The Arclight Podcast

A weekly show about making comics, building a comic book universe and business every Thursday.

Love superheroes? Always wanted to make your own comics? From world building to character design to professionalism and team building, you’ll get the insights and value we wish were available when we started.

Join indie comic book creators Ed Williams and Brent Lyles for conversational, practical advice on how not only make a comic, but build a brand, find an audience, and market.

 

050: How To Plan Your Next Year To Be Your Best Year

Friday, December 30, 2016 – 32 minutes

It’s here. The old year is coming to a close and we’re on the heels of a new one. Are you ready to make it your best year yet? We are. And like clockwork we’re going to share how we approach our biggest goals and reverse engineer them into smaller goals to make sure we can accomplish them.

Planning isn’t enough. You need to execute. You need to get ready to spend some time putting your vision together, making it clear and put things in motion. You can do it. We did it. We’re in the trenches with you. We’re amateurs. We’re still learning and growing and if we can do it I’m 100% positive you can too.

 
 

049: Are You Prepared to Sacrifice Who You Are For What You Will Become?

Thursday, December 15, 2016 – 21 minutes

There’s something I want you to understand.

Building a comic universe and brand takes sacrifice. I’m not talking about convenient sacrifice where you cut an hour out of video games or choose not to watch live TV and instead DVR the episodes to watch later.

I’m talking about going the next 2, 3—5 years not playing video games because you realize every waking second must be dedicated to building and hustling. You can’t watch every episode of Game of Thrones. You can’t tune in every Thursday to catch Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder. Spending every weekend clubbing and drinking is out of the window too.

Yes.

Every now and then you find the time to do these things. Rest is incredibly important and vital to the process but it cannot be an everyday, every week occurrence. Everyday you put video games, Netflix, TV and social events before the hustle that’s required to build your universe and brand you’re delaying your project. You aren’t giving it the required amount of focus or attention it needs.

In this episode I talk about one of the most important elements to what has gotten Arclight and me this far: sacrifice. It isn’t easy. This endeavor requires a lot and I wanted to be real about what you’re getting yourself into.

But believe you me, if you adopt this principle and implement it, you’ll be looking at your first issue soon enough. I guarantee it. Arclight Comics Issue #0 – The Passing officially releases tomorrow. And boy has the sacrifice been worth it.

 
 

048: LIVE Event Replay: Comic Lettering & Coloring Insights and Takeaways

Friday, December 9, 2016

Last weekend Tim and I hopped on Google Hangouts and it was the most amateur, most non-professional thing anyone could have ever witnessed—but DESPITE that, we had a ball. And we shared some insights into how we go about lettering and coloring the pages for our biggest comic release this year: Arclight Comics Issue #0 – The Passing.

Watch now!

 
 

047: Taking Your First Comic Issue From Start to Finish

Thursday, November 17, 2016 – 39 minutes

You need two things to take your first comic script from start to finish: perseverance and grit.

Perseverance for when a million things pop up and grit to withstand every last one of them. Writing and producing your first comic is going to test you in every single way. It did for me when I started writing Issue #0 back in 2014. Two years later it’s just now getting pushed through to final production for you to see in just a few weeks.

Its been a journey, but its come with so many lessons along the way and I want to share those lessons with you in this episode. No matter where you’re at in the processing of creating a comic, we’re going to give you that extra push to get to the next stage of development.

 
 

046: Growing Arclight in 2017

Thursday, November 10, 2016 – 30 minutes

There was something really important we had to do. Almost 6 years ago when Arclight was founded, it was almost impossible to find the information we needed to find. How do you build a comic brand? How do you start a comic studio? How do you market your characters? We knew nothing. And had to cobble together bits and pieces of information we found along the way.

Looking back we’ve learned so much and have come a long way. We decided it would have been selfish to horde that information from those who really needed it. It was information that could make someone else’s comic making journey easier. So we started a podcast as a channel to get this information back to the indie comic community. Week after week we kept producing an episode and kept building an audience.

“Do you have internships?”

“Do you have any apprenticeships?”

“Can I work with y’all?”

“Can you look at my script?”

