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Reuben Award Weekend Notes: Michael Jantze, Dave Kellett, John Lotshaw

Dave Kellett, John Lotshaw, Michael Jantze

Michael Jantze is a professor at Savanna College of Art and Design, creator of The Norm, and founder of Jantze Studios where they create animated shorts. He talked about the history of cartooning (business/client/distribution) and how that is changing and why. Dave Kellett creator of Sheldon, and Drive talked about the webcomic model and John Lotshaw talked about self publishing and ebooks.

Again, very informative, lots of information. Here are some of my notes.

Notes from Jantze:

We’ve been creating cartoons in much the same way has people did hundreds of years ago – pen and ink
Creator’s clients have shifted over the years. In early 1900’s the paper was the client and creator owned the work; after the 1940’s clients became the syndicates and lost their rights; In the 1980’s and 1990’s creators got back their ownership rights. With advent of Internet, the creator’s clients are again the audience.

Four ingredients to master of revolution:
1. Technology – something disruptive
2. Business Plan – someone figures out how to do use technology to make money
3. Cheap labor – creators work for cheap and undercut each other
4. Social Need – fills a need

Here’s how those ingredients played out in other eras:
1890s
1. Newspaper explosion
2. Printing and distribution. Newspapers brought the newspaper to the doorstep of the reader
3. Need content – a lot of newspapers had staff cartoonists, then syndicates made that cheaper
4. Mass number of people could read and wanted to read

Modern Media explosion (1930-2000)
1. Color off-set press
2. Newspapers were cheap and everywhere (10 cents on news stands)
3. Reprints and art students
4. Strong characters in a dark time

New Media Explosion:
1. Wireless devices and software – kindle, iPad, etc.
2. 99¢ cents songs and apps (cheep labor)
3. Reprints and art students
4. ?? (who needs us) – how does comics compete against other things (angry birds?)

“The page is now the screen”

Notes from Kellett

Makes the case for giving away content for free (webcomics)
Best way to attract readers is have good content
Make sure you own the whole thing. It’s a livelihood living on the margin, not volume

Sheldon is 95% of his income; Drive is 5%
More breakdown on his income:
1. Books (40%)
2. Original art (35%)
3. Prints (10%)
4. Advertising (10%)
5. Tchotchkes (5%)

Where his merch is sold:
1. Online sales 65%
2. comic cons 30%
3. Topatoco – 5%

Notes from Lotshaw

Internet has changed the way we get the content; it’s changed how it’s created
Self publishing is where high margin sales are made
Two options: Print on Demand and Short Run Printing
Make sure you buy an ISBN
Short Run Printing – find a local one and build a good relationship
POD have higher costs; but they help market and deal with credit card transactions
SRP have lower costs, better economy of sale; they don’t help sell it.
If you are printing 100 copies use POD
Less than 1000 use SRP
More than 1000 use an offset press

PDF is the industry format – gotta get it right – Use InDesign or Quark
Apps are big but they require programming, but have much, much more options to embed games, animation video, web content
Ebooks are easier to create (they’re really just HTML, png and jpg)

We’re on cusp of new golden age of comics
There are lots of people who want the content, tools to create the content and devices to deliver the content

Community Comments

#1 birdie
May/28/2012
@ 8:41 pm

I’ve heard Dave Kellett speak at SCAD a few years back about this subject and he’s so eloquent and knowledgeable I’m sure Jantze and John Lotshaw are just as knowledgeable and it was probably a great conference.

#2 ryan kellett
July/10/2012
@ 2:58 pm

hi kellett

#3 ryan kellett
July/10/2012
@ 3:00 pm

hi

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