Are you spending your career waiting to get picked? Or are you choosing yourself? In this session, Tyler discusses creator reaction to the recent DC Comics Writers Talent Development Workshop, and the importance of handling disappointment with professionalism.
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Session Table Setting
On today’s episode, I’m going to talk about the difference between getting picked and choosing yourself.
This past week, DC Comics announced the new class of writers who have been selected for the DC Talent Workshop taught by Scott Snyder. While there were a lot of well wishes… there were also a lot of sour grapes. A few weeks before, blanket rejection letters went out to creators. I got one, many of the top up and coming writers in comics I know got one. Reaction to not getting picked is something I want to talk about. Give you my thoughts, and also share some great pieces you should track down and read.
Before we get into that, I did want to share something with you guys.
(I’m not in therapy… podcasting is a lot cheaper.)
One of the lines you’ve probably hear me say most on this show —
“What you measure you can manage. And what you manage you can improve.”
Podcast downloads – +23K. My goal for the year was 20K.
Email list subscribers.
Well, the reverse is also true. What you don’t measure… can go to crap.
C is for Cthulhu plush toys – giant box.
Scale – Stepped on it, and almost threw up.
22 lbs heavier than the last time I stepped on the scale, which was back in April.
See, earlier this year, one of my goals was to slim down… diet, exercise, green smoothies…
One of the keys to that was stepping on the scale every single day.
Stopped doing that once I hit a progress milestone… and now, 5 months later, I’ve backslid.
The good news is I know what to do. I worked as a PT in high school, and basics of losing weight isn’t rocket science. It discipline, motivation, and accountability. No, this isn’t turning into a weight loss podcast, but I share this because it’s a broader principle. Motivation, focus, achievement… it’s not something you do and are then done with. People often speak of “motivation” like it’s something you need to get, and then once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. Rather it’s more like showering. You take a shower today and you get clean, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to take a shower tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…
Now, we’re entering the final quarter of 2016, and people usually either throttle down (next year is going to be my year, I’ll coast until then) or throttle up (leaves are falling, summer distractions out of the way, kids back in school,) it’s time to strap in, and absolutely dominate the rest of the year and roar into 2017.
Take a guess which side I’m on?
This is the ComixLAUNCH podcast, of course we have to throttle up.
To help you guys get focused and rededicated, I’m putting together a new FREE training program called the ComixLaunch Gameplan which contains some of my absolute best stuff.
3 Part Series that will include
- A framework for success and a simple self-assessment tool that’ll help you determine which of 5 key areas critical to moving your creative endeavors forward you need to most level up in, and loads of ideas on how you can level up.
- A plan for outlining your next (and best) Kickstarter launch…in just 15 minutes.
- A powerful principle that separates good from great… and how you can apply it to anything you do.
As I said, this is totally FREE training series… and if you’re already on the ComixLaunch email list, you don’t have to do a thing to get it. It’s coming your way later this month.
However, if you’re listening to me right now, and have not joined our email list, just go to ComixLaunch.com and sign up. Top Bar.
What is Today’s Episode About?
Getting Picked vs. Picking Yourself
DC Writer’s Workshop
Zuda Comics –
Zuda Comics was DC Comics’ webcomics imprint from 2007 until 2010. Some of the imprints series have won awards and nominations from comic industry’s Glyph Comics Awards and Harvey Awards. Bayou, Volume 1 was also named one of the 2010 Great Graphic Novels for Teens by the American Library Association.
The site was announced via press release on July 9 2007, the imprint was launched to publish new material featuring new characters online. The site’s content would be chosen by the users through monthly competitions: “the majority of the web comics will be selected by Zudacomics.com’s visitors, who will vote on new web comics presented to them in periodic competitions”. The first commissioned ongoing strips and material competing for the public vote were published on October 30 2007. Zuda removed the competition aspect in April 2010 and in July 2010, soon after the launch of DC’s digital comics service, it was announced that Zuda would close and be folded into the new digital publishing arm.
Comic creators were invited to submit their own eight-page comics, and each month ten were selected to compete by editorial. Users could vote for their favorite and the winner received a contract to continue their comic on Zuda. When the contract was filled, if the comic was liked enough it could be renewed for an additional “season”. Occasionally an “instant winner” was chosen to receive a contract without having to compete. In July 2008 an “invitational” was held in which losing comics were invited back to compete.
Game Changer for a # of Reasons
Not DC Comics – Looking for NEW
A lot of chances – 10 / month, every month.