From inbox to DMs, what we were producing was resonating. People needed help and we were providing it. Now we’ve decided to take it one step further. Here’s how we’re moving forward and growing in 2017.

 
 

045: Don’t Rush the Process. Trust the Process.

Thursday, November 3, 2016 – 31 minutes

Creating your own comic can often times feel like a walk in the woods on a dark foggy night. You know where you want to go, but there always isn’t a straight path in sight. You have to learn how to trust the process. Set the vision, make it clear, and put one foot in front of the other on faith to get to your pie in the sky.

You’re going to wish you were further ahead, wish you had more money, or even question what you’ve gotten yourself into. But it all happens for a reason and we’re here to tell you in this episode to not rush or lose faith in the process.

Trust it.

 
 

044: You Have To Set Bigger Goals (This Is How We Got To New York Comic Con)

Thursday, October 20, 2016 – 1 hour and 7 minutes

We would have never gotten to New York Comic Con unless we took getting their seriously and turned it into a goal. Did it feel impossible? Yeah. Did we go up against a thousand million obstacles? Sure did. But we had a goal in mind: Let’s get to NYCC. And through it all, we got there.

You have to set bigger goals. Once you set them, you have to devise a plan on how to achieve them. It isn’t enough to plan. You and your team have to execute on that goal. And it needs to be executed on as a single, cohesive unit. Your team has to have dynamic relationships that support one another and carry each other through thick and thin.

In this episode, we talk about how to go about setting bigger goals and continue on with sharing our NYCC experience detailing almost everything that went on Thursday through Sunday, including Brent almost missing his flight, eating some really nasty pizza, and getting validation from industry veterans.

 
 

043: The 8 Most Insightful Lessons & Things We Learned at New York Comic Con

Thursday, October 13, 2016 – 32 minutes

We’re back from NYCC and with a lot to share with you!

As we were walking the convention floor we picked up on eight really insightful pieces of information. It’s con season. And if you’re preparing to get to one we’re positive this episode will give you some insight and information on how to make the most out of your experience.

 
 

042: Finding the Time To Do What You Love

Thursday, September 29, 2016 – 31 minutes

You have a job. You might be married or trying to maintain a relationship. You also may have a social life that requires you to step out of the house every now and then so your friends and family know you’re still alive. You may even have children. And if that’s the case, you know how time can become very scarce to do what you truly love and want to do.

So how do you manage it all? How do you find the time to do all of this AND work on your comic?

Arclight’s busiest team member, Brent Lyles, explains how he manages his life and still finds time to commit to Arclight. Even though it’s been recommended that he start saying no to more things, Brent is all in on his commitments and prioritizing his time accordingly making him the perfect candidate to speaking to those who are also juggling many things at once and aren’t in the right season to start saying no.

Sound like you?

In this episode, you’ll learn some of Brent’s tips as he shares his advice so you can get better at managing your own time to leave room for what you truly love to do.

 
 

041: 8 Marketing Mistakes You’re Making With Your Comic On Social Media

Thursday, September 22, 2016 – 59 minutes

How do you market your comic on social media?

Let’s start with 8 ways on how not to do it. But the biggest lesson you need to learn is that you have to give and share value to others. We’re talking about the Rule of Reciprocity again. Give before asking.

If you follow this rule, the rest will come together for you.

 
 

040: What It Really Takes Starting An Indie Comic Book Company (Part 6 of 6): Community

Thursday, September 15, 2016 – 21 minutes

Yes.

You can create a comic on your own. Many creators do. But if you want to see growth and expansion, that requires collaboration. And not just collaboration for the sake of it. We’re talking next level, everybody’s-on-board, everyone’s headed towards the same goal, and everyone’s looking to turn good to great.

Collaboration—true, diverse collaboration—is your opportunity to get talented people around what you’ve built and 10X it. It isn’t a gathering of opinions, feedback and criticism. It’s an opportunity to expand what you’ve done and take it to a higher level.

 
 

039: What It Really Takes Starting An Indie Comic Book Company (Part 5 of 6): Collaboration

Thursday, September 8, 2016 – 24 minutes

Yes.

