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Tags: #allartlicensing, #artlicensing, #artmarketing, licensing art
Categories : Business Development & Management, Character Development, Sales & Marketing
What do you get when you cross a biologist and a camera? You get an incredible new art form created all from the glass of a microscope. Biologist turned photographer, Lee Hendrickson, has discovered a new world of photography by growing different crystals (think coffee and wine!) under a microscope and then shining light through the glass and photographing the result. Hendrickson, a career research scientist, author and inventor, uses this process to grow intricate crystal patterns creating a kaleidoscope of multi-dimensional designs. His unique talents caught the eye of Rinekwall, a renowned California-based design company, which teamed with Hendrickson to create a new line of home décor products.
One of the few new properties that represent characters of color at Licensing Expo, creator Janeen Uzzell says visitors to her booth are calling the look of The Adventures of Lil’ Bit and Friends “bold.” A series of stories about a 7-year old girl named Lil’ Bit, who goes on wild adventures when she daydreams–while she’s supposed to be doing her homework–Janeen has 10 complete stories already developed. Created from a place of grief when her father died in 2009, Janeen’s stories celebrate her relationship with her Dad, his stories and Janeen’s real world life adventure as an engineer who has lived in Asia, Africa and India. Her goal is for girls and boys to find their own bravery, adventure and openness to new, diverse friends through Lil’ Bit’s love of travel. Not only her first year at Licensing Expo, this is Janeen’s first ever public presentation of her new property. You can visit Lil’ Bit and her friends at Booth D17.
Another special property with a strong and independent character of color at center stage, The Magic Poof is a book series and animated series in development about a girl with giant, magic hair. Magic hair that is also her best friend. With the first book in the series launched in 2013 and the second last year, creator Stephen Hodges expects an animated short to be completed by fall of this year. His first year at Licensing Expo, you can experience the power of the poof at Booth F15.
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Categories : Art Licensing Business, Cartooning/Cartoonists, Character Development, Licensing Expo, Trade Shows
License! Global Magazine announced the top five finalists in their ‘One to Watch’ contest today. And I’m thrilled to say that Zoonicorn, one of All Art Licensing’s client’s made this exclusive list. This competition recognizes the most promising new property concepts, which are being introduced next week at the Licensing Expo 2015.
Here, in his first interview, Mark Lubratt shares how the concept for Zoonicorn’s was inspired. Aliel, Ene, Valeo and Promithea are a magical cross between a unicorn and a zebra. Zoonicorns visit young zoo animals while they sleep, and join them on dreamland adventures to help gain confidence and learn valuable life lessons.
Don’t miss Mark’s candid and interesting discussion about building a new brand through manufacturing and licensing. Visit him at Booth E31 at Licensing Expo. Also check out the Zoonicorn website and blog.
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Categories : Art Licensing Business, Branding, Business Development & Management, Character Development, Getting Started, Licensing Expo, Product Development, Publishing/Self-publishing
J’net Q: Many of my readers are interested in developing characters and character-based properties. I have been representing the publishing aspect of BrokenHeart Pets Rescue. Can you tell us a little bit about the characters?
Daryl A: Scooter. the dog, and his sidekick Boots, the cat, were once homeless but have now found loving, “fur-ever” families. They wear a broken heart emblem on their chests in solidarity with other homeless animals and their whimsical stories focus on ways to rescue and protect them. I have written the story and created the character art. My partner (and wife) Louise Glickman is a writer and designer with a public relations and marketing background, and also brings business management skills to Tails of Whimsy.
Q: How did the concept for Scooter and Boots get created?
A: Louise is from New Orleans and, though we now live in Asheville, NC, we had both given time to saving animals in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The head of the Louisiana SPCA and hundreds of volunteers developed ways to save over 9,000 pets and were able to return over half of them to their original homes! We were honored when they asked us to create something “special” to thank the volunteers for their efforts Christmas of 2005. Thus, Scooter and Boots first appeared as animation on the non-profit’s website. However, they didn’t surface again until we needed one extra banner for our Licensing Expo booth in 2013!
Q: How have you developed the market for two key characters?
A: It feels like Scooter and Boots have become late-in-life children for us. We talk about them daily and have been fortunate enough to tailor them into a portfolio of products that bring their stories to life.
In January 2015, we decided that we needed to test market them by building a fan base on social media. We had Scooter made into a puppet and began posting images of him around town as well as creating cartoon posts of both characters. We now have over 10,000 Facebook fans and remain active on Twitter, LinkedIn and on our blog.
