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Thread: MEGACON '09: HOW TO PITCH A COMIC Panel

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    MEGACON '09: HOW TO PITCH A COMIC Panel

    To various extents, we’ve tried to give plenty of advice to prospective comic creators here at PFB. Heck, Forby has two columns dedicated to just that. Kicking it up just a notch is this special report from MEGACON. In a panel room on Saturday, Feb 28th, Mark Waid, Ron Marz, Chuck Dixon, Barbara Kesel, Tony Bedard, Chris Claremont, and Dark Horse Editor, Diana Schutz explained HOW TO PITCH A COMIC!

    What better way for a panel to begin than with a semi-candid cell-phone call between Mark Waid and Tony Bedard?

    WAID: Tony, it’s Mark. Do you realize you have a panel now? --Mr. Bedard is parking his car, so he will in here on Tuesday!”

    After quipping that he’d been writing comics since Gutenberg (Johannes, not Steve) invented the printing press, Waid asked if the other panelists had anything to say about pitches.

    DIXON: I’m lousy at pitches.

    The others confirmed, claiming, “Archie Goodwin said “Chuck writes a terrible pitch, but delivers in the script.”

    DIXON: “I don’t put my heart in them….and they always sound stupid to me halfway through.

    KESEL: You need to know two things: How to do a pitch, and who will let you pitch.

    WAID: BOOM! Studios won’t be accepting pitches for the next few months, but will resume doing so. Marvel and DC both fear lawsuits due to potential similarities between marvel stories and unused solicits.

    MARZ: Marvel and DC don’t need submissions, they can hire any of us.

    DIXON: Well, not me.

    MARZ: Except for Chuck, who doesn’t play well with others. Marvel and DC don’t want your ideas. You have to prove yourself elsewhere. Don’t pitch to people who don’t want your pitch. Think of it like coming up through the minor leagues, and working your way up to the majors. The reality is your in competition with everyone in this room, including US!

    KESEL: Your pitch should say, “Hello, here is my good, interesting, potentially commercial story. It is important that you show you can tell a complete story.

    MARZ: In one page, or it goes in the trash.

    KESEL: Tell us who it’s for. All ages? Adults? Teens? And don’t tease, let us know what about your twists makes them original. Writing is NOT having an idea, it’s successfully executing an idea.

    WAID: I want a pitch that’s one page, maybe one and a half. Comics is all about the economy of storytelling. You need to tell the most story in the least panels. If your pitch isn’t good, I don’t CARE if you attach great pages of script, I’m not interested.

    MARZ: You want to make the best first impression in the least space.

    WAID: Title. One sentence main idea. Contact info.

    MARZ: Every page should have your contact info.

    WAID: Twenty years ago I read the best pitch I’ve ever received. It never saw print because I had no idea who submitted it. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder who wrote that pitch.

    CLAREMONT: If it takes an exceptional amount of time to read your pitch, then it doesn’t get read. Unless of course, your name is Whedon.

    MARZ: If you’ve written a film or a book they’ll fall over themselves to get you. Publish a comic on your own. That fact that you finished something to show them will go a long way.

    WAID: Even if it’s something you and your friend made at Kinkos.

    SCHUTZ: Because comics is a medium of words and pictures, if your submission lacks either, and more and more what I’m looking for as an editor, is both…

    MARZ: Writers are judged by their artist. A great story with bad art will be a bad story. Conversely, a bad story with great art can get a boost.

    WAID: All the companies have a web presence. They have guidelines. Look at them.

    BEDARD: When I was an editor, I looked for someone dressed as the Black Cat. (ADressing a young lady so clad)

    WAID: Congrats, you’re writing BIRDS OF PREY.

    CLAREMONT: That explains a lot.

    KESEL: Spelling and grammar counts. If you can’t spell or punctuate..

    WAID: Then you’re BRIAN BENDIS. F7, that’s you’re spell-check key.

    BEDARD: Title at the top, a one sentence HIGH CONCEPT.

    MARZ: There are guys who write great pitches, but lousy comics….and for $20, I’ll give you names.

