Time to game up for Comic Creator Connection

27 JUNE 2017

The chance to meet your creative soulmate is back. SDCC's Comic Creator Connection gives you the chance to go speed-dating amongst unpartnered creatives just like you, letting you interview potential comic creators to find the perfect person to draw your ideas or write your story.

Unlike a novelist or painter who can take their creations from conception to birth on their own, comic creators usually need to collaborate with someone. Rare is the person who can not only draw, ink, color and write but do all of them skillfully. Comic Creator Connection gives you the opportunity to examine a potential collaborator's creative style and personality and possibly strike up a partnership.

Who Can Go

Anyone, but you should have some kind of solid offering before you sit down at the table. If you've never written or penciled in your life but might want to some day, this isn't for you. This is for emerging professionals looking for collaborators who can do the work. Yes, it's okay if you're just starting out and have no real credits to your name, as long as you're committed to making it happen.

How It Works

You spend a few minutes with prospective partners to assess each other's style, skill and personality. The compatibility is there or it isn't. If it is? Exchange contact info and samples, with something to visually jog their memory later. If it's not? Be polite and thank them and say you'd like to think about it. If you get shot down, be gracious. Usually both people kind of vaguely thank each other when they know it's not a match.

Where and When It's Happening

Friday from 7:00-9:00 pm and Sunday from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm. Both sessions will be in the Santa Rosa room at the Marriott. You need badged access for that day - this isn't open to outsiders.

How to Sign Up

Email programs@comic-con.org and tell them if you're an artist or writer and which day you'd like to attend. Artists can go both days; writers, you have to pick just one.

What to Bring

  • Water
  • Business cards with a link to your digital portfolio
  • Digital business cards if possible to connect right there
  • 20 copies of a good art or writing sample
  • A good pitch that sells your project and offers your skill set/credentials without bragging
  • A succinct summary of your goals, your influences and your availability
  • Something to take notes on
  • A positive attitude and realistic expectations

What to Expect

The potential to make new friends and contacts. If you go in guns blazing and tell everyone you're the next Brian Vaughan, or if you expect to meet the next Fiona Staples and will accept nothing less, your Comic Creator Connection experience will not be a success. Instead, get to know the people you're meeting and be gracious even if you think they're amateurs. If you do make a career for yourself in this industry, you'll be surprised at some of the people who come up with you - so try to stay on decent terms with everyone. And don't let your ego get in the way; ask your new comrades how they're networking and getting ahead. You'll find out who's publishing new writers, which house is looking for inkers and other tips that established pros often have no clue about.

Other Tips

You'll meet anywhere from 1-2 dozen people, so don't expect to remember everyone's face, name and work style. Collect cards, connect on social and jot down a numeric level of your interest on a scale from 1-10. If you have a digital portfolio, include a photo of yourself or accurate drawing so other people can remember you more easily.

It's always awkward rejecting someone to their face, so have a few diplomatic lines prepared when you know you never want to work with someone. If you yourself are paralyzed by the fear of rejection, well, this is a low-stakes way to work through it.

Ask questions. Just because someone has a pretty sample doesn't mean they're responsible, finish projects, listen to other people's ideas or handle business intelligently. If you like someone's work right off the bat, dig in and find out if they've got chops beyond talent. Definitely ask if they've been part of remote collaboration in the past and what their project history is. If their creative past includes 7 drafts that died of starvation 60% in, consider that a red flag. Ask if they have a demanding day job, 5 kids or something else that claims all their time.

Bring hard copies. Showing off on your iPad and shooting them a link is all well and good, but giving them something physical is more likely to keep you top of mind. Offer enough samples to showcase your versatility and package them in a way that protects them and maybe makes the recipient feel guilty about tossing it. I once was at an event where I received samples from 11 writers, and one had packaged hers like a restaurant menu with elaborate design and thick plastic. I kept it (and remembered her) for a long time just because I felt bad about throwing it away.

Is it worth going?

I've heard mixed reviews on Comic Creator Connection the last two years; it seems to depend on who shows up that day, what you expect, and what you offer. You can always hit up the All Stars panel on Saturday at 10 in room 23ABC to see how other people have walked away with a successful collaboration in hand. Overall, I'd say that carving an hour or two out of your Con is worth it.

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