Q: How have the characters and story evolved based on your ideas vs market needs?
A: After exhibiting our first time at Licensing Expo 2013, our initial feedback was that our story of homeless pets was “just too sad.” People loved the characters but despite repeated attempts to show the upbeat side of the Scooter and Boots’ back story, licensees and publishers remained unconvinced.
At Licensing Expo 2014, we brought puppet Scooter to “meet” visitors to our booth. The truth is, you can get away with a whole lot when you speak through the voice of a puppet. On a whim, Scooter did a short interview with ArtMoose, a production studio. I was curled up under the desk performing as Scooter, but I’m not a puppeteer. For a first time try, we got a huge response. A group gathered and applauded when the interview ended and an entertainer with her manager came by and asked Scooter to come to Sacramento for a show (which he did last August). But best of all, we partnered with ArtMoose to create a TV pilot called “Scooter News Network.” It’s ready to show to networks, sponsors and underwriters at Licensing Expo 2015. Scooter will be also doing “live” broadcasts this year at the ArtMoose booth.
Q: Why do you think your characters are different and unique?
A: I have thought long and hard about the voices of Scooter and Boots. To our knowledge, there isn’t another whimsical property that is so focused on finding homes for animals and on care and conservation worldwide. The trick has been to keep their humor and character intact, delivering their targeted message but still staying funny and fun. They are more entertainment than education and we always have to balance their voice carefully as well as keep it focused on our target audience of children 3-9.
Between 5 and 7 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year, and only 1 out of 10 dogs born ever find a home. Stray cats alone may be as high as 70 million annually in the U.S.
Q: What has surprised you both most about this journey?
A: Two things, really.
First and foremost, how long it takes to monetize a property after you’ve developed a character. A good part of my commercial art career was built on my ability to create characters for corporate branding and that I was an early champion of doing this digitally. I’m very quick and experienced at adapting them for illustrations, ads, trade show displays and animation. This comes naturally to me but creating the character is the simplest part of the licensing and publishing game. What counts most is what you do with them and how you can market them to publishers, agents, studios and distributors. Also, staying focused on your audience and message.
Secondly, and speaking broadly (there are always exceptions), characters are virtually nothing without their stories. Even though I’ve had a bit of success in licensing some character art (without a story), the biggest responses have been to my story-driven characters. Basically, if you have a story to tell then publishing goes hand-in-hand with licensing. Even with our positive response at Licensing Expo and sound advice from agents and consultants, we’ve had to learn two industries from the inside out! For the first time, we will do both Book Expo America and Licensing Expo this year. We’re keeping our fingers crossed to get noticed, get published and get signed contracts!
Q: Why do you keep persisting to get more exposure and fans for Scooter and Boots? What drives you both?
A: We love Scooter and Boots and our other properties, too. But we have to prove their commercial viability to get a deal. Publishers, licensees and manufacturers insist on credibility and exposure before they are willing to commit to new licensors. In discussions and proposals, I want to show that I am more than just a character designer and storyteller. My wife has a marketing background and we have resourced additional talent to our company who bring editorial services and social media skills to our mix. In this respect, we want to make publishers and licensees aware that by working with Tails of Whimsy, they are getting art, stories and savvy business partners.
What drives me? This is what I do. I love creating characters and their stories. It’s that simple. I like the idea of making people smile.
Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you have received regarding Scooter and Boots’ BrokenHeart Pets Rescue?
A: Be patient and stick with it. To get from character to contract in licensing, it takes a whole lot of drive as well as financial commitment.
Update from J’net: My next Free Ask J’net Q&A, Tuesday, May 5th at 10:00 am PDT / 1:00 pm EDT, is dedicated to the topic of Trade Shows. I will cover as many questions as possible in the one-hour Q&A relating to Surtex, Book Expo, Licensing Expo or other trade shows – walking them, attending your first year, exhibiting at them…whatever you need to know to help your business grow! Here’s our schedule page, please register early and get put your question at the bottom of the registration form.
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Tags: art business, art licensing training, Artist Licensing, character development, character licensing
Categories : Art Licensing Business, Branding, Business Development & Management, Cartooning/Cartoonists, Character Development, Getting Started, Licensing Expo, Trade Shows
How to Leverage your Intellectual Property to Get the Million-Dollar Deal and AAL Showers You With April Classes8 04 2015
Note: If you want to register for Tomorrow’s Ask J’net Q&A, there is still time to send in your question. Also…no need to worry about missing out on all the great information! Everyone who registers THIS MONTH, will automatiacally receive an MP3 file of the class. Register Now. (More about this and our other great classes below.)
