the way through, and well worth your attention. Go. Read. Absorb. Adopt. Evolve. Prevail.

_______________
¹ Either that or Milholland porn. The mind reels.

this is horrible, I hope Sohmer demands them or screw them over taking someone else work is just awful.

Oh, Shelley is dead, and her older(?) self has her Machine of Death slip now. The only question is how long did it take for her to get into the relic the last 56 times. (Also, that comic does horrible things to tenses.)

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