VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION (text may contain errors)
Voice Over (00:00:03):
This show is sponsored by the ComX Shop. We hope you enjoy the show
Leigh Chalker (00:00:25):
And Goodday and welcome to episode 11 of Tuesday, chinwag. I am Lead Chalk, our creator of Battle for Bustle. And for those of you watching at home that Dunno about the show, based on six questions, prompting words, who, what, where, when, why, and how. And our guest this evening, it’s Mr. Sean Keenan. How are you mate?
Shaun Keenan (00:00:47):
Good mate. Good. I’ve just been spending the last hour with a crying baby, so I’m glad to nick into the cinema room and close the doors for a little bit.
Leigh Chalker (00:00:59):
Yeah, yeah, well depending on how the interview goes mate, you could have another crying baby on your hands and knee in an hour’s and ands time <laugh>.
Shaun Keenan (00:01:06):
I promise I’ll be gentle
Leigh Chalker (00:01:09):
<laugh>. Ah, awesome. Well mate, it’s great to meet you. I’ve seen you around the traps a fair bit, but haven’t had the pleasure of sitting down and having a gas bag. So yeah, then we’ll start with our first question I guess, mate, which is who?
Shaun Keenan (00:01:27):
So I am Sean King. I created a publishing company called Comics to Movies which originally was a collectable company. We did limited edition prints and those type of things. Did a lot of conventions and that type of stuff. And then in 2015 we are published our first comic, which is the Extreme Champion Tournament which has gone on to be one of the number one selling comics in Australia, having sold almost eight and a half thousand issues now, which is pretty cool for a small indie indie comic. And then in the last couple of years we’re really ramped up with series like Olympus Fractured Shards, TA Sparta and New comics coming out on night and Occupational Rainfall, which is a tie in to a Australian TV series TV film series, which is kind of cool. Yeah,
Leigh Chalker (00:02:29):
I watched those two movies. That was, what was that? The first one was Occupation I think. And the second one was
Shaun Keenan (00:02:34):
Occupation Rainfall. So this one kind of fits in, they’re doing a third film and a fourth film. So this one kind of fits in between that second and third film, which is kind of cool. So I’m hoping I nail it so that they come back and say, okay, well you can do another one in between the other two films. So that’s the goal anyway,
Leigh Chalker (00:02:55):
So yeah. Yeah, that’s awesome. So I guess you are Victorian. Yeah, Melbourne
Shaun Keenan (00:03:03):
And so regional.
Leigh Chalker (00:03:06):
Shaun Keenan (00:03:07):
So I grew up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, so moved out to a small town called Mill Park which is no longer a small town now it’s goes from Mill Park almost all the way to Willey these days if anyone knows Victoria. But I’ve pretty much moved around a little bit ever since I was 18. I moved out and lived with my auntie and uncle in Warren, which again was a small town when I moved out there, which is again now massive that I lived overseas for 12 months. So I went to America and did a summer camp over there and lived on site and that really kind of made me fall in love with America. I always liked the movies and the films and comics and everything, but actually being over there and being able to get into their stores and everything. So wrapped up a massive debt and come home with my tail between my legs, <laugh> I met my now wife and we’ve we’ve lived in a couple of places since then, which is Sunshine and now we’re in our forever home here I’m hoping which is in regional Victoria called Guzman.
So it’s a beautiful small little town. I’m hoping it stays that way And yeah, we’re really, really lucky to be up here. We’ve got family close and which is amazing.
Leigh Chalker (00:04:40):
Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome man. So regional Victoria fella, I suppose the spark for comics to movies and that sort of kicked off when you fell in love with the American shops and things like that and got caught up in their the flashy lights and stuff.
Shaun Keenan (00:04:59):
Well for me I fell in love with it was actually my mum that got me into comics I’ve really struggled to read as a kid. So I was one of those ones that never liked reading and that was cuz I kind of struggled with that. So it was actually my mum that had went out and bought me an amazing Spiderman are comic and that really got me interested in kind of reading. And then she was great in regards to saying, oh well I’ll purchase more comics for you if you start reading books rather than just comics. But it wasn’t until I was much older than I realized that I’m a visual learner so if you show me how to do something I can pick it up and I can do it and run with it. But if you gimme a book and say I’ll learn this then I really struggle to learn that way.
So my love of comic started from there, but it wasn’t until I started attending conventions and I reckon it was probably around 2008, 2009 when Supernova started to come down to Melbourne. There was Armageddon which was Scott’s show that he did with the New Zealand company and I’ve kind of gone to a couple of those shows as a fan and then that really got my creative juices flowing. So I was like, okay, I wanna be on the other side of the table. This looks like heats are fun and everything and I’ve always been pretty good at finding gaps in the industry and everything. So I kind of started doing a little bit of collectable memorabilia and then came up with this idea of rather than having one artist at one table, why didn’t I get a collection of artists and do my own table and showcase a broad range of work. So that allowed me to get artists from interstate to do work so they didn’t have to travel to do shows. And that became quite successful very quickly. And our hook was, we did a half type of print, so half villain, half hero, and then it morphed into alter egos teams and all that type of stuff, which is kind of cool.
Leigh Chalker (00:07:31):
Yeah. Well I see you jet setting around a bit, you’re up where you Sydney and you’ve been to the Gold Coast and that of late, I saw that when you started doing the merchandise sort of stuff. At what point did you think I might have a little dabble in comics mate cuz did you see other artists out there or people selling comic books and sit there and think to yourself, man I wouldn’t mind having a little go at this or
Shaun Keenan (00:08:06):
I was super naive. <laugh>, I was super naive I did really well with the prints. I just was really naive and going, oh, I’ll just do a comic. I’ll sell 5,000 issues of an issue. Zero when it all will be good in the world. <laugh>, I work quick. Smart one, making a comic is super expensive if you can’t do it yourself, if you can’t draw, if you can’t write, if you can’t edit if you can’t market making a comic is extremely expensive. So that was the first thing that really made me open my eyes and as much fun as I had doing it, I was like really kind of scared me when I invested so much money into a comic compared to a single limited edition print that we’re able to sell for 10 times a price or whatever <affirmative>.
But was the people around me, the Melbourne industry, what started probably 2015, so almost 10 years ago, they were really, really good. They were really supportive. They tried to help you navigate some pitfalls some I listened to, some I didn’t and had to learn from myself. But I think that was probably what really drove me to be successful. And I’ve always been one of those people that when I set my mind to something like I like to see that through. So by the time I finish Xct probably be 10 or 15 years at a minimum. But I like to think that now I’ve got the ball rolling that I’ll eventually get there and say, okay, here’s a really good body of work that I’ve been able to produce and that type of thing.
Leigh Chalker (00:10:17):
So when now XTC was that’s, that’s your first one. So what was it that I guess X with the subject matter of the comic book, what is it that it attracted you to decide, this is mobi, this is the one, I’m gonna kick fire this off, man, let’s go and sell those 5,000 copies in half. <laugh> <laugh>, what was it?
Shaun Keenan (00:10:49):
Well, well for me, I’m a big Spartas fan, so I’ve always enjoyed history. I can still remember watching the 1961 Spartacus with Kirk Douglas. I’ve got actually an original poster in my office that the day bill poster of that. So I’ve always been fascinated with Spartacus I think is a really fascinating character in regards to there’s no social media, no news and everything like that back then. And he was able just with his own charisma, get over 200,000 people to follow him and then die for him. I’m like, what type of person must have that kind of charisma? And then the flip side of that is I love my sport. So I watch mixed martial arts and I was a big fan of a fighter called John Bones Jones. And this idea just literally came to me one night, I just finished watching the John Bones Jones fight that day.