How to Leverage your Intellectual Property to Get the Million-Dollar Deal
How do you become a brand? “How do you get millions of eyes and thousands of retail doors to open and focus on your cherished property and close the big deals?” The truth is, ‘what to do’ is actually fairly simple to explain; however, ‘how to do it’ is more difficult to accomplish.
The key to brand-building is leveraging. In the licensing industry, I have defined leveraging as: using a property’s current assets and awareness level (whatever they may be) to multiply itself exponentially using less effort than the amount of growth to be achieved. Leveraging is the one marketing tool, which increases and builds on your existing state and requires fewer resources to initiate the action, than the potential gain it acquires. For example, what you want to create is a situation where you are receiving $10,000 for every $1,000 invested. Repeatedly.
No matter what stage you are at in the development of your business, leveraging what you have for future gains is critical. You might be just beginning with a concept in mind or already have a collection of original art. Perhaps you have a television property and are looking toward a movie deal. All of these scenarios are constantly being developed in the industry and are accomplished through the art of leveraging.
Consider properties such as the Uglydoll®. They were manufacturing and selling their own dolls with great success. Because of this, they were able to take their concrete sales results and use them to demonstrate and convince other types of product manufacturers of the profit potential when investing in their characters. In fact, as the popular brand developed, Uglydoll® moved from a manufacturing based company to a full licensing model. This is a perfect example of skillful leveraging moves which lead to multiple deals and a complete change in the business plan. Examples of leveraging abound in the licensing industry.
When I was first starting out in the business, I managed a then little-known cartoon character named DILBERT®. Since the comic strip was in only about 100 newspapers, I needed to broaden our fan base dramatically. One strategic move changed the course of the property’s trajectory. At that time, I knew that our core audience was currently dominated by geeks. However, I believed the largest potential audience for the strip would include the millions of business people in the marketplace, if I was able to reach them. So I decided to try and get the cartoon into The Wall Street Journal. The problem was, this is a newspaper with a 100-year-old tradition of not running comics.
While this may sound like an impossible goal, it is important to never give up on what might be a great idea. Thinking and planning ten steps ahead is a critical part of any successful leveraging marketing program. I knew exposure to this broader business audience would mean a significant increase of our overall reach, products, media and profits.
So I considered a ‘back-door’ route to The Wall Street Journal newspaper which might make it possible to publish the cartoon through display advertising. Without any budget, I pitched and found a company to pay for the ads. Each advertisement included the latest daily DILBERT® comic strip brought to you by the sponsor. This single move increased our readership, our newsletter numbers and syndication, as well as positioned the cartoon for achieving our mass-market ‘business’ publishing goals.
Always look at the next leveraging move as a challenge to be solved and conquered. Failure is not an option. And remember sometimes you have to take three smaller steps to ready your property for the really big move you have established to achieve the larger goal.
A more recent example, Meghan Dougherty and Alece Birnbach, two of my current clients are the author and illustrator, respectively, of ‘Dorothy’s Derby Chronicles’—a property about a tween roller derby team of misfits. With nothing but a concept and a target audience that was 1) identifiable, 2) reachable, 3) sustainable and 4) large enough to warrant our efforts, the creators and I have worked to build-out the concept. These are the four ‘audience essentials’ for a property that can be leveraged.
First came the web site and a blog about the characters, meanwhile summaries of a ten-book series were developed and social media was utilized to reach the core audience of derby fans with key slogans, such as ‘Slugs & Hisses,’ ‘Wheels Before Heels’ and ‘Hit like a girl!’.
Developing a strong following within the roller derby community, we grew our online numbers to a level that could be leveraged. A strong book proposal and three completed chapters of the first book, drove us to a good publishing deal. Having the four audience essentials in place clinched the deal, even though my clients were unknown authors. We also made the decision to read drafts of the book to 5th grade classes and secured stories in the media around the concept of a girl power-based roller derby book for tweens. This demonstrated to publishers their ability to help promote the book when it launched.
Just recently the first book was released through Sourcebooks and has received great reviews, such as this one from Publisher’s Weekly: “Birnbach’s spot illustrations and comics sequences pepper the story, showcasing skating action and hinting at the characters’ vivacious personalities. Speaking to the insecurities of middle school, parental abandonment, and the thrill of a crush, this first book in the Dorothy’s Derby Chronicles series should easily drum up excitement among readers who aren’t afraid to get their elbows bruised.” The second book in the series is due to be released August of 2015.
