Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Interview with Omar Spahi & Siike Donnelly of OSSM Comics Part 2

Here's part two of our interview with Omar Spahi and Siike Donnelly of OSSM Comics. If you miss the first part of the interview you can click on this Link.

CBNAH: A lot of small publishing companies are doing various Kickstarter campaigns. Has there been any talk of doing a Kickstarter project? 

Omar Spahi: Siike is the master of Kickstarters and we talked about Kickstarter for a little bit. We've gone back and forth on it but as of right now, we're trying to stay away from. Not there's any problem with Kickstarter. I think it's a great opportunity for people to learn about a book and concept. But I think -- we don't to make the fans jump in on it. I want the fans to be excited about our titles and I don't want it to be a charity project. I want it to be something that people can get in and that these characters are for real. It's not something that we built but it's something that they built and we're getting interested and we're building fans.  
Siike Donnelly: As for someone who finished a Kickstarter (Solestar) last year, it's a lot of pressure and many sleepless nights. Staying up late and worrying about the project if it'll make it to its goal or not. Even now, I'm still sending out the last twenty to thirty Kickstarter prizes. It's a long process when you're trying to do it on your own. It's really hard but at the end of the day it's a real good sense of accomplishment. I like that I did one Kickstarter and got it out of the way. The reason I did it for that project because I had no financial backing and no other way to do it otherwise. With OSSM we're only trying to create projects that we do have the funding for already and we believe in a lot. Kickstarter is a great tool for indie creators and I highly suggest that people should use it. But right now with us, we have the six main books and we're also keeping a opening mind for submissions as well. We have our plate full enough at the moment.  

CBNAH: Is there any side projects you would like to discuss and promote?

SD: I'm doing a podcast coming out in March for The Ex Comedy, which is a New York based comedy group called The Experiment. It's called "Real Conversations with Fake People" and the premise is a parody show in which each episode I interview an actor pretending to be Peter Parker or Jill Valentine and I interview them for thirty minutes. Just trying to get into the head of the character and have some fun. In one of my favorite ones I did was with Ben Grimm, and then I did one with Barbara Gordon and Douglas Reynholm from The IT Crowd. It's really a fun project and definitely a passion of love. You can find more info at my website I have Solestar which is the Kickstarter that I did. We're doing a deluxe edition with fifty more pages of art and story. That will come out probably this Christmas.

CBNAH: Will that be in hardcover or softcover?

SD: I will see. Right now it's softcover because Amazon is going to print it for us. But if I can figure out a way to do a special edition hardcover. I might create a Kickstarter for $3,000 just to do that.

CBNAH: What's your convention schedule for this year? 

OS: The next one is we're going to WonderCon in April. I know we have Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con in June, for sure. We're maybe going to Emerald City, we're still looking at that one and see if we'll be at that one. Definitely be at both New York and San Diego Comic Con.

SD: We're also going to do Comikaze here in LA. Maybe or maybe not do one of the Long Beaches if we can fit it into out schedule. We're trying to some free comic book signings and in April, the whole month of April we are going on a signing tour of Thaniel. So a lot of stores in LA and then even in a couple in Terry Huddleston's neck of the woods. Where he'll go and sign. We're going to be to spread out and be doing local signings in our neck of the woods and we're going to release a tour poster like a band would. We're also going to include some other indie creators as well, it'll be like the headliners and they will be like our opening acts kind of thing. Trying to do something invented with a typical boring signing schedule.

CBNAH: Will there been a short film of it?

SD: That's not a bad idea.

OS: We're open to it.

CBNAH: Speaking of social media, do you have a Youtube channel?

SD: We don't have one that I know of yet, but I plan to make trailers for our comic books because I love editing. You may see something like that, it'll be probably closer to the release of Thaniel.

CBNAH: Will it be your second or third year at SDCC and are there any panels planned?  

SD: This will be my fourth year in a row signing but my first year for OSSM Comics. And I think Omar was there last year, right, Omar?

OS: Yes, this will be my second year.

SD: As for panels it takes time. We applied for panels at both WonderCon and SDCC. Those just take time for us to hear back but I hope we do.

OS: I think we'll probably gonna have panels at both. If they let us (knocks on wood). We'll see.

SD: I had two panels last year on my own. I think there's a good chance we'll get one at each convention.

CBNAH: Where do you see yourselves in three to five years from now?

SD: Three to five years I'll be dead (both laugh). I'm a bad person to answer this. I grew up poor my whole life. My dreams have never been big dreams. I always dream for the middle because that's all I've ever been able to achieve. But being around Omar, he's actually let me see things in a different way and to dream big and it's okay to dream big. Whether you succeed or not it's okay as long as you try. Obviously, I would like to see OSSM Comics be very profitable in three to five years and having to take smaller risks for our books and be able to get our book out there. Hopefully by that time we'll have a really strong fanbase and people liking us. Maybe us on the level, maybe not the exact level but in the ballpark of something like a Boom! or IDW. To me that will be really awesome. Again that's me reaching for the middle but I still think like that's quite accomplishment for something that started with one guy and then two guys and then grow into something like that.

OS: That's my goal was to compete with the big boys. I think we're going to get there. I don't know in three to five years but we'll be taking the right steps to get there.

CBNAH: Do you have any words or advice for young writers and artists trying to get into the industry and anyone who wants to start a publishing company?

OS: Sure. It's about people. It's really about understanding the industry, learning from and talking to other people, reaching out, and making new friends because really the comic book industry to me is like a group of friends making books together and having fun. I think the best advice I can give is don't try to do it on your own. Reach out to other people see and learn what other people have succeed or failed. Learn from them. If you're going to do it make sure you know what your getting into before you do it.

SD: I used to work in TV and movies in a bunch of movie sets. One thing that I've notice is when your trying to do something creative, the people on the ground floor with you. If your a Production Assistant, the other PA's that you work with, chances are you guys are going to grow together. One of you will become a producer or director or actor or writer. That seems to be the comic book industry too. So just like go out there, and have fun and create your stuff. Even if you have to do it on your own. I would always say sometimes you can't rely on other people. When you believe in something, that what heroes do best. They rise up against when everyone tells them that they can't do it on their own. So, whether you do it on your own or you don't, just keep creating and keep one thing in mind. You're going to struggle a lot and that's the test. I heard Dan Harmon (Rick and Morty and Community) say, "If you want to create go create. If you want to make money go make money. There's a lot of great things to do if you just want to make money. But if you want to create just be ready to know that it may be all you do. You may never see paychecks for what you create for a long time before you see your first one. But don't let that discourage you." I wrote my first thing and got it published when I was eighteen years old and I never made any money off of it. I did like four other projects after that never made money off them. It wasn't until the last three years that I actually did stuff that started generating at least a little bit of money for me. And then Solestar, which started to generate a little bit of money for charity that I'm trying to raise money for. Pretty much don't give up, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and when you get there it's gonna feel so good.

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