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Glenn Farrington is the creator of ComiXwriter, a program which… well, I think I’ll let him explain it.
Me: For those who haven’t read your Kickstarter, what is ComiXwriter?
Farrington: ComiXwriter™ is the world’s first dedicated scriptwriting software for comic books and graphic novels.
Me: What are some of its features?
Automatically changes margins
Instantly changes capitalization/bold/underlining
Properly handles line spacing
Built-in Outlining and Organization tools
Automatic Page numbering
Automatic Panel numbering
Automatic Page breaks
Ability to make Notation on pages
Ability to save in PDF,Word and RTF documents
Tab/Enter typing system lets you focus on story, not format
Available for Mac and PC
Customer Support: Great software comes with great responsibility
Me: What are your favorite features?
Farrington: Two features that we are most proud of are the collaborative editor and the notation which allows embedding of graphics.
The collaborative editor allows you to have the page of the script and the artwork side by side. If need be, you’ll be able to edit your page and/or make notations on the artwork, save it to a file, and can export it as a pdf back to the artist, colorist or letterer.
As part of our notation feature you’ll be able to add a graphic or photo to any specific point in the script. You’ll be able to keep it from being seen unless you want to. When you send out the pdf or doc, you’ll also have the option of it showing the embedded graphics or not.
Me: What inspired you to create ComiXwriter?
Farrington: Complete frustration. I pitched an idea to Larry Young at AiT Planet Lar, and he gave me the greenlight to get it done. I studied the various methods of writing comic books, but there was certain structure that was commonly used by all (page numbers, panel counts, etc.) So I naturally figured there would be software for it. Surprisingly there was none. What I did find, whether it was free or not, were softwares that were designed for other things, like screenplays and novels…that also gave you the ability to write comics. It felt a little insulting. For the expensive software’s, I was being told that if I paid out all that money for a software that was not a 100% designed for my needs…they would give me a template or two that would kind of work for what I wanted. That just didn’t sit well with me. And I always like free, who doesn’t, but again, they are not designed for comic book writing and they only scratch the surface of what a dedicated software like ComiXwriter™ will do. As my Father always use to say, you get what you pay for. So I decided I was going to put out what has been long over do: ComiXwriter™.
Me: Who should pledge your Kickstarter and what rewards can people get by pledging money to your Kickstarter?
Farrington: For people that don’t write or want to write comic books, but think the idea is great and want to see us become successful. We have rewards that get your name for all eternity (unless the internet goes away) on a special backer page of our website. We also have digital downloads and hard copy posters of amazing artwork done by The Fillbach Brothers (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) made exclusively for ComiXwriter™. We also have t-shirts and tickets for our launch party. My favorite: you can have your name replacing one of the character names in our sample scripts.
Of course for people who are or want to write comic books, we’re offering ComiXwriter™ at deeply reduced prices. The earlier you back one of these rewards, the cheaper it will be.
Me: You mentioned in your Kickstarter how ComiXwriter will be affordable. How much will the program cost?
Farrington: With screenwriting software that have templates for comic books costing from $159 -$249…I always wanted to make sure that ComiXwriter™ would sell for under a hundred dollars. We just made it by a hair. The retail price will be $99.00
Me: Have you ever programmed anything before?
Farrington: Steven and I are about the nerdiest geeks you’ll ever meet. We both personally know how to program in a few different languages. And we both have helped code and oversee businesses that were software reliant and in Steven’s case with Scriptware, the actual product itself. With Scriptware, Steven created the very first screenwriting software. I founded and built the business of Digital Seas International. We put internet café’s on every major cruise line in the world. Our software ran the front end graphic userface, back end talking with the point of sale systems on the ships and an automated trouble-shooting software that would continually scan every PC and server on every ship across the world for errors…and then correct them remotely.
Me: Did you base the programming of ComiXwriter off of any script programs you’ve seen before?
Farrington: At the end of the day, any script writing software has its roots in word processing. So there are many similar features on all of them, ours included. But that’s where it stops. The additional features are being designed and implemented from scratch.
