Stephen Stern, best known for his creation of Zen: Intergalactic Ninja with artist Dan Cote, is forging new ground in Hollywood and the comic book industry with his company, Storyboard Graphic Novels. Los Angeles, where Steve lives, is the perfect location for a company whose focus is to transform your screenplay into a graphic novel or comic book, giving you a visual representation of your story to pitch to studios and producers.
A wise move, and something that has yet to be capitalized upon in this industry, until now.
It’s far easier to submit an already completed story to a producer to sell your idea, especially if it’s visually appealing, as opposed to a typed script. Not only is the storyboarding basically complete going into production, but producers can experience the story as intended, before it ever hits the screen. As a writer, you have options with Storyboard Graphic Novels: do you wish to present a double sized color comic, or a complete graphic novel? Perhaps you desire it to be in color as well. The choice is yours and Storyboard Graphic Novels will do most of the work for you.
I asked Stephen to answer a few brief questions about his company:
STEPHEN STERN: Getting a film or TV program produced is a daunting task for any screenwriter, whether a pro who’s previously been produced, or an aspiring writer. Storyboard’s genesis was when a working screenwriter friend of mine asked me if I would assist him in turning one of his unsold scripts into a graphic novel. I did just that, and even before the book was completed he got it optioned, based in large part on the stunning visuals for the book that he sent to producers. I can’t get into the details of what this project is, as my agreement with the writer included a confidentiality clause. Suffice it to say, having a completed GN, and preferably one that is well-received by critics and readers, separates the creator from the frankly enormous pack of other writers whose screenplays are circulating in this town.
CA: What is it about the graphic novel/comic book medium that is so appealing to producers?
SS: The answer is contained in the name of my company- Storyboard Graphic Novels. Ever since the message was quite literally rammed home by Sin City, producers have understood the direct connection between the two art forms. What makes a great graphic novel can and in fact often does make a great film. Think Road to Perdition and 300, as well.
CA: Are your rates based on a case by case basis, or is there a standard fee?
SS: Every job is individually costed-out. There are three primary factors involved: number of pages, whether the book is in color or black and white, and the status of the artist within the comic book community. My experience, based on over 25 years in the business, is that there is almost always a creative solution and strategy for making any book a reality.
CA: It’s worth nothing that the creators retain full ownership of their intellectual property.
SS: As someone coming from the creative side, and who has licensed his property for video games, action figures, and numerous other products, I’m fully respectful of my clients’ needs.
CA: Do you currently have any projects in the works?
SS: We’ve hit the ground running and are already working on several projects, ranging from full-length, full-color GN’s to black and white one-shot comics. In addition, we offer publishing and distribution services. Our clients can take their book to any publisher they want, but they also have the option of being published, in both print and digital form, under Storyboard’s imprint that will launch later this year. So at the end of the day, not only do creators have their book, but they benefit from not one but two revenue streams- print and digital.
CA: What is your long-term goal with the company?
SS: In truth, I have no long-term goal. I’m just incredibly busy helping fellow creators get their projects mounted in my medium. What started out as a favor for a friend has blossomed into an incredibly exciting business that is allowing me to use the expertise and connections I’ve garnered to assist others in making headway in an incredibly competitive and impacted field. I’m just being very “Zen”-like and focusing on the moment.
So if you have a script to produce, check out Steve’s company, Storyboard Graphic Novels, and expedite the process! You can also e-mail the company at email@example.com, or call them directly, 424-209-8117.
As mentioned, Steve created the cult favorite character, Zen: Intergalactic Ninja, and has hinted at a new kids line of comics he will be debuting later this year, so stay tuned. Another project he’s currently working on can be found at www.shortandhappy.com/majestic, which spotlights the characters inside the comic book industry themselves; the experience of what goes on in making a comic, and the people you encounter while doing so.