What I tell myself everyday.

To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien

August 23, 2016

On creating your own IP (intellectual property) locally.

Everywhere there are artists and animators and writers all dreaming to create the next big thing. The next big tv show or movie or animation etc... The motivations varies for individuals but financial and creative freedom often ranks high up on anyone's list.

Unforuntately creating your own IP is labour intensive, time consuming and costs money. Not only that, but you are making gamble that what you are doing is going to be acceptable.

That is why the common consensus is find companies or people who have the money to invest in your idea.

FACT : TV/cable companies/studios have content to fill and they need to choose what they believe can generate the better returns. And they are the ones putting up the money, they feel should own the rights to it. (Note: I am not demonising the networks or companies. They are running a business and they are doing makes sound business sense.)

There are a lot people in the industry that keep preaching that in order for the local industry to survive, we got to create our own IPs and monetize it. Because then, you are in charge of the cash flow rather then at the mercy of the studio. This I believe what is universally considered to be the path throughout the world. Disney and Lucasfilm is of course the prime example.

Problem of course... is as far as I know, no one has a definite formula on how to successfully create an IP every time. Just like there is no surefire way to invest in shares and stocks.

If they do, they will be using it themselves all the time. Those that are successful don't have a guarantee that the next one will be.

That is why I laugh when I see people trying to teach you how to create IP and how to sell them to TV stations or companies. It reminds of those money making seminar where the speaker is making money from the audience who paid for the course or selling the course. Just less successfully.

But at this stage, even before you worry about how to pitch and sell your own IP , the real question you need to honestly ask is "Can you tell a story or have characters that the audience will want to see?" Often people who can't answer such a seemingly simple question starts thinking about making toys of their characters.

Right now in Singapore there are some challenges facing us and maybe ideas for some potential solutions.

1.) The eco system and maturity level locally makes it very challenging (but not impossible) to create an IP. People complain about the lack of freedom of speech or the censorship control of the media. The consequences over the last few decades is that I feel some of us lack the desire for critical thinking and questioning. Its not an excuse to say that there isn't anything interesting happening. It just means we don't see beyond the surface. The generation of ideas and stories are basically coping what has come before with nothing new to offer in perspective or context. That comes with experience and most of us are more interested in the visual than the story..

2.) Lack of story telling methodology and skillsets in schools..This is a very real problem. Literature and storytelling aren't the "valued" skillsets in schools. Its all about the hardskills. And the irony is

"Artists love looking at art.  It's a hard truth, but audiences don't care about art or animation.  They want characters that entertain them..... audiences are not interested in a high level of craft unless it is accompanied by something that entertains them.  Given a choice between art and entertainment, entertainment wins."

So what to do?  Here are some books that I found to be really really useful in the subject matter.

Invisible Ink.

Prepare to Board

Bascially it boils down to only 2 things from the audience standpoint. Who are the characters and why should I care. And/or what is story about and why should I care.

I am sure there are other challenges and I will amend this post from your comments or when I think of more.

So what solutions is there?

- Understand that it is impossible to cater to all tastes and preferences. The good news is you don't have to. Find your niche and target audience. Youtube does the rest. Build a audience gradually. Post your work on youtube and share it to people. Filter the feedback and improve on it.

- Keep your day job. duh..

- Make sure you have a good idea. What is a good idea? One that you are emotionally interested in.

- Make it easy and fast. And get people to look at it.

- Get friends or people together to work on an idea. Find someone that you can work with.

- Sell your 1st pitch. Gain credibility. Some may disagree and say to keep the IP yourself. Which I fully recommend. Idealistically that would be great. But you got to pay the bills and selling your pitch gives you credibility and pay some bills..

I will add more when I think of it.. 

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