Your Own IP?

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  06 June 2011
nice inspirational thread! i'd like to see more from indie artists! i was wondering whatever happened to that old indie game thread that was here a few months ago...maybe some of those could be brought back here to see progress...

pyke: do you have any video tests of your game? the art work looks great! i'd love to see a demo of it...unless someone else asked this question before...i was just browsing...nice work! keep it up!
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  06 June 2011
Originally Posted by aeres: 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.


I did have a problem with that at my last employer. I was quite open about the projects I had, good thing cause the Danish owner tried to introduce a character called Sofie" to the same segment as my "Sofij". They did it, it was lousy and will go unnoticed, but I had the domains registered and pictures of the character out there before they hired me, so it wont be a problem. Or if they make it a problem, I have all the rights backed up (checked with a lawyer).

A great resource if you are in Sweden, www.svenskatecknare.se will give free legal advice as well as help with applying for grants etc. to their members.
 
  06 June 2011
Originally Posted by ragdoll: nice inspirational thread! i'd like to see more from indie artists! i was wondering whatever happened to that old indie game thread that was here a few months ago...maybe some of those could be brought back here to see progress...

pyke: do you have any video tests of your game? the art work looks great! i'd love to see a demo of it...unless someone else asked this question before...i was just browsing...nice work! keep it up!


I would love to get an update from those guys in that thread. Some of that work was incredible!

I do have some gameplay videos.

YOUTUBE CHANNEL

VIDEO 1

VIDEO 2

VIDEO 3

VIDEO 4

Last edited by Pyke : 06 June 2011 at 02:21 PM.
 
  06 June 2011
Wow! Some excellent posts and points here. Im going to split my post up into two posts, because lunch is calling...

Ali

So do you think that when technology 'catches up' there will be new IP's being developed more often? Or will the bar just be raised even further for IP's to catch up to? 30 years ago, it wasnt even thought of that one person could produce a video with visual effects. Now if you take a look at someone like Freddie Wong, or Andrew Kramer, they are producing work in 'garage' setups that were literally impossible to even think of back then.

MDuffy,

I actually never considered that as a limitation on artists. Have there ever been any instances where this has actually been followed through?
If you sell prints of you work while employed by a company, do you need to have a profit share arangement with the company? Or do they own the rights to the characters you produce, but not nessesarily the artwork itself?
I seem to remember that the computer mouse was developed while the guy worked at XEROX, and it was feared that he would loose the technology rights because he was employed there.

Lomax,

The one man show is definaly not easy! From my point of view, Ive always tried to do some form of artwork apart from my work stuff. Be it the CGTalk challenges, or even building scale models. STASIS is merely a more focused form of doing that. I once read a post here, where someone was asking what people did with all of their unfinished project files-and it really hit home. I had harddrives FULL of junked models...wasted time!
I have had quite a few generous offers from people to help me out-but keeping it with just me means that the only person I can really dissapoint is me. I think that as soon as I have someone else that I am responsible to, the work will start to be less fun.

Im definaltey not saying you should give up on animating your stories-what I am suggesting tho is that perhaps there is an alternative to the 'work heavy' route of animation to get your story out there? You can start developing the universe simply by creating a few stills of art with some descirptions about them. Taking key aspects of your story, and illustrating them may be enough of a spark to get even more ideas flowing!

BigPixolin, thanks man. And really, if this thread pushes anyone to get some of their ideas out there then Ill be a happy guy!!!

CofTsucks,

I think that the main point of your post boils down to a lack of preparation with your ideas. I think that, esspecially when dealing with getting other people to work with you you need to have everything in an ordered form.
Would some sort of structured document, or template help you in organising everything together?

I really like the idea of having some sort of 'skill swap'. Would you be willing to swap motion capture info for say, writing, or storyboarding? If you had 3 people with different skills, each developing their own IP, sharing skills would help in that area.


....part 2 coming a little later... ;D

Last edited by Pyke : 06 June 2011 at 02:02 PM.
 
  06 June 2011
Originally Posted by Pyke:
So do you think that when technology 'catches up' there will be new IP's being developed more often? Or will the bar just be raised even further for IP's to catch up to?


I think the Bar will continue to rise but not in the same speed of technology, so while a game in the future would look better than what they do now they will be a lot easier to do. games started as a one man show then became a lot more complicated then IMO it will go back to a one man show before a new cycle or technology begins.

and as you mentioned you can see the developments already happening in VFX.
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  06 June 2011
The thing is that good storytelling is good storytelling.


PERIOD.
The medium is secondary.