The Spartacus TV series had literally just aired their final one. And I sat there and I was like, oh damn, I wonder what it’d be like to see Spartas fight off against John Bones Jones. And then I sat there, or how about Alexander the Great or hang on, how about Gangas Kane? And that just kind of really got me me interested. And then what hooked me in was that world building when I started researching different historical characters and everything. I found it really fascinating what these people were able to do thousands of years ago. And some of the strategic manu maneuvers that they did that a lot of following on generals would take from them in regards to how to fight a gorilla warfare and these type of things. Yeah, so that’s where the idea and everything came from. But yeah, as I said, the naivety around how many I was gonna sell, I was doing a lot of conventions back then. I was doing say almost 20 to 25 conventions a year. So I was weighing almost every second weekend. So I’m like, oh, I’ll just sell all of those and that’ll be good, then I’ll do the next one. Sell all of those. And yeah, didn’t realize comics are heavy when you’re traveling type of thing. They’re not overly expensive. So for the cost of how much it costs to make to what you sell them for doesn’t really kind of mesh up <laugh> type of thing. So yeah,
Leigh Chalker (00:13:46):
Make we always a Kickstarter dude from the first issue that come through Kickstarter or you were self-funded. And just before we get to that, what did Dave do? Say I’d love to sell 8,500 comics. What advice can you provide to help me and others achieve that goal?
Shaun Keenan (00:14:09):
Yeah, I think the biggest thing is a schedule. I think a lot of people will notice in the industry that we have a lot of number ones. We have about half the amount of number twos and then a 10th of number threes. And then you barely ever see a number four of an indie title. So really understanding the length of your story. So I think that’s the biggest thing why I’ve gone away and started to do a few other stories because I want to complete something much quicker than I, I’ll complete X CT because I was again naive going, it’s gotta be a 50 issue arc and of course I’ll do this five a year and all this type stuff. But yeah, for me it’s really about understanding how many issues I’m gonna have having a schedule and then really knowing your numbers. So unless you are an artist and a writer, that you can do it all yourself really understanding those numbers.
So how much you need to pay your artist, how much you’re gonna pay an editor. And then the final thing there is, you know, are your own market or your own business whether you want to be or not. If you want your comic to sell you are your own business. So it’s really important that you build a audience and that’s something that just unfortunately takes time and it comes a lot with consistency. So it’s about if you’re going to do a show like this on a podcast or a YouTube show that you do it consistently so people know every single Tuesday night at eight 30 they can jump on and they can have a chin. And that’s how you start to build an audience of people that follow you, that it’s a repetitive task that you continue to do. So I think people say if you do it for 90 days it then becomes a habit.
And that’s the same thing about building an audience. If you are staying in contact with your audience for 90 days, then they become almost a habit in regards to either watching you or liking your posts or following what you do or responding to your emails and those type of things. But there’s unfortunately no silver bullet. There’s not one thing that I can say do this and you’ll sell eight and eight and a half thousand comics. And to be honest, that’s taken almost seven years in November, it’ll be seven years. But even to say that I’ve sold on average a thousand comics of one series a year is, I feel is pretty bloody good.
Leigh Chalker (00:17:09):
Yeah, that is mate, don’t worry about that. I a hundred percent agree with you. That’s an excellent achievement, my God. But the work that goes into it, did you find, not only to follow on that question from Dave and your answer, did you find a lot with building the audience? I guess for me, I’ve sort of come into Australian comic books through the Covid period and up in far north Queensland, I guess I’ve just built my audience through live streams appearing on shows, that sort of stuff and trying to produce a regular comic as best I can. Did you think back Yes, they are the beard twins. That’s right, we are. They’re good
Shaun Keenan (00:17:54):
Art. Thanks Steven <laugh>,
Leigh Chalker (00:17:56):
Did you think that when you went to those 25 conventions and stuff, did you find that that was helping you immensely to get your name out there and stuff at that particular time? Mate?
Shaun Keenan (00:18:11):
So it was a double edged sword. And I think this is one thing that I’ll say about my own experience is that understanding your own brand will deliver you the best audience. So for me, I was doing limited edition prints while I was doing comics. So a lot of people knew me for the limited edition prints and I was able to get some of that audience over to my comics, but it wasn’t a straight, everyone that follows and wants my prints is going to want and read my comics. So that was a little bit disheartening to begin with cause you’re like, oh man, I’ve got two and a half thousand people on my email list, I’m gonna sell at least two and a half thousand comics. They buy all my, and then you know, sell a hundred. And you’re like what? Really only a hundred people outta.
So yeah, you gotta really understand who you’re trying to sell your book to. So a lot of marketers or sales people will say, who is your target market? So is it a male, female age group demographic and everything? But the biggest part is when you work all that out is where is that person? Is that person on Facebook, is that person on Instagram? Is that person watching YouTube shows? Is that person going to conventions? For me, the last probably two years before Covid, and even this year, I feel like conventions have turned very much into a coplay and more of a pop culture event than it is surrounded about comics. There is a small amount of people that go for comics, but out of that 20,000, let’s say go to a Melbourne I would literally say only probably 2%. So that 2000 type of people actually are into comic books and collect comic books.
So it’s all well and good to go, oh we’ve got 20,000 people there, but you don’t have 20,000 people that are interested in comic books. So for me I’ve just really kind of tried to understand where I am and who I’m trying to sell to. So I’ve been lucky enough to be at a guest at a couple of Supernovas. So when I went as a guest, I just purely focused on my comics. I’m like, this is me and this is the stuff I’ve created. And I did comics when I have to pay my own way, then I focused more on the limited edition prints because I’m there to try and make as much money as I can. So the printer, I’m able to make a lot more money than I can through my comic books. So that’s where I’ve slowly tried to work through. But now if you jump onto my website, I’ve totally rebranded. It’s more all around a publishing company, really focusing on producing comics and all that type of stuff. But the best place I’ve found to build an audience is on Kickstarter in the comic book section. And that’s by backing other people, by connecting in with other creators and then trying to leverage off their audiences. I always kind of say on my own channel, you can do three things. You can either build your own audience, you can borrow an audience, or you can steal an audience. So try and do one of those three things.
Leigh Chalker (00:21:57):
Yeah. So when, what’s Dave Dye? Do you mainly sell in Australia or do you have an overseas audience mate?
Shaun Keenan (00:22:06):
Yeah, so I’m probably I would say I’m probably bigger in the US than I am in Australia. And I’ve got a really big following in France as well. So I was lucky enough I’ve, I’ve done three conventions in France, which was an actual Spartas convention. So again,
Everyone that liked Spartas. So again that not everyone liked comic books but hundred, all a hundred percent people there liked Spartas. So it was a much easier sell in that audience to sell quite a few comics. So I’ve got quite a good following in France there. And then I’ve done a couple of really big shows in Dallas, Texas and a place called Per Basin, which is in Texas as well. So I’ve got a really good fan base in Texas and I did have a team there that was actually selling my common book in the US while I was here in Australia. So yes, that’s been really good. So now it’s about changing my audience, as I was saying before here in Australia to move away from those prints and say, hey come and see me for my comics and all that type of stuff. Yeah.
