A fantastic interview with an American animation producer, comic book writer, talent agent, and co-founder of Innovation Publishing.
November 10, 2020
David Campiti is an American animation producer, comic book writer, talent agent, and co-founder of Innovation Publishing. As CEO of Glass House Graphics, Campiti oversees an international animation studio and agency of illustrators, writers, painters, and digital designers, producing artwork for such clients as Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, TokyoPop, Del Rey Manga, Reader's Digest Books, and Scholastic Books, as well as Disney, DreamWorks, Hasbro, Del Rey, St. Martins Press, and many others.
David: I know this doesn't quite answer your question but it's on my mind, I've had artists that are actually on our roster that will work for some of the smaller companies, Dynamite and so forth, sometimes for years at the low rates that company like Dynamite will pay. And they'll come to me Dave, “I've been doing this for four years, isn't it time you got me into DC and Marvel?” I said, “Oh, great! When are you going to give me a DC and Marvel type of work?” And they’ll say, “Oh, okay. I can give you a sample”. And they give me a sample but it's the same level that they've been doing for the smaller company. Because here's what happens, when I get an artist a job at a smaller company, to me, okay, we'll take the small money if the artist is okay with it and so forth, we don't make much on a commission, but that's fine. I look at every job as an opportunity for artists to learn and grow. This book should be better than his book last month, which should be better than the one the month before because they're learning new techniques, the more you draw the better you should get. Realistically that doesn't happen for some of these guys. They look at, “Oh, I'm only making $85 a page and I've got to turn in the book in 25 days, 28 days”, whatever it is. So they get into a habit of doing work that's just good enough to get approved by the small publisher paying than $85 pay. They're not growing and improving so that there's a wow factor so I can then take that book show it to a Marvel or DC editor who then says, “Oh man, I have to hire them now”. And if there isn't that drive for the, in the artist's own mind to be better, he doesn't get better. So Marvel and DC will look at that stuff and they're not interested because it's not on the same level of the work that they're willing to pay four times as much money for. So, again dealing with the reality of the business, so I look for artists that will not only be better than most of the samples that I'm receiving but once you are good with the critiques and will give me feedback that, “Okay, I've learned this so I'm redoing this on this pages. One of the scariest things of trying to teach an artist that is just kind of decent but I might be able to take him on if he improves just one more level is if I spend a half-hour or an hour or sometimes more reviewing the portfolio. I send them all these notes it's like “Oh, okay. That's great. Thank you!”. And they don't fix the pages. I'll give you a perfect example, one artist, he's on my roster, so not just artist not on my roster, guys on my roster do this too. Decent artist, he's gotten one or two really good jobs. He was fortunate enough to have Jim Lee spend an hour with him to go through every page in his portfolio and give him a solid critique. “Alright this page, you need to rework this chasing person like this, here sure. Why this? This is how to make it better. This panel, all right, you haven't done enough with light and shadow so there's no separation here. If an inker says it's going to be black on black…”, just all these things that would actually help him to be better. He went through it and he was so proud he got this critique from Jim Lee, posted all over social media. And three weeks passed when he comes to me, “Well, did you get me a job at DC?”, I said, “How? From what?”. He said, “Well, Jim Lee reviewed my stuff”, but I said, “That's fantastic. Send me the pages you revised”. And his face went white and he said, “I never thought to do that”. “Really? That's why he went through those pages to see that you would learn. So not only should you go back and show those pages with all those editorial revisions but showing new pages that show that you've actually learned from the critique”. “Oh, but that's a lot of work”. Okay if you're not willing to do the work, I've got these other guys over here who might be and maybe they'd be happy to get the job”. So it depends on how hungry you are. How much you want it how much you want or need to learn. Makes sense?
Ramon: Absolutely. Now, I think you mentioned you wanted to show some stuff.
David: Yeah, but we have other questions before we get to any of this?
Ramon: We can go through this stuff and I will take questions from the audience.
David: Yeah, because some of these might be good an answer to some of the questions which is why I asked.
Ramon: So, it's up to you. We can do questions from the audience now and then…
David: We can do some questions and I can jump into this.
Ramon: So, does anybody have any questions? Jonah?