    WAID: And there are people who write lousy pitches, but great comics…like Chuck.

    DIXON: I write LOUSY pitches.

    SCHUTZ: Dark Horse wants a pitch and at least eight pages of script.

    MARZ: Is that a way to get people to show how committed they are to writing? To separate the men from the boys?
    SCHUTZ: It could be. I didn’t write the policy. Writing for comics is hard. It’s not easy. I don’t listen to verbal pitches. If you want to write, you need to write, actually.

    WAID: So, we’ve crushed everyone’s spirit. (Throws his arms in the air triumphantly) Another year of no competition for us!

    MARZ: It is hard. It’s a lot of time and effort for very little return.

    Audience member: How much time do you spend on a 22 page script?

    CLAREMONT: [laughs] it depends on who you’re talking about.

    WAID: On an average, it takes me about a week.

    MARZ: A week in general. I’ve done them in wo days, and I’ve had them take 3 weeks. 5 to 7 pages a day, I’m happy with.

    KESEL: 5 pages “each day”. Which can mean 30 in one or none for 3.

    BEDARD: I do 1 to 5.

    MARZ: Chuck is a mutant freak who writes fast.

    WAID: Chuck’s written 9 pages while you’re in this room!

    DIXON: You’re wasting more of my time! [Playfully]

    WAID: I stopped thinking in ‘how many pages I’ve done today,’ but ‘How many SCENES I’ve done.’ Never over commit!

    DIXON: Never say ‘No’. Get it done. Give it to a friend to write it.

    SCHUTZ: Don’t give it to a friend.

    DIXON: Don’t TELL them you gave it to a friend.

    Audience Member: Do you prefer towritein PLOT or FULL SCRIPT

    BEDARD: Full Script. To me it feels responsible.

    WAID: Full Script.

    MARZ: Full Script. I can’t half-ass it. I can’t give it to the artist until I can see it in my head. I write different ways for different artists.

    KESEL: Full Script. I write to my artist’s strengths.

    DIXON: Full Script.

    CLAREMONT: Plots. When you’re working with Frank Miller, a full script is redundant. The last issue script of the Wolverine Mini was a phone call and some pages of notes. On the other hand, if you have no idea who’s going to draw it, then you have to go full script.

    Audience member: How is a comic script different from a movie script.

    EVERYONE: It doesn’t move!

    MARZ: You’re writing a letter to the artist telling him what to draw.

    WAID: If you go to my site, I’ve been blogging about scripts. I’m not saying I’m the authority, but this is my opinion.

    CLAREMONT: The primary function of a writer is to convey information to a penciler, so the penciler can convey it in dynamic visual terms to the reader.

    KESEL: Keep in mind the pagination. You can only surprise someone on a left-hand page.

    MARZ: Until an editor sticks an ad in and screws it all up.

    MEGACON WORKER: The next panel is getting ready to stat.

    WAID: What’s the next panel? What are people coming in for?

    WORKER: DCU

    WAID: Well, forget it, then everyone can ask a question!

    DIXON: We’ll sing a song.

    CLAREMONT: [singing] I’ll be seeing you…

    KESEL: And just put your pitch in a paper envelope. Don’t put it in a binder, with all that extra stuff that I just throw away. A paper envelope is best.
    Attached Thumbnails 046.JPG   044.JPG   045.JPG   043.JPG  
    Last edited by SebastianPiccione; Saturday, March 07, 2009 at 04:34 PM.
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  2. AForestFan Guest

    Thank you for the panel discussion transcript. I just went through the main floor area and didn't have the time to check out any panels.



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    Glad you liked it!

    Hopefully (my tapes are kind of garbled with background noise), I'll be putting up 2 or 3 other panels as well; and an interview with Peter S. Beagle!
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  4. AForestFan Guest

    Hi Sebastian,

    I feel very lucky to have been there for one day. I was working 12 hour days last week, and squeezed in the trip on Saturday.

    A very pleasant experience, conventions have improved since the last time I went to one.



  5. Join Date
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    Yeah, Megacon is a great show! Glad you were able to swing it!
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



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