17 Comments

  1. Tim's going through the EXACT same thing right now. You two should chat. Send me a PM on Pownce if you want to! 😀

    I do think we're a generation of people living "double lives". I almost feel like I'm Clark Kent/Superman at times. I fortunately love my current "day job" – It's not too stressful and it pays me very well. All the other stuff – design, podcasting, etc – are all for fun. Could I turn it into a job? Perhaps – but it would take more effort and dedication (and balls) than I'm willing to put out. As I mentioned before, Tim is going through the same thing you are. I'm supporting us both at the moment and it's because of the fact that I'm not a typical American who has to consume consume consume! I buy things I need – and that's about it. When I bought my townhouse, I bought what I could afford on my own at the time (this was pre-Tim). It's freeing severing the ties to the capitalist machine.

    Best of luck on your endeavor – I'll be pulling for you!

  2. Your point is exactly what I'm having trouble with in planning my escape. I am working on a comic, but it's a long graphic novel type story rather than something easily broken down into chunks. I know there are some comic creators who do long stories online by posting a page or three on a regular schedule, but I wonder if that generates as much incentive to come back as one would for a comic with a self-contained story for each strip. The equivalent for writing a novel, I guess, would be to post a chapter on a regular updating basis.

    The other strategy I've been contemplating is to do another comic in a shorter strip style to bring in the traffic and offer the graphic novel as part of the merchandise. Author Cheeseburger Brown created a hilarious and touching fanfic blog from the perspective of Darth Vader shortly before Episode III came out in theaters and generated a ton of traffic to his site that way…

  3. Yeah, that's pretty much the conundrum that I'm talking about.

    The problem with posting chapters online sequentially is that, at least the way I write, stuff is constantly changing or being iterated or added on to. For every Stephen King "just write straight through and when you're done, you're done" type there's another guy who'll tell you, "Writing is 90% rewriting," (which I think is an actual quote by someone, but I can't remember who).

    I also pretty much left out the main thrust of my point about the author I enjoy . For his "paying the bills" work, it takes him right on 3 months/90 days to whip out a novel. In Intersplode Time, that's, like…forever and a week.

    That's not to say that I don't think it's flatly impossible or that I don't see advantages that electronic distribution has (instant publication; most novels take a year or more once they've been bought by the publisher to get slotted into the schedule).

  4. Thats an easier choice to make before you have a mortgage and other financial responsibilities. Ive always been poor doing something I dont care about or well off doing something I hate. Im trying for something in the middle now.

  5. I seriously wasnt trying to call you out here (I dont think you thought that, but I just wanted to be sure). You have to do what is right for you and for your family. Priorities change and what you thought you would want might be the worst thing for you, etc, etc.

    My point, and I think you agree, is that once you are locked into the "standard american" lifestyle of debt (good or bad), spending, consumerism, complacency, etc your options and escape paths begin to disappear.

  6. This is a big (series of) question(s), so let me tackle a bit of it now and maybe address the rest in the video blog or elsewhere.

    Musicians and comic artists and podcasters and comedy writers are well suited for the web because of the "I want some every day but just a little bit) mentality of the average net reader.

    The GSYFB shirt was a community effort. Future shirts will just appear in the store from time to time.

    I read an article about a novelist that was making it on "micro" installments but I honestly cant remember who it was or what they were doing. Comic artist Warren Ellis has a new comic called "Freak Angels" that he is putting out online 6 pages at a time. Its the same as a regular comic but instead of 22 pages a months you get it in much more satisfying frequent installments.

    Like the author your speaking of, there is nothing wrong with being famous for one thing (a comic, or a song or a book) and getting paid for a another because of it (speaking, advertising, ghost writing etc).

    many probloggers dont make a full income from their blogs but instead use the notoriety it affords them to do speaking gigs.

    I would be happy with this, honestly. If I never made a living off the comic but someone who loves the comic paid be to write or draw something else as a result. Sure.

    Penny Arcade doesnt really factor into any of this because they are an anomaly. The comic, the convention, the charity, the merchandising, product tie ins, and advertising are more akin to a media firm than a webcomic. They are millionaires with employees. Its a totally different scenario and one that I dont even want to attempt to replicate. Give me a a few thousand loyal supporters and a modest income and the rest is gravy.

  7. Welcome to the site.

    Check out my reply to Wadmaasi below and look into what Warren Ellis is doing with Freak Angels. He is in a different situation becuase he's already famous but you might get some ideas.

    As for doing one thing for the masses in order to gain popularity before releasing "your baby" I can see positives and negatives to that. Look at 90's band "Sugar Ray." They were a hard-ish core pop punk band for a decade. Then they released one radio friendly single ("Fly") to get the rest of their album noticed. Instead they reformed as a bubblegum pop boy band with guitars doing more and more generic consumer driven songs. Now the siner is on fucking Entertainment Tonight or some such bullshit.

    For anything to be a success you have to give it your all. If you are busy working on "the baby" you probably wont care too much about the "pop comic."

  8. No, it was cool to get a whole video blog "to myself." I agree with your main points and your broad theme. But if marriage is compromise and parenthood is responsibility then eventually you're going to have to make choices that you might wish you could avoid, or take a different path than you might have otherwise.

    Also, I'm not sure that I've really gotten across that I'm fully cognizant of the fact that no one other than myself is keeping me from writing. That knowledge (I don't know that I'd go so far as to say "acceptance") is a large part of what pisses me off about the situation. If I didn't spend so much time whining about not writing, hey, guess what? I might have more time for writing.

