May 2008

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« Basic Instructions, Part 1 | Main | Message from Scott Meyer »

Comments

Carl

Your figure of 80% doesn't include the people like me, who thought Basic Instructions was hilarious, but couldn't be bothered to leave a comment to that effect. Until now.

I almost cried with laughter at "How To Wash A Cat".

Mayuresh

Scott,

You could also take a look at http://xkcd.com/. This is quite a cool comic.

synapticmisfires

Even if his focus is on relationship humor, it's not like every comic he writes has to fit into that box. Summarize it like that if it will help sell it to the syndication company, but they won't tear up his contract if he does a strip on something else.

rd

to whom it may concern:
stay broad and in the present format
do not refuse millions though

Rain

whoa. You make that much money?
do you know that $100,000 would totally solve all of my problems in life? (or at least keep Sallie Mae from killing me.)

then I would go out and do philanthropic shit and you'd have made the world a better place.

how about it?

Steveo

Dear Scott Meyer:

1st, Scott Adams is pulling numbers out of his ass. He gets lots of things from there.

2nd, I think BI, and you, are wired for a 4 panel comic, just like Dilbert & Adams are perfect in 3. I think you need to stay with what works for you. I don't see a crippled version of a good comic being all that successful.

3rd, I have no expertise on this subject. I don't even read newspapers anymore.

Good luck. I wasted about 2 hours yesterday going through your archives. Funny stuff.

Tom H

Answered with a simple Monte Carlo simulation.

Option 1 - 90% chance of earning $100k per year = $90k

Option 2 - 50% chance of earning $500-1,000k per year. Say 50% of $750k = $375k

Option 2 offers better potential outcome, therefore choose option 2.

frank

1st he didn't get 80% approval, he got 80% of your regular readers approval. That is a small but important difference.

2nd what does he lose by going for the brass ring? If he failed he could always play small. Go big!

Me personally I thought he was ok, not hilarious but I'd probably read him in the morning along with Arlo and Janis for those time when it is funny.

drevell

I would prefer him to stay broad.

The How to Pitch a Movie one had me literally laughing out loud, which I really try not to do when I'm reading my daily comics in my cubicle at work.

I'd hate to give up the possibility of more stuff like that because he's decided to lock himself into relationships.

Drone74B

Whoa! JohnJohn is bitter, isn't he? What he probably doesn't realize is that the most successful artists in history (who were successful during their own life, that is) became so because they produced work that others were willing to pay for. March to your own beat in spite of public opinion, and maybe, just maybe you'll be famous enough so that your great grandchildren can see a documentary about you on late-night PBS long after you've starved to death.

This is the way it works: You become famous for giving the people what they want. When they like your stuff so much that it doesn't matter what you do, then you can start giving them what you want. It doesn't work the other way around.

For Scott M, if your goal is to become syndicated, keep listening to those who've been there, and you'll get there. Personally, I don't see a lot of longevity in relationship humor, though. Sooner or later, everything gets old, so use it while it's fresh and interesting, but leave yourself some room to grow. Maybe develop regular characters, instead of just using the idea of people to set up gags. If people learn to identify with the characters and not just the situations, you'll be able to alter the kind of situations they get into as time goes on and people won't lose interest. Think of the Simpsons. Bart used to be the main character. But, as time went on, people fell in love with Homer, and the writers responded by making the show more about him. The situations can be totally unrelated from one episode to another, but people respond to the character, because they enjoy seeing how they respond.

standgale

To be honest, I wouldn't read them in strip format, whether they were in a newspaper or otherwise, because I didn't like those ones. But I like them as they are now.
If he just went to relationship humour, well, I think I liked the non-relationship ones better, so I also wouldn't like that. Besides, that would limit his scope and could make it harder to generate new ideas for the strip. What percentage is relationship and what percentage is not, currently?

Esn

Oh, he should definitely stay broad.

Every comic needs a flavour, and his flavour is the "how to", which nobody else is doing (a few comics like "Adam@Home" and "Pirahna Club" do it occasionally). He shouldn't try to narrow it down any further.

That way, he leaves himself open to inspiration, makes his comic appeal to a wider audience, and allows room for his comic's evolution (for example, he might be inspired by a certain set of topics over a couple of months, and then by something else).