Leigh Chalker (00:23:26):
Well when you started were you were yourself or did you just straight into Kickstarter you thought with your marketing mind and stuff? Cause I would say that you were obviously in marketing previous to that or you just did a hell of a lot of research mate. So
Shaun Keenan (00:23:44):
Yeah, I don’t know and I don’t really talk about this much, but I was actually the first Australian comic on Kickstarter. So Australia Kickstarter’s been around since I believe 2010, 2011 might even be a little bit earlier than that, but it didn’t come. But that was only in the US so it didn’t come to Australia until 2015. So I had known about it but I researched there was another one called Possible which I believe is still around, I’m not a hundred percent sure. I haven’t seen too many projects that I know of that have been on there. So I did a lot of research around possible and I did a bit of research. I don’t think it was Indiegogo, I don’t think Indiegogo was around or maybe it was, but wasn’t here in Australia either at that time. So Possible had done a really good free crowdfunding night in the city.
So I went to that and kind of gathered some information around that. And <laugh>, again, super naive, was that a target of $5,000 that should be easy to make and everything, not understanding shipping costs that usually your first time around when you kick starting, it’s a lot of family and friends that are backing you cause they’re wanting to support your dream and everything like that. And I was literally nowhere near making my target and I was very, very lucky that I got a advertising deal through Film Inc. Which is the magazine that does film, movies and all that type of stuff. So it was a lovely lady that I’d spoken to there and spoke to her about my comic and what I was doing and they were very supportive of the project and really bumped me up in that dead zone period. And then after that I was able to raise the rest of the money when I got so close, people were like, okay, this is actually gonna fund. And it kind of trickled over the line towards the end. But yeah, if it wasn’t for that advertising deal, I probably would’ve not made that first Kickstarter. But I learnt a hell of a lot and my kick started my second kickstart was nowhere near that kind of target.
Leigh Chalker (00:26:31):
Yeah, yeah. Well would’ve been almost terrifying, man, being the first one and just, oh I’m gonna stick my toe in mate. You know, I can see how we go. Great mate,
Shaun Keenan (00:26:46):
Why didn’t I try $500 or a thousand dollars or something? Dunno what I was thinking going, I just had this 5,000 was stuck in my head. I’m gonna sell 5,000 comments, I $5,000. I seriously don’t know. I’ll look back now and just go, oh I never, everything I did with my first comic, I would tell no one ever to do what I did. But the good thing that’s been able to come out of that is one, I was able to print so many comics, I was able to print them at a super cheap price, which then now has allowed me to bundle my comics together be able to provide them to conventions in lieu of an appearance or something like that. Add them to show bags add them to mystery boxes and those type of things and gather my money and keep moving some of that stock type of thing. But yeah
Leigh Chalker (00:27:51):
Man, that sounds like an awesome adventure. So with the success of your first one, you were feeling strong, feeling pretty good, I’m gonna step into the second one. And what was that, how did that go? What improvements did you make on Xtc issue One mate to the second one that,
Shaun Keenan (00:28:11):
Yeah, well I don’t know if he’s watching, but I was God gifted Steven. So that is what has lifted me beyond where I am and today. So it was really weird
Leigh Chalker (00:28:28):
Cause tell us about that. Cause he’s a big part of comics to movies and stuff with your live streams and things and I know you’re both very, very close. Yeah. So yeah mate far away. Tell us how that,
Shaun Keenan (00:28:40):
I can’t even tell you how we met. I can’t remember whether I reached out to him to ask him a question around comic. I don’t know whether it was about maybe comic lettering. No, I don’t even think he was doing lettering back then. Maybe it was just like a generic comic question or we had just kind of talked cause he didn’t do any conventions and doesn’t really do any conventions. So it was all just online. And we’d spoken for I reckon at least two years before I actually met him in person type of thing. But he’s just such an awesome, really genuine guy for me. I’ve always been really adamant about surrounding myself with people that are much better at things than I am. So understanding what I’m good at. So I’ve taken a step back from the writing and do more of that management of production, that project management style style things cuz that’s what I’m really good at helping with marketing or coming up with different ideas of how to sell things and that type of stuff.
So having someone like Steven to bounce ideas off was really, really helpful and everything, I guess I was just talking to him one day and I said, oh, I have this idea for this post apocalyptic series called Olympus. It all takes place on a space station. And the main protagonist is a female lead character and she’s an engineer and it’s kind of like this conspiracy and the earth is gone and made no sense whatsoever. And Steven’s like, oh yeah, he goes, oh that sounds like good. He goes, well did you wanna work on it together? And I was like, oh yeah, yeah, okay, well why not? So that was just how we came around with Olympus and I’ve always loved a lot of the work that he’s done and over the last three or four years his writing has gone really to the next level and we’ve just kind of kept up that relationship.
So it’s kind of great whenever we’re kind of coming up with a new project, a lot of the times we’ll say, oh hey, are you interested in coming into this project with me? And a lot of that times it’s about trying to share the burden of costs of creating and everything. He’s not an artist, I’m not an artist. And the biggest expense usually is the artist and colorist on a comic series. So it’s kind of blossomed in from just a comic book creating relationship into a genuine friendship and now even more like a business partnership from all the different things that we’re working on to together now. And I think eventually you’ll see us work even more closely I think when we can get this to a point where it might become an image or a scout comics or something like that and merging all of our titles together or all those type of things.
Leigh Chalker (00:32:19):
Now recently I saw on a Facebook post that you’d go on and pitched a couple of ideas mate at some film places or TV places, they have a meeting where new people come in and pitch their ideas and stuff like that. Do you see your stuff going into TV and film, obviously with the name comics to movies, I mean essentially is that your goal? Comics to movies? That’s the biggest,
Shaun Keenan (00:32:50):
Yeah. Yeah. So I think that was initially my goal, but at the moment I think I kind of want to do something a little bit different where I’m got the ability to maybe turn movies that are already out there into graphic novels. So do the flip side, which is what we’re doing with occupation rainfall. I’ve got another project that I’m in talks about that I can’t say too much about, but that’s an Amazon Prime project. So if I can get that across the line, that’ll be something really cool. So I think that is what I’m looking at in the near future. And then in the longer term it would be developing either one of my own projects or several of my own projects for either the small screen or the big screen. So streaming service or a feature film. So the pitching, it was really nerve-wracking.
I’ve got some really great feedback you know, gotta have thick skin in this game in regards to being a creator in any really industries, you gonna get a lot of nos or you’re gonna get a lot of, I like this, but seems to be the fun line everyone likes to give you. So it was at the Melbourne International Film Festival that I was able to pitch Xct as well as a couple of different ideas that I’ve kind of come up with. And yeah, we’ve been very busy since then with other connections and it wasn’t just about me pitching my work. It’s been really interesting that a couple of people that I’ve met at the event are like, oh, I’ve got this idea and I’d love to see it as a comic and graphic novel and I’d love to work with you and do this. So yeah.
Leigh Chalker (00:35:00):
Yeah, I wouldn’t think a big fella like yourself would be all nervous and may need to have thick skin and just be like, look mate, that’s all good. You seem driven as all hell, which is great. Yeah,
Shaun Keenan (00:35:14):
Leigh Chalker (00:35:15):
Much like Steven the other day, passion’s just pounding outta your man. So you’re on the right track if you get passion in your life, mate. You know what I mean? That’s a bloody marvelous thing.
Shaun Keenan (00:35:25):
Yeah, but we’re all human. We’re all human. No, no one wants to hear that you look, I, I’ll be open and honest with you, I’ve got a meeting on the 20th of October with a very big producer. Now as part of this process I had the X C T read by a professional script writer and everything like that. And the feedback I got was absolutely smashed and your first reaction is, ah, he doesn’t know what he is talking about get really defensive and everything like that. But for me, I just took a step back and went, I’ll tell you what, all of those are really valid ideas and this person has taken their time to provide me with all this feedback to help me get this made. He hasn’t provided me this feedback to hurt my feelings and go, oh you know you’re bad at what you do or anything like that.
