Every week, we here at Thrillbent HQ receive many, many inquiries about story submissions from new creators looking to break into comics — particularly digital comics. The short answer remains that we still don’t have the time-and-energy resources to take submissions, though we still hope to later this year. BUT —
— the slightly longer answer is that if you happen to be attending San Diego Comic-Con this year, we will be holding an open pitch session at our presentation/Q&A panel — Thursday, July 24, 5:30pm, Room 8 — where my intrepid crew and I will accept ONE PITCH to develop and, if the final story is good, host on Thrillbent. If you’re an artist/writer, that’s awesome: step up. If you’re a writer and we like your story, we will find you an artist if you need one. We will pay for production (art/lettering/coloring) and you and the artist will share the copyright — this isn’t work for hire. It’s a showcase for your short story.
Anyone is welcome to participate, absolutely anyone, but there are some ground rules:
- You must be physically present at the panel to deliver the pitch.
- You’re pitching ONE STORY. Not a sprawling ongoing series, not a 52-week arc. Look at any chapter of anything we have up on Thrillbent.com and/or the Thrillbent app and you’ll get some sense of how long it should be — thirty to forty pages, TOPS.
- You must be able to deliver your story pitch in no more than 15 seconds. We will have a timer. If you go past that time limit, your entry will be INVALID.
- No visual aids. You must be able to describe your story well enough so we can begin to see it in our heads.
- If my friends and I have further questions about your characters, plot, or what-have-you, you should be able to answer them. CONCISELY.
- By stepping up to the mike, you’re gonna have to trust that neither we nor the 500 other people in the audience will steal your idea. That may worry you, but it’s a risk you’re going to have to take throughout the length of your creative career. The hard truth is that ideas are easy; it’s what you do with them that’s the magic. But everything starts with an idea.
- We retain the option to put more rules on the table before showtime if need be or if we realize we’ve not covered our butts legally on something. But the first six are the important rules.
Fifteen seconds is not a lot of time, but as I’ve been saying since before you were born, comics is about THE ECONOMY OF STORYTELLING. Get in, make every word and every image count, get out. If it takes you as long or longer to verbally pitch your story as it would take to read it, you should be working in another medium. Brevity. Brvty. Brv.
Things to bear in mind that will help you immensely:
Know what a story is. A story is not an anecdote. (“A little girl gets taken by a tornado to a magical realm, the end.”) A story is someone wants something, and something is in his or her way. (“A little girl gets taken by a tornado to a magical realm and the only way to get home is to defeat an evil witch.” “An explorer is searching for the Ark of the Covenant, but so are the Nazis.” “A scientist craves recognition, but he knows his breakthrough discovery could endanger the world.”)
Little Miss Muffet is not a story. Little Miss Muffet is a setup and no punchline. Girl wants to eat, spider frightens her away, the end. It becomes a story if, win or lose, she (or the spider) takes some sort of action and ends up different in some way as a result. Conflict/resolution. That’s a story.
Pitch a story that works well in the Thrillbent digital format. “We see one event from two simultaneous points of view side-by-side.” “This story takes place somewhere visually interesting.” “As the scene progresses, some of the scenery begins to fade from view.” And so on. Be imaginative. But at the rock bottom minimum, have a premise that is visually interesting.
Remember at all times that your final story can be no longer than about thirty to forty pages, TOPS. Extra points for fewer pages.
For the six million of you who will not be at San Diego Comic-Con, I apologize in advance, but right now, this is the best we can do; we are a very lean crew and we are getting to open-submissions as fast as we can. For those who are attending, once again: our panel is on Thursday, July 24 at 5:30pm in Room 8. If you have (concise) questions regarding the pitch session, send them to lori (at) thrillbent (dot) com. Do NOT send her pitches ahead of time; they will be rejected instantly.
See you in San Diego!