I had a chance to meet Madeleine Holly-Rosing at Silicon Valley Comic Con and fell in love with the Boston Metaphysical Society comic books. I invited here today to answer questions about how she got started and what's next.
1. What inspired you to start writing comics?
I had originally written Boston Metaphysical Society (BMS) as a TV Pilot while I was in the MFA Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. While there, a friend suggested that I adapt it into a comic to help sell it as a TV Pilot. I then took a sequential art class and learned how to write comics, then I adapted the story into a six issue mini-series. I was very fortunate that I had a terrific instructor (Nunzio DeFillipe) and equally amazing classmates who helped make everything better. Now, I love writing comics!
2. How much did you raise in your first Kickstarter campaign and how did you approach it?
My very first Kickstarter failed. We were three issues into the six issue mini-series and our goal was 25K. The plan was to use that money to complete the last three issues and put them together into a nice trade paperback. We made about $7500.00 then canceled that campaign. It was a real education. I had thought that we were ready to launch, but we weren’t and things were changing with Kickstarter as well. About mid-way through 2013, backers were no longer throwing money at projects like they used too. I suspect it was because they had gotten burned on a lot of projects that had never delivered and were being more selective, which makes sense. Backers were also becoming more sophisticated which meant we, as creators, needed to be more mindful on how we presented our projects.
I also realized that we did not have that very important core Kickstarter email list which would fund 25-35% of our goal within the first three days. So after we canceled and got some rest, I put that list together, plus re-strategized the campaign and relaunched three months later. We were fully funded in 48 hours and we eventually raised over 7K. The next two campaigns were also successful and in total we have raised over 22K.
In fact, I saw many wonderful projects struggling like I first did on Kickstarter, so I decided to teach a Kickstarter class for independent creators. I worked with Mike at Pulp Fiction Books in Culver City and we set up the class which I’ve been teaching for over a year. In the meantime, I wrote a book called, Kickstarter for the Independent Creator, for those who couldn’t make it to the class.
3. What’s your favorite part about writing the comics? Do you do the illustrations as well?
I do not do the illustrations. Emily Hu is my artist and Gloria Caeli is my colorist. I also have a letterer, pre-production guy and a printer. So I manage a team. (They are all awesome, by the way.)
I think what I like about writing comics the most is that it forces me to focus on the bare essence of the story. Every panel, every word has to mean something due to the limited page count.
For those interested in how Emi and I work together, our normal routine is that I hand her the script and she turns in 1 to 3 pages a week. The artwork has no bearing on the evolution of the story. That was written a while ago. However, I do adjust and rewrite dialogue based on panel space if I need to. I try not to micromanage Emi unless a particular panel has to look a certain way in order for the story to be told correctly. I hired her for her artistic talent so I want her to use it. Every once in a while she will ignore my paneling and do something pretty cool. I love that. Otherwise, she pretty much draws what I write. If there are any changes to be made, I send her notes which she then executes. Emily is a real Pro and I feel fortunate to have found her.
4. What was the inspiration for The Boston Metaphysical Society?
It’s a combination of my love for The X-Files, history, and science fiction. I wrote a screenplay called, Stargazer, while at the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting. It was about a Scottish-American astronomer named Mina Fleming who lived in the late 1800’s. I did some serious research on that time period and found it fascinating. The script also won the Sloan Fellowship.
5. What can fans expect from you in the future?
I just complied all of the short stories and novellas that are prequels to the comic into an anthology called Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude (A Seven Story Collection). That is available as an eBook or in print which is available at Amazon, Nook and Smashwords. My husband wants me to write the novels, which I will do… eventually. As for the comic, we are organizing the trade paperback and hope to have that available next year sometime. I would also like to do 32 page one-shots, but that depends on the budget.
Madeleine Holly-Rosing (writer/creator of Boston Metaphysical Society Comic and the anthology, Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude) is a TV, feature film and comic book writer. Winner of the Sloan Fellowship for screenwriting, and the Gold Aurora and Bronze Telly for a PSA produced by Women In Film, she has also won numerous awards while completing the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting. In addition, Madeleine teaches a Kickstarter class for independent creators at Pulp Fiction Books in Culver City and has published the book, Kickstarter for the Independent Creator.
Boston Metaphysical Society is the recipient of an HONORABLE MENTION at the 2013 GEEKIE AWARDS and was nominated for BEST COMIC/GRAPHIC NOVEL at the 2014 GEEKIE AWARDS. The comic has also been nominated for a 2012 Airship Award as well as a 2013, 2014 and a 2015 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award. Her novella, Steampunk Rat, was nominated for a 2013 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award.
Formerly a nationally ranked epeé fencer, she has competed nationally and internationally. She is an avid reader of steampunk, science fiction, fantasy and historical military fiction. Madeleine lives with her rocket scientist husband, David and two rescue dogs: Ripley and Bishop.
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