Last week I got the chance to sit down with Anthony Scott Landingham, lead writer of The Patrons, the latest financial behemoth on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter campaign went live less than two weeks ago, and they’ve already managed to raise $23,566 of their $20,000 goal. The project currently has 584 backers and 17 more days to go before it ends, already making it one of the most successful comic book Kickstarters this year. So, where does the team plan to go from here?
DYECB: Hey Tony! Lewis here from DYECB.
Tony: Hey Lewis!
DYECB: Hey dude! How are ya?
Tony: Good, how you doing?
DYECB: Not bad, cheers! So, first thing’s first, thanks for agreeing to the interview.
Tony: Yeah, no problem. Thanks for having us. (we’re all here in the office).
DYECB: I’ve been going over the Kickstarter page, and I gotta say, I’m really impressed with what you guys have got so far.
Tony: Yeah, that was a stressful couple of months building that page. It’s a relief that people have responded so positively to it.
DYECB: So, how many of you are working on the project? And how did you all meet?
Tony: There are three of us. Will and I write the book, and Gary illustrates it. We’ve known each other for years. Will and I met in high school and spent years as creative rivals. And I met Gary about 10 years ago when we worked at a coffee shop together.
DYECB: What gave you and Will the idea for the story? Any major influences?
Tony: Well, to say that Will and I came up with the idea wouldn’t be right; we’ve all had a considerable impact on this project. All three of us have bounced ideas off each other for years–films, comics, and games. The Patrons, specifically, started out on long drives to work. Gary and I would bounce ideas off each other to pass time. Eventually, the ideas formed a world with interesting characters and scenery. When we pitched it to Will. He had a bunch of great ideas that took it that much further.
We loved the idea of mixing an apocalyptic world with the control and power that comes from a dystopian society. Our influences came from artists like Craig Mullins, Otomo, and Jaime Jones, as well as concepts from Blade Runner, Mad Max, Star Wars (particularly the expanded universe), and things like that.
DYECB: What gave you the kick to quit your jobs and pursue your dream?
Tony: Oh, that one is easy. Since we were kids we wanted to make our own stories and create our own worlds, but instead, we ended up in reality television and on the sets of commercials. It ate away at us. We felt like this was the last chance we had to make our mark and bring our stories to life. Now or never situation. So we quit.
DYECB: Huh, that’s interesting. So, doing what you hated drove you to do what you love.
Tony: Yes, exactly. We knew that if we stayed on the path we were on, we wouldn’t ever have the chance to bring our stories to life.
DYECB: Obviously quitting your job and working on your dream full-time might not seem feasible to a lot of aspiring writers/artists. How did you manage to pull it off?
Tony: Good question. We had to downgrade our lives quite a bit in order to last as long as we did. Originally, we thought we could have a sample ready in six months, so that’s what we saved for. It took us 14 months. We learned the hard way, and we would do it differently if we had to do it again. But we knew failure wasn’t an option. So, we sold belongings, took side jobs on weekends, moved into a cheaper house, anything we could think of. It was a very tough road, and we were fortunate to be in a position where we could take the risk.
DYECB: Do you have any advice for creators who want to do the same and follow in your footsteps?
Tony: Absolutely. This past year was the hardest year of our lives. Not just financially, but emotionally as well. Every day was a struggle, but we kept on working. It was mostly low points, and you have to be ready for that if you want to take this path. I think, before making a commitment like we did, really think about it. If you aren’t willing to empty your bank account, lose your car, alienate friends, and move back in with your parents, then this isn’t the path for you.
It sounds pretty grim, but that’s the reality. If you don’t want it that bad, then you might not want it bad enough. That isn’t to say that you HAVE to leave your job to do what we did. You can absolutely do this and have a job, plenty of people do. We tried it that way for a while, and it didn’t work for us. We were working 12+ hours a day at our jobs and didn’t have any spare time. We still work 12+ hours a day and don’t have spare time, but it’s on something that we love.
DYECB: As of the time of this interview, the book has been up on Kickstarter for nine days, and you’ve already reached your minimum target of $20,000. How are you guys feeling about the response from the community?
Tony: It is surreal. The response has been awesome. We worked really hard, and now we have something great to offer. But we never expected to get this much support so quickly. It is a big relief to know we aren’t insane.
DYECB: Is it a little scary, having all these strangers invest so heavily in your future? There are a lot of people out there who clearly have very high expectations for you.
Tony: There is a lot of pressure on us to deliver for sure. It feels like we are about to go on stage. We have over 500 backers. and they all expect something great. But we’re prepared and confident that we can deliver. So yeah, it’s terrifying, but we’re prepared to face the beast.
DYECB: Why did you guys choose Kickstarter to finance your project instead of, say, alternative platforms like GoFundMe or IndieGoGo?
Tony: I’m familiar with the Kickstarter platform. I’ve been backing projects on there for years. and the community is bigger. So, it just made sense. Also, Kickstarter is all or nothing. If we raised less than our goal, we wouldn’t be able to deliver the quality product we wanted to.
DYECB: I only have one more question for you Tony. When can we read it?
Tony: If you are a Kickstarter backer, you can expect to get your copies at the end of August. Everyone else will have to wait until September after all our backers get their copies. Thank you for the interview Lewis!
DYECB: Thank you, Tony!
Lewis loves Nightwing more than you ever will, so keep your filthy hands away from him. If he’s not delving into his insanely long back catalogue, Lewis is likely getting bodied in a fighting game or tweeting something pointless.