Look for example at the classic Twilight Zone episodes.
60 years later they still pack a great punch and they are top of the shelf sci fi.

I think strongly that people to embrace the short medium,
be it short stories, short docs, 6 page comics etc.
And while doing it fail, and fail often.

Hell Pixar did only shorts for a Decade before Toy Story.


Even a guy like Rod Sterling had his fare share of stinkers, but wrote A LOT and learned from those stinkers.
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Last edited by RobertoOrtiz : 06 June 2011 at 02:52 PM.
 
  06 June 2011
Originally Posted by aeres: 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.


Every studio I've worked at has clauses in their contracts where they own what you produce while employed by them, even if it is at home. I guess the thinking is that the company doesn't want you to hold back creatively at work and keep ideas reserved for your own project. You can always negotiate to have specific projects exempted from these restrictions, but usually the project has to be in a fairly different medium than what your day job entails. For example, I was working on a compositing program before joining DW, but that had to be set aside once I started here. But I was able to have some games exempted from my contract, so I piddle around with those when I have time.

Even when I attended USC's film school, if you made a single edit to your film on their equipment, or used any of their equipment in the production, then the school owned the rights to the entire thing. Freelance contracts may differ, but I think all of the places I've been staff in the entertainment industry have had similar clauses in their contracts. So I get the most work done on my personal projects when I'm unemployed, but needless to say that isn't very sustainable in the long run.

That said, DreamWorks Animation does have some really, really, really good artistic development classes and workshops for its employees. There are plenty of drawing classes, sculpting classes, acting seminars, screenwriting seminars and workshops, guest speakers, etc. for the employees to attend in order to improve their personal artistic skills. So many people are still doing stuff on their own time.

When I'm unemployed, I work on my own stuff. When I'm employed, I work on developing my knowledge and skills so that I'm better/faster/stronger for the next chance I get to work on my personal stuff.

Cheers,
Michael
 
  06 June 2011
Originally Posted by Pyke: I actually never considered that as a limitation on artists. Have there ever been any instances where this has actually been followed through?
If you sell prints of you work while employed by a company, do you need to have a profit share arangement with the company? Or do they own the rights to the characters you produce, but not nessesarily the artwork itself?


In general, I think if you aren't making money off of something then the companies don't care, although technically you would be breaking your contract and if they ever needed an excuse to fire you or you came at odds with them for something, they could pull out your contract and cause you a lot of grief. Terms vary from place to place, so you would want to read your contract and check with HR to make sure everything was clear before trying to sell anything. Also you want things clearly spelled out in writing, because even if your current company owners don't care if you do something on your own, they could sell the company or be acquired by a larger company that prefers to follow every single letter of the law.

The only instance of this kind of thing popping up that I've heard of, was at some studio where two guys developed a short on their own time and it really took off on the internet. The company they worked for owned the rights to it as per the terms of their contract, and they decided to do a TV series based on the short. But they decided the original authors weren't right for any roles on the production, so the TV series went forward without the original authors getting any royalty from it, and not even being selected to work on the project.

I don't remember the name of the project, people, or studio, but it was set in a spaceship with robots/aliens/a sexy woman at the helm. It was pretty early in the days of television CG (possibly late 1990s?), and the one episode I saw that aired didn't strike me as very funny. Kind of had a late-night "Heavy Metal" feel to it. I don't think it lasted but 3-4 episodes. (If this jogs anyone's memory, please speak up as I'd like to get it straight in my head. :-)

Cheers,
Michael
 
  06 June 2011
I believe you are talking about TRIPPING THE RIFT...

wikipedia entry
 
  06 June 2011
Originally Posted by MDuffy: Every studio I've worked at has clauses in their contracts where they own what you produce while employed by them, even if it is at home....


Wow, I've never worked under such a restrictive rule as that, and never knowingly would. Working on business hardware or assets is one thing, but work done at home - that's just ridiculous. But then, I work in games and not film, so maybe it's different. All the places I've worked have been very accommodating of outside work, even if it competes with "official" work. Usually they are just more concerned that you are putting the required time and energy into your job and not on time-consuming and schedule-busting side projects.
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  06 June 2011
Lunatique,

I always enjoy your posts man. although I do have to get a cup of coffee and a good sit down before I read them.

There are some fantastic points you brought up-things that I really think people should take to heart when looking at creating their own IP's.

Speciically, your views on creating animated films, graphic novels, games, and novels-and the strengths and weaknesses that the mediums provide.

