I’ve spent a good eight months preparing this project, building relationships with some very generous partners and thinking through the pragmatics of how to make it all come together. It’s been a very enjoyable headache. Now the difficult part, convincing the Arts Council that this project is worthy of investment.
I mention all of this prep time because putting together an interactive graphic novel, involving ten different writers and cartoonists, and spreading content over media platforms that all utilise unique functions, requires long thought and consideration. I can’t bid for money if I don’t know what I need it for. I can’t bid for money until I’ve pre-empted every possible eventuality. Dawn of the Unread is like a Fordist production line: Writers are paired with cartoonists, then a colourist and letterer are brought in, then it’s digitised, from here code and script are created before being passed on to Think Amigo to create unique content for each platform (webzine, Smart phone App, iPad). There’s numerous in-between stages, including workshops, mentoring, and meetings between a script editor, art director and tech specialist.
In addition to this I’ve had three meetings with James Urquhart and Kate Earl at the Arts Council. James is the Literature Relationships Manager and Kate is the Relationship Manager for Libraries. So talk to the right people. I’ve also had a lot of conversations with John Cairns who guided me through the Space commission and so has a good knowledge of digital-based collaborations. I’ve found them very supportive and it’s really helped me focus on specific areas of the project.
Originally I’d planned to get my bid in before the new application changes on 1 July but am now glad that I didn’t rush it. The new forms are complex and require a lot of comments but I’ve found this really useful as it’s helped me think through the project in far more depth than the previous application form. They do take a lot more time but this is time well spent, enabling the kind of reflection that enable a project to happen and happen well. I will submit my form by 8 July. I wonder how other ‘creatives’ feel about the new form?