Jonah: Yeah, hi. I have a question. It's funny that you're the head of Glass House Graphics because I actually spent a couple of days at work this week looking up younger graphic novels from other Publishers. I work at Scholastic and I saw the younger graphic novels that you're working on with SNS. I think it's like, what is it like “Super Turbo” and…
David: “Super Turbo”, “Dragon Kingdom”…
David: … what’s the other one, I know there’s three of them there…
Jonah: “Pop Detectives”.
David: Yes, “Pop Detectives”. See, you know better.
Jonah: Yeah, like I said, yeah, I put all this together and like a giant Word document. I spent a lot of time looking at the Amazon pages for you know, your books.
David: We're also doing “Heroes in Training” and “Goddess Girls” and we've got two more on tap to start next year and that's interesting because I have on my list to be reaching out to Scholastic. So…
Jonah: Oh okay.
David: … but if you're the guy to talk to or you can direct me who to talk to I'd love it.
Jonah: Well, I'm curious about how that came about because most of the other younger graphic novels that are being published in the book trade are like, you know they're like an author-illustrator sort of one person who has an idea for a series and then a publisher signs them up to sort of more of the conventional publishing model. So how did SNS choose you to illustrate their line of younger graphic novels and you know, how did you kind of rise above the pack I guess when they make that decision?
David: Word of mouth. I got a call from a senior art director there we introduced himself and told me that he was talking with basically his equivalent over DreamWorks publishing and he said, “I'm having a hell of a time because we have a bunch of graphic novels on a tight schedule, I don't know what to do”. And he said, “Call Dave Campiti”. He said “Who?” He said, “Dave Campiti, Glasshouse Graphics, they do a ton of stuff for us here at DreamWorks and they're proved DreamWorks artists. We know that you work for Disney too, they won't let you down”. So, he Googled, I’m the only David Campiti on the planet, which is nice. So, thousands of listings about me. So I said, “Oh, shit, he does “Hero Alliance”. I remember hero Alliance when I was a kid. And so he got in touch and he told me we want to build up a line of kids’ books. We want to compete with Scholastic and all these others and I said, “I can help get you there”. And he gave me this really tough assignment. He said, “Here's the thing a book like “Super Turbo”, 135 pages, we wanted to do six of them in a year”. I do the math. I'm going to do the math. Okay, so a comic book in a consistent style, they need 810 pages in a year. Now think of these artists who do 20 pages a month and are exhausted doing that. Are you going to get a guy to do 810 pages a year? I can get it done because I have teams where I can put a master artist that's going to set the style. We have a layout artist. We have a couple of finishers, a couple of colorists, the letterer. So this team of five or six is on this book. This team is on “Goddess Girls”, this is on “Heroes in Training”, this is on “Super Turbo”, this is in “Dragon Kingdom” and so forth. And we don’t miss deadlines. We finished most of that round of the first six of all three of those, we’re working on “Goddess Girls” and “Heroes in Training” now. And in fact that one they said, “Oh, you know, you're so good with all this other stuff. What about writings?” I said, “We represent writers, I have about 12 of them on our roster and I can recommend somebody”. And they said, “What about you?” I said, “Well, I’m running Glass House.” And they said, “Well, we'd like you to consider doing”, and he sent me “Goddess Girls” and “Heroes in Training”. And I started laughing because I said, “This is exactly like the type of kids’ books that I read my daughter”, when she was six, seven, eight, nine years old. I know how to do this stuff and they assigned me “Goddess Girls” and “Heroes in Training”, I've written 1,532 pages in the past year. How's that for a writing schedule? While running Glass House and while running an animation studio. I'm pretty good with deadlines.
Ramon: Anybody else has any questions?
David: Yes, sir.
Ramon: Go ahead Cristian.
Cristian: David, I love your answers and it's really exciting to listen to you like break down the whole process, I, myself have started out in animation and have been drawing comics and been a freelancer for 18 years now and I'm wondering like you said that your focus now is the animation that is more lucrative…
Cristian: …and how does, so really actually, I've been actually personally looking to work with a company for a few years to have consistent work because I'm a freelancer. So what's the best way to reach you to get that feedback and potentially get work?