Me: What is your experience with comic books?
Farrington: Besides being a geeked out fan boy when it comes to all comic books and just a crazy fan when it comes to Spider-Man…I have a graphic novel that I wrote called LIVES, that is being published through First Comics, coming out later this year. The amazing Fillbach Brothers did the artwork for it and the three of us will be signing advanced copies at the upcoming San Diego Comic Con.
Also with First Comics, I am currently working on a five issue series and trade called THE FIREMEN. Next year another graphic novel of mine is coming out with AiT Planet Lar. If anyone reading this will be attending this year’s San Diego Comic Con, please make sure you stop by to say hi! Along with the Fillbach Brothers, we’ll be at the Ait Planet Lar booth #2001.
Me: Can you tell us a bit about the people you worked with on ComiXwriter?
Farrington: I came up with the idea for ComiXwriter™ but Steven Sashen is my partner and Co-Founder. We are the principle management team. We also have the main team of programmers based in Colorado but with some additional support in Florida and Los Angeles . We also put together an advisory panel that have helped us tremendously, from software feature ideas to marketing and the sales side of the company. Our panel members are: Larry Young, editor, writer, artist and publisher/owner of AiT Planet Lar, Richard Starkings, founder of Comicraft and writer of the long running series Elephantmen, Matthew Dow Smith, writer and artist of many titles including Hellboy, Astronauts in Trouble and Dr. Who and the Fillbach Brothers, artists and writers extraordinaire who worked on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Road Kill, the upcoming LIVES, Captain Freebird – An American Prayer and Cadaver Dogs. As the company grows other positions will need to be implemented, but for now, this is the core team.
Me: How did you manage to get professional actors Jim Beaver (Supernatural, Justified) and Jason Earles (Hannah Montana) in your Kickstarter video?
Farrington: Let’s not also forget the acting talents of Joel McCary (Princess Diaries, Justified) and Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Dr. Who) who did our voice over at end. Jason, Joel and I worked together on a Disney XD show called Kickin’ It. Jason was a series regular and Joel was a recurring actor on the show. But both Joel and I were staff writers. Jason was also a regular contributor in the writer’s room and we all became fast friends. Mark Sheppard has become one of my dearest friends. He’s a great actor, but more importantly, he’s a great man. We met briefly at a small con here in LA and bumped into each other in the parking lot…next think I know, in untypical LA freezing weather, two and a half hours later we’re still talking. We’ve been good friends ever since. He was glad to help me out with my Kickstarter project in any way he could. Because of his busy schedule the voice over was the only way we could work it out. I met Jim at last year’s San Diego ‘s Comic Con when he joined Mark and me for lunch. Another great talent and even greater guy. I think we became friends the moment he made me laugh so hard I spit coke all over him at Mark’s Christmas party. Jim along with everyone else was more than happy to help me with the Kickstarter video. They all believe like I do that ComiXwriter™ is a great idea that is long overdue.
Me: Can you tell us anything about ComiXwriter that wasn’t mentioned on your Kickstarter page?
Farrington: ComiXwriter™ will only be sold digitally through our website and through other online distribution channels. Part of our business model is to allow even more affordable price points for any colleges, universities or educational facilities. I really want to help anyone at that level if they are showing an interest. My 16 year old son Hunter writes and my 9 year old daughter Zuzu is a writer and artist. They both would like to create comics someday. If there are schools offering writing programs that include comic book writing…we want to be there for them. One glimpse into the future that I can give is that ComiXwriter™ will have an app version for tablets and smart phones.
Me: So when will people be able to buy ComiXwriter?
Farrington: If everything goes according to schedule, and when it comes to programming software that can always be tricky, ComiXwriter will be ready in February of 2014. We think it will make a great Valentines present : )
Me: Thanks for your time!
Farrington: You’re more than welcome Nicole.
Me: You can check out the Kickstarter for ComiXwriter here.