BrokenHeart Pets Rescue – Working Hard for their Big Break

27 04 2015

S&Btalk-2I recently interviewed Daryl Slaton, partner in Tails of Whimsy, a storybook studio, and the artist/author of BrokenHeart Pets Rescue about their characters and their journey.

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.

BHPheads1In 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?20140409_135212
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.BHpetsSellSheet72Post4

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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Public Relations for Licensors – Artists, Designers, Characters & Brands – and My Top Ten Promotional Techniques

14 04 2015

Question:  What gives exposure, makes an impression and moves your business forward.

Answer: Public Relations.

As many of you know, I am a firm proponent of public relations as a marketing tool. It’s truly amazing that we have control over so much content these days. I discussed this in last month’s All Art Licensing Infoletter article, ‘Maximize Your Publicity-New Media Mix Offers Many Avenues to Tell Your Story.’ Click here to read or download.

Tomorrow I’m teaching ‘Public Relations for Today’s Licensor,’ one of my favorite and most important classes, which has been fully updated and revamped for 2015. If you really don’t understand how Public Relations works and want to either do-it-yourself (DIY) or manage your PR agency with more finesse, then invest in yourself and take this course. We’ll be covering how to develop your own lead lists and EXACTLY how to write press releases. In addition, I cover the top PR mistakes to avoid, plus social media techniques, top journalistic writing recommendations and a growing list of HOT press tips (which now exceeds 20) to get you noticed! I hope you will join me tomorrow. You can even register and get your questions answered during the class, but take the course at another time. In addition to an 80+ illustrated handout, you will receive the audio file the day after the class, so you can listen at your convenience. The cost is $60. Register here.

Today I’m sharing with you my Top Ten Self-Promotion Tips. I hope you will print them out and commit them to memory. One of the reasons that some of these, shall I say OBVIOUS, points made it to my Top Ten List, is because people, marketers, brands, artists, creators and companies of all kinds…STILL refuse to do them!

Say 'Hi!' if you see me at Licensing Expo or Surtex. Illustration courtesy of Debbie Tomassi who created 'Bodacious Broads.'

Say ‘Hi!’ if you see me at Licensing Expo or Surtex. Illustration courtesy of Debbie Tomassi who created ‘Bodacious Broads.’

1. 24/7 Marketing is Key – make it a habit…repeat…repeat.
2. Join the Conversation – real connections hold real power.
3. Target Your Ideal Clients – or your dream won’t become reality.
4. Develop a Mailing List of Interested People – get permission to send them updates.
5. Don’t Ask for Subscribers – change “subscribe” to “get updates.”
6. Blogs Need Promotion Too – if you have decided that blogging is key to your business, then promote it. Make sure you have a focus, that the blog is targeted to only ONE audience, and that your time investment will pay-off.
7. Have a Personal Story – don’t hide the personal side.
8. Don’t Forget to Call or Email – find a good reason to work with interesting people with the right knowledge and contacts and then reach out to them individually.
9. Think About the Long Term – make sure your plans include short and long-term goals and tactics.
10. Be Enjoyable and Professional to Work With – you would be amazed at how few people are and how much this will make you stand out!

Another great place to get self-promotion tips is from Austin Kleon’s book titled, ‘Show Your Work!’ Here’s a fun and beneficial quick-read article from Fast Company Magazine.

Check out All Art Licensing’s complete line up of Worldwide Creator’ Intensive Courses (we don’t just hold classes, we train thoroughly). Click here for the April schedule or to register for the “Public Relations for Today’s Licensor’ course.





5 Mistakes that Character Creators Often Make

28 01 2015

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.

Hammy from the 'Over the Hedge' Movie

Hammy from the ‘Over the Hedge’ Movie

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.





4 Informational (& Motivational) Online Classes—with Special Guest Speaker

20 03 2014

Many times I have noticed that people (including myself sometimes) say and want to learn and increase their knowledge about a given subject, such as art licensing. Yet often it does not happen. The problem is that often there is no action or follow through to that desire, and therefore, no increased learning or movement forward.

