Your Own IP?

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  06 June 2011
Originally Posted by mradfo21: Pyke I've gotta say, I've admired your adventure game for a while now. Keep going, it looks AWESOME!

Thanks man! Ill admit it, I got giddy when I saw someone from BLUR digs my stuff...
  06 June 2011
I do have a few questions for people who have ideas, but havent yet created something concrete with them...why not?

Lomax, You mentioned having an idea for a short film, but not being able to get it done because of the more technical aspects (rigging, scripting). Do you think that, with the technical limitations holding you back, perhaps a one man short film ISNT the way to get your story across?
I can only speak from personal experience, but I know that originally, STASIS was supposed to be a film script, then a medium length live action film, then a short. I felt that with each 'iteration' I was sacrificing the core of the idea and the story because I was constantly coming up against technical limitations. But honestly, that was a silly thing to get in the way of telling the story I wanted to tell.
Basically, what Im asking is, is your idea STRICTLY limited to film? Can the idea, the characters, the setting, the STORY be translated into a medium that is accessable to you RIGHT NOW? Because if it is, then I say CREATE YOUR IP NOW. Do it while you still have a passion for the idea.
A completed graphic novel of your idea is WAY more valuable than a half-written, not completed short film.

Again, with relation to the idea for your Sci Fi novel-dont just GVE that to someone else. Create it yourself! Even if its 10 panels of posters that depict the key areas-create it. Own it. Its YOUR world. Use the tools you have at your disposal right now, and MAKE SOMETHING.

With regards to the other posts about copywriting ideas and such, I must say that I think it must be a horrible experience to have an entire universe of characters brewing inside of you, and not being able to share that with the world for fear of your ideas getting stolen. I know it can happen-but is holding back on your ideas, because they MAY get stolen putting the cart before the horse?

In this day, when we literally have access to almost every piece of written knowledge that humanity has stored up for the past hundred years-when information, and ideas travel at the speed of thought, is holding your ideas inside REALLY the best way to nuture them, and to get people interested in them?
Sure, your idea MAY be the next Star Wars, but even Star Wars wasnt created in a vacume. Something that we have right now, that creatives 20 years ago couldnt even DREAM of, is the ability to create, and share our ideas with THOUSANDS of other like-minded people instantaneously. Why should we not USE that to develop our ideas into their best possible form and structure?

Something that came up a while ago was a thread asking how CGTalk could help develop IP's. I cant remember if there were any concrete ideas there, but from what I've gathered is that the main thing thats holding people back isnt the ideas, but rather the technical limitations of how to execute those ideas. I think that people in CG tend to be so focused on creating short films/live action pieces, that they loose track of the IDEA. Inception would have made an INCREDIBLE graphic novel. ALIEN would have scared me shitless as a novel. Monkey Island would have been an incredibly funny cartoon. Assassins Creed would make an AMAZING mini series. Now sure, all of those IP's are well suited to their CURRENT forms, but I think they could have been translated into other forms of entertainment, and still kept their CORE ELEMENTS THE SAME. An Assassins Creed mini series would still have the Animus, Desmond, Altair, Ezio...ALIEN would still have The Nostromo, the derilict, and Ripley.

So new question, If the reasons you arent creating your OWN world are technical limitations, is there another way of getting that world into a concrete form that passes around those limitations?
  06 June 2011
am not suggesting that anyone would stop from creating new worlds simply because he/she are afraid of them being stolen, actually I don't consider someone with a similar resource base stealing my ideas as much of a huge threat because they actually still need to work the same amount I did and its something they would rarely do, there are quite a lot of ideas out there and it takes real hard work and determination to get them done and marketed, which is something we all respect in Pyke
but am just saying that if anyone ideas do ever happen to get poached I wouldn't count on lawyers to help me and do me justice.

the trademark law is very impressive by the first glance, but IMHO its much more complicated.
its hard to determine whether this mark is confusing or not for example, where do you draw the lines.
anyone who has any experience in courts would tell you that lawyers could spend years and years in a dispute that for an average person would appear clear but lawyers have their loop holes.

on a similar subject, there are far fewer innovations out there simply because its so expensive to register a patent. big corporations register so many at the moment and have a monopoly and the little guys can't afford the expenses which is stifling the innovative process. its very similar with artists.