He’s actually there to help me and help me get better. And if you can really focus on that that will put you in a good stead. So I’m working on all of those, a lot of those things that they’ve told me I need to work on which really is pretty much a whole rewrite of a certain section of X CT and then how I go about maybe having to redo that in a comic format so that the story both in comic and if it ever got made into something kind of links up type of things. So that’s kind of a little bit upsetting when you’re like, oh, but I’ve sold this many. And they’re like, well yeah, you’ve sold this many but you could sell this many and that’s what you kind of need to realize. But yeah, I’ll passionate about this, it’s something that I’ve been working on for a while and I’ve always had a full time job and done this on the side and I really want to try and get this to a position where I can do this full time. And I feel like now I’ve got some things in the pipeworks that would allow me to do that as well as help other people really circumvent the industry and get published through comics to movies and really get their work out there to a large audience straight off the bat rather than having to do, as you said at the top of the show, building your own audience and doing that over a considerable amount of time.
Leigh Chalker (00:38:20):
Yeah, yeah, that’s an awesome look at things too, mate. Cuz I think sometimes as creators we can be precious we of our creations and then you’re a hundred percent, you know, do hear some things that you don’t like but you have to just have a moment and you mate, the best thing that you said there is those people are trying to help you as a creator with your idea and your IP get better. And I think those sorts of people, whether they’re editors or mentors or producers or script writers, they’re very handy and shouldn’t be undervalued really man advice like that if people see a spark in you, cuz I think every step think’s constant improvement from book one through to the second one. You want to have an improvement to the third one, you want to have an improvement. And I think that is a creative thing too. Maybe the audience readers may not pick it up as quickly as you, but as long as you know that the path is becoming a bit easy, I didn’t make that mistake that time or I, I didn’t even leave enough bleed or I didn’t give that person enough time to finish that artwork and edits and stuff. Yeah. Cause it’s not easy is it mate,
Shaun Keenan (00:39:46):
Simple stuff. As wells on one of our series and it’s one of our newest series, I fell into the trap of just not using the main character’s name enough be because I’m so used to reading the script and I know the character and everything like that, that it did not even dawn on me that I think in the book I literally say his name I know twice but maybe three times now in an issue one, come on man, you need to be saying it and if you’re a good writer you’ll understand there’s positions in when dialogue, when it’s going back and forth that you can use people’s names and all that without being at tacky just adding the naming. But yeah, even now it’s like okay I can fall into the trap of those type of things. But yeah, I think if you want to get better, you not need to invest in your craft.
So if you are a writer writing and everything like that, but you need to invest in yourself as well. So that means maybe getting a mentor go reaching out and saying, oh can I spend half an hour with you once a month and just bounce some ideas off you or ask you questions. There’s so many people that have done what you’ve done, why try and reinvent the wheel? Try and circumvent your learning curve by going out and doing those things and understands that if you want to do that, that you then need to invest either financial money there or you need to invest time or maybe your skill that you’re able to provide that person or something. I’m always a good believer of bartering. So if someone’s able to do something but you are able to do something else, it’s like well hey this kind of works out in regards to time and what the money would cost If you can do this, I can do this for you type of thing and try and do it that way. It doesn’t always necessarily have to be, oh you pay me 50 bucks and I’ll do that type of thing. Yeah.
Leigh Chalker (00:42:13):
Have you found that people you’ve reached out to have been helpful and you haven’t? Because I’ve found that everyone that I’ve met in the community, men if you’ve got questions or anything little things that you’re not sure on you throw out there are all very receptive to you’ve other creators, were old a hand mate and give them the knowledge to give them a helping hand as opposed to not letting them know what’s happening. Because I remember once that you were saying on one of your live streams, cuz I watch a lot of stuff when I’m drawing and that in the background to catch up and just I guess keep a map of what’s happening in the comic book world in Australia and stuff. And one of the things that you probably correct me, but it was a while ago was you found yourself getting into a bit of difficulty with badges and little and stuff like that for add-ons and things like that that interested me cuz see I guess at the start of battle for Bustle, I sort of thought about print a t-shirt or do this, do that and then in the end I was like, ah, I’ll just stick to the comic.
So <laugh> hard enough as it is. So what was some of the issues that you ran into with some of that extra stuff?
Shaun Keenan (00:43:43):
Yeah, so I think for me the biggest thing is having to design everything. So I can’t draw, so it’s not like I can design a t-shirt or that. So then if I’m going to do a t-shirt, then I needed to pay someone to design a t-shirt and then I needed the costings of how much the t-shirt is going to be and so on and so forth. So I reckon I probably wasn’t until, I wanna probably say my fourth Kickstarter, so slow learner here, but I don’t think it was until my fourth Kickstarter that I came across what they call the three R’s and I live by these and that’s reuse, repurpose and recycle. So if you are going to do a print of the cover, so you’re not doing another artwork where you’re having to pay another artist to do a print. So do a print of the cover cover’s, got all your trade dress on it, you’ve paid an artist to do a beautiful cover, do a print of that rather than going out, use that image as your banner image for Kickstarter.
So again, rather than having to design up a Kickstarter banner image, you are using that image in a way that you can repurpose it as a Kickstarter image, use that image then to then use it as your marketing. So when you’re going and you’re doing your link drops and all those type of things that you are using multiple different covers. So you’ve got your standard and your variance. So this group, you’re dropping this cover group, you’re dropping that cover this group, you’re dropping this cover and you’re mixing it up so people are not seeing the same thing over and over again. So that’s what I’ve found has really helped in regards to not trying to spend as much but be able to offer more. And then digital products are always really, really good for that as well. So being able to reach out to other creators and say, Hey, I’ve got a Kickstarter running Do Mind providing your PDF as an extra reward that I can add on.
Because if you’re asking someone to spend $10 on a digital pdf I can tell you I’m gonna want more than just 22 pages of a single comic to drop nine, $9. So a lot of the times you’ll have a look at our campaigns that $9 will, there’ll be over 200 pages worth of comic contact content there. And that’s again something that doesn’t cost you anything and the way that you would market that or you would speak to the creators. If people get your comic and they read your comic and they like it, well as long as you’ve got your contact details in there, well then they can follow you and all that type of stuff. Yeah,
Leigh Chalker (00:46:58):
Yeah, that’s cool information. I’m gonna go back on step back in time to little Sean when mum bought you your first Spider-Man comic. Now from obviously a collector cuz we’ll come to your fascination and your obsession with Star Wars <laugh>. I have one as well. And what was the issue with Spider-Man? Mate, do you remember getting it?
Shaun Keenan (00:47:35):
That’s what I got the other day talking
Leigh Chalker (00:47:37):
Shaun Keenan (00:47:39):
You won’t believe what the first Spider-Man comic I got absolutely. Totally it up and shocking version of amazing Spider-Man 360 1. So if people dunno what that is, that’s the first appearance of Carnage.
