After a lot of work, he had sold his comic book idea to a good, medium-sized comic book company. Things went great. He loved the publisher and his editor and it was just a terrific experience. Even though he did not have to, he would post on the chat board about how it was going. And it was going from good to great.
The comic book, which he created, wrote and drew, sold well and then he announced some incredible news: it was going to be optioned for a movie.
So, dude went from dreamer to pro in a small space of time.
So, why, less than a year later, was this guy fired from his own book and banned from the chat board?
It's because he wanted to be involved in the movie deal. But the publisher was not interested in having him be part of it.
He would get on our chat board, recounting emails and phone calls that always started with him saying, "What? But I'm the guy that created it! You NEED me!"
Not only did they not need him, they did not share any option money with him. When he complained, they reminded him that he signed over all rights to his idea to them. This was not something that had bothered him when he signed it, since, like I said, he loved the publisher and editor there.
But the bloom's off the rose now.
And this new-professional guy went on a tirade against the company. And the company told him to stop and he didn't.
So he was fired. No book, no money. Bye bye.
And the chat board banned him because he went ballistic on it about what unmoral people his once-beloved publisher and editor were. Well, honestly, he was not banned because of his content, it was his form of using every dirty word he knew to describe them.
It's an old story. It happened to Superman creators Siegel and Shuster, it happened to a lot of work-for-hire people like Bill Finger, who is responsible for the Batman we know of today.
I'm sorry for this fellow, but there are people who will always ask for creative work for terms that are not right. It's up to you to beware of these.
The latest thing are these contests to submit logo and t-shirt designs. Sometimes high profile companies do this (HBO) or powerful people (Oprah). Yeah, they know better. Yeah, they got the money. No, they want it all for free.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was yelling in my car at an NPR reporter who (on my car radio) was cheerfully telling everyone about the Amtrak Writers' Residency program where writers get to ride the rails for free while writing. I was yelling at the radio because the reporter (who had submitted to the contest to win a Residency position) did not mention that all submissions became the property of Amtrak. All of them! As soon as you click the "submit" button. And this is all about Amtrak wanting ad copy. From the Washington Post:
"Applications and writing samples that pass an initial evaluation will then be judged by a panel 'based on the degree to which the Applicant would function as an effective spokesperson/endorser of [the] Amtrak brand.'"
BOOKMARK IT NOW: There's a Tumblr site that does nothing but highlight these contests and open calls for "talented artists" to submit work for free. Even if there is a prize, most contests claim all rights to all submissions regardless of whether you win or not.
Be careful, be aware, and don't take a crummy deal. You are better than that.