*for your new question, you could always go over them by down-scaling until you reach the level of a novel which you already mentioned and you would need writing skills of course. but I don't think its something that all people want to do and it also means that the high-end games and movies that defines a big part of the human culture will always be dominated by bigger corporation funding until they are easy enough to be made with a one or 2 persons over a realistic time frame.
Ebal Studios
  06 June 2011
I plan to develop my own IP someday, but one of the main restrictions I have is my employment contract. Anything I develop would be owned by my employer, so I simply haven't developed anything yet. My other restriction is the time I need to devote to my family, so my free time outside of work is pretty limited anyways.

So I plan and scheme and dream, but don't actually act. (^_^)

  06 June 2011
Pyke, I can't deny that a one-man show may not be the best way to go.
Part of my wanting to make a film was born out of simply wanting to make something more satisfying than what job at the time was offering. Animating run-cycles for various soldiers gets old fast... I wanted to do some GOOD, fun animation. But even if the paid work wasn't satisfying, going home and doing more animation would have burned me out quickly. Dealing with the rigging and scripting was different enough from animation that it didn't feel like I was just doing more of the same.

Another problem was that my first several ideas for films were too big - one too many characters, a few too many locations, an effect or two that even major studios have trouble with... It's forced me to come up with smaller, more manageable ideas. The others can still be done as comic strips. I've already done a few, I just need to keep doing them, and on a regular basis. Time, of course, is another issue.

With the sci-fi story, I wouldn't be giving it away, not with how much time I've spent on it already. More likely I would look into hiring a professional writer to turn my collection of notes into a novel. But that's only if/when I'm ready to give up on drawing/animating those stories. I'm nowhere near that point, yet.

  06 June 2011
Great thread and amazing work on Stasis keep on pushing that. This thread and Roberto's comments have me wanting to try my hand at developing some I.P.
  06 June 2011
Quote: With regards to the other posts about copywriting ideas and such, I must say that I think it must be a horrible experience to have an entire universe of characters brewing inside of you, and not being able to share that with the world for fear of your ideas getting stolen. I know it can happen-but is holding back on your ideas, because they MAY get stolen putting the cart before the horse?

I know the feeling of having a universe inside me and not being able to let it out.

I have been developing my IP for years and just now have put myself into the works producing and creating it on my own.

I spent many wasted years on my project and not getting anywhere. Spent thousands of my own money on it as well. Even went so far as to buy a mocap system.

1) Because I felt my skills were inferior in way of modeling and went looking for collabers and modelers but could not find any. Some would bite and others would flake out. And still the other fact is there is a big disinterest in collabing in many cases. So I would have to hire to bring my vision to life. Self funding is hard to do so could only do bits and peices even with the wonderful artists I found who were willing and really lowered their costs. If I even had 10,000 I would have been able to do the whole film the way I wanted. Shouldn't have bought that MOCAP system, that was 10,000 wasted. I thought if I bought that I could barter with modelers, animators and artists who had their own idea. No one bit. So put the funds in the wrong place. Then I lost my job for almost 2 years and the self funding was not going to work without a job.

2) I also didn't have my stuff together. I had all these ideas but the story was not complete. Lots of outlines, sketches, ideas, etc but nothing founded. So in the chance I did find collabers I didn't have it together. I had artists who drew great concepts but no model sheets, I had 3d artists who loved the concepts but wanted model sheets. 2d artists was now to busy to do and my work was amateur at best. If you are collabing, make sure to have it together. It will fail before it begins. Cause if you get some collabers to bite they will need direction and focus and if you don't have that they will not stay. It will be like all the other half baked ideas.

3) My own laziness got in the way. I could have modelled all I could in all those 2 years I was without full time employment, but I didn't. First you lose a lot of motivation as the job situation gets bleaker. It can consume your thoughts and creativity goes out the door. Plus I still did not feel adequate about my skills still at this point.

Zbrush and now Sculptris have really fueled my creativity. I can model the way I want.
3d coat let's me retopo quickly
Rigging and Animating in Project Messiah
For everything else C4d.
And now there is a mocap software on sale, IPIsoft. So I can do it quickly. I've played around with it and it is cool. I can clean up what I want in Messiah.