You can create a comic on your own. Many creators do. But if you want to see growth and expansion, that requires collaboration. And not just collaboration for the sake of it. We’re talking next level, everybody’s-on-board, everyone’s headed towards the same goal, and everyone’s looking to turn good to great.

Collaboration—true, diverse collaboration—is your opportunity to get talented people around what you’ve built and 10X it. It isn’t a gathering of opinions, feedback and criticism. It’s an opportunity to expand what you’ve done and take it to a higher level.

 
 

038: What It Really Takes Starting An Indie Comic Book Company (Part 4 of 6): Leadership

Thursday, September 1, 2016 – 39 minutes

So many projects end because of this one thing. Or the lack thereof. And that thing is leadership.

You can never underestimate the importance of a good leader. Not a boss, a leader. Someone who leads from the front and will do the work into the super late hours of the night to keep everything afloat and pulled together for the rest of the team to operate and function almost seamlessly.

Your comic book project, company, studio—wherever you fit in that line up—has to have a solid leader at the helm of its operation. They have to be a visionary, have to know how to give constructive criticism, be in tune with each member of the team and place them where everyone is going to get the most value and benefit. If you don’t have good leadership, a strong need and vision, infrastructure, characters and story aren’t going to matter. They’ll drive the entirety of the project into the ground every single time.

In this episode, we dive into the importance of leadership and how to go about doing it for projects like this. Ed shares his experiences leading from the front with Brent sharing his experiences of working with Arclight and how the leadership allows each team member to perform their best work and unlock their potential so Arclight can continue to do what we do. .

 
 

037: What It Really Takes Starting An Indie Comic Book Company (Part 3 of 6): Story & Characters

Thursday, August 25, 2016 – 47 minutes

This is indie comic book 101. You have to have stories and characters, right? This is all a part of starting an indie comic book company.

But understand this: everyone has characters and stories. You want to know what makes properties like TASK, Kamikaze, The Stray, Midnight Tiger and Trill League stand out? They pair phenomenal storytelling with phenomenal, engaging characters. They’re just not there because it’s the requirement. They’re the face of these properties. They’ve transcended and found prominent fanbases that love and adore them.

You have to understand what’s taking place beneath the surface in order for you to do the same. Because it just isn’t about creating characters and stories. You’re still fulfilling the need you outlined in part one of this series. These two entities—characters and story—are the visual, physical manifestation of that need being delivered to your audience.

And in this episode, we talk about how both are a really important part of your company, your brand, and the overall experience your audience will have with both while also sharing what you need to start doing in order to create engaging characters that aren’t carbon copies of existing mainstream properties.

 
 

036: What It Really Takes to Start an Indie Comic Book Company
(Part 2 of 6): Infrastructure

Thursday, August 18, 2016 – 44 minutes

Want to go from comic project to comic business?

We got you. But it’s going to take more than great characters and stories to get there.

Art is a business. Comics are a business. You can treat it as a hobby or favorite pastime, but for those who are serious about leveling up your hobby into a career, profession or business, you have to understand there are levels to making it happen, and it starts with identifying a need and establishing a vision on how to deliver that need to your market.

Great characters and stories are very important, but if you don’t bring in the business side of this, moving and progressing forward is going to get really tough. And that’s why we’ve decided to put on this six part series of what it really takes to get started in creating an indie comic book company.

Given the last five years building Arclight, Ed has some insights to share with you on how to go about it and the steps, process and mindset you need to have to get started. In this episode, he talks about the importance of identifying a strong, relevant need within the market, then articulating a vision to give yourself direction in how to deliver that need to your audience.

 
 

035: What It Really Takes to Start an Indie Comic Book Company
(Part 1 of 6): Need & Vision

Thursday, August 4, 2016 – 36 minutes

Want to go from comic project to comic business?

We got you. But it’s going to take more than great characters and stories to get there.

Art is a business. Comics are a business. You can treat it as a hobby or favorite pastime, but for those who are serious about leveling up your hobby into a career, profession or business, you have to understand there are levels to making it happen, and it starts with identifying a need and establishing a vision on how to deliver that need to your market.

Great characters and stories are very important, but if you don’t bring in the business side of this, moving and progressing forward is going to get really tough. And that’s why we’ve decided to put on this six part series of what it really takes to get started in creating an indie comic book company.

