Zestworld Founder, Chris Giliberti, Shares How The Platform Helps Creators In Business And TV/Film Adaptations
by Gary Catig
It’s a great time to be a comic creator because there are so many venues to be published. It’s no longer dominated by the Big Two with various independent publishers plus the rise of webcomics. The new platform, Zestworld, looks to take digital content to another level by providing its users tools not only to build their business directly to their audience but also aid into adapting their IP into TV and film. Recently, we spoke with the company’s founder, Chris Giliberti, at San Diego Comic-Con to learn more about what Zestworld has to offer.
Gary Catig: You’re talking about your new platform, Zestworld. I know it’s catered for comic creators but can you explain to me in your own words exactly how your platform works?
Chris Giliberti: We are a creator platform for comic book artists to distribute comics directly to their fans in the email newsletter format. They also have a tool from our site to deliver digital commissions to their fans. So, if you’re a fan of a creator, you can come to Zestworld, request custom art and it will be delivered by the site. Finally, we have a toolkit for television and film that will help creators make better deals in the space and connect them with parties that might want to adapt their work.
GC: Can you explain more about the toolkit for TV and movies. Do you have advisors or people in law to advise you in creating this toolkit to make it more user friendly for the people who sign up for Zestworld?
CG: Before starting Zestworld, I started Gimlet Pictures which was an independent TV and film studio that took podcast IP and adapted into TV and Film. I was the executive producer of Homecoming on Amazon Prime, which starred Julia Roberts and a bunch of other shows as well. In building up that business, I learned the dos and don’ts of working with IP. It really had to make the most of those IP rights to secure yourself a great seat at the table creatively and financially. The tool is essentially going to productize those learnings and pass them along to creators who use our other tools as well like publishing and commissions.
GC: You talked about how previously you were adapting podcast content into TV shows. Does your platform also benefit from your connections with who you’ve worked with in the past?
CG: Exactly. It does. I spent six years as a producer in the television and film industry and I’m going to be drawing on all those relationships in building up this product for our creators and making sure they can be connected to the crème de la crème in the agency world and manager world where I can, connecting them with writers and filmmakers and talent as well when they’re looking to adapt something.
GC: You have this list of creators that are initially on the platform. It’s an impressive list. We have Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner and Phil Jimenez. What attracted you to these particular creators to reach out to them?
CG: When we were recruiting our initial set of launch creators, we were looking for a few things. We were looking for folks who had a big following online because we are a set of digital tools. The tools are going to work best for creators who are interested in building a business online. So, everybody is digitally savvy. Everybody has creator owned work and wants to produce their own independent projects. And everybody is in good standing in the industry creatively, professionally. These are folks who are really decorated in terms of critical praise and also really respected by their peers. So, they are a great foot forward for us as we go about recruiting our next broader set of creators.
GC: One of the creators involved is Joëlle Jones. I think she’s mentioned on social media that she will be releasing volume three exclusively through your platform. You have your tools to help with regards to putting the IP in TV and film. She’s releasing it digitally. Do you also help with her publishing all that digital content into hard copies for fans as well?
CG: The core of our business is revolved around two things. It’s around providing tools to creators to publish their work digitally, and distribute it digitally, and monetize directly with their fans. And our commissions tool, which allows creators to manage their commissions business and receive requests from fans and deliver those. That’s the core of our product. The IP rights tool is, if you are publishing a project through Zestworld and you feel it has TV and film potential, we have that tool there for your use. But the core of our platform is creators building a business directly with their fans.
GC: You have your first wave of creators and they seem to be hand selected. Your final plan is to open it up to the public. What exactly is that process? Is it an application? Can anyone just sign up to Zestworld later on or is it still be a selective process amongst the talent pool that apply?
CG: We want to get the tools into the hands of as many creators as we can. We have a creator waitlist right now, so if folks are interested in using our tools, they should put their name down on our creator waitlist that’s right on our homepage. We will be expanding over time and the plan eventually is to be fully open.