What if you only had fifteen minutes to live? That is the premise of graphic novel “Fifteen Minutes” by Anthony Hary – currently a campaign on Kickstarter. I had a chat with Anthony to see what it was all about and the personal nature of this project.
How did the idea of Fifteen Minutes come about?
It was spawned out of my coming to terms with the fact that two of my uncles were diagnosed with brain cancer. The reality that two guys who had been so supportive of me, my creative work, and on top of that they are such smart men; the fact that their brain, the source of their strength, was betraying them and they might die really struck a cord with me. It was painful to think about. Once I got past the selfish feelings that are always there, I started to think about the kind of strength it takes to be told “You’re going to die.” and yet push forward and fight to live.
My uncle Kevin was even given a date, an expiration date if you will, January 22nd, 2012, he wasn’t supposed to live past that date, and yet as of today he is still kickin’. He inspired me to write this story, and he and my uncle Mark who is going through his surgeries now are the namesakes of the main character: Kevin Marcus.
Fifteen Minutes is a very personal project for you, does having a project this personal make the creative process easier?
I suppose in some areas the built in motivation helped. It helped me push and keep the drive to put in the work required to get it done. Still I didn’t want to tell my Uncles stories, if people want those, they can take the time to get to know them, and learn. I did need to work through my emotions though and the story within FIFTEEN MINUTES is really the by product of a lot of “what ifs” and then taking those questions and putting them inside a suspenseful, hopefully gripping story of emotions, loss, and our need to live and be alive.
Speaking of the creative process you are including a healthy amount of it as part of the graphic novel. What kind of creative processes can readers expect to see?
You’re correct. I wrote the story myself, and I am also doing the full art work. It’s a huge challenge, and also liberating in a way to have full control over the final product. Minus lettering, I have a very talented letterer who will be helping me there. Still the creative process is intensive and I have been documenting it because FIFTEEN MINUTES will include in the back of a book a section on the creation process, and my commentary on how I approached things, what was hard, and what I learned in the process. I do this for two reasons. First I personally enjoy behind the scenes looks at creative works, and also I believe in sharing knowledge and helping to build the creative network of independent comic books. Who knows, maybe some aspiring creator will see this book and pick up some tips that help them accomplish the success they desire. If so, it makes it all worth it.
How do you believe sites like Kickstarter have helped independent publishing, especially of comics and graphic novels?
There is a HUGE potential in crowd funding, from many angles. The obvious is that it helps creators make their creations a reality. It builds an audience and a relationship between the creator and that audience.
I have theories I am testing out, for example this project is Exclusive through Kickstarter. Meaning it will not go into mass distribution, or to retailers. It is a personal project and yes there is a funding goal, because reaching that goal will help with overall printing. It creates a higher overall print run, allows for better production at a lower cost per book, and will then balance out other costs associated with incentives, fees to Kickstarter/Amazon, an taxes paid on the campaign. Also making it exclusive through kickstarter makes this personal project a personal experience between myself and those who pledge, which is important to me.
Hopefully the exclusive status also motivates pledgers because they can’t just wait to get it at their local comic book store, or somewhere else. If we reach the goal and only 100 people are getting books, then so be it. Those hundred people will have a one of a kind story, with a bunch of goodies, and no one else will.
If funds for the campaign exceeded the $2,500 goal what are your plans for the additional money?
One stretch goal that has been posted from the start is that if we raise $5,000, all pledges over $50 will be upgraded to Hardcover books. I’m also looking into making some other extra incentive available as we progress, but in reality the $2,500 goal was picked because it really kept us close to the vest on this. There is a very real chance that even with meeting that goal, depending on what pledges people choose, that this campaign could cost me money in the end. After incentives, shipping, and the cost to print, it may call for an investment on my part. Which is fine.
This campaign has never been about paying people or raising funds. Really I could have just as easily waited until the book was completely done, and just offered a pre-order campaign. Except that didn’t feel right with this book.
I can tell you this, if for some reason we got a slew of pledges and far exceeded the campaign goal, I’d make sure some very cool things happened. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Where is the best place to find additional information and updates on the project?
Everything right now is listed on the kickstarter page: www.kickstarter.com/projects/anmph/fifteen-minutes-graphic-novel
I am posting daily updates on kickstarter following a rule of full disclosure. I look at it as the person who pledged has every right to know what is happening with the project. So I share it.
Once the campaign is complete, any happening with this project will move over to my website: www.anthonyhary.com
I appreciate you allowing me the opportunity to share this project with you and your readers. Thank you very much!
You can also keep track of the progress of this project through the widget below.