Given the last five years building Arclight, Ed has some insights to share with you on how to go about it and the steps, process and mindset you need to have to get started. In this episode, he talks about the importance of identifying a strong, relevant need within the market, then articulating a vision to give yourself direction in how to deliver that need to your audience.

 
 

034: 5 Steps Every Indie Comic Creator Needs to Win

Thursday, July 28, 2016 – 1 hour

I’ve always mentioned the last five years of going through Arclight, but I’ve never really talked about or dove into what it really took to get up to this point. The phases we had to go through, what we had to deal with, and what it took to get through it all. In this episode, we talk about about the five steps you need to win at this game.

Whether you’re an indie creator wanting to build a company or studio, or someone who wants to work at one of the mainstream entities, you need to know what’s coming during your next five years and how to get through them. Because without a road map, you tend to get lost. This episode is going to serve the purpose as a guide for you and help you determine where you’re at along your journey.

 
 

033: A Community Exlusive To Indie Comic Creators Is Coming

Thursday, July 21, 2016 – 27 minutes

We’re creating and building a real-time, 24/7 community for indie comic creators.

Yes. This is happening. There’s no “We have to raise this much to get it funded,” “This won’t happen if you don’t do X,” “We can’t make this happen if we don’t get Y.” Nope. It’s happening. We’ve invested the time, the resources and made the investments throughout the last several months to be able to pull this community together and we’re beyond excited to get this revved up and get you in.

In this episode, we talk about the next major phase for Arclight as we continue to learn how to flip a project into a viable, sustainable and profitable indie publishing business to fund our vision, our goals—but more importantly—provide you all the resources we can possibly get to you.

 
 

032: The Importance of Scaling Back

Thursday, July 14, 2016 – 27 minutes

Ambition without execution is hallucination.

Staring at this grand vision and letting the days go by as you try to figure out how to tackle it is not the way to take steps towards that vision. You do a little bit at a time. You take one step at a time. You have to realize where you’re at, use what you have, and work towards that pie in the sky. And when you do that, you can’t be afraid to scale back.

Scaling back is the reason why we have five mini issues out right now. It’s why we’re able to tackle the prequel issue with much more confidence. It’s why we’re excited to work on all three graphic novels next year. Scaling back isn’t giving up. It’s inviting your vision and ambition into your existing reality and making the impossible possible.

In this episode, Ed talks about the original plan for Arclight and how he bit off more than he could chew in attempting to write three graphic novels to start and what started him down the process of scaling back to mini issues.

 
 

031: No Matter What You Do, You’re a Storyteller. Tell a Story (Early Wake, Daily Storytelling)

Thursday, July 7, 2016 – 35 minutes

Every single facet of this comic production process is responsible for telling a story. Even you. Yes. You. Even if you aren’t a writer you too have a responsibility to the story. Your colors, your inks, your lettering—all of it impacts the story more than you think it does and you have to be mindful of that.

That’s why we’re introducing this concept to you. The mentality of a hustler and a storyteller has to become one. You have to grind, but you have to grind with intent. You have to get up earlier than everyone else and work on your work. But when you work on your work, you have to stand out and set yourself apart. Your work has to speak. It has to communicate feeling and emotion. You ought to be telling a story with every single thing that you do and this concept is going to give you some direction on how to do just that.

In this episode, we talk about how to prepare yourself to grind every single morning, what the requirements and cost of entry are for artists to really be stand outs from our own perspective, highlight how every person responsible in the creation of the comic adds to the story, and some of the sacrifices that need to be made in order to achieve your dreams.

 
 

SE003: The Value of Mini Issues

Thursday, June 30, 2016 – 20 minutes

We’re on sabbatical, but we still have something for you.

It’s important we reach our younger audiences. In this episode, Ed’s got a special message for our teens and 20-somethings. Don’t fret if you aren’t where you think you should be. You’re right where you need to be. We also go into the value of mini issues, how they came about for Arclight, talk about how they’ve benefited us and why you need to start producing your own.

