General Discussion

Partners, teams, and collaborations, oh my!
Snevilly at 3:51PM, Feb. 1, 2013
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If this isn't in the right spot, please just tell me/move it. I wasn't sure if it should be here as a General Discussion among everyone or in Community Networking, or in Comic talk/tips/tricks. This me asking for people to actually work on anything. I just wanted to talk about working on comics as partners, teams, and collaborations in terms of the different ways its being done, the sorts of things that pop up, and the sorts of resources available for people who want to work with others.
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I know there are good examples of working partnerships on DD and I'd love to hear from anyone who is willing to chat. And are there examples of people who are working in a group of 3+?
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So basically I've noticed a lot of indie artists work alone. Then there are those who work in teams of Writer and Artist, but I haven't seen many amature groups that form to break the job distribution down further than that. I know that the more people involved, the more chance for something to go wrong and it might be easier for a group to stay together if they're basically being paid to do just that, like a traditional comic team. I'll call this Group Orientation. I think that other issues that might pop up under the Group Orientation tag might be things like personality clash, and differences in work ethic/time they can actually commit to achieving the group’s goal. It could also include issues of leadership, but that might also fit under the Business End.
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I also know that its more difficult for indie artists to meet up and form collaborations than in traditional publishing, but I don't know how much of a deterrent that obstacle would be….and if its a big one, what can we do to fix it? This is the internet and if there's one thing it has in spades (aside from porn) it's the variety of people using it. This is Networking. It can be hard to find people who want to work together, and even harder to find people you’re at a pooping rainbows level of excited to work with. So what would make that easier? What sorts of resources need to be available for people who need to send their media back and forth and stay on schedule and keep track of these projects?
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I know that one thing that might pop up is the idea of “ownership” and the can of worms that might open. I know that its probably different for everyone, but is there a bigger population of people who want to do everything themselves because that one comic is their hobby/creation than people who enjoy the medium and want to make comics in general their hobby/passion/whatever. This is the Business End.  

In that same line of thought, negotiating workloads, credit, royalties and the social politics of your group can be difficult for someone who hasn't ever had to deal with stuff like that before, but I don't think it should deter anyone from doing something they're interested in doing. If these things are the issue, how do we fix that?
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In case you haven't noticed, I'm pretty much interested in anything that streamlines the experience for amateure artists to be more productive together. Things that are already available and things we wish were available.
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There are probably more issues that pop up or keep people from working together, but those are the big three I thought of off hand while I was writing this. There were some others, but I thought they probably fit under one of those three “groups”. I’m interested in hearing what all of you have to say about problems you’ve encounter, if they were fixable (and how), as well as some hang-ups that might have stopped you from working with a partner or a group in the past.
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I’m passionate about Indie creators being able to get their content out and making a comic is kinda of a big undertaking. It drives me crazy that one of the most useful tools traditional comic publishing has (besides a dedicated fan base, lol) is people who collaborate together to churn out projects. So I’d also like to hear your ideas on what the perfect collaboration might look like. And on what resources and tools you've found useful or wished existed to make it easier for your work to get from conception to realization.
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If I envisioned an indie group collaboration I’d like to see writer’s and scripters working together. Pencilers working with line artists. Colorists working with an after effects and text artist. Then, of course, someone who is in charge of the promotional end through the whole process. The work dynamic could be rigid, for those who like working with more structure, or it could be really fluid where those with more time they want to donate help break the tasks down further for whatever stage the comic is in. I think that if you’re starting out with a new group like this you should try a short comic with a hard enough ending to work as a stand alone piece. It should be long enough, though, that you’re able to get a good feel for working together as a group. Does 25 pages sound like a reasonable goal for that type of setup?
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Anyways, I’m really interested in seeing what all of you have to say so please leave your comments and feel free to make them long rambly ones if you like. ;)
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P.S. The “post message” box and I are not friends. Am I missing something? Why does clicking Bold not actually do anything for me? :(  Its litterally maddness whenever I try to post something or reply. Formatting is a nightmare and it doesn't actually do anything I tell it to do, yet adds in a ton of html type coding for me to sort through when I try to edit. Its like looking into a sea of useless gobble-d-gook.
  
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last edited on Feb. 1, 2013 4:15PM
ozoneocean at 7:39PM, Feb. 1, 2013
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For line spaces you press press “enter” (or “return” on a mac), make a space with the spacebar and then hit “enter again and start typing the new line.
Anoying but you get the hang of it. It's because of that wonly java code that runs the editing box. Hate it!!!!!
 