Pre open – Forums – A ton of excitement
First opened up – Reaction Comics were good!
I submitted a total of 5 series pitches.
ICE Interrogation Control Element
A lot of eyeballs, and a lot of feedback.
$500 = Pro
DC Christmas Card List
All of the skills learned there I would later apply to KS success
Popularity contest… not necessarily merit.
Comics isn’t a Competition
Biggest pro of all was that I decided I was going to pick myself, and not worry about getting picked. I wasn’t going to put my career or my projects to the whim of popular vote, or a set of gatekeepers deciding whether or not I got to compete. I was not going to shy away from the fact that my stuff needed to get better… reinvest in my own talent.
Writer’s Workshop — PART B
What Was It
That said… I DID Apply to the Writer’s Workshop…
Chance to learn from Scott Snyder… no brainer. (More important than opportunity to write for DC)
Why Was it exciting?
What was involved?
Letter of Recommendation
Letters went out – Form Rejection Letters
Thank you for applying to the DC Talent Development Writers Workshop! Due to the high volume of competitive submissions, it was very challenging to select our final candidates. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer you a place in the program this year. We enjoyed reviewing your application and appreciate your interest in the program.
We hope you’ll consider applying again in the future!
DC Talent Development
Reaction Part 1
Reaction Part 2
Announced who was in it.
Only 8 were chosen, to take part in a 13 week DC Comics Writers Workshop course led byScott Snyder. (Bleeding Cool)
Owl Goingback (Bram Stoker award winner for Crota, Sealed With A Kiss)
Writing partners Erica Harrell and Desirée Proctor (writers of MTV’ Happyland andThe Walking Dead: Michonne for Telltale Games)
Al Letson (Planetfall, Imperfect, Peabody award winner for NPR’s State of the Re:Union)
David Accampo (Lost Angels, Sparrow & Crowe)
Aaron Gillespie (LadyDemon, Bionic Man)
Ryan Lindsay (Ghost Town, Negative Space)
Tony Patrick (X’ed, writer of short film Black Card).
They said it was supposed to be about shining a light on new talent and a chance to break in and get educated. These writers are established!
Here’s the good news…
If this is your goal, now you know what it takes!
DC, with these selections, is showing you what it takes to get in, and I can guarantee you, of the 1500 that applied, maybe only a couple dozen writers would have a legitimate claim to being as accomplished as these 8…
4 Things to Keep in Mind About Getting Picked?
1) It’s like winning the lottery. The odds are not in your favor. But you do have to play to win.
2) How you respond to adversity
“You can be taught to be a better writer anytime. It’s a lot harder to teach someone not to be a dick in the face of rejection. So much of an individual’s success in comics stems from their ability to be a PROFESSIONAL. How you present yourself is important And if that’s how you present yourself in this situation, then that speaks volumes. If you’re using the fact that you didn’t get in as permission to be bitter instead of fuel to become a better writer, you’re doing it wrong.” – JP Jordan retailer at Big Bang Comics, an Eisner Award finalist Best Comic Book Shop
3) Jealousy is Creative Poison – Jim Zub
“Avoid being jealous of other people’s success. It will never help you achieve the things you want. Focus on your own growth, not a scale set against someone else’s achievements or timeline.”
Does that sound obvious? It doesn’t matter. You still need to hear it. I still need to hear it.
Being part of a roller coaster creative community like comics involves seeing a nigh-constant stream of promotion for new projects, big and small; Press releases, interviews, reviews, tweets, conventions, panels… It’s a barrage.
Every week it seems like everyone else is doing amazing things while you are standing still. That feeling can breed an intense amount of fear and doubt. It can eat away at your confidence and poison your ability to create.
You put yourself into the work. Your ego is wrapped up in these creative projects. You can’t help but compare yourself to your peers and have a knee-jerk reaction that their success somehow reflects back as your failure.
Here’s the Kicker:
“It’s easy to see everyone else’s career like a highlight reel while your own is lived out in slow motion. It’s a flawed perception. Purge it.”
Jim’s Creator Workshop
MASTER SEMINAR: BUILDING YOUR COMIC PROJECT WITH JIM ZUB
1 DAY ONLINE COURSE | SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2016 1 DAY ONLINE COURSE | SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2016
4) If you want to get picked, you need to choose yourself.
Now, honestly… I might have thought differently, had one of “my own” not been picked.
But – RKL got picked.
Any of you saying, it’s not fair, or I couldn’t get chosen because ___…. it’s all excuses.
