Stephen Stern talks about STORYBOARD GRAPHIC NOVELS

Stephen Stern
Stephen Stern

Storyboard Graphic Novels states “We’re graphic novel and comic-book professionals who can help you take advantage of the hottest trend in Hollywood, by turning your screenplay into a published Graphic Novel or Comic.

We assist screenwriters, directors, producers and actors in bridging the gap between the worlds of publishing and filmed entertainment.

The number of high-profile films and television programs that were first launched in book form continues to grow. Now your project can be launched as a Graphic Novel or Comic, with story adaptation and art by recognized industry pros.

Not only will your film/tv project benefit from first being published in book form – but your book will also provide revenues for you from both print and digital sales.”

We talked to Stephen Stern yesterday about Zen, and wanted to follow up with him about his company Storyboard Graphic Novels.

sgn-300x249First Comics News
: You started Storyboard Graphic Novels with Joseph Giovannetti, how did the two of you decide to start a company together?

Stephen Stern:  I had mentioned the concept to Joe, a businessman who was interested in investment opportunities, and he thought it was a solid business model, in light of the success of movies and television shows based on comic-books and graphic novels. And he was certainly right!
1st: What is David Raether’s role in the company?

Stephen:  David is a very successful television and non-fiction writer who at this point functions primarily as a consultant on special projects.

1st: Your company turns a screenplay into a published Graphic Novel or Comic. How do you decide the proper format?

:  As a screenplay typically averages around 100 pages in length, and there being an approximate ratio of 1:1.3 between a screenplay page and a comic page, what you have is either a GN of around 130 pages, or around 6 comics of 22 pages each. The client decides, for budgetary and other purposes, if he wants to proceed to a full GN, or go about the process comic-by-comic.

1st: How involved is the screenwriter in the process of adapting his work into a comic?

Stephen:  Fully involved. Our clients—who include screenwriters, directors, producers and actors—approve every page of script adaptation, pencils, inks, colors and letters. They provide input on anything they want revised, and only after they approve each step in the process do we proceed to the next step.

1st: Who are the creative team at Storyboard Graphic Novels and how are they assigned to specific projects?

Stephen:  I’m personally involved in adapting the screenplay into a comic/GN script, and all of our other suppliers, such as artists and letterers, are freelancers who provide their services to us on a work-for-hire basis.

1st: Does your average customer work diligently to get his comic in comic shops or is the goal to have a Storyboard to help pitch the project?

:  Each client has his own agenda, from self-publishing at sites such as ComiXology or amazon, to pitching to established publishers, to pitching to producers or studios.

1st: You offer comics and graphic novels, in color and Black & White. What is the approximate cost to produce them?

Stephen:  At this time, it costs $145 per page for black-and-white, and $195 per page for color. Which in essence means that we charge less for a complete color page than companies like Marvel and DC typically pay for pencils alone.

1st: With the comics you produce, is there any Storyboard Graphic Novels branding on the project?

Stephen:  No. We are simply providing services, on a work-for-hire basis.

1st: Once produced, does Storyboard Graphic Novels retain any rights to the story or art?

Stephen:  No. The clients retains all rights to their projects. Our freelance artists, however, do retain their original artboards, to do with as they please.

: Once you deliver the finished product, does your company help with either advertising or distribution?

Stephen:  Storyboard has on occasion assisted our clients in bringing their books to market, based upon industry relationships and expertise that we have, but our primary function is to produce the very best comics and GNs for them.

1st: Can you tell us about some of the projects that have been published?

Stephen:  Our contracts all include a confidentiality clause, so we don’t get into discussing who our clients are, or what projects have been published. But I can tell you that we have produced several dozen GNs and comics since launching Storyboard four years ago.

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