The other barriers I do not see as much anymore. I'm going full feature movie.
Others have broken down those old barriers

You have the lone animators like
Jeff Lew
M Dot Strange
David Krupiz
Who have all created a feature lenght movie or a quality animation in 3 years or less. Full feature.

Thurist, the brains behind Planktoon Invasion, created his own IP. Created quality episodes in less than a month and 1/2 on each episode and now is having a TV series come out of it.

No longer should it take 5 years to do 5 minutes of animation. Tools can make it faster and there are work arounds in technology.

And we are just talking movie IP. There are various other avenues discussed here, video games, comics, novels, books, motion comics, etc.

Here is the IP I'm working on now.
  06 June 2011
As far as protection goes, I registered my (currently on hold) animated scifi/fantasy feature script with the American Writers Guild a few years back. I also recorded the audio for the whole film with actors and had many drafts proofread by more than one person so I imagine they all count as witnesses to the fact that I wrote it. I even showed them early concept art... not sure how much having witnesses to your ideas or images helps, but it's surely better than nothing.

There are other threads that go into more detail with the IP protection issue, and I think I recall the long story short was "keep it to yourself and make sure you release it first" since it's hard to copyright such things apparently.

  06 June 2011
I have a few irons in the fire-maybe too many.

I wrote a novel 11 years ago and self published it from an online service. It was a Harryhausen style Arabian Nights adventure. When I started in cg as part of my learning I did still cg illustrations based on the story
and mythical

I sold a few, got a couple of decent reviews from odd sources, but it has been impossible to get either agents or a traditional publisher interested in even reading it and you have to be really creative and aggressive in marketing such things yourself. You cannot do much without an agent since most traditional publishers require a recognized agent to review a manuscript.
I will probably re publish it in the future with illustrations, since there are now many more options for self-publishing and I spent the last few years learning animation techniques-if I went back into stills I could do so much more than what I did before.
The book has a copyright registration as part of the original publishing plan but frankly if someone made a movie or novel with a similar idea I dont think there is much i could do about it.You have to be making money off your ideas. I dont think a court takes one seriously unless you can prove you have been making money off your creative works.

Traditional publishing is best (especially for IP protection) but the technology and means are there to do it yourself and if the choice is doing nothing with it or self publishing, i think the choice is clear.
But without a commercial distribution network I think the artist faces a terrible uphill battle.One doesnt usually write or create your own works in isolation with a strong thought about selling it--this is why the traditional model is someone sponsoring the artist-whether a patron or a magazine or company that seeks such works.

True with publishing and with filmmaking. I don't think we live in a seller's market--not for original story ideas. The focus among the major media companies is taking what's already out there or in the public domain and recycling it to infinity.

I tried for a few years to sell short stories, figuring it was the traditional route for writing. Sold one, and hundred plus rejections. But I recently discovered that what counts as "pro" markets wouldnt be considered pro 30 years ago. The pay has been cut by half or more, there are few markets, and few readers. Stephen King said the short story is dying.
You can find them online, but it isnt much of a filtering system. There's an example of a dead cultural industry profession-the short story writer. They used to be able to make a living from it-not anymore.
Even novelist struggle to some extent-you have to do 12 volume series--not even sure one can get a single novel deal these days unless its something very mainstream.

While one has the advantage of distribution via the internet for self-published efforts, it doesnt have the money stream or the attention span (although there's a few exceptions, like the guy who published his book online and eventually sold it and they are making a movie from it--I think it was called John Dies At the End).

I also had a film project in the works for a few years, did costumes and props and cg models but it was a big disappointment. Started as a comic, then was to be a film, then a short film. Then a comic. I just havent been enthusiastic to work on it consistently because it was a mind crushing amount of work for one person alone and I dont think the buyers are there and other projects attracted my interest, like right now I am back to writing a sword and sorcery serial (sword and sorcery-not a big seller). I think its the worst time ever for selling original stories and characters anyway. Its perhaps the best time for creating--never could one do so much with so little, but the downside is the lack of enthusiastic buying venues. Maybe it will upswing but I dont think the signs are good. When someone like Nolan has trouble getting studios to finance an Inception, and then it becomes a big success and they do their best to ignore its success, then it shows the corporate media empires are hostile. And they are the main gatekeepers for cultural content when we are talking books or film. There arent many small players.