For ”bold“ either select the word you want bolded and then click the ”bold“ button, or put ”B" on either side of it in square brackets. Example (using clury brackets):
{b} bold {/b}
With square backets it looks like this : bold
 
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Colabs are something we chat a lot about on the Quackcast… It would be interesting to hear more thoughts about the technical issues and rights etc.
From my own expereince and talking to lots of other people about it the whole thing seems very organic. people don't usually analyse it much, they just start working together, sort of like falling into a relationship. And it just runs of off that shared passion for the project.
Sometimes they meet through networking thread in forums, but I see many people of like interestes getting together by commenting on each others comics, getting to be friends about their work and then popping the collab question, or just workin together of sketches and ideas and then finidng themselves makin a comic together.
 
Hahaha, it's very much like dating ^_^
 
last edited on Feb. 3, 2013 9:53PM
Abt_Nihil at 4:15PM, Feb. 3, 2013
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I organize Heroes Alliance, which has dozens of active contributors. I haven't counted them, but feel free to take a look: www.drunkduck.com/Heroes_Alliance - writers usually rotate with chapters, artists with pages. I try to make it very clear that everyone retains full rights to whatever they contribute, but if they do, they also agree that their work is used on the website (of course) and later on in print. Print editions are done with zero profit, because I feel we'd have to fairly divide the profit, and that's just beyond what I could organize. Also, HA shouldn't be about money.
 
In the case of HA, I think what brings in and motivates the contributors is that they have an actual stake in what's being created. They usually bring in their ideas and characters, and even if they don't, they can leave their stamp on some beloved webcomics characters. HA is organized as a superhero crossover, and everyone loves to see characters from different comics interact (they also don't necessarily have to be superheroes).
 
Personally, I think to start a collaboration you need to establish trust first. You need to prove that you are able to pull off whatever you're proposing, and to that end, you should be able to point to some solid work you've done in the past. Many people working on webcomics have time-consuming lives and do comics sort of “on the side”; if you're working alone, you can just put your comic on hiatus, but if you collaborate, the other party might feel cheated, or feel that you're wasting their time if you can't deliver. Several people have asked me whether I could collaborate with them on a long-term project, but my time is limited, and so I usually have to turn people down, because I don't want to disappoint them. Most of the collaborations I've done, beyond HA, have been singular projects, with few commitments attached, and with people whom I've known for some time, and from whom I know what to expect.
 
I think one of the greatest collaborations here on dd has been Shades, which has had writer DAJB collaborate with two artists: www.drunkduck.com/Shades Harsho Chattoraj illustrated the first half, then had to leave the project, and after a hiatus, EC Nickel completed the series. Theoretically, I think it's quite improbable that a massive series like Shades would ever get completed, but DAJB, Harsho and Nickel pulled it off admirably. As far as I know, DAJB saw Harsho's work online; and he had known Nickel's work and thought he'd be perfect, asked him, and was lucky enough that he was free to do it. But I know a lot of other projects which start similarly and never get completed.
 
So much for my rant, I hope it offered a bit of insight.
last edited on Feb. 3, 2013 4:56PM
Abt_Nihil at 4:29PM, Feb. 3, 2013
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Oh, and I should add that my philosophy on HA is that everybody should primarily enjoy what they're doing. The whole point of the project is to enable us to do what we all like to do. I'm willing to break most rules in favor of the “enjoyment” one. I see my task mainly in moderating, organizing, funnelling the creativity that is thrown at me from all sides, not in setting a goal and path for people to follow. Usually, the goal behind making a comic, especially if you're “professionally” creating on, is to provide a great reading experience, I think. In our case, we're trying to emphasize the experience of making it, of creating it - that people are able to read the comic later might even be just a positive side-effect. The important thing, as I see it, is to create a “shared universe” of creators and creations. That is why I treat everyone as a creator first, not as someone specializing in a certain task. Most collaborations in print comics are split up along tasks; they are, in effect, divisions of labor and obey laws of efficiency; while that might make for a more cohesive final product, it would also mean that some creators would work only for someone else's vision. And that's what I try to avoid. It's the common vision which drives this collaboration.
Snevilly at 12:33AM, Feb. 11, 2013
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posts: 66
joined: 5-24-2010
Oz:
 
Thanks, lol. I've been having trouble posting some. :)
 
Abt_Nihil: I appriciate your responses. :) I'll definitly take a look at your suggestions. 
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