David: Anybody at any time can write, can email me. Considering what I do and how busy I am, I have made it a point of my life to be the guy that responds. firstname.lastname@example.org comes directly to me. And if you're working with me, or if you're someone that I'm trying to train, Facebook Messenger is always open and I'm chatting back and forth. My screen usually has four or five screens open and I'm talking to different people at the same time and that's constant during my day.
Cristian: That's great. Thank you and I will follow up tonight. Also, because you manage so much and I love your kind of, you seem very kind of a meditative personality and I'm wondering what do you do? Because I think it's helpful even for Freelancers like what do you do when you have so much work and you're juggling so many things in different avenues to relax and then to kind of have that clear mindset?
David: Honestly, my break in the day is going to the gym. Since the pandemic started, a little before that because I took on all this writing work from Simon & Schuster, I will start my day at about 11:00. I'll run it to about 6:30 or 7:00. I go to the gym for an hour. I have dinner with my family. Maybe I'll watch something and I come back down here again at 10 and I work till 3:00 in the morning writing. And so I'm putting in a long day, but the actual physical break away from the computer, away from any of this stuff is very important. And I find that if I'm watching stuff with my family it's also not going to be comic book shows.
David: I do watch those but what I have time I usually will watch something like that myself. So my breakaway, okay, my wife wants to watch Dancing with the Stars, we're going to watch that. If she wants to watch you know, the Miss USA pageant? All right, I'll sit here, watch it with you. So that's what I'm interested in is, you know, I enjoy movies, when I read books, usually there is far away from comic stuff as you can get. I will read books on politics, books on business, stuff along those lines, if it's going to be anything comic related that I'll read it's not going to be a graphic novel it's going to be the history of DC Comics, biography of John Buscema, anything that will improve my knowledge of business rather than reading the comics themselves, which when you get to the point that I met, you can't read comics for enjoyment anymore. I've been doing Comics, I've been in the business since 1982, 38 years. So it's to the point any comic I pick up, there we go, any comic I pick up I'm going to flip through and the first thing I'm going to be doing is no don't do two pages side by side that are full bleed it confuses the reader because they're going to read it across, you know. Oh, this lettering is half a point too large. Why did they do that? Oh my gosh, that balloon tail is too thin. I analyzed and edit as I go along so I can't read it for enjoyment anymore. And so I get as far away from the computer screen as I can. That's how I do.
Ramon: Does anybody else has a question. Go ahead, Robert.
Robert: Hi David! In the future can you give me your contact information because I kind of missed it?
David: All right, sure.
Robert: In the chat, you can post it.
David: Alright, so it's very easy, email@example.com. No special hyphens, no, nothing in there.
Robert: Got you.
David: Alright. You could also if you're curious about stuff I'm talking about for the past 8 years 10 years, whatever it's been I've been writing an occasional blog at DavidCampitit.com and I don't post on it real often but most of the posts are expanded version of things I'll talk about on Facebook and its different aspects of Storytelling and preparing portfolios for editors and mistakes that artists make and so forth. Example, you would be amazed at the artists that will send a portfolio but don't seem to know their own name. They'll send artwork and it'll be labeled Art 1.jpg, Art 2. Jpg, unless their name is Art, that's not helpful. If they would get me Bennett, Hulk pencils 1 of 20. I know the artist's name, what the project is, what service it is trying to show me, how many are in the sequence, everything's there. And so I write all about that kind of stuff, the right way to approach editors, the wrong way to approach editors. I give examples of people that will come up to me at conventions what they've said and done right and wrong. So there's so much to learn from the blog that will be helpful.
David: Also, I have a Facebook page under my name. There are a couple of different Glasshouse Graphics pages. And so there are all kinds of interesting stuff there that you can learn well.
Robert: Thank you very much. Here's my question, I would like to have an artist look at my script, is there a process I had to go through if I were to contact Glass House Graphics?
David: Okay. The first question is going to be, you got any money?
Robert: Not at the moment. That's why I stay in the future [inaudible] you-know-what I’m very honest with you.