In the end I am almost content making my own things-self publishing or doing film experiments, especially after some health problems. I am not sure where I will go with it--my writing is quite varied. if in the end I just self-publish a big book with illustrations and that's my artistic legacy I am ok with that. Its about self-expression in the end when you make your own ideas. Money would be nice though.
  06 June 2011
Ahh, a subject dear to my heart.

I'm one of those people who's been developing my own IP's since I was a kid (more precisely, around age 13 or so). I have boxes filled with story synopses, character profiles, screenplays, novels, concept art, and illustrations that I've created over the last 25 years.

To get your own IP out there is much easier today than it was back then. Now with the internet, you can get your IP out there as long as you are willing to put in the work to execute your ideas in a consistent manner. Back then, you had to have a publisher or a studio to back you.

In the 90's, I had my creator-owned graphic novel series published, and I worked on it full-time for a few years. It was a dark fantasy series called Enchanted.

When I worked at Optidigit/Android Blues, I developed a few IP's (it was part of my job as a creator/writer/director/art director to develop IP's), and I got it down to a science--how to create IP's that had both commercial value as well as substance. Unfortunately we lacked the funding to get them off the ground. The development process was so much fun though--creating a bible for the IP's universe, writing treatments and loglines, plotting each episode so they paced optimally from one to another, writing the screenplay, doing the concept art for the IP's, and on on.

In the last 12 years or so, I worked on my "definitive" project called Promise on and off. It started around 1998 as a one-shot graphic novel, and then later when I got out of the comic book industry, I rewrote it as a short story. Then as I got into CG animation, I rewrote it as a screenplay for an animated short. It became an IP that Optidigit/Android Blues wanted to produce, and my agreement to working for them was based on their agreement to produce my film. After realizing I would not be able to secure the budget required for the high-end quality the story demanded, I tried to re-imagine it as a multimedia novel.

By then, it became very important to me that my creative vision should take form as something I can do on my own. I was tired of depending on other people for manpower, budget, and distribution, and then be let down when nothing happens. Other people will always have their own agendas or deal with things they can't control. If you are truly passionate and have the endurance to see it through, then you really should do it yourself. If you can find others who will be just as dedicated as you are to the project, and will bring something valuable to the table (skill, knowledge, connections, resources), then consider yourself blessed. Otherwise, focus and work on it yourself.

Whether or not you should hire help is a matter of priorities. For some people, the project is an intimate and personal form of self-expression, and it's important that they do it on their own. Or maybe they have a point they want to make, such as Brian Taylor and Rustboy. For others, they don't care who works on it, as long as the IP gets out there.

ROI (Return On Investment) is extremely important I think. I'm not talking about monetary, but emotionally. Based on my observations, the format and the market makes a difference.

Animated films - It seems most CG folks want to make animated films, since that's the closest to what inspired them in the first place, and it could be done without a full blown animation studio. But from my observations, this type of creative endeavor is the least likely to be continually fulfilling in the long-term. We all have seen lots of animated shorts and attempts at full-length features produced over the years, and some are absolutely amazing. But if you dig deeper, you'll see that the people who made them often said it's so much hard work that they're likely to never do another one, or that they spent so long working on one that it never got completed. Of all the ones that were completed, they got their 15 minutes of attention, but then what? They go right back to working for the man in some game or animation studio. We don't hear from them again in terms of doing another IP of their own.

There might be some exceptions to this, but it is rare. And the chances of one of these animated films leading to bigger and better things? It's also rare (such as Shane Ackers, Neill Blomkamp, Ruairi Robinson). So essentially, the animated CG film route is likely a one-shot effort and after that, you're likely to be burned out. There are very, very few people who continuously make animated films one after another that's their own IP, unless they were lucky enough to have it become their job to develop and produce IP's.

