Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pierre Speaks: Dynamos Part 3

Dynamos 2 CoverEditor's Note: This is Part 3 of Pierre's experience working on a project called Dynamos. You can review the previous installments here:

Dynamos Part 1

Dynamos Part 2

The image on the left is what would have been the second cover for the Dynamos Comic. I mentioned last week that the project fell apart. Here's why...

When you see people who have not released a single project, and they are trying to produce a dozen different comics, a video game, a movie and other stuff…..


Run as fast as you can and don’t turn back.

Already, just any one of those things is a pretty big task, and heck a pretty HUGE one when you talk about making a movie or a computer game.

So imagine trying to do all of that at once… with little or no budget… before showing that you can finish at least one single comic.

Having ambition can be a good thing… but stretching yourself too thin by trying to make too many things at once, odds are that you will not be able to finish a single project.

To this day, I don’t even know if the “Dynamos” publisher have even published a single comic, let alone a video game, or any of their other projects.

Too much is often just that… too much.

And since they had many projects in the work at the same time, they had MANY editors. Each and every one of them wanted to have some sort of say in the creative process even of comics/projects they were not editing themselves.

That was a little frustrating to see them all try to add their 2 cents. Especially when some of them did not seem to know what they were doing.

At some point, someone asked for some changes because he once remembered reading somewhere that “comic pages should read in some sort of “S” pattern”. He was just vaguely remembering something he once read without really understanding it, but the change he asked for HAD to be made.

It would have taken me about 15 minutes to make the change he was asking for… but I decided to draw a line in the sand that one time and said “enough”. “It stops here”.

Why says you??

To save a measly 15 minutes?


It was to keep them from always making decisions based on something they vaguely once saw or heard once in the distant past. To keep them from asking for changes based on things they did not even understand. And… more importantly, to keep them from changing their mind as the wind blows.

I was taking the time to scan and send them my sketches/rough pages for approval and said “Why did you not mention this when you saw the sketch/rough pages that I sent you guys?” But I was told by editor 20053 that “he never saw that sketch/rough page”. Which made me reply something like “What was the point of sending stuff for approval then if you guys don’t even look at what I send you?”

Also I wasted some time writing various long e-mails and including various sketches and diagrams explaining the design principles behind what I had done, and heck explaining why what was being asked for did not even work within the “S” pattern theory that was being mentioned.

I have worked in the “deciding by committee” approach on various projects, but even then there is a method to follow to make it work. To make it so that at some point you stop making changes and move on to making the next episodes. Otherwise… it is total chaos and nothing gets done.

You make the rough artwork.

You send the rough artwork to everyone that has a say in the process.

You make the changes that are asked for.

Then you get the changes approved.

Then you make the final work.

Once you are past that… too late to make more changes unless you realized some huge mistake slipped through.

For example in an episode of Arthur, we had to make some last minute changes because we were using something that the legal department did not get the rights to use.

So I tried to explain that people who want to ad their 2 cents must do so at the appropriate time, and that it was a mistake to make a change based on something the editor did not even understand to begin with.

But in the end, it was all a big waste of time.

Needless to say that it was the end of my involvement in the project.

I was still willing to draw the project, but would not make any changes that would be asked for past the “point of no return” unless there was a real good reason to do so.

It may not seem like much, but if you keep on making changes and changes as the wind blows, you end up with no project in the end.

I have seen many examples of people who are reworking their “perfect” project over and over, but 10 years later, their project is still in their desk drawer because they keep on trying to make it “perfect”.

It does not work like that.

At some point, you HAVE to let it go.

You work on it as much as you can within the timeframe that you have… but at some point, you have to say enough and finish your project.

So what we had was a situation where some people gave themselves the title of editors thinking that it was giving them all the qualifications that come with the job without any real experience/qualifications themselves.

Most of them did not really have a clue as to what they were doing.

Heck some did not even know some basic terminology like “worm’s eye view” or “bird’s eye view”. They would use “view from underneath” or “seen from high in the sky”.

When people don’t even know some very basic stuff like that… be worried.

Or even better, RUN!

Okay… maybe not “RUN”. But unless you are prepared to deal with the irritation/aggravation that is sure to follow, as politely as you can, say “thanks…. But no thanks”.

Here are a few rough pages from the first issue:






If you ask nicely, I might put the roughs for the second… or heck even the third story in a future Blog. ;)

Until next time.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for these series of articles. Good insight, which I hope will be useful and valued by new creators thinking about entering the field.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

No problem.

if it can help... how does the robot say?...

Glad to be of service. ;)


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