Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BLACK IDOL interview

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I’m joined by Peter Popken, the man behind BLACK IDOL, Volume 1. So Peter you’re a long time professional in the film industry why do you need to come to Kickstarter for this project?  

My graphic novel, is much more a labor of love than an attempt to break into the comic industry.  I have been following up this project in my spare-time for many years. It is a project with a personal meaning to me, not really designed for commercial success. That's why I like the idea of developing this independently.

Would you care to give us a brief overview of the story in BLACK IDOL?

The story begins in Olaygon, a tremendous city high above the deadly swamps of Farland. A city that holds all the wealth and grandeur for its owners but little for its builders. It is believed that a magic source lies hidden, deep down in the underworlds. A secret power steaming the engines of the empire. Behind the scenes, Kharon pulls the strings by spreading fear and terror among the masses. An ancient legend haunts the commoners and fuels their anxiety for an apocalypse foretold. Caught up in his power games Princess Salena struggles to break free and escape the deadly plot he had spun for her.

What was your inspiration for this story?  Are you writing this completely by yourself?

I developed the idea with two friends of mine and hired an editor to look over my shoulder. More than ever, the premise is topical. My main inspiration came from silent movies such as Metropolis, Golem, Nibelungs and Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible.

There’s a quite a difference between concept art and the sequential art that is required for comic books, how are you handling the differences?  How much experience have you had in creating comics?

Actually I began my career in comics with a mini series published in Germany only. Later I was offered to do storyboards and eventually, this led to concept art for films. What I like about doing comics is that I can be the writer, director, designer, DOP and lighting technician at the same time, whereas on films I only get to work on a small part of the process.

Are you doing all the line art, inking, coloring, and lettering by yourself?  

Yes, like this I can make sure that the final print looks exactly the way I want it to be.

Your goal for this project is $40,000 and the cheapest level to actually get a copy of the 60 page graphic novel is $50 are you concerned at all about those numbers?  What is your plan with all the money?  

40k sounds a lot but is a realistic figure in terms of not disappointing my backers.For example: 15K for the quality print of the hardcover, up to 5K to ship and another 5K to produce the rewards. 4K fees for kickstarter and amazon, 2,5 for the editor. Makes all together 26,5K. After tax it leaves me with $10.800 for a years work. I'll spend most of it on booze and fast cars and the rest I'll waste ;-)

So what is the long term goal with this project?  Do you want to sell this to the major publishers and make it into an ongoing series?  

For now the goal is to do this exactly the way I want it to be. There is no publisher in the world who'd allow me to do so. I'd love to continue this story and the connection is already laid out in the first book. Let's see how this goes...
Are you camera shy?  One of the best parts of Kickstarter is getting know the creators giving the projects that “personal touch” really helps sell them.  Any chance we’ll get to see your face or hear your voice in a personal video of some kind?  

I am used to work behind the scenes and prefer to have my work speak for itself. Maybe because I am such a bad self-promoter ;-) Honestly, you haven't missed a thing, I am really just a regular guy who sits behind a table and draws 12 hours a day.

One of the keys of a successful Kickstarter project is backer participation.  How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates?  Interviews?  Interesting excerpts from the book? Artwork?

Yes, I've updated already and will do so another time. There are loads of interesting supplements such as developing art for the characters and locations. A 50 page making-of will give an insight into the process of creation with sketches, thumbnail pages etc. Things you usually never get to see.

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to help things along?

Promoting in this segment is really difficult. Most websites dedicate themselves to the few big publishers. This leaves little place for independent comics and original work. Half of my backers are people I know, colleagues who work in the industry as well. Very uplifting though. I get a lot of support from the community in the forums too. Further I've set up a blog and facebook-page to keep people updated.



Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?  

Well, such a campaign is a full-time job and needs to be planned thoroughly. Take some extra time for networking into account and start with fewer awards in the beginning so you are able to add more as you go.

Thank you for spending your time with us Peter!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

Thank you for this interview and thanks to everyone engaged to kickstarter. This is a great way to fund projects that would never make it into mainstream media. Most rewards are customized too and won't be available like that anywhere else. How about getting your likeness drawn into a comic book...

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!  

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