Another problem is that there's no established market or fandom like there is with comic book industry or gaming industry. There might some press in the animation industry about what you're doing, but it's more like a side-note. The commercial world of movies and animation typically won't pay any attention to what you're doing. Without an organized and established fandom, things usually just run out of steam, especially if you don't continue to output more work to build up an audience. The extremely rare exceptions of those who generated enough buzz are usually something really remarkable like doing an entire feature film on your own, but how many people have the endurance to do that?

Graphic novels - If making money with your IP is not a big concern, and you want to do something where you have the most control as well as the least technical hurdles to jump through, then graphic novels are a great way to get your IP out there. You can do it all yourself, and there's actually a market for it with an organized fandom you can access. Because it's not as labor intensive as an animated film, you can also produce more work and build up an audience. You might even have people come knocking and wanting to adapt your work into movies, TV shows, or games.

Games - Depending on what your IP is about, it may or may not be suitable to be made into a game. If your IP was originally imagined to be a game in the first place, or is suitable to be made as a game, then you have to face the fact that you're not going to be able to do anything like a AAA level of production. You have to be satisfied with the indie development approach of a small, modest game. That may or may not be your cup of tea. But if you like indie games and you make a great indie game, your chances of continuing to develop your own IP as a full-time job becomes very real. There's an established market and fanbase that's one of the most thriving and enviable of all mediums out there. You can in fact have a life-long career doing this if you're good at it. Games are inherently team-based projects, so unless you are also a sound designer, composer, programmer, all-around artist who can draw, paint, animate, you will have to get help.

Novels - One of the oldest forms of creative expression in human civilization, and will always exist. We might digitize them, but they will still be just words to be read. The chances of making money as a novelist is very slim. There are thousands of books on the shelves of a book store, and very few of them actually sell enough to allow the author to make a decent living off of just writing. Many don't make any money at all. If you are willing to accept that and just write for the love of telling stories, then this is perhaps one of the most fulfilling and enduring ways to express yourself. In terms of ROI on time/energy spent vs. amount of work done, I would say that writing fiction is probably one of the best if you want to work alone on your IP. You can write a chapter in a couple of days and if you were to take the same content and develop it as an animation, graphic novel, or game, you would be spending far, far more time doing it. And if you are a good writer, you'll be able to express things with your writing that you couldn't express with other mediums, while the reverse is rarely true.

But becoming a good enough writer is one of the hardest things to do, because so much it is directly related to talent for storytelling. While you can study the art of storytelling, improve your grammar and spelling, evolve your prose style by studying the usage of syntax, cadence, vocabulary, usage of metaphors, symbols, allegory, deconstructing literary masterpieces, major in English or literature...etc, it is no guarantee because at the core of the matter is what you have to say as a human being. Do you have anything worthwhile to say at all? Do you have a unique creative vision? What's so compelling about your story that other people must read it?

Alternative/new mediums - Online flash animations, online comics, visual novels, kinetic novels, multimedia novels...etc--some of them can piggyback on existing markets/fandoms, while some have will have a harder time finding a market/fandom. Most of these types of IP's sink or float based on whatever attention they can generate on their own through word of mouth, and of course, how entertaining the IP is to begin with. This is definitely a risky way to present your IP, but if you have very defined ideas of how you want your IP to be executed, then perhaps you have already thought about the possible shortcomings and are willing to accept them. If you consistently put out content and the quality is good (not necessary in terms of technical execution, but the entertainment value, since many online comics are crudely drawn, but very entertaining), then you will likely build a big following that might even be able to turn your IP into a full-time job (selling merchandise, advertising space, printed version...etc). Penny Arcade is one of the most successful examples of this.

For me personally, being a writer, artist, and composer, I'm drawn to mediums where I get to wear all three hats so that none of my skills go to waste. But after all these years of developing various different IP's (and I've done them all--all the different mediums I've listed above), I'm finding that the better I become as a writer, the more I want to just keep on writing. I can get so much ROI by simply writing, and I wouldn't have to deal with any of the additional headaches like technical hurdles of complex 3D graphics, game engine, spending days and months to illustrate scenes that would only take me a fraction of the time to write, or to illustrate stuff that bores me to tears like a bunch of office buildings and cars and people in the crowd in the background just because my characters happen to be having a conversation while walking around downtown somewhere. Most of all, I can express myself with words in ways that no other medium could touch. Those of you who have experienced how much better the original book is compared to the movie version, or game version, or graphic novel version all know this intimately. Simple writing may be the oldest medium of expression there is, but it is still the most powerful.

