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Chris and the industry

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----When Do You Want Nintendo and SEGA to Talk to Me to EVOLVE Sonichu and Rosechu more Realistically?----

NOW!!!
 


 

—Chris, demanding that multinational corporations take orders from a nobody

Chris has had numerous aspirations to work in creative industries. So far, he has expressed his desire to make several official Sonichu video games, and work on a real Sonichu comic for a real comic publisher. However, for reasons best known to himself, he elects not to find out how these industries actually work, which is quite strange; one would assume that a person seeking a career in the industries would at least take some effort to find out how the said industries work.

Publishing

In The Sonichu Chronicles and Chris's résumé, it's revealed that Chris is under the impression that his art isn't just good, but professional quality, and that he aspires to get into the comics and video game business. The résumé reveals his widely varied skills with both pens and crayons and his desire to work as an artist for a professional comic company such as Archie Comics or Marvel, creating his Sonichu comics. There is no word on whether or not he actually submitted anything to these companies, or if they replied.

Unfortunately for Chris, the publishing industry doesn't work this way, especially not in case of "original" creations. In the case of an original work, the publishers expect complete works to be submitted to them, usually through an agent. An agent's job is to separate the wheat from the chaff and find the correct publisher for the work, taking a small percentage of the eventual profit for their reward. If the publishers take unsolicited submissions, they have to sift through a gigantic backlog (often called "slushpile") of submissions of highly varying quality, most of which end up rejected multiple times before there will be a publisher with right market in mind and the right publication schedule to allow the publication deal to go forward. The whole process can take years in case of a single work.

If comic book publishers have salaried artists, they usually need to have a portfolio of previous work, usually work that has already been published commercially, or (if the comic house is particularly lenient, and most big names aren't) there has to be evidence of a successfully self-published, high-quality comic. And even in this case, these artists usually only work on characters and plotlines that come from inside the house; it can take time before the artist is in any position to present their own ideas for comics, or use their own original characters. Even if he were able to stick in a company for a long time, he'd still need to improve his communication skills a lot. If the Sonichu Chronicles PowerPoint and various phone conversations are of any indication, he's unable to persuade his superiors that his ideas are worth working on.

In short, Chris is deluded if he thinks that any company will just pick him up and tell him to work on Sonichu comics.

Even if Chris does get in, there's also the problem with scheduling. Most comics are worked on far in advance, thus allowing for any changes concerning a book, such as plot problems, character availability changes or even cancellations. Even so, many of them maintain a certain schedule, either monthly or bi-monthly (sometimes quarterly). Very rarely do comics go bi-weekly (one every two weeks), though weekly series have been more common, though infrequent (DC Comics, for example, experimented with the weekly format in the 1980s with Action Comics Weekly, an anthology which bombed and put the title on hiatus for a few months, returning it to its normal Action Comics title and monthly format. Twenty years later, DC has churned out a number of weekly series, including 52, Countdown, Trinity and more recently The New 52: Future's End.)

Chris, however, has no schedule. His schedule consists of "whenever he has the inspiration" to work. That doesn't cut it. If Chris went with that alone, he would have a release schedule that would rival that of infamous artist Rob Liefeld. And where Liefeld, for the most part, could get away with it because he owned his own company at one point (and people have gotten him to actually do the work), if Chris pulled this kind of stunt, he'd be out on the street so fast, his head would spin.

Chris's understanding of copyright is a chapter in itself. Publishers want primarily original works, because securing the necessary rights to publish derivative works is often difficult or impossible. Chris has even resisted attempts to educate him in this regard.[1]

Fan fiction and ideas from the public

Chris could approach Sega and Nintendo and ask them to make Sonichu games, comics and merchandise. This plan would also be doomed to failure, because no media companies want unsolicited ideas from the public. There are several reasons for this.

First, it takes effort to sift through idea piles and they can't give equal amount of thought on the countless ideas fans send them. While game companies may listen to their fans, they usually just want to know if the time is ripe for something they've been planning to do. (For example, no doubt a big part of the reason why the newer Fire Emblem games got worldwide release was because the fans of Marth and Roy from Super Smash Bros. Melee were wondering aloud "why the hell isn't Nintendo releasing these games outside of Japan?") They most certainly don't have the capability of starting a whole new game project just because someone asks. If the game companies respond by saying Chris had, as he himself so eloquently put, "rocks in his head", then you probably don't get a slice of their precious time for making a second impression. Simply put, Chris thinks that even when the companies aren't busy with other projects, they still have time to think of his grandiose ideas and those things only.

Second, there is an age-old problem in a litigious society: A fan writes to the company and says "I have this cool idea", the company says "thanks, but no thanks", one of the in-house writers comes up with exactly the same idea by accident, and boom, you have a fan who's suing you for idea theft, and even if that lawsuit will usually go nowhere, it wastes perfectly usable time, energy and most of all money that could be used for more fruitful ventures. A famous example is British novelist Terry Pratchett, who used to post in his Usenet fan group until one of the fans was convinced Terry had stolen his ideas.

Therefore, most media houses will just say they will not take any ideas from the public. The game industry is not an exception. This fact has been pointed out to Chris numerous times (and at least twice by real Nintendo representatives, as evidenced by the letters he has read in the Captain's Logs[2][3]). Unfortunately, Chris misinterpreted all this.