The reason for this, I think, can be lack of continuous motivation. A daily habit of creating a motivation focused on your goals has to be developed. So you will remain motivated until you achieve your desire. This is one of the reasons, I continuously refine and present such detailed classes and blogs, month after month. I want you to succeed!

I have scheduled 4 new classes this spring, including two FREE Q&A’s, as well as two affordable, comprehensive courses.  All classes are designed to inspire and stimulate your desire to succeed in your goals, by providing practical and immediately useful information.

Join our Free Ask J’net Q&A on March 26th and May 14th for some ‘hot’ answers to your most pressing art marketing and licensing questions.

Below is our spring schedule of classes, part of the Worldwide Creators’ Intensive series.

Meanwhile, share this with your friends and colleagues; peruse the courses and register ASAP to get your questions answered!

Ask J’net Q&A’s

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 – 12 noon to 1 p.m. PST/3 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 – 12 noon to 1 p.m. PST/3 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST

Price: FREE Register: HERE

These one-hour classes are a ‘live’ phone event, where you provide the questions about art, design & character licensing and J’net provides the answers. When registering online, just write your question at the bottom of the form. 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.

Please note: You will receive your Dial-in number and Access Code for the class the night before the event from All Art Licensing. This is not an 800 number, so your standard long distance fees will apply.

NEW–Today’s PR and Promotion Essentials for Art Licensors

I’m excited to announce that I will be joined by Guest Presenter, Greg Walsh of Walsh PR, who will discuss Social Media’s role, mistakes to avoid and hot tips and trends in PR today!!

Date: Wednesday April 9, 2014

Time: 12 noon – 2 p.m. PDT/3 p.m. – 5 p.m. EDT

Duration: 2 hours including Q&A

Price: $60 Register: HERE

This class is for the emerging and intermediate level art licensor, those who both have agents and are working solo.  Join me for a comprehensive course that 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 or agent, if they handle your press).

The class will teach you how to:

·        develop your goals and create your own press plan

·        create targeted press lists

·        write effective press releases

·        build a press kit (and your brand)

·        determine priorities within Social Media, press and promotions

·        PR mistakes to avoid

·        plus 15 HOT press tips to turn up the HEAT!

The goal is for you to understand the PR tactics that will gain you exposure and build your brand and business.  This course will include more than 50 slides with guidelines and visual examples that relate to the licensing industry.

Greg Walsh of Walsh Public Relations, out of Fairfield, CT, will join J’net in presenting a part of this course.  A public relations veteran of 20+ years, Greg has extensive experience in creating PR campaigns through both the consumer and trade media. The brands, properties,and products he has successfully represented include: ZIGGY, U-Haul, Honeywell, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, National Geographic, Wild Republic Retail Stores, Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Lalaloopsy, Batman®, Chicken Soup for the Soul®, MTV Game, Slylock Fox & Comics For Kids.

NEW–Character Licensing (Emerging Artist/Beginner Level)–This course has been totally updated and expanded.

Date: Wednesday May 21st, 2014

Time: 12 noon – 2 p.m. PDT/3 p.m. – 5 p.m. EDT

Duration: 2 hours including Q&A

Price: $60 Register: HERE

This course is an introduction to character licensing for cartoonists, animators and illustrators. A lot of creators ask: “What can I do with my characters?” This class will show you some very practical and useful answers to this question.

In this course, we will explore character licensing from the beginning first steps to the first signed contract. This class will teach you how to design characters to enhance their licensing potential, create exposure, leverage business opportunities, know when you are ready to license products and choose the product categories which are best for your characters. We will also cover the most important things to watch for and avoid.

If you are more inclined to create characters, than designs, then this is the right class for you. Your characters make sense to you…now let me help you make sure they will appeal to the broadest possible audience.  With the right industry knowledge and strategic thinking, you can learn how to share them with the world.