Leigh Chalker (00:48:00):
Yeah, yeah. Am I correct in that’s the cover of he? It’s a slight angle and he’s holding up. Yeah, yeah. And the sys all zipping around him and stuff. That was a big Mark Bagley from memory,
Shaun Keenan (00:48:17):
Correct. Yeah. So I think I might have gotten a couple of Web of Spidermans beforehand and I vaguely remember that they had the Hulk on the cover and I don’t know why it always stuck with me and I’m spilling, I don’t have it and I need to get it back in my collection. But it was Wolverine 88 and that was the first fight with Deadpool and Wolverine. But it’s like this blue almost like those negative kind of covers that they do these das Blue with black and a splash of red and it had Deadpool standing there with these two swords in a cross and they were going through. Yeah. And then I love my Star Wars.
Leigh Chalker (00:49:09):
Yeah. So now Danny Nolan had a comment before that just said your common sense with here it is, your common sense approach to PDFs on Kickstarter is refreshing an app mate. So just thought I’d throw up that comment for you from Danny. Thank you. Next Danny. Now what point mate did Star Wars dig in
Shaun Keenan (00:49:36):
Very young age I can remember. So I was born in 81, so I reckon I watched Empire Strikes back before I watched the original Star Wars <affirmative>. And then I definitely remember going to the movies and watching our Return of the Jedi and I was a big big walk fan. I loved loved Wicked and everything. And then the Cartoon series Walk cartoon series came out. So I was the perfect age age for that. So I’ve always loved that. And again, as I saying before that I struggled reading, I can still remember they had the old school cassette tapes and yet you had the headphones on and you would read the books so that they would read the story to you while, so you put the consent in, it had Sam Effects and everything like that and you followed along. So I don’t even know whether they do that type of stuff anymore with even, no, it’s all on probably iPads now and everything.
But I can remember as a kid I had a what was it? Like a three pack and I had each of the Star Wars Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. And yeah, I’ve got the original return of the Jedi hard cover graphic novel I guess you would call it. That was released in the eighties. I had all of the figures when I was a kid. Unfortunately they got stolen. So I don’t have any of those. But yeah, I’ve got a really good collection of statues and everything. I’ve got a couple of one off statues that I know are the only ones here in Australia. Cause they were US only releases and everything, which was kind of cool. And I was very lucky after Culling back my collection when I got married and we moved and had a lot of stuff in storage and I was like, I tell what, I’m just gonna get rid of everything.
And then I’ve started buying a few things going just that childhood memory. I really love to own a copy of that. And literally man, for my 40th birthday, my amazing wife bought me a Star Wars comic collection. I had over 420 comics. She got it for a crazy good price. The condition was absolutely amazing. So I literally got shipped from America in three long boxes. So that’s how many comics it had. But yeah, had everything from the seventies, eighties almost everything in the nineties, which I absolutely loved in early two thousands, which is your Dark horse, big fan of the Legacy series Nights of the old public
Leigh Chalker (00:52:50):
Dude, I could reach over there into that box. It’s about four feet away and drag out the entire legacy series. When I read that, that blew my mind, man. I love that. Let’s lament for a moment. There’s a big part of me that wishes that legacy would’ve been episode <laugh> whatever the force awakens. And that would’ve been the legacy comic book turned into a
Shaun Keenan (00:53:22):
Film. It’s gonna be 10, 11, 12.
Leigh Chalker (00:53:24):
I, well I didn’t know that, but I do now. It’s like,
Shaun Keenan (00:53:28):
Yeah, the guy out of Tron legacy, they, they’re pitching him to pay play Kate Skywalker.
Leigh Chalker (00:53:37):
Shaun Keenan (00:53:38):
Yeah, a hundred percent. Oh
Leigh Chalker (00:53:39):
I do. That is so awesome cuz people are gonna have their minds blown when they see that.
Shaun Keenan (00:53:45):
Yeah. So supposedly cause they’re gonna go back and redo Rise of Skywalker. So both Ben Skywalker and Ray are going to survive supposedly. So then Kate is going to be the son of them and supposedly they’re going to maybe tweak Ray’s lineage that she’s both a kanobi and a pulp tea.
Leigh Chalker (00:54:19):
Shaun Keenan (00:54:21):
Please talk about, so you have Ben Skywalker, who’s got Leah and Han Solo. So he’s a Skywalker. And then you’ve got Ray, who’s a mixture of a Canno and a pal team. And then the two of them have a kid that’s got a mixture of a Skywalker, a Palpetine and a Canno. No wonder it’s gonna be the strongest Jedi type of thing out there. So anyway, a lot of
Leigh Chalker (00:54:49):
Rumors, he was a beast of a character that Sky Walker. I enjoyed that immensely man. Yeah, yeah, very good.
Shaun Keenan (00:54:55):
The thing I loved about it was that he was such a flawed character. Luke was that goody two shoes and couldn’t do anything wrong and would always do the right thing and that type of thing. And then you’ve got, I don’t wanna spoil it for everyone, but Kate’s Skywalker is another kind of Jedi purge or whatever you wanna say. It’s not a good job to be a Jedi but he gets picked up by pirate. So he becomes a pirate pirate. So he is already a Jedi, he becomes a pirate that leads him into a life of bounty hunting. But the thing he bounty hunts are other Jedi.
Leigh Chalker (00:55:43):
Shaun Keenan (00:55:44):
To cut himself off from the force and not feel guilty about it, he’s a drug addict. He does sticks and I’m just like, my God, what a super complex character. And as a Skywalker. So you, you’re expecting him to be this? Oh yeah, I don’t know. I loved that series. I thought it was absolutely phenomenal. Very well written artwork. Phenomenal. I’ve actually just in front of me, I’ve got an original cover from that series that I was lucky enough to purchase before they stopped allowing Star Wars pages to be sold. They all had to go back to Lucas Film and that all to Dark Horse or whatever. So I was lucky enough to pick up a cover of that before. Yeah, they all got sent back.
Leigh Chalker (00:56:41):
Yeah. Yeah. So I can sort of see where your Spartacus things coming from with Star Wars though too, men, those sorts of characters. Cuz the movie was one of my dad’s favorites. So I watched that quite a bit when I was growing up and then I veered, I discovered it was a Stanley Krick film and so veered off into that, but that’s a whole nother topic cause he wasn’t making Spartas after that. He was off on another,
Shaun Keenan (00:57:07):
Leigh Chalker (00:57:09):
<laugh>. But I found the Spartas book you know, go into, believe it or not, this is like 20 years ago. And you go into those, I guess, I don’t know if you’ve got ’em down south, but they’re the cheap shops like Overflows or the Reject Shop or different things like that. And they have that table out the front of buy three for five bucks sort of thing. And I always flip through when I’m stand. I still do to this day. And I found a copy of Spartas for a Dollar and that’s a damn good book. And in the book he’s a very flawed character too. So I guess where I’m going Are you attracted to that with your writing and your creativity? The flawed hero?
Shaun Keenan (00:57:55):
Yeah. And I’m very attracted to and he’s probably gonna give away X C T is I’m always attracted to not happy endings. For me I like the hero doesn’t always get what he wants, but that doesn’t make him any less of a hero. And this idea that the hero always has to win I think is a flawed storytelling method. And that’s what I really love about and going off topic, but Spiderman, no Way Home is that to be the hero he to, he literally has to give up everything that makes him Spider-Man type of thing. And same with Spartacus is that he has to lose everything he loves practically lose his whole country as well to roam to fight for this idea of freedom. And yes, he failed, but tell me how many people you can name in that same era that when you say their name 2000 years later, they know the name.