  9. I'd much rather be poor doing something I love than make decent money working at a job that I can't stand. I think a lot more people out there need to take a chance and try doing what they love for a living.

  10. Heck, I am poor and trying to do something I love. I'm sleeping on the floor, eating lots of ramen, shamelessly plugging my resume to complete strangers, working on crap films, crap production assistant jobs, and slinging beer when I get the chance to make rent.

    I've managed to land a pretty fantastic internship for the summer, non paid, so I'll work nights to make up for it. But I'll be buying and fabricating props for one of the biggest and best theaters in San Francisco. It's a giant step towards my dream of actually being paid to work as a production designer. (I've designed several shorts, but to be paid? Oh man…)

    Maybe I'm being naive, but to me, the world is a big ball of possibility. I know a whole heap of people in Austin who are starting their own film and video company and doing pretty well at it. Another two friends got hired on Clooney's last film. Yet another on the hush-hush Malick film (in the first camera unit, no less). My animation buddies are working for South Park, Lucasfilm Animation….one's even opened his own studio to do music videos and short animation titles for films. My doc friend is working for Atlanta PBS doing shorts for on air bumps. My old roommie is designing store layouts for IKEA. My current roomie is working his way up in the Apple Design department. Even that weird guy from art school who had terrible hair and a vacant look in his eyes got hired on a local TV show.

    We're all dirt poor, scraping by, begging, and borrowing, but we're doing it. The only people who aren't making it are the ones who give up. The air in the job market is changing.

    I've said it before, but it's true. You're in fine company, good sir!

  11. RE: Make Your Passion Your Job

    Still listening, but yeah, we live in the DC Metro area. My wife's career path is what keeps us here, even more so than that my parents and sisters (and their also-young families) are local, too.

    Ha! I've not bought a car for myself yet; I've been getting by on hand-me-downs from my parents for 15+ years. We bought a Corolla last year for my wife; being pregnant with no air conditioning was too much.

    My parents paid for my (and my sisters') school outright; I'm extremely, very, supremely lucky in that regard. My BA is in English Writing (Fiction), so of course every single one of my post-graduation jobs has been in IT. We're still paying off my wife's student loans, though; she had to pay for the entirety of her college on her own.

    I'm with you on the "keeping up with the Joneses" angle. There are only 2 reasons we're coughing up for the kind of house we're gunning for (discounting the general FUCKING RIDICULOUSITY of the housing market for this area). One is our quality of life; neither one of us wants to move further out where we could afford twice as much house for about 2/3 the price, but then have to spend 3-4 times as long commuting each day. All of that time would be time not spent with our son. The second reason is also for Calvin; the school districts in this general area range from the top 15 in the nation to pretty much the dregs of existence. Not surprisingly, houses in the areas with the higher rankings go for a lot of money, and quality of education is of deal-breaking (or making) significance for my wife.

  12. So here's sort of a question/point of discussion. You've talked a little before about you envision a sort of new economy sprouting up, where people like JoCo and yourself can be here, on the web, catering to a relatively small/niche audience and get along just fine. I'd posit that those two examples, specifically, are…not uniquely, but at least more easily suited to the medium/delivery mechanism that is the intersplode (that was a nice word invention from a few strips back, by the way) than others.

    The internet itself, as well as the type of audience that we are, is ravenous. We constantly want new, updated material. Note that here I am, stealing time from sleep and from my already-asleep wife (who didn't get home from work but 2.5 hours ago) in order to post. I've seen (or heard, as it were) a guy take a random, 1-line forum post and turn it into a catchy, completely inside-joke , self-played/recorded/mixed song in less than a day. Comic strips, quite simply, can be done on a tri-weekly basis. There's always something fresh, though I hate using that term, to keep drawing us back, generating ad-impressions and ensuring that the sheer quantity of new material will result in at least some merchandising that won't require the extended labor of love that the GYFB shirt has.

    How do "long art form" people do this and survive? Are there any examples of novelists who've done it? Is the internet patient enough to let someone type an entire new novel, and generous enough provide them with enough income to survive the in between time? One of my favorite authors is a total hack, not that I'd ever tell him so were I to meet him and I'm sure he'd argue vehemently that he is not. But for quite awhile there he made his living churning out BattleTech books (that they happened to be amongst the best of them is not saying much), military-adventures under a publisher-owned house name, and I don't even know how many novels ghost-written for celebrities, all the while working diligently on his own ideas. Is that kind of double-life conceptually any different than what you were trying before The Experiment? (Yeah, I guess it is, because at least the bill-paying writing was allowing him to hone/maintain his skills.)

    Tycho and Gabe can make all the strips they want laughing at established media distribution and mocking it as the next best thing to extinct, but I'm pretty sure they've got 4 published collections on the shelves with a fifth due shortly. And damn it all, truth be told, at the end of the day I'm a writer (or, at least, I used to be); I love physical books, and I want to be published. I want to walk into a Borders, or a Barnes and Noble, or a Books-A-Million, pick up a mass-market pulp-fiction piece of trash with a flashy cover off the shelf, walk up to the register, and buy my own book. That would be FUCKING BADASS. You know?

    I'm totally living vicariously through you and pulling hard for your success. Godspeed, you fancy bastard, and make me a shirt I can buy!

  13. The experiment has me evaluating my career path once again. Your idealism inspires and appeals to me.

    I love Daniel James' Arranging Light series. His passion for photography is apparent in all his work–so much so I keep his RSS feed tagged "enlightenment." Very cool that you know him.

    Anxiously awaiting this week's podcast, though I'll miss my favorite gay idol.

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