But to get to where I'm at in terms of mentality, it took decades. I was always insecure about my writing style because English is not my first language (I didn't learn English until I was 11 yrs-old). For many years, I felt like my ability to express myself in English wasn't good enough. I felt my vocabulary pool was shallow, my syntax clumsy, and even my spelling and grammar was horrible. It took constant learning and pushing to finally start to reach a point where I felt I was at least decent at it. And now, only when I'm nearly middle-age do I feel like I'm starting to be able to produce consistently good prose, where as in the past, I had what felt like moments of brilliance, but then long periods of substandard writing.

I used to feel that you couldn't force writing, even when respected writers always say you have to write write write no matter how good or bad the results are. Now I'm starting to see what they mean. You really have to--that's how you reach some kind of consistency in the quality of your output. By constantly writing and assessing, you learn how to make a lackluster sentences more interesting, or how to delay a punchline so it has the most satisfying effect. So much of good writing comes from rewriting that it's not even funny. Your first draft will always suck compared to your second draft, and that in turn will suck compared to your third draft. I'm glad I finally realized this lesson on my own, before it was too late. At least now I have another few decades left in me to just write.

I will always love music though, but whether or not it plays a part in my IP development is no longer important. My love for music can exist outside of my IP development. My art can continue to serve my IP's in the form of illustrations and concept art, or even just cover paintings for my novels. But what is true now is what has always been true for me--that storytelling is the heart and soul of all the creative endeavors I love, and now I just want to concentrate on telling the story in its purest form, without any other distractions.

In the last several months, I've concentrated on just writing novels, and I have to say, it's been a very long time since I felt so fulfilled creatively, and headache free of all anything that distracts from simply telling a story.
  06 June 2011
fighting the urge to scream "Arrghv! Too much text, needs more pictures!"
Making some coffe then reading all that cause I know it will be interesting. Am I the only one who find longer texts a bit hard to read on this forum?

Edit; There you go, read it
You raise an interesting point Lunatique; finding markets for the projects with fem IP owners and no big publisher to back it up.
Here at cgtalk you have a decent audience, would cgtalk as a site be open to taking in funding from, as an example kickstarter, to build such a marketplace?

Last edited by Alice : 06 June 2011 at 07:38 AM.
  06 June 2011
I've been working on plans involving this chap for a while.

What plans you ask? Ahhhh, it's a secret...

*Waves hands mysteriously & walks away*

*Falls over*
  06 June 2011
Looks fantastic! Really easy rig too i imagine

Originally Posted by AJ: I've been working on plans involving this chap for a while.

What plans you ask? Ahhhh, it's a secret...

*Waves hands mysteriously & walks away*

*Falls over*
  06 June 2011
Originally Posted by MDuffy: I plan to develop my own IP someday, but one of the main restrictions I have is my employment contract. Anything I develop would be owned by my employer, so I simply haven't developed anything yet (^_^)l

Dreamworks owns anything you develop, even if you do it at home?

I can't imagine if you spent months of late nights after work to write a novel, only to have lawyers storming into your house and grabs your manuscript, declaring it the property of Dreamworks.
Push - The force exerted on the door marked "pull"

  06 June 2011
On thing I would suggest to all who wish to develop your own IP is to either partner up with a writer or start taking classes/reading books on the subject.

Like art writing requires a set of skills that takes time to develop.
I would suggest attending Writing workshops

Also read books on the subject:
I like a LOT the book "On Writing" by Stephen King (

Another famous book, and very controversial for some is:
Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

(The film Adaptation made fun of the seminars the author gives)

and if you want to know about how to write hero ques stories there is the old stand by:

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Bollingen Series) by Joseph Campbell

I recently attended a writers workshop by professional writers and they shared some online resources writers should know about.
Let me go through my notes and I see what I can share.

:Daily Sketch Forum:HCR Modeling
This message does not reflect the opinions of the US Government

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