David: One of the main things that drive artists and us crazy is the person that will come to us and say, “I'm looking for somebody to partner with for my comic”. “Okay? Well, we’re willing to be your artistic partner”. “No. No, I mean partner in a more general sense”, they will say. Okay, are you saying you want us to finance your dreams and make your dream come true rather than making the artist’s own dream come true? Oh well, when you put it that way. Yeah, it's very simple, anybody that's wanting to come to us and we treat individuals and publishers the same way, everybody gets fair attention from us. So if you come to me and say, “Okay, I have a project that I want to raise money on yourself, do a Kickstarter, or I'm planning this whole out of my pocket. Here's what I'm trying to accomplish. It's a fantasy project. It's kind of like this. I've written a 120-page story. I want to get it drawn, lettered, colored. Here are some jpegs of some styles either off your page or that I found online that is the kind of style I imagine for my project”. And I'll take all that and I'll say, “Okay, what is your budget?” And I can often work backward from the budget and try to find you the right people in your budget range. You may come to me with a certain budget that I can only afford $100 a page for pencils, my entire budget is 150. All right, I can find you a colorist of 40 bucks, a letterer of 10 bucks, and make the whole thing work. I have an “A” list, “B” list, and a few cases of “C” list artists to try to accommodate those lower budgets. And in every case, I will give a publisher or editor whatever the good, the bad, and the ugly about the artist or team that you're working with. You might be getting great results, but you're not going to get a book in 28 days. You tell the artist 28 days, you're going to get it in 34 days because it's proper preparation so that you know going in so that the only surprises are good surprises.
Ramon: Hey David, does that include project management?
David: That's part of what we're doing here. You know, most agents are there and just put the editor and the artists together, and then okay, give me my 10 percent or 15 percent or whatever their commission is and we're trying to help the projects along. The artists that have been properly trained by us don't need coaching or don't need a babysitter because we can just trust them to do the job and get it on time. Even then it's usually best if the editor and artist just copy me on everything that's coming through so that way if an email didn’t get through or there's a question or whatever it might be. I'm in the loop so I can help solve a problem. Part of that is if everybody's communicating properly we can solve a problem before it ever gets to the client. A job come through here not long ago where I knew the artist was going to all behind because he lived in a hurricane area. So there was damage to his property and he said, “I’m going to fall two weeks behind here, and I don't know what to do”. All right, let me handle it. So, I found him a background inker on a few pages, I found him somebody that does his layouts, and so forth. So we sort of massage the project through style remains consistent. We got it done on time and the editor didn't even know the difference. Afterward, we said, “By the way, he had some help on that to get it in on time because this happened”, “Oh, I didn't even notice. It looks great! Thanks!” So just part of what we do. I don't consider it project management. I consider doing my friggin job.
Ramon: Alright, anybody has any other questions?
Robert: I have a bit of a follow-up question based on that information.
David: Of course.
Robert: My apologies it’s just very insulting that's [inaudible] for me, you brought up the concept of “A” list pricing and “B” list pricing, can you give me an idea of what an “A” list price will be so it can least keep that in mind when I start saving up.
David: Sure, sure. Somebody that I would say an A-list artist is the one that's used to getting Marvel or DC rates. So in the case of a penciler depending on where in the pecking order of pencilers they are it could be a penciling rate of anything from a 180 up to 500 dollars a page, sometimes even more than that. If they're an inker, it could be in anywhere from a 100 to say 220 of pay. I've got a colorist you can be 92 upwards of 200 a pay. For covers, it's the usual rate and a half plus $50 unless you're specifically, you know, especially cover painter Art [inaudible] or something then you're in the stratosphere and you're charging what you're charging. If you're a realist artist, then your rates are going to be you know, hundred, hundred fifty anywhere from a hundred to that hundred eighty a page range. You're inking rate is going to be significantly less you're going to fall in that 60 to a 100 range. If you're a colorist is going to be 50 to 90 instead of 90 and up. And these are guys that aren't quite ready for prime time as they say but they'll get work from the secondary Publishers. Then you've got guys that are just borderline and they're going to be artists rather than colorists so they’re going to accept coloring work at 35 to 50 a page because they're still learning. They're going to be pencilers that are going to accept less than say 85 on the page because it's the only thing they can get. And for me, it's okay if they're taking those small rates as long as they are treated as earn while they learn situation because the goal is always to get everybody better to make everybody an A-list artist eventually. That happened, but that's the goal.
