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#556755 - 09/08/09 08:11 PM Bluewater Contracts
Peter Urkowitz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 3231
Loc: Salem, MA, USA
We've talked about the comics publisher Bluewater Productions a few times around here. Now Rich Johnston has a new article about them and the contracts they offer freelancers:

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2009/09/07/getting-in-deep-with-bluewater-productions/

Apparently, most of their creators don't get an initial page rate, but work for a percentage of the profits. This is fine if a book does well, but it can result in the creators earning nothing if the book sells poorly or is cancelled. Also, it's an unusual arrangement in a work-for-hire setting, where the creator does not own the rights to the work.

There are lots more details in the article.

(I should note that our friend and frequent Comicon poster Pat Broderick has worked for Bluewater and expressed his satisfaction with the deal he got from them. It is not my intention to stir up dirty laundry here, Pat. I genuinely want to see Bluewater succeed. But this is an interesting topic, and I think people will want to know about it.)

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#556767 - 09/08/09 10:18 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7068
I stand by my earlier prediction that Bluewater will cease to exist in the near future.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#556779 - 09/09/09 12:49 AM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Allen Montgomery]
charlie Offline
Member

Registered: 05/18/01
Posts: 477
If you sign a contract like that your a fool.

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#556780 - 09/09/09 06:26 AM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: charlie]
Bring Back Zot Offline
Member

Registered: 06/05/05
Posts: 2438
The logical followup questions are:

1. How many copies of a comic does a Bluewater book need to sell before it starts making a profit?

2. How are sales figures calculated?

3. After you get past that threshold of "profitability", how much profit do you make per book?

I can certainly see that if a book makes sells less than 1000 copies, there will not be any profit, but I'm not sure what the threshhold is.

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#556785 - 09/09/09 09:21 AM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Bring Back Zot]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7068
Apparently the hook is: you do backend deal on a crap comic that Darren Davis (Bluewater) owns and then [maybe] he'll publish your creator-owned comic (also on backend deal). Then the trick to getting around this possible obligation is claiming that the creator-owned pieces "are not fit for publication because they do not meet a professional standard" (quote from the article).

The amazing thing is how un-slick this Davis guy seems to be, and yet people still fall for his bullshit anyway.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#556789 - 09/09/09 09:37 AM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Allen Montgomery]
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/02
Posts: 10266
Loc: oceanside,Ca
Ahhh ok, for a minute I thought it was like the Image deal. Where they help you get the published part of it done, but you do the actual book. Except they don't require you to work on any house books either. You actually have to impress them enough to even get your foot in the door.

Maybe Erik Larsen can explain it better on their submission policy.

But it doesn't sound like the Bluewater thing after all..
Damn, need coffee, I'm not making any sense.
As you were.
_________________________
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#556819 - 09/09/09 12:08 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: THE Anti-Hunter]
Bluewater Offline
Junior member

Registered: 03/26/07
Posts: 1
Recently Bluewater has endured a series of attacks regarding its business practices. Bluewater does not engage or condone any such underhanded or untoward activity and refute each and every allegation made against the company and me personally. Much of the perceived conflict comes from a handful of creatives who became disenchanted over the terms of their signed agreements and mistakenly believe they are owed compensation.

Because Bluewater is a small company, our business model is such that artists, writers, and colorists are paid if and when a property (single issue or trade paperback) becomes profitable. When prospective creatives are engaged to work on a property, they are informed of this up front and are asked to review the terms in the written contract. There is no coercion; no strong-armed tactics, no manipulating industry novices. When a book reaches profitability, defined by a specific number of sales, the creatives are paid according to the percentages contained in their contract.

It is unfortunate that not every book Bluewater publishes has reached the profitability threshold. Some, in fact, never sell more than 800 copies. Some are canceled by our national retail distributor Diamond. And some are not fit for publication because they do not meet a professional standard. But that is the risk Bluewater and the creative accepts. I respect the labor these artists, writers and colorists put into creating a title, and am more than willing to share in the profits. However, if a book does poorly, it is Bluewater that absorbs the overwhelming majority of the loss. Yes, there is a risk on behalf of the creatives as well, but they at least have a professional entry for their portfolio that can use to get other jobs in the industry.

It is also unfortunate that certain media types have questioned Bluewater's credibility because they have chosen to take situations out of context or accuse the company of manipulating sales figures. This, of course is impossible, since the sales figures of every issue are a matter of record on the ICV2 site.

I understand that our business model is not for everybody. I understand that there are some people who feel they have been misled or cheated. However, every single person who is owed money that is contractually due has been paid. Many of the creatives noted in the articles that allege non-payment do not state fully why payments were not rendered. Some were fired from books for non-performance, some worked on titles that never reached profitability or were canceled, some have personal reasons to be vindictive. I feel badly that they made incorrect assumptions that led to ill-feelings and anger. I have, at different times, reached out to each of these people to explain the specifics of their situation. Some go away with an understanding; others do not. Because they disagree with the written terms of the contract or have a different interpretation of the events, does not make me a liar or a cheat. I will accept responsibility for not better managing a creative's expectations, but each is made fully aware of all possibilities. I have never withheld a penny from any creative who was due payment.

