People with real creativity – whether its the ability to come up with creative ideas, or execute them – always inspire me. So when I heard about what my friend, Steve Nedvidek, was up to with a project he calls, Jekyll Island Chronicles, I just had to ask him more about it. And because I get so inspired by these kinds of creative pursuits, I thought I’d share it here for others to get inspired.
Tell me about the Jekyll Island Chronicles. What’s the “big idea”?
The big idea was to create a graphic novel project but use SCAD students as a means to get the thing visualized. We have used students before for projects related to work (industrial design centric), but SCAD had never been approached to use their Sequential Arts students for a project class. This was a first for them and they were excited about the premise for the Jekyll storyline. Savannah isn’t that far from Jekyll Island, so that made it more intriguing. It was a great synergy and a win/win for everyone.
What made you finally pull the trigger on this project, at this point in your life / career?
Honestly, it was frustration. The three of us (me and two of my best friends) wanted a creative outlet that we could control. For me, everything else I was doing was dependent on someone else’s vision, someone else’s timing, or someone else’s resources. I wanted to do something where the only thing I was pleasing was my own sensibilities–rise and fall on that. It has been really freeing. In the time it takes to play a round of golf each week, we have created something! We have a book.
Talk about Kickstarter and why you decided on that platform? Without crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter, would you have been able to pull this project off? If so, how?
We decided to go this direction after consulting with our publisher, Chris Staros, editor of Top Shelf Productions. It was a way for us to develop a community of followers and to get people excited about the project. Plus, we have lifelong friends who have been inspired by our “mid-life crisis.” They want to help. Kickstarter has given them a vehicle. But, of course, with Kickstarter it is all or nothing. So the pressure is on to make something happen. Without it, it would take longer and be totally dependent on our financing. We have to pay the artists, who are both EXTREMELY talented and who are trying to start their careers. If we blow our goal out of the water, we have immediate funds to start Book Two, and our artists know they have more working coming.
I love the fact that you’re working with SCAD on this project! How did that relationship happen and how has it gone so far?
Like I mentioned, the relationship came from our work connection. We have done other projects with them and I had co-developed teaching curriculum with them, so we had contacts there. The class of 10 students was phenomenal! They really “got” what we were trying to achieve with the book. Their class project was to produce a pitch packet for publishers and production studios, and they nailed it. It was tough for them though, because you had 10 people with different strengths who all had to work together to accomplish their goals. They had to learn to listen to each other, collaborate and check their egos. Ultimately, we wound up selected two of the students to work further with us. Moses Nester and Sarah Miller are incredible talents and we are fortunate they care a lot about Jekyll. And they have just gotten better over time.
I think its terrific you have a publisher to help you, did you consider self-publishing at any point?
We did, but this was all so new to us. Chris Staros, Top Shelf and now IDW have been great to work with. When you have experts who want to help, why not use them? Hey, we all have full-time jobs! We need all the help we can get, because we don’t have the knowledge, or sometimes the desire, to know how to tackle everything.
For people reading this, whats the best way they can help you make this happen?
Go to the Kickstarter site. The project is the Jekyll Island Chronicles. You will find out more about the story and narrative behind it and you can donate to help us reach our goal of $25,000. Time is running out as the project closes at the end of the month. There are some really cool rewards at different levels. For example, the top level gets you book mentions, signed copies and stuff, but it also gets you a two-night stay at the Jekyll Island Club hotel, where much of our story takes place in 1918 and 1919. You can also visit our website to learn more and see more artwork. Please help us make this dream a reality and donate so we can reach our goal!
~ Here is an example of some of the artwork from the project!