 
 

030: Introducing Phase 2 of Arclight, Our Future Vision & Outlook, and What All Of This Means For You

Thursday, June 23, 2016 – 1 hour and 18 minutes

This is Phase 2 of Arclight Comics. Strap in. You ready? Because we are.

When I co-founded Arclight, we always had a vision to help people with the kinds of the stories and characters we would create. We just didn’t want to produce the same kind of superhero stories that were already out there. We wanted meaning, purpose and intent behind what we were telling to help others cope with real life issues going on and get them to a better place.

So you can say people and helping those people have always been the lifeblood of Arclight. Which is why this next phase isn’t that far of a stretch from that original goal or the kinds of things we’ve produced so far—it’s an extension.

We’ve recognized a need.

Arclight is becoming something I needed 5 years ago when I started it. It’s becoming the resource people are turning to and asking for help to do the one thing all indie comic creators want to do and do well: make comics. I knew sharing the information Brent and I had collected over the past 5 years would help, but I had no expectation of us becoming a resource for people to want to learn more from two indie creators with a vision and a dream and doing all they can to make it happen.

But in order for us to produce the content, in both quantity and quality, it requires cash flow. And that’s where we enter into Phase 2 of Arclight.

In today’s episode, we lay some of what’s ready to be shared out on the table with you about this new phase. Producing our own comics and graphic novels is still a major goal and priority. But you also know that it costs money—more money than all of us on the team have right now, combined—to produce these things. So we had to take a step back and focus on what would produce the necessary cash flow to not only provide educational material for you, but put money behind our universe and property.

We decided something needed to change.

And that something was Arclight.

Welcome to Arclight 2.0. You’re getting in at the ground level and we’re going to share some of what that is right now.

 

029: Create. Validate. And Build Your Fandom With Mini Issues

Thursday, June 16, 2016 – 1 hour and 11 minutes + After Show

They say if you can tell a good comic story in 5 pages you’re onto something.

Now you can do it in 1.

Mini issues are the gateway to finding an audience that loves your comic, your characters and universe. And producing one just became the easiest thing ever. You have to build trust and create an authentic reading experience for your fandom. It isn’t enough to just talk about your comic idea and the stories you’re going to tell.

You have to have proof of concept. People want to see it, not hear about it. There comes an experience in reading that people just don’t get when you’re talking their ear off and the way to do this immediately is by producing your first mini issue.

In this episode, we break down our intense system and mini issue production process, breaking down the different phases;reminiscing about past issues and how certain storytelling elements came to be; cover art production, lettering and so much more with the release of our newest eGuide: Create. Validate. And Build Your Fandom With Mini Issues.

 
 

028: How to Nail Your Comic Pitch Every Single Time

Thursday, June 9, 2016 – 33 minutes

“So what’s your comic about?”

Are you ready to answer that and knock it out the park?

Or are you going to fumble a bunch of words, established properties and stories, and genres around hoping that somehow all of these names and words spilling out of your mouth is going to nail the concept for you?

You need to be knocking it out the park. Like…nailing it every single time without having to name drop the properties that inspired you or expecting the genre to somehow carry the emotional tone, weight and heart of your story for you.

You gotta get this right.

And in this episode we give you some techniques on how to take the power of emotion to dial up the engagement between you and a listener every single time someone asks you this question.

 
 

027: If Social Media Went Away Tomorrow, Are You Insured? (The Importance of Building Your Own Platform)

Thursday, June 2, 2016 – 40 minutes + After Show

With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Kickstarter and others, do you really need a website? Can't these take the place of one? After all, they're what everyone is using and are easily accessible. They're also really beneficial to building an audience and becoming known in your market.

You want the answer?

The short answer is yes. You should be on these platforms. You should be using social media to do those things. But no. You shouldn't be depending 100% on these platforms for everything. You need a place to call your own on the Internet. You need your own platform so that you can control the experience of your brand and give your audience the opportunity to indulge in your comic and project the way it was intended to be.

In this episode, we talk about the benefits of building your own platform; using social media as acquisition channels; give you platform-building resources; and even share with you what to do if you're an independent artist, writer or colorist and how you can stand out from the crowd by creating an experience and personal brand on your own platform.

 

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