Saturday, September 29, 2012

An interview with "Dead Souls Will Move You" creator Brian Harris

Posted Here:

Today I’m happy to be joined by “Dead Souls Will Move You” creator Brian Harris.  Good evening Brian.

Good evening and thanks for having me James. It means a lot we are having this interview.

You’re quite welcome. I think the first question on most folks minds tends to be, “Why Kickstarter?”

Why Kickstarter? It comes down to this. I was part of a group that was looking to start their own comic company. They were looking to rival Image Comics and they claimed to have the funds to do it. I brought in my friend Art Thibert, yes the award winning comic artist, and he said that instead of making a company we should focus on projects using websites such as Kickstarter. At the time I had never heard of the site and went home that night and began looking into it. That was the start of my dream of using Kickstarter to help me fund my dream.

So what did you do in preparation for this Kickstarter? Did you read any particular books or blogs on Kickstarter theory and design?  

Before I put my project up I talked with Art and I also have another friend Travis Hanson, who's Eisner nominated webcomic The Bean, uses Kickstarter for his projects and I have talked with him a little about how it works for him. So I never read any blogs or books but I tried to actually talk with people in the industry and see how they made it work.

So where did the name “Dead Souls Will Move You” come from?  

It came from the idea that my comic is more than a comic, that there is an emotional tie in to the story and that you will be moved by the story and plot line as Atticus is searching for his wife.

So can you tell us more about the story?

Dead Souls is more than your typical paranormal or law enforcement comic. It does involve ghosts, the dead souls, but it is more than these typical ideas. It is built around the idea that when we die we are still here on earth until we are collected to move on. The main character Atticus through a near death experience can now see these dead souls and is trying to wrap his mind around this. At the time of his near death experience Atticus lost his wife and daughter and now is searching for a way to find and see them one last time. There will be an emotional pull, tears will be shed. It is a love story that does not end at death.

You mention you’re not an artist and that you needed the Kickstarter money to pay your artist in order to create the comic.  Does that mean you’ve got the entire comic written just waiting for art?  Do you recommend this kind of project for others or would you suggest something else?

I'm not an artist by any means. I do have the first 3 comics done script wise and have the entire series outlined, there is about 60 issues. So there is a clear cut beginning, middle and end. There is also a side story that I have outlined out after Dead Souls is completed called Vegas Lights.

As for the artist, I tried fiends first and those that are actually doing it for their own livelihood. So I had to try to find someone that was also looking to get into the comic industry. I went through deviantART and looked for anyone that would match up with the style that I had in my head. I ended up writing about 20-25 artists with a little about who I am and a little about my project. I was told no by everyone one of them until i heard back from Jackson Tjota, I explained my plan to Jackson which was to have enough drawn out to submit my work to Image Comics, which is five complete pages and then try other methods needed. Jackson agreed to take a percentage of the comic if it was to picked up.

If you don’t hit your goal what do you plan to try next?

For my next plan is one to continue building up a fan base for Dead Souls and see if I can get Jackson to continue on this journey with me. I have thought about going the self publishing way but we will see. There are a few directions I have in my head right now.

What do you think you did right with your Kickstarter Project and what do you think you did wrong?

I know the major problem I have is that with many of the comic projects that I have personally seen succeed those people had a following before their project. I know with Travis Hanson he had a huge build up on Facebook and Pinterest letting people know that his project was coming out soon. I don't have a following yet and I'm not sure where to go to get that following. With Travis, comic creating is his full time job and he is at every Con promoting his comic and his work. He sells his art, which I don't have art to sell and it begins with a word of mouth. He funded his project in I believe 24 hours. It also helped that he was one of Kickstarter's project picks from the moment he placed his project. So I think I failed with marketing and buildup. I need a following but I can't do it the way others do because I have a full time job that doesn't involve comics.

But what I've done is not a failure in my eyes. But a start.

Do you think adding more background information onto your Kickstarter’s front page would have helped?  How about more updates?  

I really don't know. I tried to look at other Kickstarter projects before I put mine up and tried to see how much they had and what I felt mine needed to have. I really do think it has to do with a following. If you have a following to fall back on and that is willing to give it allows others to see a project that others believe in. Once you see others are donating people are more willing to donate also.

If you were to do another Kickstarter in the future what would you do differently?  Would you consider a “Top Ten things Successful Kickstarter Projects Do” helpful?  Would you want to help write such a list?

I plan on trying Kickstarter again. But I need to start that fan base and with that base e word will get out there and the project will be funded. I would be interested in being part of a group to help others get funded. Even if it doesn't work for me I am in no way bitter about it and willing to help others.

Since you are a writer first have you considered writing an eBook short story or something first to increase your credentials and start building your fanbase in advance of your next Kickstarter?

I just recently started thinking of an eBook short story, about a week ago. I had wanted to keep the pre stories of the characters as comic mini series but to get that following maybe an eBook is a start.

So anything else you’d like to say to our audience?  

And thank you for having me. I do want to say that I'm not giving up. I really do believe in my project and I know many people if given the chance will really enjoy my story. It has something for everyone where most comics focus on a genre. My story moves past that with a touching story that moves beyond life and death.

Thanks again for your time!

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