Leveraging moves can be small or large, for money, exposure or other benefits. But they must be tackled and nurtured continuously at every stage of a growing property. Some ways to leverage new and established properties are available through strategic alliances, sponsorships, public relations, product extensions and social media efforts. However, one of the best ways to begin leveraging your property is at trade shows because you can reach so many influential decision-makers and potential partners at one time, when they are all gathered in one place. You can conceivably create in 2 or 3 days, the same number of connections and viable leads as you can develop in a year’s worth of your own sales efforts.
A licensing trade show is a great place to launch your next wave of exposure and strategically position your property for a new growth phase. The investment here can create great returns. When you have planned for and understand your next potential moves, it’s much easier to develop a clear message, direct your marketing materials, meet the right people and show them exactly how an alliance makes sense and creates revenue for all. Each strategic leveraging move is one step closer in getting to the million-dollar deal.
All Art Licensing Showers You with Great Classes In April, Starting with Our FREE Ask J’net Scheduled for Tomorrow, April 9th.
Ask J’net Q&A – ‘Marketing Your Licensing Business’
Thursday April 9th, 2015 – 10:00 a.m. PDT / 1:00 p.m. EDT
Duration: 1 hour
1 hour live phone event – We’re continuing the wonderful conversation started last month on ‘How to Market Your Licensing Business’ in tomorrow’s Ask J’net Q&A. I will focus on answering more of your questions about how to market your art, character or brand licensing business. Here’s your opportunity to ask questions about creating a marketing plan, trade shows, exhibiting, public relations, closing sales and more. What are you wondering about that will help your business grow?
Sign-up here for the free class. When registering, there is a place at the bottom of the form to write your question(s). J’net will answer as many questions as possible during the hour. All you need to do is call in at the specific time to get answers to your questions and learn from others’ questions. If you can’t attend tomorrow’s class, please register anyway, as we’ll be sending the MP3 file to everyone who registers this month!
Please note: You will receive your Dial-in number and Access Code for the class tonight from All Art Licensing. This is not an 800 number, so your standard long distance rates will apply.
And here’s the rest of my April line-up of classes:
Public Relations for Today’s Licensors
Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 – 10:00 a.m. PDT / 1:00 p.m. EDT
Duration: 1.5 hours – including 65+ page PowerPoint Presentation (PDF format)
This class is for the emerging and intermediate art, design or character licensors, for both those who have public relations agents and those that are working solo. Join me for this comprehensive course which moves you from wondering how to get the word out about your business to managing your own press and promotions (or understanding how to manage your PR agency, if they handle your press). The class will cover:
- develop your goals and strategies
- create your own press plan
- build targeted press lists
- write effective and attention grabbing press releases
- craft a press kit (and your brand)
- determine priorities within Social Media, press and promotions
- PR mistakes to avoid
- plus HOT press tips to turn up the HEAT!
It also includes real-life examples to show you exactly what to do.
Creating a Successful Book Publishing Proposal
Friday, April 17th – 10:00 a.m. PDT/ 1:00 p.m. PDT
Duration: 1.5 hours – including 50+ page PowerPoint Presentation (PDF format)
In today’s marketplace, your character property needs to gain exposure and traction before it can move into the world of licensing. One of the best tracks to licensing is through book publishing. So if you have ever wondered how to create a successful publishing proposal, this is the class for you. J’net has published more than 30 books for clients and will provide detailed ‘how to’ instructions and information on ‘why’ it must be done a certain way. The class will include many examples, as well as, a run-down of the self-publishing and eBook options, vs. traditional publishing.
Marketing Your Art, Characters, Designs & New Brands through Trade Shows
Wednesday, April 22nd – 10:00 a.m. PDT / 1:00 p.m. EDT
Duration: 2 hours – including 70+ page PowerPoint Presentation (PDF format)
This course will show you how to market your creativity successfully—whether art, characters, designs or a new brand concept—and enter the $155B licensing arena through trade shows, as well as other practical marketing techniques. This Worldwide Creators’ Intensive class covers:
- choosing the right trade shows
- how to move from internal creative process to external income generation and
- preparing for and exhibiting at a show.