It’s like Leonard I and the 300, everyone knows that story. And it was never about them succeeding it was actually about them being Martys. But to show what Greece could be, if you all stood together and you fought side by side, you can overcome immense odds. And I always love that type of storytelling and I’m very drawn to that. So <laugh> wife’s the complete opposite. She’ll Google the end of a movie and she’ll be like, she’s leaving now three quarters of the wave of the movie. She goes, is there happy? And that’s how I want it. And she’ll leave <laugh> and whenever the Notebook, she’ll watch it right up to the point where she remembers. I’m like, yep, boom. Turn turns it off. Yeah. So it’s very interesting that we’re very different. We’ll be watching the show and I’ll be like, oh, I’d kill the main character here, flip it on the head and focus the story on this.
But she’ll look at me and she goes, why do you wanna kill everyone all the time? And I’m just like, I don’t know. It would feel more authentic and more real then the hero escaping again, the hero escaping again and not enough especially series do that. But I, I’ve always loved and Wolf Creek too did it really well, started off the series following one person and then 15 minutes into the film, the person that she jumps into the car with, he becomes the main character for the rest of the movie, not her. And you’re like, oh what? She can’t die. So she’s the main character. That’s what I like. And I think that’s a really cool story. Storytelling that doesn’t probably get used to used enough. And I think again, when it comes to being creators and you’ve created this character and it’s your baby and all that, you’re like, I don’t actually wanna let him go or her go or whatever. But for me, I’m always about what’s the, what’s better for the story type of thing. And if that means killing everybody, well then that’s what I’ll do.
Leigh Chalker (01:01:57):
<laugh>. Well I, I’m attracted to those sort of characters too, mate. I got brought up dad had a healthy love of seventies cinema and from a young age I guess passed on to when I was in my teens and me and my mates in school used to watch movies too, fell in love with things like Taxi Driver and Mean Streets, the French Connection, like all of those movies where the good guy doesn’t always necessarily make it to the credits. And I always thought that, yeah, so I’m attracted to that too. And one of my, probably my favorite thing is Dune and spoilers. You can not listen if you don’t want to. But one of the things that I always loved about further on is that in this part that people know and see and is out in the world right now, Paul’s a hero, Paul’s a champion <laugh>, he doesn’t stay that way forever, let me tell you. And I remember reading those books and just going, that is so cool man. You know what I mean? This dude on the rise and then Ultimate Power corrupts essentially. And I always loved that idea too in storytelling, but that’s
Shaun Keenan (01:03:20):
What I love about that line out of Batman, where it’s either the hero or you live long enough to become the villain type of thing. Which is, I always found really, really interesting because it’s like, well yeah, you get enough ego, enough power, enough money that type of stuff eventually, how does it not corrupt? How do you keep that innocence and everything? And you look at that even in the real world, you know, look at all those child stars that then get to an age and they’re like, oh I’ve got all this money, all this fame, all this power. And then they come crashing down to earth because they can’t can’t function with that much going on type of thing.
Leigh Chalker (01:04:13):
Must be hard not hitting those TikTok numbers between 15 and 16
Shaun Keenan (01:04:20):
Leigh Chalker (01:04:21):
Oh no, my week is ruined. I’m only at a million. Not 1.2, but now Dave Dye just had a comment there, so we’ll have a look at that. What do we got SK related on this show? How his proofread wouldn’t let him kill off one of his main characters. He did,
Shaun Keenan (01:04:42):
Yes. Yeah, that was funny cuz I know who his proof reader is, <laugh> and yeah, they were like, no, no, you can’t do that, you know, have to do. So someone else. So I haven’t read the latest issue, so I don’t know whether he went through with it or not and had to find a new proofreader. But yeah, he’s told that story to me before and I was like, oh that’s hilarious. But that’s kind of the reaction that you want type of thing for me. There’s nothing no better feeling than someone coming up to me at a convention and going, oh man, I’ve just read the latest issue and I can’t believe this happened or I was devastated when I saw this and when they’re that invested in the characters, I think that that’s when you’ve done a really good job. So
Leigh Chalker (01:05:41):
Yeah, I would agree with that mate. Yeah, I definitely would agree. What’s one of the coolest things when you’ve been at your conventions and stuff, just talking about that people that are invested when you’re out, what is one of the coolest things that pops into your mind that blew you out with someone coming up to you and telling you something, cosplay one of your characters that there’d have to be a moment, wouldn’t there?
Shaun Keenan (01:06:07):
Yeah, I’ve got a young boy that when he was 10, came and bought Xct with all of his 20 cents and 50 cent pieces at the convention. So it was all of his money bought issue zero of X CT this year he turned 18 and he came to Melbourne Supernova and bought the latest issue of Xct. He comes every year bys the next issue, gets me the sign, has a photo with me. And I tell you that that is the best feeling every time I see him. It’s just bumping into a good friend and everything like that. So he’s now started writing his own comic and he was showing me that at Supernova early this year. So that’s one that I really like. And then the other one about being a creator is being able to include your friends and family. So I’ve got my daughter in one of the short stories in an anthology.
I’ve got my sister mentioned in one part where they’re talking about the next guest that’s coming on and it’s my sister. I’ve been lucky enough we had a friend that had a sick son and we created a whole single page around him meeting Spartacus and everything and were then able to give him the original page of that. So those type of things are the things that I really, really enjoy about being a creator and being able to share this universe. I’ve always been a firm believer, I love my Star Wars, but I’m not really able to affect the universe or be a part of the universe. So I really cherish the fact that I’m able to include these people and make them feel actually a part of the universe, whether they’re a character mentioned in there or anything like that. So yeah,
Leigh Chalker (01:08:36):
That would’ve been an awesome moment though, to give that little fella that page. I hope you were there for that. So that
Shaun Keenan (01:08:45):
I wasn’t unfortunately, cuz that was one of the years I was traveling every second week, but the mother taped it when they gave it to him. Yeah, so he was getting bullied at school, he was having a bit of a hard time he wasn’t well. And so to be able to be a part of what kind of broke him out of all of that and he’s touch Woodys is being very healthy ever since. So that gives you a good feeling because sometimes you don’t realize that with your story and the way you touch people, that actually has some effect on what’s going on in their life at that time type of thing. So I’m very mindful that someone’s taking the time to read my work at a certain point in their life and really respects the time that they they’re giving me. So
Leigh Chalker (01:09:47):
Yeah, that’s mate, to be honest with you, that’s one of the best stories I’ve heard of talking to people. Those moments are unreal.
Shaun Keenan (01:09:57):
You’ve heard it now, end of chinwag. No more <laugh>.
Leigh Chalker (01:10:02):
You don’t get outta it that easy, but <laugh>, no, in all honesty, I mean, when you are creating, I mean you just said it, I’m sure that everyone out there that creates mate would love to have a moment like that. And you’ve been lucky enough to have one man. So it makes you thankful at the end of the day really, that all those hours you spent by yourself and self doubt and everything, you’re able to connect and help someone with your art man, your creativity. So I think that’s a double thumbs up.
Shaun Keenan (01:10:37):
And it’s funny because I feel like I, I’ve had my moment with other artists as well. I was lucky enough to meet Humber Ramos. I’m a huge fan of Humberto Ramos and I’ve got a whole folder of his original artwork from Avengers Initiative all the way back to X Nation in the mid nineties, which was a short five run extension to the X-Men 2099 and all the other 2099 series. And I got to meet him in Sydney. I brought it up and signed everything. And he was looking through my book. He’s like, it’s like, wow. He goes, all of this is mine. And I’m like, yeah, I’ve gone. When I said that I’m a fan, I’m like, I’m not just saying that I’m a fan. I’ve gone, you’re really informal. I’ve followed you from the nineties, your Spiderman run your own series. He did a series called Cook Barque and everything.