Something that I think that people should realise, is that an IP is so much more than just a short film. Its the universe that your film exists in. Star Wars is a really good example of this. The IP is so much more than the films. What makes it special, and expansive, is all of the books, comics, games, cartoons, action figures, card games...
This thread isnt really about creating a short film, novel, or single piece of artwork-but rather about creating your own worlds that all of those things can be encompassed in. I think that people are getting bogged down in the details of creating that one DEFINITIVE piece of artwork that defines their world-and I really do think that they are missing out on creating so much more! A really good IP should be able to encompass any medium in it-from single posters to feature films. THATS whats so exciting about it!
 
  06 June 2011
Originally Posted by Pyke: This thread isnt really about creating a short film, novel, or single piece of artwork-but rather about creating your own worlds that all of those things can be encompassed in. I think that people are getting bogged down in the details of creating that one DEFINITIVE piece of artwork that defines their world-and I really do think that they are missing out on creating so much more! A really good IP should be able to encompass any medium in it-from single posters to feature films. THATS whats so exciting about it!

Agreed
Ok I need to bring him into the conversation becuase he is prime example of what you are talking about:
George Lucas StarWars deal with Fox over its IP.

That deal he did in the 70's over sequel and merchandizing rights is honestly a thing of beauty. It is testament of the power IP can have.
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  06 June 2011
I want to cry, i just spent two hours writing a reply, i was about to hit reply and decided to go and find another link and the browser hanged :/

Ok so i'll lose everything else i was writing and just add the links of interest;

Great post Chris, i love threads like this, hope it stays a live for a while


A few successful IPs that i found inspiring recently ...

http://www.wormworldsaga.com/ Very inspiring IP

http://www.darklingroom.co.uk/ A great series of adventure games created by Jonathan Boakes i believe, though i think he might have expanded into a team with recent success.

http://www.rhem-game.com/ The work of Knut Muller

http://nygamedev.blogspot.com/ Blackwell series

Check out bigfishgames, love or hate them, they're all created by very small teams, often indie style and hold a very big market.


A few links to the various game development platforms;

http://www.visionaire-studio.net/cm...ame-engine.html

http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/

http://dead-code.org/home/

http://unity3d.com/

Chris - a few thoughts...

Create a demo, but keep the players wanting more at the end. They should walk away from it wanting to know what happens next and convince them to go out and buy the game itself.

Consider a pre release campaign that could include developing a series of viral videos.

Create a Directors Cut special edition option? with added features, alternative endings, making of, developers blog, maps, concept art, wallpapers, scores etc .. ( i love these and always buy the options with added extras

Create a donation system. Look at the Worm World link above to see how successful this can be. That guy did a really great job of promoting himself and his IP.

Might be a little ambitious, but creating a toy/figure isn't as impossible as it sounds, if you have a distinct character design, ship etc using 3d printing techniques.

Thanks
Dave.

Last edited by everlite : 06 June 2011 at 10:37 PM.
 
  06 June 2011
Quote: I guess this is not considered cool like other peoples stuff, but I have a little character that I write stories for and I'm trying to get some funding to make a proper game for kids with her.
I just think there's so much crap out there when it comes to games for kids, and the characters like Thomas the tank engine have lousy interfaces for touch screen gaming.

So, I want to make something intuitive, funny and feelgood witch lots of good storytelling. Something that's so interesting that learning really isn't obvious learning


Don't ever doubt your work, it looks very cool to me i think maybe a touch grimey but otherwise very commercial. i see that character and can imagine her in adventure games, interactive storybooks, TV shorts. etc

Check out Simons Cat. Another great IP that's had a lot of success from a very simple character design;

http://www.simonscat.com/

Dave
 
  06 June 2011
Wow, this is a fantastic thread. I've always been interested in developing your own IP and absolutely love reading everyone's opinions/ideas on this subject. I really do feel that the most creative and enjoyable content comes directly from artists, and given the explosion of digital distribution in recent years, I think it's an exciting and opportunistic time for more people to just get together and make something great and hopefully make a living out of it. This is my personal goal and I hope to see many of you succeed at it!

Originally Posted by Pyke: I do have a few questions for people who have ideas, but havent yet created something concrete with them...why not?
...

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?


Thank you for making this point! Your post actually made me think about an IP I've been slowly developing for the past year that has more or less been stagnant. I've had my mind so focused on pushing this creative project out as a 6 episode mini series that I hadn't taken the time to even consider a different medium. At first glance, I'm thinking an indie game would be more in-line with my personal skills and far more manageable than the animation I saw in my head initially.
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Last edited by grantmoore3d : 06 June 2011 at 10:56 PM. Reason: spelling
 
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