Remember, that if you want to attend a class, but have a scheduling conflict, the 2-hour courses always include a PowerPoint presentation & full audio, which will be provided the day after the live event. So sign up, save a few bucks by registering for the live event, but listen to them whenever you like!





Two Free Spring Classes (and more) from All Art Licensing

13 02 2014

CREATORSLOGO-2_3-smallIs the snow getting you down?  Join our Free Ask J’net Q&A next week and in March for some ‘hot’ answers to your most pressing art marketing and licensing questions. Below is our Spring line-up of classes, part of the Worldwide Creators’ Intensive series.

Next time my blog will focus on ‘Shopping Docs’…something all art licensors and artists should absolutely know about and use…so stay tuned for an information packed blog tomorrow (and a PDF example).

Meanwhile, share this with your friends and colleagues, peruse the courses and register ASAP to get your questions answered in all the classes!

Ask J’net Q&A

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 – 12 noon to 1 p.m. PST/3 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 – 12 noon to 1 p.m. PST/3 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST

Price: FREE Register: HERE

This one-hour class is a ‘live’ phone event, where you provide the questions about art, design & character licensing and J’net provides the answers. When registering online, just write your question at the bottom of the form. 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.

Please note: You will receive your Dial-in number and Access Code for the class the night before the event from All Art Licensing. This is not an 800 number, so your standard long distance fees will apply.

Marketing Your ART, CHARACTERS, DESIGNS and NEW BRANDS Through Trade Shows (Emerging Artist/Beginner Level)

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014—12 noon to 2 p.m. PST/3 p.m.—5 p.m. EST

Price: $60 Register: HERE

This 2-hour course will show you how to market your creativity successfully—whether art, characters, designs or a new brand concept—and enter the $152.2B licensing industry through trade shows and other practical marketing techniques.

This Worldwide Creators’ Intensive, 3-part, class will cover:

Part 1: Licensing and Trade Shows

Part 2: How to Get From ‘Internal Creative Process’ to ‘External Income Generation’

Part 3: How to prepare for and exhibit 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 will include a live audio and full PowerPoint presentation. However, if you cannot make the scheduled event time, we will be sending the full class (BOTH the audio and PowerPoint) to all registrants the following day. When you sign up, include any questions you would like answered at the bottom of your registration form and J’net will cover as many as possible during the class.

Please note: You will receive Dial-in number and Access Code for the class the night before the event, as well as a link so you can download the presentation, from All Art Licensing. This is not an 800 number, so your standard long distance fees will apply.

Character Licensing (Emerging Artist/Beginner Level)

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 – 12 noon to 2 p.m. PST/3 p.m. – 5 p.m. EST

Price: $60 Register: HERE

This course is an introduction to character licensing for cartoonists, animators and illustrators. A lot of creators ask: “What can I do with my characters?” This class will show you some very practical and useful answers to this question. In this course, we will explore character licensing from the beginning first steps to the first signed contract. This class will teach you how to design characters to enhance their licensing potential, create exposure, leverage business opportunities, know when you are ready to license products and choose the product categories which are best for your characters. We will also cover the most important things to watch for and avoid. If you are more inclined to create characters, than designs, then this is the right class for you. Your characters make sense to you…now let me help you make sure they will appeal to the broadest possible audience.  With the right industry knowledge and strategic thinking, you can learn how to share them with the world.

This 2-hour class will include a live audio and full PowerPoint presentation. However, if you cannot make the scheduled event time, we will be sending the full class (BOTH the audio and PowerPoint) to all registrants the following day. When you sign up, include any questions you would like answered at the bottom of your registration form and J’net will cover as many as possible during the class.

Please note: You will receive Dial-in number and Access Code for the class the night before the event, as well as a link so you can download the presentation, from All Art Licensing. This is not an 800 number, so your standard long distance fees will apply.








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