It Must Be Convention Time — How to Get Discovered, And Non-Representative Audiences

So, apparently there’s a comic convention next month? I didn’t realize it was this close until I saw the #SDCCreviews tag all over Twitter — various professional comic creators and editors are giving advice (in 140-character bursts) about how to handle portfolio reviews. Probably the best single piece of advice was posted by Kody Chamberlain:

There’s no ‘secret’ to breaking in, so stop looking. Just make a good comic and make sure the right people see it.

There’s no quick path, no single way in, but a lot of work and a long slog ahead if you want to have people hire you to make comics.

If you’d rather see information all in one place, Steve Lieber has a page about showing your portfolio at conventions.

You’ll notice that most of this advice ignores writers. That’s the nature of the work — I can see at a glance if an artist knows the basics of her craft, but evaluating writing is much more difficult. Especially since what’s needed to be successful as a self-publisher doesn’t exactly match to what’s required to work for someone else (which often requires taking editor dictation these days). Anyway, Shane McCarthy has put up some good advice based on how he “broke in” as a writer, from a foreign country no less.

In other convention news, the NY Times is questioning how useful San Diego is in determining movie prospects.

… the ritual does not make a lot of sense — because Hollywood’s relationship with Comic-Con’s denizens is inherently flawed. By and large, studio action fantasies and animation are made for the masses. Vastly expensive, they can succeed only if almost everybody wants to see them.

But Comic-Con devotees — the tastemakers who may show up in Japanese anime drag or dressed as Johnny Depp in character as Hunter S. Thompson — are consummate insiders. They tend to be excited about a film when they think nobody else will be.

Examples follow: Comic-Con loved Ponyo, but it did badly in theaters. Congoers made fun of Avatar, but it became the biggest movie ever. Last year’s Jonah Hex panel went well, but the movie is a horrible failure (although the con reaction may have been solely a factor of Megan Fox’s appearance).

The article goes on to suggest that movies that open shortly after the convention will have much better luck, when memories of the experience are still fresh. Expecting fans to remember panels a year later isn’t successful marketing.

Then again, maybe this article is just an example of the NY print media trying to tamp down a media event on the opposite coast, or yet another case of fanboy-bashing.

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