Existing IP

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GeoffRichards
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Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:31 pm

Existing IP

Post by GeoffRichards »

Hello, me again.

I’m currently in discussions with a company over the possibility of writing a comic for their existing IP. I need to put together a proposal for them. I don’t think this is only a pitch, I get the impression they’d like a little more.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Any advice or guidance would be gratefully received.

Geoff

DanWhitehead
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:49 pm

Re: Existing IP

Post by DanWhitehead »

Hard to say without knowing more about the conversations you've had. Is this an IP that has had comic adaptations previously? If not, I'd suggest making it clear where you see your story (or stories) fitting in with what's already established in other media. Will it be a prequel, sequel, spin-off? The crucial question for them, I suspect, is whether doing these comics will get in the way of whatever they were planning to do in other media. Extreme example - are you proposing a story built around a character they're going to kill off?

So I'd treat it more or less as a normal pitch, but do your research on what other stories have already been told, and show them how you'd work within and around the existing material. Basically, show then how this comic will enhance the IP beyond just being "here's a comic based on it".

GeoffRichards
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:31 pm

Re: Existing IP

Post by GeoffRichards »

Cheers Dan (again!)

Essentially it’s an old IP (90’s) that hasn’t had much done with it outside of the original TV shows. I don’t think they’re looking at making anything new, rather they seem to be trying to get the most out of what already exists. The IP is still owned by one of the writers, rather than some faceless corporation. Which, I think, makes your advice even more relevant.

I’ll start by rewatching everything, then put a pitch together with a focus on enhancing their IP and increasing exposure.

Nice.

DanWhitehead
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:49 pm

Re: Existing IP

Post by DanWhitehead »

That sounds pretty interesting. I've come close on a few things like that, but they've tended to fizzle out once they realised what the cost of producing a comic was and how limited the market was for them.

What specifically are they offering - they'll pay for the content and printing? Or just giving you permission to use the IP and you fund it however you can? And did they approach you, or the other way around? If they approached you, that's a more hopeful sign.

Even if the writer owns the IP, there's a chance that lawyers will get involved at some point. Especially with TV stuff - and double especially for relatively recent things like the 90s - there's the chance of all kinds of lingering contractual obligations. They may own the IP, for instance, but publishing deals may have been struck when the show was on the air that are still valid and would preclude any new printed stuff. That may not be the case, but it CAN be a minefield so proceed with eyes open.

I went back and forth with the family of a TV writer who co-created a cult 1970s sci-fi show, and they were really keen on the idea of me doing a modern day comic that picked up the concept. They were pretty sure they owned the rights, or at least half the rights, but once lawyers got involved to clarify the situation things jammed up fast - it went from a fun and promising "let's give it a try" response to "and how many thousands of pounds are you willing to pay for the rights?" - and this was for a show that is largely forgotten and hasn't even been repeated in decades.

GeoffRichards
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:31 pm

Re: Existing IP

Post by GeoffRichards »

Things have moved forward a little with this.

I'd be writing an origin story for their IP. The big stipulation is that they want to own the copyright for all new characters etc. I'd only be able to use them for the duration of the license.

On the surface, this doesn't put me off.

Am I missing anything?

DanWhitehead
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:49 pm

Re: Existing IP

Post by DanWhitehead »

Key question now is who is publishing this? Are you writing it for them to publish? If so, that sounds like a standard WFH gig to me.

But you say "duration of the license" so are they offering you a license to create a prequel comic that you would then print and sell? Because that would make it a licensee/licensor situation, which would require more finessed legals.

Either way, them wanting ownership of the new characters doesn't surprise me. They don't want to end up like the BBC and the Daleks, which are an integral part of Doctor Who lore but actually belong to the estate of Terry Nation. The BBC had to negotiate with Nation's estate to use them when the show returned in 2005, and part of the deal (as insisted by Nation's estate) was that each season would contain at least one Dalek story, which is why they now feel kind of overused after only appearing sporadically in the classic era.

Personally, with that in mind, I'd suggest a small royalty for use of any characters you create in other media just to be on the safe side. They'd still own them, but you'd still benefit if your creations turn their fortunes around. What you don't want to happen is for you to do this comic, and then they revive the IP in TV, film or gaming or whatever using your prequel story to reboot with your new characters, and you're left holding your one-off payment.

I must admit, I'm trying to work out what the old 90s TV IP could be.

GeoffRichards
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:31 pm

Re: Existing IP

Post by GeoffRichards »

That’s really helpful, cheers.

I’ll be taking the license via Floating Rock Comics, and then we’ll publish (probably under Wiplash, who publish my other work).

They’ve said they’re sending a contract over, so we’ll see what happens. As soon as I can, I’ll spill the beans.

DanWhitehead
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:49 pm

Re: Existing IP

Post by DanWhitehead »

Interesting.

So are they giving you the use of the license for free? No upfront fee, just royalty payments per copy sold? That sounds like a pretty sweet deal, if so.

GeoffRichards
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:31 pm

Re: Existing IP

Post by GeoffRichards »

They do want a non-returnable advance against royalties.
Which, they've just asked me to propose - alongside a royalty rate.
Now, to try and figure out something fair!

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