Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pariah, Missouri: The Interview!

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today the creator of “Pariah, Missouri: The Graphic Novel” has stopped by to talk to us about his project.  Thank you for joining us today Andres!

Thank you!  It is a pleasure to speak with you about Kickstarter and my project.

So you’ve written a “TV Pilot-come Comic book” and taken it to Kickstarter.  What made you select Kickstarter over other crowdfunding options?  

I first learned about Kicktsarter about 2 years ago, a friend of mine used it to finance his next film project.  I’d been hearing the scuttlebutt about the site but the concept was still foreign for me and I hadn’t thought about how I would use it until last year when I started seeing more creative projects and professional creators using it for financing.  That’s when I said to myself, ‘this might be how I get this puppy made!’  I am familiar with Indiegogo but that’s about the extent of my crowdfunding options knowledge.

Can you tell us a bit about the comic?

Pariah, Missouri is a western/horror story set in 1857 a few years before the American Civil War.  I pitch it as Deadwood meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but perhaps that’s not fair because it’s not campy like Buffy.  Comic fans who know the property The League of the Extraordinary Gentlemen would see similarities to this, but set in a western.  

We follow Hiram Buchanan, an undercover agent for the Pinkertons who creates a motley team to ferret out evil and uncover a local crime syndicate.  The comic’s scope is more than just Hiram’s story, it’s about the town Pariah and what is lurking behind the shadows.   

Now your press release states that you had originally wanted this to be a TV Pilot, is that your ultimate goal?  To make a name for your world and then try to put it on TV?

I originally wrote Pariah, MO as a pilot spec script for TV.  As a TV writer, you need to have a couple of pilots and specs of current shows, so I wrote a Breaking Bad script, and a couple of pilots.  When I was thinking about the property, I thought, I don’t want to invest in another script and have it just sit there on the shelf, I want people to read it.  So I deliberately wrote the pilot thinking of comics, knowing that I could make some tweaks and make it a graphic novel.  

Because I think in TV terms, I wanted a long ongoing story, with an ensemble cast of characters that I can explore.  Lastly I wanted an interesting setting.  I love shows like The Wire, Twin Peaks and Deadwood, that treat the place as a character, hence my concept for Pariah.

Back to your question!  My ultimate goal is to create a successful comic series, a world that I can tell stories.  I have MANY more stories beyond the first 4 issues that I want to get to, especially once we get closer to the Civil War.  The Hollywood thing will happen if it happens, inevitably Hollywood comes a knockin’ if there’s a fanbase and money, but that’s not my goal.  You see properties like Walking Dead and think that it’s possible, but I don’t think Robert Kirkman was thinking about that when he first created the comic seven years ago.

So how much of the 50 page “double size” comic do you have complete and ready for press?  

I was just working on lettering a few pages this morning!  I have about ¾ finished, fully painted (which I do) and lettered.  I get new penciled pages from Jose every few days and according to my fancy spreadsheet we are on track to finish by the middle of the month of December, with some wiggle room.  Which is great because I have some exciting stretch goal extras I want to make for my backers!

How much experience at making comics do you have?  How about Jose your artist?

I was an assistant for Howard Chaykin.  If you know comics, you know Howard Chaykin.  He is a great mentor and has taught me a lot about storytelling and the business.  I’ve written some short stories and worked on some small projects with other creators as well.  

Jose is an artist, in every sense of the word.  I am amazed by his work, I see his painting in Mexico and murals and galleries he’s opened for.  He has done a number of small press sequential art projects as well, I need to have a list of his work, but it’s huge, do a google-search on his name and you will find TONS of stuff.  

Was there ever any thought of making the project into a Webcomic versus a Print Comic?

For me, not really.  I enjoy some webcomics, and I think it’s a very valuable method to get your work out there and get a fanbase.  Many of the Kickstarter comics projects are webcomics that are going to print, I think that’s all very cool, but for me, I am a ‘paper’ guy.  The watercolors I do are on paper and that’s how I see it and want people to experience it.  I just can’t see my story about the 1850s being read on a screen.  (Note: I am not too high-brow to provide it digitally for those that want it that way, just doesn’t float my boat)

Plus there’ the added issues of hosting a site, updating every day, etc... I just don’t know if I want that much maintenance, what I need is a cheap webmaster/mistress!

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?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

This for me is my favorite part!  I am a people-person and I love to chat and make friends, probably why I enjoy doing stand-up comedy so much (
I am posting updates every few days and giving them updates on news with the campaign, my production and how we are doing with the comic, I include some fun comedy bits and videos and pictures.  For me this is a community and I want to create an adventure for everyone so for the next 30 days we are all in this together.  I have some new ideas on rewards and contests I am doing next week which should drive even more interaction.

I noticed you do have a few updates already but they are for backers only.  How do you plan to engage with the prospective backer who has “followed” your project but not backed yet?  

My idea is that for $1 you can back the project and I pull back the curtain on the behind the scenes and give you lots of good entertainment and insights through the updates, pictures and videos.  I am making tweaks to the campaign page itself, so I hope people will go more than once and see what new thing is there.  One way I hope that it will be engaging for those on the fence is that I have provided a link to the 20-page preview of the book.  This is almost half the book FREE that you can read and make a decision if it’s for you.  I will be making some updates public in the future and hopefully that will help too.

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?

I started a little late by waiting for the first day of the campaign to send out my press releases.  So far I have a few blogs and interviews that I have be featured and I hope to be doing many more.  All of the feedback has been wonderful!  That’s the best part of this, hearing from people who read the 20-page preview and loved it.  Knowing that my vision and story connects with people is the greatest gift.  I am loving it!

 I am using primarily Facebook, twitter and google+ for my message.  I am doing a little bit of Facebook ads, but I am inexperienced and not sure if I am maximizing the potential.  I Definately use Kicktraq!  We are currently ranked #1 in comics HotList!  Very excited about that.
Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

Having only 7 days in this whirlwind I will say only this:  Prepare, prepare, prepare yourself to be consumed!  Do as much as you can PRIOR to the launch date.  Get your relationships in the press/media ready and have everyone ready for the big day.  Then get ready to have ALL your time and mental energies in finding more people.  I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t understand how much of an emotional roller-coaster it is!

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

Thank you James!  You are helping me here!  It’s articles like this that opens my reach to more people who would like this graphic novel.  This has been a pleasure.  I hope that everyone pops in to the Kickstarter site and watches the video and checks out what we are doing here.  Share it with people that might like it.  This is literally a dream come true to be able to make my own comic, something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid.  I can’t do it without you and thank you for your support!

You’re quite welcome and thanks again! I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!


  1. Thanks for the article! I had a great time with it. I'm here to answer any questions if someone has something for me!

    -- Andres