Ramon: Shadey had a question.
David: Yes. Yes.
Shadey: Hi, so I want to know because I know you do a lot for your clients giving them artists and colorists and I want to know do you guys offer marketing as well is it up to the client to figure out to promote their books?
David: I'm sorry. I missed part of that, it broke up.
Shadey: How do you give your clients their artists and the colorists and stuff? Do you also offer marketing at all, or is that up to the client to figure out how to promote those books?
David: I don't offer marketing. Early on I did and as I took on more animation stuff, I let that go by the wayside. There are only so many hours in a day and I'm pretty tapped out. And unfortunately, I don't know any marketing people anymore. The ones that I knew have either retired or gone into other businesses at this point.
Shadey: The reason I asked is that because I do more vlogging and like content creation around comics. So I tried to promote books that are coming out both within like DC or [inaudible] stuff. So I was just curious if things…
Ramon: David there are artists like post their work on social media when they're working on the project?
David: Smart ones do. Because you got to do everything you can and that's part of the problem. It's part of why Glasshouse exists because I believe that artists need to spend their time drawing. Yes, and artists can chase after jobs. Yes, an artist can negotiate contracts. An artist can set up his discussions with the convention when we start having conventions again for you know personal appearances and all these other things but every hour that they spend doing those other things is less time they spend at the drawing table. So there are they're making less money, they’re accomplishing less. So, we as an agency, not only help review their stuff when they need it but coming to the rescue with problems and dealing with contracts and all these other things makes it easier for the artist to just draw which is why an artist Like Mike Deodato or Will Conrad, people that were at the top of their game for many years still stayed with Glass House because I could do those other things for them so they could just draw and get their work done. So, it made sense to do that for them. Other questions?
Jonah: I have one more actually. So, it seems like most of your artists are working in a work-for-hire capacity sort of a page rate or a flat rate.
Jonah: So, my first question is do you have any artists who are working in more of a typical sort of Book trade deal where you know, they get the copyright on their artwork, they get royalties that sort of thing and then [inaudible]…
Jonah: … my follow-up question is, you know, do you do any negotiating the contracts on behalf of the of your artists?
David: Yes. Yes, and I also have an attorney on retainer that does stuff that we can't handle in-house. Fortunately, I've been dealing with contracts for 38 years, but occasionally there's something I'm not familiar with and so they can come to the rescue and help with any special things. But yes, to answer your question. We have produced quite a few creator-owned projects over the years including some of my own and are happy to shop those around to Scholastic or anywhere else that would be interested in taking a look. I know that over the years. I've had Publishers tell me the only graphic novels they're interested in or ones that come from a really personal point of view that they weren't interested in fantasy or sweeping epics or big adventures they wanted personal stories about someone's teenage years when they wore braces, you know, okay? Fine, we have people that can do that. I can do that. But fortunately, with a talent roster of over 200 people, we can deliver pretty much anything the client would need. Let me show you something, I’m going to try to share the screen here and we're going to see if we can make this work. All right. I'm going to pull up this, can see my desktop? Can everybody see my desktop?
David: All right. We're going to try something here. I hope it works and I don't embarrass myself too much. Let's see. Give me a moment here. At least I thought I had something. Here we go. For a company like Scholastic or basically anybody else, we can put together one of these things, a creative services portfolio. That’s a cool piece. So get a look here. Just about any kind of style somebody needs. The more interesting odd stuff. It's the kind of thing, which goes well with some of the graphic novels we're doing.
Ramon: Do you have an art director or you’re doing that too?
David: I'm sorry?
Ramon: Do you have an art director or are you doing that too?
David: I do that. I'm doing it for a long time.
David: See, you get the idea. Just about any style anybody could want, you know, this was done up for Simon and Schuster, it could work for any of the book publishers that want this more accessible but not “superheroes-ey” kind of thing.
Ramon: Anybody else has any questions?