Another thing that Chris disregards is the fact that writing games takes a lot of effort. In Thomas Edison's words, getting things done is "1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." Many good ideas don't get implemented. No one is going to invest energy in developing an idea alone if they don't know if the idea can be implemented. Game companies may be willing to negotiate a deal to use their properties (such as characters) in games developed by third parties, but those proposals are usually backed up by real companies, actual creative teams of developers, and serious, complete plans for games, if not outright working prototypes already. Even in the case the properties are tacked on the prototype later on, the prototypes are usually fully developed so that they can be used without those properties if the plans fall through. (Example: Star Fox Adventures began as a game that was completely unrelated to Star Fox universe, but Nintendo felt the game was better with SF characters.)

Theoretically, it would be possible, though extraordinarily unlikely, for Sega and Nintendo to cooperate enough to make a game featuring a Sonic/Pikachu hybrid named Sonichu. They would not, however, need any input from Chris, or even his permission, to combine characters that they own. Think about it. Of course, the idea of releasing it cross-platform for Sony consoles remains yet another absurd and fevered dream on the part of Chris.

In the Sonichu Chronicles he gives Shigeru Miyamoto "permission" to use the cover to his hand-drawn Nintendo Power magazine as the inevitable cover for when his game is created, even though it's several years old (and, in fact, even worse than Chris's current skill at art).

Other publication channels

Chris hasn't even tried any self-publishing channels. The idea has only recently been addressed, with Clyde Cash posting Chris's comics on Lulu.com. Chris so far has only responded by encouraging his fans not to buy them, and to simply wait for him to release the "real" versions later. According to Jackie e-mails Part 2, Chris has been fixing up his pages to be published on Lulu, taking an unreasonable amount of time to accomplish this amazingly simple task.

The thought of monetizing his web comic hasn't crossed his mind either. People have been annoying – nay, harassing him with advertising he didn't approve of, yet when he attempted to replace these offensive ads with ads of his own, he simply put some random advertisements on his webpage without actually signing any sort of advertisement contract — the ads didn't make him any money. There are several advertising programs that allow individual people to put ads on their personal pages and make money out of them; some of these programs are even specifically geared toward webcomic artists. Many web comics have a donation box where readers can donate money to the artist via PayPal or similar services.

It also took a while for Chris to come up with the idea of drawing on-camera, and even then, he hasn't demonstrated it too often.

Schedule slip

Most webcomics have a set schedule: some update weekly, some many times a week, some daily. Some webcomics update whenever the hell the artists get inspired enough to draw a comic, and probably reserve a whole forum for people who whine about lack of updates. Most webcomic artists that update the comic three times a week consider that schedule very demanding, and webcomics that update daily usually generate revenue of some sort (ads, donations, print versions, merchandise, what-have-you), allowing the artists treat their comics like a full-day job. These are called self-sufficient webcomics. (Examples: Penny Arcade, xkcd, Questionable Content)

Chris has thoroughly embraced the point of view that the comic shouldn't have a set schedule and inspiration doesn't have a deadline... while also promising us that the comic would be updated daily. On 14 November 2009, Chris promised that the comic would be updated daily, and he managed to fulfill this promise for a while. By the end of Sonichu #10, Chris was already placing author-substitutes in the story telling people to quit whining about the lack of updates. This is obviously not a question of punctuality, but hypocrisy; Chris would avoid a lot of drama if he just admitted that there's no set schedule whatsoever after all. If one does consider this a question of punctuality, it doesn't look too good.

Chris also tends to update in spurts in an attempt to make up for missed days; this can range anywhere from three to twenty pages at a time. Most professional web cartoonists have a buffer of guest comics so that they can avoid this sort of thing, but the thought of doing so has apparently never entered Chris's autistic mind.

Freelance Artwork

As of 2014, Chris has started to try and sell individual pieces of artwork on a made-to-order basis. In the creative arts (particularly in the modern, web-enabled world) selling commissions is a common practice and can be beneficial to an artist not just financially but also in terms of exposure and cultural relevance. For Chris, this was actually a fairly smart move: trolls had been wanting him to produce more art for years and he was offering a way of doing so that benefited himself. Freelance artists, however, also have to occasionally set their personal interests aside in the name of making a sale. So far Chris has sold a work depicting him making peace with Clyde Cash's comic persona Cly and another depicting him defeated at the hands of Liquid Chris. If producing either caused Chris his legendary stress, he has yet to divulge so. Either way it's a huge step compared to how he's acted in the past when drawing something he doesn't want to.

So far there have only been a handful of takers on his offer, likely because Chris set a rather exorbitant baseline for commissions: $50.00 for black-and-white artwork, an additional $50.00 for color and another $100.00 to frame it for the client. Setting commission prices is one of the first challenges a turned-professional artist has to face: the artist has to gauge the demand for the product they produce, compare similarly skilled artists and their asking prices and generally weigh the value of the time put into producing against the profit made. Since Chris considers his art professional quality and has functionally nothing else to do with his time, asking $200.00 for a framed picture of the Internets' most revered Electric Hedgehogs is one of many examples of Chris's deformed view of his importance.

References

  1. Mailbag 29
  2. Captain's Log, Stardate August 15th, 2008
  3. Captain's Log, Stardate February 10th, 2009

See also

Chris and...

AngerArtBrand loyaltyBusinessCinematographyCensorshipContestsCopyrightCosplayingDeathEnglishFashionGender (Tomgirl) • HealthHis EgoHypocrisyThe IndustryThe InternetThe LawMoney (Begging) • MusicNegotiationPoliticsPsychologyRaceRealityReligionRemorseSexSexismSpanishTelevisionWriting

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