Friday, 8 February 2013

Interview About Warpedhammer & Webcomics

I have just been recently interviewed by Robbie Hughes, a student at a Scottish university on the subject of webcomics and my personal experience creating one.
Here is the interview in full.

RH: First of all Robert thanks again on agreeing to do an interview with me. Before I ask you the questions I was wondering if you'd give me a little background on yourself to prefix the interview with, just a little bit about you, what you studied at school and what you're up to now really.

RJF: I'm Robert James Freemantle, long time miniatures war gamer and table top RPG enthusiast. I've dabbled in writing (in its many forms) and I'm a naturally creative type in all my pursuits, even to my surprise in some cases.
I did some post school education, mainly in the area of video media. From this I was inspired to run a few YouTube channels with various types of programmes on them.
Lately I have been working full time as a carer and am in the process of deciding just what order I will pitch my various ideas I work on.
I have a big interest in music for example, singing and playing guitar and have a number of song demos waiting on polish to produce them into demo form. I just need to get everything straight around me first, what with ever new family responsibilities popping up and new monetary considerations to account for. 

RH: What made you originally decide to create a webcomic and would you have ever considered working on a comic had the internet not have been a platform available to you?

RJF: I didn't really go into it planning to do a webcomic. It resulted from my fandom of Warhammer Fantasy miniatures and wanting to put my own spin on the already quite active social fan scene at the time. I came up with a good idea or two that ought to be a webcomic and as usual because no other such comic existed I felt compelled to do it myself! That's how it tends to work with my creations and that's how 'Warpedhammer' came about.
Yes I certainly would have worked on a proper ink and paper comic. In fact, I have since written a full script for a project that I can't really say too much about right now, but I'm soon going to be in the process of preparing it to pitch to the right people. If taken on, that would be a real comic mini series!

RH: Why do you think that the web became such a popular platform for comics and graphic novels?

RJF: Easy accessibility and of course largely free in its episodic format. It was just another sign of the times moving towards easy access to written works, e.g. kindle, iPad, smartphones which have revolutionised consumer choices, delivering to growing demand. 

RH: What would you say that the benefits and negatives were to working on a comic online and that platform for delivering the content?

RJF: If you are successful, you can be seen by many people easily without having to go through other people first, without having to commit to arrangements, contracts or advertising you are not comfortable with being associated to your work. You can be readily viewed on the fastest growing platform for literary availability (electronic).
Conversely, because you aren't going through an editor or even an agent come to that, your work is never really being proofed. Profits are also perhaps less guaranteed, as your reliance on advertising or whatever form of site revenue you have in place may not be as successful as a professionally PR advertised company with tons of exposure and hitting power. 
When I did 'Warpedhammer' it didn't matter so much as it was purposely niche with plenty of "insider humour" so I always knew it would have a limited audience, but that didn't stop me because I was simply clearing these ideas out of my head, doing something positive with my skills, even if it earns me nothing.
That said, I did once go into my local Games Workshop and overhear a staff member recommending to a group of players and me a webcomic called 'Warpedhammer'. I had an odd moment then where I wondered if I should tell him (laughs); I did tell him, albeit with an embarrassed shy tone.
The best thing about a webcomic is that you can sell the idea of someone reading it online for free a lot easier than you can compared to the committal purchase with cash inside the comic book store.

RH: Recently many webcomics and graphic novels have moved to tablets as a way to deliver content via online market places like iBooks, would you have considered using this platform had it been available to you at the time?

RJF: Absolutely! I might have actually made some money on it (laughs).

RH: It seems like major companies and independent writers alike are now distributing comics digitally, what are your thoughts on this new marketplace for comics? Is it a good or bad thing for the industry?

RJF: Well it is the future. It doesn't matter whether I like it or not, it's happening and it's about to become the best way of earning a large readership. However, that time is not here yet! It will only come when we are finally using a technology that is commonly more powerful in its battery life. When that happens, I do believe I will like it.
Once people can pick it up and do it when they like without fear of running out of power, the technology audience will grow to include normally non-demographics and non adopters.

It was a pleasure talking to you and I just want to leave with a big shout out to T-Man (Warpedhammer's artist), without whom I never could have created such an impressionable series for its time.