There are also allegations regarding previous businesses in which I have been involved. It is true that TidalWave Productions declared bankruptcy in 2003. Many make assumptions and unbased claims as to why this happened; and all are wrong. The simple truth is that TidalWave could not sustain based on certain partners reneging on contracted terms. At the time, the company was a part-time endeavor and I worked a standard 9-to-5 job. This employment situation was also true with Bluewater until 2008. But the bottom line is people with no knowledge of the company's administration, creative process or financial status make ill-informed or assumptive comments on some forum or blog that are treated as the gospel truth. This is how reputations get trashed.

Every business has its detractors. And people will believe what they choose. But despite the allegations, accusations, heresay, childish name-calling and angry gossip, Bluewater remains committed to producing quality comic books and graphic novels. It remains steadfast in its current business model of profit-sharing with a variety of talented creatives. And I remain resolute that Bluewater is, and shall continue to be, a reputable business that operates with integrity.

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#556821 - 09/09/09 12:28 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Bluewater]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7068
Yes, we read your form letter in the link.

Nice to see you were finally able to quit your "standard 9-to-5 job" by simply discovering the one-two combo trick of publishing unauthorized biography comics and not paying creators. Very clever!
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

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#556830 - 09/09/09 02:26 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Kirth Offline
Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 1176
Loc: Chicago, Illinois
..

SO the "story" is FREE cause it's REAL and the art is FREE because the artist NEVER gets paid.

Great business model. Almost as good as Hollywood where they work the accounting so a "hit" movie NEVER makes any NET back-end.

..


Edited by Kirth (09/09/09 02:37 PM)
_________________________
It does not have to be that way. You do not have to act that way. You are hurting people. Please stop.


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#556840 - 09/09/09 03:41 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Bluewater]
THE Anti-Hunter Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/02
Posts: 10266
Loc: oceanside,Ca
Originally Posted By: Bluewater
Recently Bluewater has endured a series of attacks regarding its business practices. Bluewater does not engage or condone any such underhanded or untoward activity and refute each and every allegation made against the company and me personally. Much of the perceived conflict comes from a handful of creatives who became disenchanted over the terms of their signed agreements and mistakenly believe they are owed compensation.

Because Bluewater is a small company, our business model is such that artists, writers, and colorists are paid if and when a property (single issue or trade paperback) becomes profitable. When prospective creatives are engaged to work on a property, they are informed of this up front and are asked to review the terms in the written contract. There is no coercion; no strong-armed tactics, no manipulating industry novices. When a book reaches profitability, defined by a specific number of sales, the creatives are paid according to the percentages contained in their contract.

It is unfortunate that not every book Bluewater publishes has reached the profitability threshold. Some, in fact, never sell more than 800 copies. Some are canceled by our national retail distributor Diamond. And some are not fit for publication because they do not meet a professional standard. But that is the risk Bluewater and the creative accepts. I respect the labor these artists, writers and colorists put into creating a title, and am more than willing to share in the profits. However, if a book does poorly, it is Bluewater that absorbs the overwhelming majority of the loss. Yes, there is a risk on behalf of the creatives as well, but they at least have a professional entry for their portfolio that can use to get other jobs in the industry.

It is also unfortunate that certain media types have questioned Bluewater's credibility because they have chosen to take situations out of context or accuse the company of manipulating sales figures. This, of course is impossible, since the sales figures of every issue are a matter of record on the ICV2 site.

I understand that our business model is not for everybody. I understand that there are some people who feel they have been misled or cheated. However, every single person who is owed money that is contractually due has been paid. Many of the creatives noted in the articles that allege non-payment do not state fully why payments were not rendered. Some were fired from books for non-performance, some worked on titles that never reached profitability or were canceled, some have personal reasons to be vindictive. I feel badly that they made incorrect assumptions that led to ill-feelings and anger. I have, at different times, reached out to each of these people to explain the specifics of their situation. Some go away with an understanding; others do not. Because they disagree with the written terms of the contract or have a different interpretation of the events, does not make me a liar or a cheat. I will accept responsibility for not better managing a creative's expectations, but each is made fully aware of all possibilities. I have never withheld a penny from any creative who was due payment.

There are also allegations regarding previous businesses in which I have been involved. It is true that TidalWave Productions declared bankruptcy in 2003. Many make assumptions and unbased claims as to why this happened; and all are wrong. The simple truth is that TidalWave could not sustain based on certain partners reneging on contracted terms. At the time, the company was a part-time endeavor and I worked a standard 9-to-5 job. This employment situation was also true with Bluewater until 2008. But the bottom line is people with no knowledge of the company's administration, creative process or financial status make ill-informed or assumptive comments on some forum or blog that are treated as the gospel truth. This is how reputations get trashed.

Every business has its detractors. And people will believe what they choose. But despite the allegations, accusations, heresay, childish name-calling and angry gossip, Bluewater remains committed to producing quality comic books and graphic novels. It remains steadfast in its current business model of profit-sharing with a variety of talented creatives. And I remain resolute that Bluewater is, and shall continue to be, a reputable business that operates with integrity.



Bluewater, thanks for coming on and actually weighing in on this topic. Maybe it'll help clear up any misconceptions and let people know where you all really stand in the publishing aspect of our medium. I'm sure it wasn't fun but at least you showed up.
_________________________
Check out my crap. It is what it is. http://www.webcomicsnation.com/hunter/

My forum: http://p207.ezboard.com/fthebullpen28879frm43

and the art blog: http://j-m-hunter.livejournal.com/

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