Furthermore, I don't think there's any market imperative for having a narrow subject range. Many of the most popular comics of recent times have been about a broad range of subjects.

See:

-The Far Side
-Bizarro
-The Perry Bible Fellowship

I also like the box format better because there are four jokes in one, instead of just one joke at the end.

Chris Benson (Asparagus Pee Guy)

I think Scott Meyers had a good thing going and we should let him continue doing it - heck, it's what attracted Scott Adams to do this in the first place!

I do not like the dumbed-down strips.

standgale

To be honest, I wouldn't read them in strip format, whether they were in a newspaper or otherwise, because I didn't like those ones. But I like them as they are now.
If he just went to relationship humour, well, I think I liked the non-relationship ones better, so I also wouldn't like that. Besides, that would limit his scope and could make it harder to generate new ideas for the strip. What percentage is relationship and what percentage is not, currently?

Jan

Another trick to figure out what type of comics your readership prefers, is having them rate the comic, like http://www.ratemykitten.com etc.

Then you just have to watch the top rated comics to see what people like.

Devin

I like the healthy mix of characters in his comic strips. The combination of the boss, friend, wife/girlfriend, coworker, etc. that occur in different strips. While I agree with your original assessment that his comic may be somewhat wordy, I think that much of the humor comes from having what essentially amounts to a full comic strip in each individual panel.

I hope he can find some happy medium that would make his comic strip printable in the newspapers, because this is the first new comic that I have truly enjoyed in a long, long time.

Devin

I like the healthy mix of characters in his comic strips. The combination of the boss, friend, wife/girlfriend, coworker, etc. that occur in different strips. While I agree with your original assessment that his comic may be somewhat wordy, I think that much of the humor comes from having what essentially amounts to a full comic strip in each individual panel.

I hope he can find some happy medium that would make his comic strip printable in the newspapers, because this is the first new comic that I have truly enjoyed in a long, long time.

JKritner

I'd go with the 100k a year and maintain full control over the comic. (write what you want and use whatever format you want) Web Comics like Penny Arcade http://www.penny-arcade.com have shown that if you are creative and have a solid audience, you can be very successful.

Aaron

Great comic. Added to favourites and forwarded to some friends. Broad would be my suggestion as I really enjoyed the variety. But take that advice with a container of salt since my knowledge of what works with comics is really based only on what Scott Adams has told me I can't really comment.

ViX

I fwd'd the strip to my wife and she liked it. Only then did i tell her that it was being reccomended by Scot Adams. Looks like unbiased opinions to favor the comic :)

Tim Wilson

On today's question: Keep it broad. The strip is way funny as it is. Doesn't need tweaking into "relationship" humor.

On the syndication question: I may have missed some background, but is there a (probably $$$) to rule out syndication in the weekly formerly-alternative papers? Or, say, getting him a slot a site like The Onion?

Some things are better when they're not in the funny papers proper.

Lowdown

Ok, you did not have todays blog up when I got to work this morning so I had to reread yesterdays blog. I checked out the website this time, and I have to say his work is very funny. I have a new wall hanging as a matter of fact.

I like the wordy style more than the shortened style, even though it may be more dificult to fit into newspapers. I dont read newspapwers, so I really dont think that it is a big deal. I like the fact that he is deviating from the norm of relationships, work humor, ect.., the instructions format seems new and creative. It is sort of reminds me of a Seinfield monologue of comics.

Sir Mike Tallon

No, stay broad! Part of humor is the fact that it surprises you, catches you off-guard. He can hit more 2 out of 6 or 3 out of 6 points of funny when he comes up with crazy concepts.

Graham

I think he should try both formats, as I see a few other people have already mentioned. His four-panel strip has a distinctive style, with a rhythm that might be hard to replicate in a strip.

I don't think he should do the same joke in both formats, though, which would mean doing two strips per day/week/whatever - twice as much work.

nemezide

I added the comic to my Google Reader. I'm not sure if that's good for the author's business, if many people do that, because the Reader doesn't show the website's ads.
But the Reader will remind me of the comic every time Scot posts something new. So in theory it could make me buy something from him in future...

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