Well, I might just have to come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to be writing blogs all that frequently. The learning experiences aren't coming along as often now as they were before, because we're scripting, and scripting is just writing, and writing... well, I don't have any advice grander than what you can find from much more valuable sources more worthy of your ear. Or... eyes?

But that's okay! We're still scripting and the project is still moving forward even if I'm not talking about it nearly as frequently, and... well, we aren't losing any page likes yet, so that's... that's fine. And considering I don't have a product of any sort to push, it would be awfully difficult to bring in any new likes right now.

I set out with a different vision for the page than I have now. Before, I wanted to show people every step of the process in getting a comic made, and we've been doing that -- I just didn't expect progress would be so un-showable. I'm keeping you up to date as each chunk of production is completed, and letting you see the concept art, and heck, I'm even showing you every page of my sketchbook just for fun... or perhaps NOT?!

I haven't talked with Jordan about this yet, but now's as good a time for him to find out as any - I've been thinking about drawing the comic myself.

"But Daniel," you say to your device's screen as you read this, "You suck at drawing!" Yes, this is true... but I am getting better. A look through my sketchdump blog posts starting in March and the Sketchbook pages current up to the beginning of this month will prove that. I am improving. "But Daniel," you continue, "It might be a couple of years before your skills as an artist are close to the lowest bar you'd set for the quality you'd want to see in the art of your book!" To which I first have to say, wow, that's a cumbersome sentence, though it does contain a valid point. But here's the thing: artists cost money. Money takes time.

And have I mentioned that I lost my job last month? Well, I did. This puts an immediate halt on any funds going toward the project. Boo. I'm glad we got the concept art in that we did when we did, because I don't know how long it will be for me to a) find a job, b) stabilize financially, and c) start putting money toward Spooky Corps again. Now, I can't imagine it's going to take years for that to happen (and if it does, I have bigger things to worry about), but I do know that even if it happened tomorrow, it's still really expensive to get a comic book made. Yes, crowdfunding was always the backup plan to having enough money to produce the first issue on our own, but it's really hard to get a product crowdfunded when you don't have very much to show of it. Asking people to pay us up front for a product that we haven't even started on is... difficult. And likely to result in an unsuccessful campaign.

To be successful, it is recommended that a book be halfway done before launching a crowdfunding campaign to support its production. Did you know that? It's true. So even if we're thinking VERY optimistically and we're saying we could get one page completed for about $100, based on how quickly Jordan and I were able to put funds toward the project, that means it would take us about a year (in this optimistic scenario) to get half of the first issue produced. And that's starting from the time I get a job, build back up my savings, and get financially comfortable enough to start paying into the project again. So at that point, we could launch a campaign, perhaps be successful, and then spend another few months waiting on the funds from the campaign to come in and getting the remaining pages commissioned, finalized, printed, and distributed.

So starting today, it might take roughly the same amount of time to put a book in your hands at great cost as it might take me to improve to the point that I'm comfortable drawing the thing myself. And really, that is my ideal scenario - writing and drawing the thing on my own. And because it doesn't cost me anything to produce the pages myself, that means once I do start, I'll be able to get through them more quickly than I would be able to pay someone to do it. So even if it took me, I don't know, three years to get started, it would probably take less than a year to catch up to the point in the story that we would have been at if we'd been saving up to pay an artist as we went.

So this is something on my mind. I don't know that this is the way we're going to go - I'd really love to have a professional product, and to do that you typically need to hire a professional. I don't mind having to spend the money on it, and the dream is that even if we did fund the first all on our own, any profits from selling the first book (which are difficult to come by in this industry, even for the professionals) would help fund the second, and the continued sales of the first and second issue would fund the third, and so on. That still might be possible, and it still might be the most viable approach. I don't know. But doing it myself is on my mind more and more lately.

But regardless of how this goes, the current facts are that a) I am currently broke, b) story production hasn't actually slowed down, only the hiring of artists, and c) I am drawing regularly. Who knows how this will all turn out? Not I.

Onward.

Did you know that we've completed the first draft of the script for the first issue? Only a few family members have read it, but we haven't had anyone mention story issues. We will be giving it to an editor when the time comes - probably after we finish scripting the first arc and run back through the whole thing, tightening it up - but for now, it feels really good. I read that a professional writer should get through a script in about one week, which I assume is about 40 hours. Given that my losing my job has put my focus on staying home and watching my kid and looking for a new employer, I haven't put as much time toward the project in the last month as I had before... but by my rough estimations, it did take us roughly 40 hours to produce this script. Hard to say for sure because I usually forget to "clock in" on my home made time card, but again... rough estimations seems to say we're right on track.

We've also just begun video chatting while we work, which is a much quicker process than chatting and writing in a shared document online, so I'm curious to see how quickly we get through this next issue. About 2 hours so far, and we've outlined the issue's page-to-page beats and fully broken down two pages into panels. I imagine we'll only get better as we go, so it's looking good.

Thanks for reading, friends. We're still here, quiet though we may be.

- db

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