He was like, cause I had had an original page from that in there. And he was just like, this is just the most randomist stuff of the work that he’s done. And he kind of pulled me aside and he goes, I tell you. Well, he goes, thank you. He goes, it’s really nice to kind of know that I’ve had this kind of impact on someone. And he literally signed everything for me for nothing. He goes, I know how much all that stuff is probably worth. He goes, I, I’ll just sign it all. So he made it all out to me and everything like that, which is phenomenal. And then I’ve got to meet Stanley a couple of times, which is another moment where I gave him ex CT and I guess he says it to everyone, but I, I’ll believe him when he says, oh, this looks amazing and I can’t wait to read it type of thing. Yeah,
Leigh Chalker (01:12:40):
That’s cool. So mate, with all that original artwork of Humber Old there, have you got enough wall space in your forever home to put it up? Or have you just been boxed into one roommate? The studio room, you can have every square inch in the roof, but you’re not getting the rest of the house
Shaun Keenan (01:13:00):
Mate. Have you met my wife? Yeah. So I’ve creeped out of the cinema room a little bit which is, I’ve got my original Star Wars Day bill posters cause they’re in really beautiful ornate frames. So my wife was like, they look like pieces of Arch. She goes, I’m happy to have them out there, but everything else is in the cinema room here and I’m allowed to have a couple of things up in the office. So I’ve got a really big signed walking dead poster which really phenomenal. There’s three signatures on there from actors that have passed away. So that’s one thing that I put up. I’ve got my Spartacus poster that’s framed from the sixties, so I’m gonna put that up. And then I’ve got my Spartacus Shields, I’ve got a actual replica from the Spartacus TV series. And then I’ve got my prize possession, which is the limited addition print of only 200 from the nineties. And it’s the four cover spread by Jim Lee and it’s signed by Jim Lee, Chris Claremont and Stan Lee. So that’s going up. But then pretty much everything else, I made a really silly deal with my wife. I said, whatever does, I can’t get up on the wall, I’ll get rid of
Leigh Chalker (01:14:36):
Shaun Keenan (01:14:36):
So now I’m
Leigh Chalker (01:14:38):
Looking and renovations happening in that studio, man. There’s gonna be a wing
Shaun Keenan (01:14:43):
<laugh>. I know. So I’m probably looking at maybe doing a little popup shop and getting rid of a whole lot of stuff. Cause I’ve been collecting for over 30 years and I’ve got that much, much stuff I didn’t even realize when I pulled out all my stuff from storage. I have over 150 movie posters dating back from everything to, I’ve got a Caravan of Courage up here, which is the E Walk <laugh> movie. I’ve got the Last Starfighter which was in another amazing movie I loved. I must have seen
Leigh Chalker (01:15:23):
Star Fighter 500 times. I’m not kidding you. That blew my mind as a kid. Hey, that vehicle spinning around everywhere and the oh dude, that
Shaun Keenan (01:15:33):
I used to have it on VHS and I couldn’t remember that I watched it that much that I wore out the vhs. And I remember chucking an absolute tanty when I went to watch it the next time. And I went the tape and I just lost my mind. And my mom’s like, yeah, we can go out and get again. I’m like, no, you can’t get it. Cuz back then the cassettes or the VHSs only got printed at certain times. And then there were quite a few years between the next runs of VHSs. So you could only ever get it from Blockbuster or Civic video or any of ones. So yeah, I was devastated. But yeah, I’ve got a signed original Punisher film by Dolph Lure. So I’ve got a lot of stuff and just not,
Leigh Chalker (01:16:30):
Don’t forget Louie Gossip Jr. Man, don’t forget Louie, he was in that movie. He <laugh> was a champion in that. I tell you, I liked All Lou Enemy. Mine was another good one. Remember that with Dennis Quad where Lou Ross Jr. Played the Alien and they became mates and stuff. That was a cool movie too.
Shaun Keenan (01:16:48):
So I just think I’m gonna have to move on. Unfortunately a lot of this stuff. So yeah, I’m starting to put up some of the my statues, but I’ve got a lot of different statues as well. I’m just, I literally don’t have anymore room to put stuff in now with two kids it’s all about them these days. It’s not about me anymore. Yeah.
Leigh Chalker (01:17:19):
How do you fit in all the comic book stuff and you’re working and you got wife and the two kids, mate, that time would be a little bit scarce these days I would assume.
Shaun Keenan (01:17:28):
Yeah, the last three months been tough. So I’ve, my little one’s only three months old other one’s six years old, so she’s pretty good at entertaining herself. But I’m really mindful of the time I get home from work to the time that my six year old goes to bed that I’m not really, I don’t do any work that time is really dedicated to having dinner, sitting down and watching Bluey or Myer and the three or something with her, Amina my Little Pony, watched them all. So that’s one real thing. And then usually this time that I’m on here is my wife’s time. So I had to ask permission to make sure that I could get on the show. So making sure that I spend some time with my wife and then usually between that nine 30 and 11 I’ll do a bit of business stuff and then start the day the day again.
So I really try and focus on four or five things that I’m trying to do during that time. But look, it can get quite stressful doing a full-time job trying to run a business and having kids. But I feel very lucky and blessed that I’m able to do all these things and in the future, if I’m able to start leveraging my business more and not need to work another job as much, well then that’ll allow me to live a more balanced life. But unfortunately to get to that stage, you need to put in the hard yards and hard hours to get there.
Leigh Chalker (01:19:28):
Yeah, you do. It is hard work mate. And you’re doing a pretty bloody good job of it from what I’ve seen. You’re successful mate. You’re kicking off. You’d be well from the first Kickstarter you started to where you are now mate, you’ve gotta be happy with your progression and stuff with comics to movies. Cause you’re also, how long you been doing your livestream for?
Shaun Keenan (01:19:48):
Which is so livestream started in 2020. So pretty much when we I think it was July, 2020 when all the lockdowns and everything were in place. So I was here in Victoria, so our state was locked down literally for almost six months at one stage. It was just crazy. So I spent so much time doing conventions and traveling and that I fell into the trap of just doing what I was used to doing to make money and all that type of stuff. So it wasn’t until that was no longer there that I really had to think about, well okay, am I gonna just chuck it in because I’ve got no money coming in. I can’t afford to fund it all just myself. Do I just chuck it in and go, okay, I tried but it didn’t work. Or do I try and find another form of income?
And it was literally, I’ll speak into someone from America that I classify as a really good friend and just said something really basic to me. He’s like, oh, so hey Kickstarters going. I said, oh well we launched one in February just when Covid was hitting of going, everyone else had jumped off Kickstarter. Cause they’re like, oh well I’m not gonna launch now. We don’t know what’s going on. And I was like, well that was an ideal time to launch because no one was on Kickstarter. I had no competition. He’s like, well why don’t you do more Kickstarters? And I just smiled and nod what you just did. I was like, yeah, why don’t I just do more Kickstarters? It was the simplest answer, but it was the most logical one. So we end up doing 10 Kickstarters in lockdown over those two years. And I released more in that two years than I had in the three or four years prior type of thing. So I think we produced over 400 pages of comics in that two years across a multiple stream of different titles. But now it’s just about really nutting down a schedule so that people can know December, I’m gonna get this title March, I’m gonna get this title, so on and so forth. But yeah, now I feel like I’ve been able to generate enough of an audience and generate enough of a stash of money there that I can do that. So yeah.
