Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gumshoes 4 Hire

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I’m joined by Sean “Cheeks” Galloway from Table Taffy Studio who is here to talk to us about their Kickstarter: “Gumshoes 4 Hire.”  Thank you for joining us today Sean!

Glad to be here, James!  Thank you for taking the time to holler at us! :)

I’m going to have to ask the obvious: “Why Cheeks?”

HAHAHA  Well.... There’s 2 ways to find out the answer:

1) Check out the Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms DVD special features.  There’s a section at San Diego ComicCon 2005 and on the panel Guillermo Del Toro asked the same thing.  I was like a deer looking into headlights.  I froze and I couldn’t run.  Talk about being put on the spot!  This explanation doesn’t do the segment justice.  You’ll have to watch it to see what I mean. HAHA ;P

2) Here’s the direct answer.  My pals and I used to have this saying.... and let’s just say I used it WAAAAAAAAAY too much.  But first, lemme ask you.  When you see an awesome car, or art that really inspires you, how do you express how awesome it is?  Well, for us we used to say “MAN!  That’s tight like a pair of buttcheeks!”...  On top of that, we had a group of friends and there just so happened to be another Sean (Ruffner) hanging out together.  It all got confusing, so TableTaffy co-founder Ryan’s Benjamin’s brother, Joel, said “Yo, from now on we’re going to call you Cheeks”.  I never felt like I was part of a click until then.



[Laughs] Okay Cheeks it is then! So tell us a bit about your project Cheeks.  It looks a bit like a modern day Scooby Doo without the dog, though I do see cats on that cover picture!

Good question, James!  I am a HUGE fan of Scooby Doo.  Sure, we get the gang and some comedy but with Gumshoes 4 Hire they tackle special cases no one wants to deal with.  
Usually,  these are the cases the town’s local authorities pretend aren’t happening.  These bizarre cases range from paranormal to real monsters.  Although, we will get some scary and serious moments, this book is for all ages, so the reader gets some light humor, too.

The team consists of four, very close friends who attend their town’s private school called The Cliffs.  James Greene, is the brains and mechanic of the group.  Jennifer Greene is a huge cat lover!  Not only does she know everything that has to do with cats, she’s the inventor of gadgets, twin to James and Ryan’s squeeze, too!  Miggy Yakamashi is James’ girl, and the muscle of the group.  She’s the hot-tempered one, and is the best of the best in foot to face combat.  Her other “skill” is she talks loud and in rapid fire.  Her last name “Yakamashi” means noisy/loud, so if you’re standing within close proximity you will be dazed and confused.  Ryan Thomsen is the founder of the group.  He’s hearing impaired and also the logical thinker.  Often times, while the team is on a case, his hearing aid gives their surveillance away because of the whistling sound his hearing aid makes when not pushed in all the way.

Ahhhhhh....The cats?  Let’s just say, when the cat’s outta the bag be ready for it.  It’ll be a doozy and I don’t think people will associate this to Scooby Doo any longer. HAHAHA

Your team is made up of industry veterans and your work is top notch, what brings you to Kickstarter?  Has it become the “Go to” place to start new comic lines?  

My work top notch?  Wow, you know how to make a grown man’s “cheeks” blush”.  Thank you for the kind words.

As a fanboy first and foremost, it’s still so surreal to me that the team I have put together has been able to take time from their busy schedules to work with me on this project!  I never dreamed of the day I’d be able to work with Kevin Hopps (outside of animation), or Gurihiru!  Also helping out is Derek Laufman, the talented artist and co-founder of the popular indie game studio, Halfbot!  As we all know, and experience it everyday, income is hard enough to come by, but even harder to make a project paid out of pocket come to life.  My pockets have moths in them, so I cannot tell a lie,  Kickstarter is an amazing platform to get one’s idea out there and funded.

So no mystery machine?  They get a Winnebago?  

HAHAHA  I wish!  That thing was so cool.  Ever since I was a kid I wanted one for myself to drive around in all the way up until my mid-20’s. *AHEM*  I even have a Mystery Machine toothbrush holder I bought at Target years ago still.

In earlier concepts, I played around with some ideas of a VW van, and we did get some flack that Sleuths/Kids/VW Van, or Winnebago=Scooby Doo.  But now that the project is out, I can finally spill it.  The VW van, and the Winnebago is to trigger what the audience is familiar with for years; Scooby Doo!  However, what’s new and different is that these vehicles are constantly being, dinged up, or wrecked during cases.  

Maybe this will shed more light on what I’m talking about.  If we looked at this from a football coaches point of view; when you’ve got a player injured then you send in another player, right?  Well, here you have James Greene, the leader of G4H, who works at his dad’s auto body shop and has access to a number of vehicles.  This is our segway for James and the rest of the gang to be able to bench the “injured” car, and have unlimited access to a new vehicle on their cases.  We’ll get to see and revisit previous vehicles, but what’s neat is that they have options.  

