By Dustin Cabeal
Ghost City Comics is presenting another contest on their site and this time it's called 5x5 Fest. Essentially you have five days to make five pages of a comic and will be given a prop, setting and a line of dialogue to include in your comic. Judges will pick the winners and I will be reviewing the winners. Exciting right?! Keeping with the theme of "5" I asked Michael Ruiz-Unger and Tucker Tota about 5x5 Fest.
1) What was the inspiration for 5x5 Fest?
Our favorite part of the comic making experience is the collaboration. Watching an artist, letterer, or writer take your story to a new place is an incredible feeling. So we wanted to capture that experience and make it into a single event.
And we’d be lying if we didn’t mention 48 Hour Film Festival. We tried to make our summer competition like a film festival for comics, but we always liked how 48hr Film Fest was a new take on the film festival idea.
2) What’s the idea behind having judges assign the prop, setting, and line of dialogue?
One obvious reason is that if we didn’t do that, people could just make a comic in advance. But it’s also a fun way to get the creative juices flowing. We find that limitations can help with creativity and get you thinking about the story differently. It’ll be fun to see how teams incorporate these things in creative ways.
3) Why are contests good for the comic industry?
The more avenues for creators the better. Kickstarter, anthologies, publishers, conventions, and competitions. All of these are ways for creators to get their work out there and try to move their careers to the next level. If your work is good, you’ll get proof that people like your comic. And in the sea of indie comics, we hope winning a competition like ours will help you stand out.
4) What are some of the challenges and feedback you’ve gotten from your previous contest?
The majority of feedback has been positive. The amount of people who participated in the first competition was a sign that people like what we’re doing. So it’s been very encouraging for us and we’ll definitely keep moving forward.
Some people have criticized us for charging a submission fee. We’ve talked about it in on social media and Reddit, but we just hope people know that we’re not some big company trying to make money off indie creators. We’re two guys who run everything ourselves, and it took a lot of work and money out of our pockets to get this thing going. And without some kind of fee, we’d just be going deep into debt. We’ve also run a free contest for Halloween, the anthology was free, and our podcast is free too. So we hope it shows that we care deeply about the comics community and aren’t just trying to make a quick buck.
5) What do you hope the 5x5 Fest will accomplish?
If three or four people who never worked together can team up and make a kickass comic in five days, we’d consider that a pretty cool outcome. If they continue to collaborate in the future, that would be even cooler. And if one day they’re huge names in the comic world and they first met through our competition, that would be the coolest.