Leigh Chalker (01:22:43):
Yeah. Well you built your momentum and say now that you’re out of the lockdowns and stuff, I guess it is, as you were saying, balance, finding your system of the regularity, consistency of your products and stuff so people know that you’re still coming with high quality content and things like that. I mean, I guess that that’s something you’ve excelled at mate. From what I’ve seen as Tom McGee says 10 Kickstarters, wow man, that’s nuts. Well done. So it’s like that’s a lot of work mate. A lot of work, especially 400 pages of content. So
Shaun Keenan (01:23:24):
Well lucky I don’t draw So <laugh>
Leigh Chalker (01:23:29):
Be crying mate. <laugh>.
Shaun Keenan (01:23:31):
Leigh Chalker (01:23:32):
Right. That’s sword. You could be crying but at the same time you’re probably thinking, wow, I’m getting paid to draw. So I guess half empty glass, glass half full, whichever way you look at it.
Shaun Keenan (01:23:47):
And that’s something that I’ve been really pride myself on I’ve been really passionate about is making sure that everyone involved in the project is paid for the work that they do. So the good thing about doing a noble compared to a single issue comic is that when you’re trying to lock in an artist, you can say, okay, well if you can do five pages a week and it’s a 60 page graphic novel, then you’ve got good 12 weeks there worth of work, I can pay you as if it’s a job. So at the end of every week you submit your five pages, I pay you do any edits that I want and then you move on to the next five pages. So that’s kind of been really good to be able to give those artists a bit of stability as well in regards to their work and not have to worry about them picking up other work and putting you to the side cause they need to pay their bills and everything.
Leigh Chalker (01:24:55):
And you said earlier that’s where you are moving into more away from the writing side of things and more into the project management. So that’s where you are veering off into keeping an eye over the whole comics to move is product production line I guess, is that a way of looking at it like having people on schedule for releases and you gotta hit this mark, you gotta do that sort of thing and take up time mate?
Shaun Keenan (01:25:20):
Yeah, so we’re aiming to do distribution in 2023. So when you get distribution you need to be hit in certain times and dates else, they’re just gonna cut you from distribution. So that’s the one thing that we’re looking at. And having six series now on the go it is important that we have someone facilitating all of that type of thing. So as much as I love the world building and that type of stuff, a lot of the times if I come up with an idea, I’ll do very bare bones of an idea that I really like and the character and how I think they should look and everything. But then I’ll kind of hand that off to a team type of thing. So I’ll have a look at some writers that I’ve been following and go, okay, I think his style of writing would really fit this. And then same thing with an artist, I’ll reach out and go, okay, this is the kind of look I I’m going for. And then say to Steven, Hey, I’ve got a bunch of letters for you to do and everything. He’s always really good. He squeezes at me and always getting to do it at the last minute. It’s like, come on man, you’ve been doing this long enough and that. But yeah, no, he’s always good.
Leigh Chalker (01:26:45):
Yeah, no that’s great man. I’m glad to see you successful and still going. So as we start winding down the show mate, there’s there’s two things. Why do you do it to yourself mate? What is it that keeps you, when you’re sitting there by yourself and you wonder what is the answer that comes to you?
Shaun Keenan (01:27:13):
It’s always will be at my lowest point where I’m just like, I’m at a convention, it’s not going the way that you want it to go and that boy rocks up or you have an experience. It was really nice. My uncle came to Supernova, he’s in his sixties not into comic books or anything like that, never been to the show, didn’t know if he was coming. I was really surprised. So for him to pay 50 bucks to get in just to come and see what I do and everything. And this year I was like, the show wasn’t going overly great and I was kind of getting down and I had this interaction with this young girl and she didn’t buy anything but it was just explaining the process about comic creating and everything like that. And she was really excited and really enthused and everything.
And I just turned to my, my uncle and I said, this is why I keep doing it. For that type of reaction and that type of experiences, not always about selling something is not always about being the best. It’s not always about raising a certain amount of money, it’s about the interactions that you have with people and the impacts that you can have on people. So whenever I feel like I’ve had enough and that I can’t do it anymore I always seem to have one of those type of experiences and I’m just really reminds me that I feel like I’m in a privileged place to be able to do something like this and all be disservice to me to the Australian comic community and to the planet in general to not do something that I I’m good at and that I think would bring joy into the world. So
Leigh Chalker (01:29:16):
That’s a lovely answer mate. Good on you. Now I always like to ask everyone that comes on the show before we finish it off, for anyone that’s out there, anyone like that, young lady that wants to ask questions about comic books or anyone out there far regions of Australia or wherever by themselves wondering if what they’re doing is correct. What is the one thing that you have learned in your time doing this that you would say to someone in those positions?
Shaun Keenan (01:29:52):
Ask the power in the question is the most powerful thing that you will have at your disposal. Kickstarter Facebook, Instagram, there’s all these places with all these characters creators that have done what you have done. If you are wanting to know how to do something, just ask the question. You would be surprised at how many people will comment on your post if you post up something going, I’m looking at trying to write a script. Does anyone have an example of a comic script? And you’ll get all these people either providing their scripts or show you online where you can get one. Or you ask a question about, oh how do I this for a video trail? This is the format you should find. Internet’s an amazing thing. So to just ask the question, even if you just put it in Google and ask the question, you would be surprised at what information you can find. And that’s the one thing I wish I had known. I think a lot of creators are a little bit introverted by nature so to be able to ask a question is actually quite a big step and quite something outside their comfort zone. But if we finish off, my favorite line that I always use is get comfortable at being uncomfortable. It’s where the biggest growth comes from.
Leigh Chalker (01:31:36):
There you go. And there you have it. Mate, thank you very much for the chinwag tonight. It’s been an absolute pleasure. It’s been a pleasure to meet you too mate. So mate, where can anyone out there that’s watching, where can they get your stuff from mate,
Shaun Keenan (01:31:54):
Where you’re at? Yeah, so you can head over to www.comicstomovies.com au and that’s the number two. So comics, the number two movies. And then same on all social media platforms. So we’re on Kickstarter as comics to movies. We are on Facebook Instagram Patreon which is a really great place to go if you wanna see some of our behind the scenes stuff, especially with the occupation rainfall stuff coming up. We’ve got some really cool behind the scenes stuff that you will only be able to see there. We’re also on Twitter TikTok but there’s really just our trailers cuz I’m not a good dancer and you don’t wanna see that <laugh>. And finally we’ve got our own YouTube show called Comics to Movies and More, which is on each Sunday night at 10:00 PM as well. So if you wanna jump past and spend an hour with us, we talk about movies comics, creating and have some pretty cool guests on as well.
Leigh Chalker (01:33:02):
Yeah, awesome. Awesome. Well everyone out there jump on, go and follow Sean sk the comics to movie crew, get into their product and stuff cuz as you can tell, if their product is half as good as this man here, it’s bound to be awesome. So it’s thumbs up to your buddy. I’d like to just, that’s absolute pleasure, man, pleasure. But now just a reminder to everyone, don’t forget to and subscribe the X Channel and the Qing WA channel. I’d like to just let you know that the Oz x shows on tomorrow night on the Conex Network. We’ve got Friday night drink and draw Monday nights. There’s the Aussie verse, which you can always pop into and say goodday to people and have a listen. And next week on the show we have Lauren Armstrong. So I’m looking forward to having the chin mag with Lauren and saying Goodday to her. And thank you to Shane, thank you to Colmex, thank you to all the viewers. Thank you for everyone that’s watched and I couldn’t get to your comments, but we, we’ve noticed them and we’ve taken it all on board. Thank you for everyone. Keep on watching and remember, community is Unity.
Voice Over (01:34:16):
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