How long have your team been working on this project?  

While on my honeymoon in Australia in 2009, I developed G4H and I started assembling my team in 2011.

How big is the book planned to be?  Your listing it as a “Hardback” I’m assuming full color?  

Both Book 1 and the Concepts Book is hardback, full color, and 52 pages each.  In Book 1 you get a 32 page story and about 18 extra pages of behind-the-scenes content.  In the Concepts Book you get 50 pages of visual development and character bios. We’ll also have extra goodies in store within the books!  (shhhhhhhhh)

I am a bit confused by your options, it says “PDF” but when you read the right side it says it’s a “PDF Preview Book” of Table Taffy work.  Is there no level where I get a PDF of the final book?  I’m not big on physical comics anymore.

My apologies for the confusion.  I know what you mean about being more into the PDF’s nowadays.  For me, I’m the kinda fella that likes to have both.  

The $5 reward’s PDF is roughly a 25 page PDF which consists of sneak peek previews of 5 pages of each TableTaffy projects.  These projects are G4H, Bastion’s 7, Little Big Heads, Pancratia and  Primoral Descent.

The $50 reward and up PDF’s are of the entire Gumshoes 4 Hire: Book 1 and the entire Concepts book.  What’s special about these PDF’s is that once the comic and the concepts books are complete, we’ll send out the PDF’s of each before the physical book is printed.  

Since our launch, we have received a lot of feedback from potential backers stating that they would really be interested in a straight up PDF version of Book 1. So we would like to announce right now that we have added a $15 Tier for the PDF version of Book 1! This will also included all of the rewards from the previous “What’s up doc”Tier!



Speaking of physical, I notice all your shipping is separate of the pledge levels unlike most other projects on Kickstarter.  Was this designed to make the pledge levels seem more appealing?  Are the shipping rates a reaction to the recently increased international shipping costs?  

Being that we’re rookies with Kickstarter, we might have overlooked how to do it properly.  When creating our rewards, I only found the one option for shipping.  Based on my previous projects, we have had sales globally, so we didn’t know how to have the rewards reflect into that one option provided.  That’s why we felt it was necessary to provide a shipping chart.  



At the $175 level you are giving out the actual PSD (Photoshop file) for page 23?  How many layers goes into a page like that?  It’s an odd, but at the same time cool, backer reward what made you think of it?  

HAHA It is odd when you first read it, but I have had numerous of requests to see how we color.
A file like this could easily go 50+ layers.  I kid you not, but there are times we have files that break 100+ layers! :)

So what’s the plan for this after the Kickstarter is all printed and sent out?   Am I going to find this on Comic Pull or a local comic shop for me to read each month or quarter?  

This Gumshoes 4 Hire story arc consists of 4 books.  This is just book 1.  We’ve already written book 2 and about to finish laying out the roughs.  We’ve begun writing book 3.  We would love to put a book out each month, but unfortunately, it’s more likely because of schedules and budget it may be a quarterly release.

How did you discover Kickstarter?

Are you kidding?  You guys are like when the Beatles came to the scene.  HAHAHA  You guys are the talk of the street, so it’s really hard not to discover you and all the great projects on Kickstarter.

A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

You’re totally right.  What we are doing - I found helpful in the past that updating our audience, in this case our backers, with progress of how the project is coming along.  We are planning to create visual updates either with art or videos.  Hmmm....maybe we have plans to share a song and dance?  HAHAHA  We have something really fun planned out for the “unlocks” which will show our gratitude for each milestone that’s met.  Also, there’s going to be some additional rewards coming soon, too. :)

Gumshoes 4 Hire: Brought to you by Sean "Cheeks" Galloway -- Kicktraq Mini  

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

There are quite a few sites I post on to keep the updates visible to the public’s eye.  I post on DeviantArt, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

There’s a few things:
1) Generate buzz about your project wherever you can, as often as you can  
2) Include shipping in your rewards! :)
3) Be clear about your rewards
4) Backers are the backbone of a project being successful.  Taking the time to show them you appreciate all they’ve done by keeping them in the loop with updates and taking care of them with  unlocks when certain goals are met will allow you to show them how special they are to the process.

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

You’re welcome!  Thank you for your time as well.  I actually learned a lot of what I still need to do for our Kickstarter.  

I wish everyone the best on their projects!  If you love it enough you’ll keep at it to see it come to fruition.   “It’s not if you can’t do it, it’s if you want to do it.”

We can’t thank our backers enough for the love and support you’ve shown for our project.  Thank you all from the bottom of all our hearts.

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

Thank you so much that means alot to us, James!  Thank you again for such an incredible opportunity to help give our project a chance.  What you guys have created has given us hope that we can make our dreams come true. We wish Kickstarter nothing but continued success!