The Business of Flight: Questions for Kazu

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Michael Firman
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The Business of Flight: Questions for Kazu

Post by Michael Firman » Thu Nov 18, 2004 1:05 am

Hey Kazu, I sent this as an e-mail a while ago and I don't mean to pester, but I thought it might have simply become lost amongst a deluge of other e-mails:

I mentioned this a while ago: I'm hoping to gather a slew of super talented artists for a comic anthology, akin to Flight but of a different theme/nature. First of all, I'm hoping this doesn't seem like I'm trying to produce a mindless derivative, for I was simply impressed and inspired after reading Flight. It would be my expectation that with a new band of emerging artists the work would be taken in a new direction based on its own momentum, so I hope you don't feel cheated or anything. Let me know if such is the case.

Anyhow, I direct my questions to you because you seem to have acted in the role I wish to assume: the big cheese that tries to gather all the work and put it together for publishers. My knowledge of how this process is actually carried out is minimal. First, concerning publishers: how many did you submit to before Image made a deal? Are comic publishers generally open to unsolicited submissions, or did you enlist in the services of some sort of agent?

Second, unless you are uncomfortable in discussing so, may I ask how the profits of Flight are divided? I don't mean actual numbers, but just a general sense of whether or not all of your earnings are split evenly amongst the artists, or if you paid them a set amount at the beginning of the project to own the rights to print their work. Did you set up contracts? And how big of a cut can the publisher be expected to take?

I'm hoping this is something I can accomplish, there are a lot of skilled artists I know whose work I'd love to make available to a wider audience. I'll be posting my own ideas or creations for anthology content in these forums to gather advice and criticism, but right now I'm curious about what I may be facing in the business aspect of developing an anthology. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Keep up the awesome work.

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Post by Kazu » Thu Nov 18, 2004 1:38 am

To be completely honest, I just wanted to create a forum to house the kinds of stories that I wanted to write and draw. I noticed that a lot of other people around me were looking for the same thing, so I asked them if they wanted to join in on the fun. That's it.

We've been very fortunate not to have had to submit any proposals to Image for the book. Erik Larsen saw it at APE and wanted to publish it.

I have an agent for my personal work now, but for Flight, I basically act as the agent and handle most of the business stuff. That's beginning to change, as I have brought aboard a friend to help in that department. I want to handle as little of the business side of this as possible. My focus is to be a creator and not a businessman or even an editor. Creating the book is secondary to creating good work.

We did not set up contracts, though we have drafted one recently, and I'm not comfortable talking about financial matters in a public forum.

I wish you luck, Michael. My best piece of advice to give is to concentrate on just doing good stuff, and hope that things fall into place. Just talking about all this stuff is unproductive if you're not already working on a good book, and thinking about it will hinder your progress as a creator. Again, good luck! :)
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Post by hope » Thu Nov 18, 2004 6:58 am

Speaking for myself, I was sucked in entirely by the luminous art and personality of Kazu. Unless you have a charismatic, brilliant, kind (and pathologically hardworking) person like him fronting things–someone great artists respect and want to work with–I suspect you'll have a really hard time pulling something like this off. It was one in a million.

-Hope

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Post by Kazu » Thu Nov 18, 2004 10:07 am

:oops: Aw, thanks Hope.
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Post by rodguen » Thu Nov 18, 2004 1:50 pm

Hope< my thoughts exactly.

(com'on,Kazu, do me that sweet blushing thing again...)

r.

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Post by Kean » Thu Nov 18, 2004 2:29 pm

Yep, Hope hit the nail right on the head.

(I also did it for the nookie, but alas, the closest that I came to getting any was from Phil. :shock: )

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Post by neil » Thu Nov 18, 2004 3:10 pm

*slowly backs away from kean*

Yeah, since there's no guarantee that anything will come of the project, you really need someone of great talent, respectability, and all-around amazing character to put your trust into. That's why I was so key to this book! No, just kidding.

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Post by Kean » Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:13 pm

I also signed on to Flight so that I could work with Neil, because he's such a modest guy. :roll:

:wink:

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Post by hope » Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:20 pm

I only speak the truth, Kazu. Obviously, as so many people have backed me up. :)

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Post by Kazu » Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:14 pm

:oops: Hehehe. Thanks, everyone. This book would also not be anything if it was just me. I'm lucky to have a lot of talented friends who like to inspire each other, and who inspire me. Flight was made just so we'd have some place to put the work, but it's become such an awesome way to meet so many great, talented people...
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Post by Kazu » Thu Nov 18, 2004 6:04 pm

Michael, I'm realizing this may not be helping you too much. Getting back on topic, I think what you oughtta do is gather a few likeminded folks that are pretty much where you are right now as an artist, and form a small group to create a collaborative project (all of the artists on the first book were pretty much in the same boat already, in terms of skill level and experience). Don't shoot too big, just work on something small, and hopefully it can grow into something bigger.

On publishing...

When I started putting together this book, I saved up money to print it myself, and told everyone that I would publish it no matter what. It wasn't until much later that I started seeing that we could go to a publisher with it, since the material was actually very good. I suggest starting a small forum to kick around ideas, then take the initiative to get the ball rolling on one small project and hope the others are with you on it. In any case, I wish you luck!
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Post by Michael Firman » Thu Nov 18, 2004 9:24 pm

Wow, thanks for all the advice, this has been a great help, Kazu.

I just want to clarify, I'm not trying to come off as an overly-hopeful young'n who is crossing his fingers and thinking "If I don't get published soon I'll just DIE!" I'd like to get these artists together and produce work together for the experience itself. But if by some chance there were a possibility of being published, or if we felt our creations should be peddled to publishers, I'd like to have an idea ahead of time about how some of that stuff works. It can never hurt to know, right? :wink:

So I will focus on the work quality, thanks for the advice. I'm glad there are things out there like Flight to act as inspiration. I don't find it all that surprising that it was your work (all of you's) to snag that "one in a million" opportunity.

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Post by Rad Sechrist » Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:43 am

Tripwire: Just have fun and everything will fall into place. The best plan is to have no plan. Just let the project be organic and take on a life of its own. That's what we did and the publisher found us.

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Post by Michael Firman » Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:17 pm

I've assembled almost a full team of 12 artists, and there's a lot of excitement about this project (one of them said, "If we make something about 1/50th as cool as Flight, we'll have done well").

Unfortunately I think that the "sensible" thing to do is formulate contracts ahead of time, just in case way down the road an issue comes up. I guess this means I'll have to seek out a lawyer, and I hear that's a huge blow to the wallet. Eek.

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