David: That gives you an idea. Any other? If not I can just show you some stuff.
David: To give you an example, one of the things we're often asked about. We do a lot of work for Disney worldwide publishers, DreamWorks, and folks like that that want comic art, you know in their spot on “cartoony” style, but they wanted to look like their CG animated films. So we have to do line art and color that looks like this and it is tough when you have a comical colorist coming to you and saying well, I'm interested in the 300 or 350 dollars a page that they're paying the color and then they give me comic book coloring and say, “No, I can't sell that for this”. It's got to look like the actual movies. You know, if people can give me that kind of stuff then there’s plenty of work for them. Let's see. Remember I was talking earlier in this about artists that deliver this sort of average kind of thing. It's just not good enough. We find that that that happens, especially now that so many artists are working digitally because they pick up all the shortcuts of drawing on a tablet and so forth and it don’t look like they've been drawing on a tablet that's the first sign that it's not really working, you shouldn't be able to tell. Another problem is that so many of today's artists have not looked back on Comics beyond five years ago. I was having a conversation with an artist about his inking and I brought up artist Wally Wood, one of the great inkers of the 50s and the 60s and so forth, and was describing this great stuff and the artist said, “Oh, a dead guy. So he doesn't count”. Really? This is better than this guy will ever be. It's just a very strange thing. Now, this is an example, we had a client who…
Ramon: David, you need to share your screen again.
David: Okay, hang on. Let's try this one. Did you see it?
Ramon: Yeah, we can see it.
David: Alright. The one on the left was the one that the client did for a Tesla comic. He was thrilled with the result. It was everything he wanted with the dramatic Thomas Edison face, well, that's not very dramatic, and Tesla firing a weapon and so forth. And I looked at it said, “Why is this so stiff? Why is it so boring?” And he said, “No, this is great comics”. I said, “Let me do my version”. So the one on the right is what I did or my team did, art directed by me. And I think that's what you need to deliver today, so, worlds apart. Let's see what else you like. I'm going to pull this up to make this larger so I can just figure out what to just show you here. Oh, yeah, this is what something we're going through right now. I don't know if that'll open but this one will. This was a line art for a movie “Pitch” for a wonderful movie called “It's a doggy-eat-dog world”. And so we do the line art and then we need the CG style coloring but the colorist is having problems giving us what we're looking for. Colorist came to us, “Oh, yes, I can deliver that”. “Okay, we're going to try”. It's taking twice as long as he should and delivered half the level that he should. Good thing I had a backup plan. Let's see what else I have that might be interesting for you. I did a description for a panel in the book “Heroes in Training” or describe the sweeping down shot of looking down on this sea up against a whole city and all these ships going in and I had an artist look at this, “You can't draw that. That's too much shit to draw in one panel”. Really? The artist I hired for the job did it just fine. And he draws four pages a day. So it's sometimes interesting to me that those who say they can't do it really do need to get out of the way for the ones that are already doing. I run into an awful lot of people in this business that think, “Okay, that's a dramatic punch. That's great storytelling”. And then I look at when I was growing up we were getting that kind of drama, much more powerful. And I just see way too much of it these days. Artists also get into drawing generic faces rather than understanding how faces work and heaven help me if you get a male artist and you asked him to draw the same girl with and without makeup, they freak. Especially, if this is what makeup is looking for your Instagram models these days, you give them something like that they can draw this but they can't do this and make it work because they just learned to draw a few generic attractive faces. So, it's a fascinating thing to see how some of these artists do or don't learn their craft.
Cristian: Quick question.
Cristian: David, in your examples for the 3D rendering…
David: Yes sir.
