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Rob writes...

I wanted to ask you some questions about dealing with Disney, and making a comic that was based in one of their shows, as I am considering going to them? But I have absolutely no experience in doing such deals, or with making comics... etc. And I live in the UK, so obviously I can't just go to their offices.

I have written a story set in one of Disney's classic shows. The show is 'Talespin', which of course has been cancelled for years, but I wanted to know if it were possible for Disney to make a comic out of it again, if they came upon a really good idea? (I know they did once, but it didn't last)

The story I've written is about 110 pages long, set in 4 chapters, and I like to think has some quite good storylines.

I wanted to know who I should contact, to submit the idea... their address, email, website URL or such? And should they agree, then what comes next?

Do I send them my whole story, and if I do then should I make copies, or do I take them first to a lawyer or someone to get copyrights? (Just in case someone tries to steal my ideas (paranoid I know, but you can never be too careful nowadays)).

Assuming everything goes well, and they agree, then what happens? Do they hire all the artists themselves, and/or get more experienced writers to trim my story down to their liking? Do I have any say in the matter? I mean, living in the UK would no doubt be a problem to work with them, since they're based in the US.

If you could answer any of these questions, I'd be most grateful. Or if you could give me the contact details of someone who could help me, or have details sent to me, I'd be even more stoked?

Thanks! (Oh, and loved the 4th Gargoyles comic issue btw!)

Storyseeker.1@btopenworld.com

Greg responds...

Rob...

Nothing is impossible, and far be it from me to tell you not to go for it, but the scenario you're describing is pretty darn close to a pipe dream.

So let's take it point for point...

It is possible for Disney to make a Talespin comic again -- in theory. But in point of fact, Disney is NOT publishing any comics to my knowledge. Keep in mind that Disney is NOT publishing Gargoyles. SLG has licensed the property (and three others) from Disney and is publishing the book. I feel like I vaguely recall that Disney has other licenses with other companies. There's also Disney Adventures Digest, which used to publish the occasional comic book story. Don't know if they still do. Actually don't know if they still publish that digest at all. So would Disney start publishing Talespin again if they LOVED your idea. I really, really doubt it. Either Talespin comics are part of their business strategy or they're not. Either a financial argument can be made to add Talespin comics to their business strategy or it cannot. Their assumption would be that IF they decided to make the comic, they could find PROS, experienced PROS, to turn out high quality product. That's the LEAST of their worries. It is unlikely that no matter how brilliant your storyline might be that the storyline itself would convince them to do this.

I don't know whom you should contact. But if this is important to you, then do your homework. RESEARCH who you should contact. Find other Disney books and contact the people making them. If you're not serious enough to do your homework, than you'll never get through the hassle of what is BOUND to follow -- even assuming you luck into or are fed the correct contact info.

I might start by sending a plot synopsis. Something more digestible than an 110 page document. I would absolutely make copies. I mean what if it gets lost in the mail? But a lawyer for purposes of "protecting" your idea seems like an unnecessary expense. You can send the document to yourself in a sealed envelope by the U.K. equivalent of certified mail, i.e. with the date marked on it. Then simply do NOT open that envelope, until or unless you find yourself in a court of law in front of witnesses needing to prove that you wrote what you said you wrote when you said you wrote it. But frankly, even THAT precaution is unnecessary. I used to worry about people stealing my ideas too. I got over it. The bigger danger is that someone INDEPENDENTLY has a very similar idea and gets it out into the public before you. Then you are effectively blocked. And let's face it... this isn't an original property we're talking about. This is Talespin. There is EVERY reason to think that someone else could independently come up with a similar idea, because you and that someone else are both working off the same source material. Source material, which I should remind you, you don't and can NEVER own.

As to what happens if they agree... well, we're TRULY into blue sky territory now. I mean, WHO bought it? Who's doing it? I'm assuming you have no plan to pay the extraordinarily large licensing fee to do this yourself. The publisher, I guess, would find an artist. But are you saying that you yourself think that you need a PRO to clean up your writing? Again, do your homework. If you can't present this in a presentable professional form, what chance do you have? How much say you have... would depend on all of the above factors. (Living in the U.K. I would think would hardly matter at all. Not these days, not with computers, not if they've already bought your idea.)

I have to say I would NOT focus my energies on a property I didn't own. I know that must sound hypocritical given how much time and energy I've spent on Gargoyles, but I really do think it's a different situation. Which doesn't mean I'VE been smart either. But at least I'm the creator with some cache vis-a-vis the property, a fan following and a real investment (mental and emotional at least) in it.

Response recorded on July 03, 2007


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