Through detailed information and real life examples, J’net will demonstrate clearly how art, designs, characters and new brands are launched into the marketplace. Those who take this course will learn how to determine what they have in terms of a creative product, and whether it could be practical and profitable to exhibit at a trade show. This class is powerful, comprehensive and a great value for all those who have purchased a booth or are considering doing so.
Creating a Successful Television Proposal
Friday, April 24th – 10:00 a.m. PDT / 1:00 p.m. EDT
Duration: 1.5 hours – including 50+ page PowerPoint Presentation (PDF format)
Have you developed a character or television concept that you wish to pitch. This class will cover how to create a successful television proposal that will get producers attention, as well as what the entire process will look like. We will be discussing the various types of proposals, TV bibles, style guides and more. Do not miss your chance to have this confusing industry and process de-mystified and explained in detail and easy to understand terms. Learn how it relates to and drives the licensing business. We will also talk about options, how deals get done and how you can get one!
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Categories : Branding, Business Development & Management, Cartooning/Cartoonists, Character Development, Events, Publishing/Self-publishing, Sales & Marketing
Do you have an idea for a new character? Do you think your new character would be an ideal fit for television, books, apps, games, toys or comics? Well, that is a great start. But to fully develop a character that you can sell or license as a larger media property, you’ll need to know that character from the inside out. And you’ll need to be able to communicate the nuances of the character to your audience, quickly and expertly.
If you have created and developed a character and are wanting to build a property, with media and licensing, then consider the following advice. Take these five common mistakes and create your own check-list of things ‘not to do’ when it comes to building your own character or character brand:
1. Create vague characters. This is a no-no. Your characters can’t look like or behave like everyone else’s’ dog, cat or whatever. Your characters need to be distinguishable with specific traits, style, and purpose. Develop the detailed background and dreams for your characters, including answering the questions: who, what, when where, why and how.
2. Think that ‘everyone’ is your target audience. Instead, find a niche audience where you can gain some impact and create impressions before broadening your scope. Try to figure out where your target audience lives, works and plays…and most importantly…how they prefer to get their entertainment and information. Eventually you can adapt your content to expand the audience. But don’t ever think that ‘everyone’ is your target audience.
3. Assume people will immediately ‘get’ your characters the way you do. Don’t be naive. You need to mentally put yourself in your audiences’ chair to adequately understand their perspective. This is a powerful internal tool to develop. You can then create your character’s personality and mannerisms, so your audience can ‘see’ just how funny, ironic, sweet, improbable, dumb, charismatic, sarcastic, ill-at-ease, or whatever your characters really are! It is up to you to develop these traits, as well as create exposure through media, products and other channels.
4. Attend trade shows ill-prepared. Creator’s frequently exhibit at trade shows too early in the development of their characters. In addition, they fail to design the proper materials to actually sell producers, publishers, manufacturers and retailers on doing a deal. Without the right marketing materials and content, these potential partners can’t distribute your characters to their biggest potential audience and help build the brand. Be sure you are ready and get the help you need to do it right.
5. Develop non-sustainable characters. Do your characters appeal to a large target audience, or one at least big enough to support your creations and accomplish your goals? Do they fulfill a long-lasting need in the marketplace, which means they could become ‘evergreen’ characters? Or are they a flash on the horizon of trends? Be careful not to put your time and energy into characters, unless they have the audience potential to match and sustain your ideas and dreams.
All of these mistakes can be avoided with the proper training. I have two excellent classes which elaborate on these specific problems. One class, in which I collaborated with Michael Fry, creator of ‘Over the Hedge’ (DreamWorks) and ‘The Odd Squad –Bully Bait’ (Disney-Hyperion) is called ‘Building Character – How to Cash In On Your Characters Without Losing Your Soul.’
Or you may be planning to attend a trade show and interested in: ‘Marketing Your Art, Characters, Designs and New Brands Through Trade Shows’. Each of these can be purchased and downloaded through our website. The next FREE Ask J’net Q&A is open to everyone who wants to ask questions about characters and character licensing next week, Thursday, February 5th from 12:00-1:00 p.m. PST / 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST. The registration form includes a place at the bottom for your questions, and you will be sent the Dial-In Number and Access Code for the session the evening of February 4th. Register here.
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Tags: art entrepreneur, Art Licensing, art licensing blog, Art Licensing Business, art licensing classes, art licensing training, character development, character development training, character licensing, character licensing classes, how to get started in art licensing, marketing your art, self publishing
Categories : Art Licensing Business, Cartooning/Cartoonists, Character Development, Events