Cristian: ... is this the type of line work that's given to the colorist? Very tight linework or is it like a storyboard, rough, and then it's really the colorist that has…
David: Oh no, it’s finished. Not only is it a finished line, let me tell you how this works, we were doing a children's book, it was a “Cars” book that we're doing for Disney worldwide. I flew in with my artist at the time Fabio Laguna, we were invited to go to lunch there, and we go in and they had a 20-foot screen in the main room, they brought in their editor, their art director, their color manager, someone from Pixar and everybody's boss’ so like five people there plus Fabio Laguna and me they blew up the artwork for “Cars” every panel of this kids’ book and we're making very detailed notes with their laser pointers. “Oh, the eye on this on this car is probably 1/16 of an inch off model that has to be fixed”. “Oh, see the coloring on page 7 and the coloring on 42 of the same car let's put them together”. “Oh, they're a little bit off. It looks like two different colorists work on it”. “Two different colorists did work on it”. Oh no, that has to be consistent”. So they went through all that no fine-tooth comb as they say. So, you're not going to get rough artwork you're to get finished pencils that have been approved by the license. So big difference.
Ramon: I'll take one more question and will wrap it up. Anybody else? If not, I have a question actually, I can't use that question Dave because you already answered it. The whole advice for somebody.
David: I’ll show you other stuff.
David: Let's try this one.
Ramon: Alright, wait. We have a question from Graham. Graham, can you take the question for Dave?
David: Go on.
Graham: Hi David! Thank you for doing this.
Graham: My question is what motivates you?
David: I have a mortgage.
Graham: Besides the money.
David: Oh, okay. Is my screen still showing?
David: All right. This is playing the first book of “Heroes in Training” that I wrote, it’s coming out in the next year or early 2022 so they’re one of the kid’s books for Simon and Schuster.
David: Everything that I teach, you know, the dramatic layouts, stuff in your face, everything is not visually boring. Everything I teach here we practice what we preach as they say. So what motivates me? As I said early in this, I came in loving coming books. The whole Stanley stuff was put in the 70s, by the early 70s I wanted to write comics and it took me 10 years. But by 1982 I was out of college. I was working as a writer professionally, started selling Comics, was writing “Superman” stories for Julius Schwartz around 1984 before the reboot of Superman, and have kept out of all this time. I love comic books, can’t enjoy reading them as much anymore because as I say, I analyze them all but I love the idea of doing comics because it's a medium that's like nothing else. You can do things in comics that you can't do in a novel or short story. You do things in comics you can't do in a movie or TV show. It's a medium all of its own. It can bring some of those elements in from both but it's its own thing. And you know that brings up a pet peeve I have on the writers that come from the movie business or who you screenplay format. I rarely see a great comic book from these writers because they don't know how to write visually but when they’re using a screenplay format, they're not making the best use of the medium. Let me show you that one. Let's try this one. Are you seeing the “Goddess Girls” script?
David: Okay. I'm actually writing this “Goddess Girls” Book four right now, and I'm about to start page 94. When I'm writing these things they are all full script, all the action, and I break the balloons down. Most of these writers would do, “I'm sure. Thanks for everything”, if they're bothering to label or number their balloons at all, which most of them don't. They would lump it as one balloon. I don't do that. I think visually, I think about how does this flows across the page. Is this better if I break this sentence up into three sentences? So it has a cadence or beat to it. Now, what works the best? Now, here I've broken this into two because it will flow better visually across the page. Now, let me go back to this fresh milk, someone's here it's actually two balloons. You go through some of this bump, bump, bump, bump, okay here, I broke it into two. Here I broke it into two. Here, this guy's got three balloons. People will look at that's, “Oh, that's too many balloons”, doesn't look like too many balloons on the page. But the cadence plays out better. And it helps pull the reader's eye across the panel in some cases. So, all these little elements that help to make a better comic book are missing from a lot of the writing going on today. They're not making the absolute best use of the medium. So it's something that I try to teach all my people to do. Does that help? Anything else you want me to deal with at?
Ramon: I think we're good. I apologize. I have to go to another meeting tonight too. Thank you very much, David. Everybody, please show your appreciation for David for coming out.
Cristian: Thank you.
David: Thank you, and…
Ramon: And remember it's firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you just do a Google search for Glasshouse Graphics, you'll see his contact info on there as well. And it's a great website with a lot of good stuff on there. You can see the artist that he has on the roster. You can see samples of their work. So…
David: All right.
Ramon: David thanks so much.
David: All right, thanks. This was great. And I'm available for any questions as we go along. Reach me on Facebook Messenger or however else you like it. Thank you, everybody.
Categories: Guest Speakers