Demanding Day Job
Young Kids at home
Lives in Australia
Maybe I’m biased… gave one of his first paid gigs… little 8 pager for OXYMORON anthology.
Put in the work.
Ryan K Lindsay
“2016 — battle.
Seeing a lot of people online talking about already having watched all of MAKING A MURDERER and all I can think every single time is – where the hell do you get the time? AND, why the hell aren’t you using that time to write?
But then I remember that some people are freelancers who work all day and actually have nights off, and then I remember some people don’t have kids and so that frees up some hours in their day, and then I remember that some people just work at their own pace.
I remember all that and still I think, man, what is that show, 6 eps long, 10? Who has 10 spare hours over a weekend to just sit and watch a thing. I don’t care how rational it might be for you, and how irrational of me, I hate you.
There I said it.
And it might be hyperbolic, but I also know some of these people are trying to break into comics. Well, you won’t get much done sinking 10 hours into some show that most people are gonna tweet about within a 5 day window and then it all gets washed down the tubes anyway as the world moves on. And I know that sounds pretty damn presumptuous of me but I also know some people consider me ‘lucky’ to have scored the gigs I have gotten so far. No. No, I’ve just foregone this sort of thing, I’ve foregone staying current with most tv or movies. But when it’s Oscar time and I’ve maybe only seen 1 or none of the Best Pic noms, well, I’d rather have one more issue made and in the world than have those flicks right away. I’ll slowly catch up with them. This sorta gig is the thing you hve to work harder than you did to just graduate high school, or get some middle-rent job-
Egh, I’m gonna rant now. Well, rant more, time to hit the Big Red Button.”
Get on Ryan’s email newsletter here: https://tinyletter.com/ryanklindsay
Ryan’s Knocked out his 2nd Kickstarter of the year with Deer Editor #3, released a comixTribe series, got a new Black Mask Series picked up, has a Dark Horse trade…
Projects going he hasn’t even dropped yet.
Does it make a little more sense now why a writer like Ryan got picked and you didn’t?
Don’t be frustrated… be inspired.
Pick yourself. When you do that, and do it every day for a few years, eventually other people are going to notice.
In a moment, I’m going to give you today’s ComixLauncher, but first, we need to thank our sponsor…
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It’s time for today’s ComixLauncher.
A ComixLauncher is a short, actionable activity you can do immediately after listening to the show. They’re all activities I’ve done myself, and will get you one step closer to a successful ComixLaunch. They’ll transform this Podcast from a passive, lean back activity centered around Tyler James, into an active, lean-forward activity centered around YOU and your projects.
If you applied for the DC writers workshop and didn’t get in, seek out the work of at least one of the people who did get in, and study it.
Invite to share results @ comixlaunch.com/voicemail or in an email [email protected]
Show Summary / Final Lessons
It’s nice to get picked.
Control the controllables.
Final piece of advice, and might be most important of all —
While you can’t control who picks you, you can control the things YOU pick… and those things are far more critical to your success than getting picked.
YOU get to pick how you spend your time. Are you prioritizing hitting your page count, or binging Netflix.
YOU get to pick your friends and the people you choose to surround yourself with. Are you building a Network of positive, talented, hardworkign, creative people who are making your industry a better place? Or are you surrounding yourself with negative nancy’s who criticize, condemn and complain far more than they create?
YOU get to pick your mentors, the people who are farther along on the journey than you are, who’s mistakes you can learn from and avoid, and whose success and insight you can model. By listening to this right now, I’m honored that you’ve picked me as one of those mentors.
YOU get to pick how you handle both success and adversity. And if you’re not happy with how you’ve handled either in the past… you can always pick a new approach.
Later this month, I’m going to be launching a new course called ComixLaunch Mastery.
It’s really two courses in one
The ComixLaunch Course
I’m excited, because I know about 3% of those of you listening to this podcast will sign up for the course, and we’ll work together to bring some amazing projects into the world.
You will be hearing more about ComixLaunch Mastery in the weeks to come. Enrollment will be later this month.
Advanced List- ComixLaunch.com/course
ComixLaunch Gameplan – Free
“You don’t develop a passion by dreaming; you develop it by doing.” – Cal Newport
Get out there and do. The world needs what you have inside you.
Thanks for Listening.
Great guest coming up.
ComixLaunch Gameplan is coming. Get on the email list.
We’re going to go even deeper into both mindset, strategies and tactics for making KS work for you.
Thank you so much for listening, and for letting me walk with you, as you taken another step forward toward your next successful ComixLaunch.
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