ethics n stuff ("part the second!")

What good ol' Steve forgets (in his comments yesterday) are that he and I never had anything in writing when he published "Bless The Beasts" in TYRANT.

Butt seriously - Steve makes some good points. IF the unlikely event occurred and my character or my friend's character was optioned by a big studio etc, at that point, when big money became a reality and not a dream, we would definitely put everything in writing.

Until then - well, Steve still makes a very good point. If I did not really know and trust this friend, I'd probably want more than a handshake. But then why would I want to make such a deal with such an untrustworthy person?

Also - IF my friend screwed me and did NOT give me 10-20% of his big sale - what have I lost? I had nothing to start with.

And if I turned out to be the jerk, and did not give my friend 10-20% of MY big sale, I'd lose a very good friend just to keep a million dollars instead of 800 - 900 thousand. It just ain't gonna happen on my end.

As for my heirs - they'll be covered if and when the money actually exists. Until then, same karma - I actually trust this friend enough to believe that he would do the right thing in such an event. And I think he trusts me to do the same.

So - we're BOTH right! Steve is right, be careful and get it in writing IF THERE IS ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER. Or when the big money appears. And I am right, why fret over paperwork and lawyers until you absolutely have to? Wasting good energy over such nonsense just mirrors our national shame!

Tomorrow I promise I will post a picture and something stupid, and stop being so dang serious. Who do I think I am anyway, Dave Sim???


Rick Neilsen said...

Hi everyone!
I'm artist "X" that Mark has been mentioning.
I've never blogged before, so be gentle with me.
I just wanted to go on record about working with Mark Martin. I feel very fortunate to not only have Mark as a friend but as a mentor too. He has taught me a ton, and believe me, I have many tons more to learn from this guy.
He's incredibly fair with money on jobs. He's the hardest worker I've seen and he's very fast. That's where my stress usually comes in. It's when I have the delusion that I can actually keep up with him.
I feel lucky that I've earned his trust over the years on quite a few jobs. It's been built brick by brick and many late nights.
I agree with Mark when he says that both he and Steve are right. Yeah if it ever looks like a character is really going to be a big hit, we should put our agreement in writing. They both certainly have the experience of seeing mega money screwing up a good idea. Until we do hit the big time and need the formality, I know Mark has my back and that I have his.
Happy blogging!

SRBissette said...

Mark's right, we worked with a handshake on TYRANT and his inside-back cover strip, but (a) I paid Mark up front a "page" fee per submission/issue; (b) BLESS THE BEASTS was Mark's property in full, TYRANT mine in full -- we weren't working on one another's strips; (c) we agreed from the outset we were free "to go" anytime, for any reason, or no reason, our separate ways. We kept it as open as possible, but that was a long time ago (1993-94 is when it started), and I'd have paperwork today, Mark, unless you simply refused.

Yes, I should have gotten it in writing, but Mark said, "Ah, why?" Rick Veitch and I also have a standing "reprint it anytime" deal on the stories WE did together, though I've pressed Rick that we draft a letter covering this, if only for our kids's sake if and/or when we're gone.

I have worked hard since 1998 to nail down any lingering deals and collaborative ventures, from stories I wrote and others drew to loose ends with larger firms (like Mirage). Some of these took (I shit you not) up to 9 years to see through, but I've been persistant and persevered. In a couple cases, when I could afford it, I paid past partners cash-in-hand to sign "permission to reprint" agreements, in the hopes one day of reprinting my past work -- and making sure I COULD include those particular stories or works.

In the meantime, Mark, know that even with GREEN MT CINEMA, I now PAY everyone once work is done, and DO have a short two-page contract to sign (stating they own all rights, and I am allowed to print it once, and have no other claim to their work). I've also done the same for the few folks I've had work on my back-burner N-MAN project, as that trademark requires I work with a non-virulent (but still ethically unpalatable to me) work-for-hire shortform contract. (Even with Black Coat Press, we have a contract that also states they can drop me, I can drop them at any time, for any or no reason.) I try to nail it all down, primarily to ensure a paper trail for my kids if anything happens to me.

Of course, by and large, I now do what I can with what I can manage on my own. For that, no paper trail is necessary...

eeTeeD said...

r. n., i'm glad to find out that you are the artist "X" that Mark has been mentioning, and NOT dave sim! =D