Hear, hear, all you poultry fans! Some changes are afoot!
For quite a while now, Mike and I have had the feeling that things are a bit stagnant here in the Chicken Wings Empire. We’ve been mulling over different ideas, projects and strategies and have decided that we need to make a few changes.
This is going to be a long blog, so for the impatient ones among you, here’s the general idea in a nutshell up front: We’re going to reduce the bottle neck of our operation, which is to produce enough strips for our website on a semi-weekly basis and direct the energy into all the other Chicken Wings related projects that we have neglected over the recent years. Most importantly: Try to finally get Chicken Wings animated! Also, we want to shift into some sort of fan-based crowd funding instead of solely relying on magazines and book sales.
Here is the long version:
We will let you in on a bit of the financial, organizational and marketing backside of Chicken Wings. We really love and enjoy making this comic. However, at the end of the day, it is a for-profit operation. The older we get, the bigger the pressure becomes of being grown-ups and productive members of society. Children and family responsibilities, mortgages, taxes, you know how it goes. Many a hobby has fallen victim to this development. Keeping Chicken Wings a profit oriented venture is what has allowed us to come this far.
But even though it is for profit, we can’t say that said profit is substantial. The dream we had when we started, to one day be able to do this full time, has not materialized in 15 years. We both have gotten more and more tangled up with other stuff to make ends meet. Mike has always been more focused on his career, flying all over the States and the world with ever larger helicopters, and in my case, the scenario has shifted significantly since I became a father a few years back. Those of you who are parents themselves can probably relate. The pressure is on! In my need to create a steady income, I have drifted further and further from drawing comics towards „normal“ graphic design jobs and projects.
Parallel to that development, the media world has been changing at an incredible pace. As of now, getting our comics published in magazines is still the cornerstone of our operation. The website is more of a showcase with no substantial revenue, and the books are also a very minor part of our income. We love all the great publications out there who print our strips! May they live long and prosper! But the truth is that the world of print is in decline and that we can’t rely on this to be the major pillar of our operation for the next decades.
Looking at these inside and outside developments, we don’t like the direction this is heading. If we don’t try something new, we see the risk of Chicken Wings fizzling out at some point in the future. And we certainly don’t want that to happen!
Since we can’t work much harder, we want to now work smarter and try something new. This meant to find the operational bottle neck that allows us to free up some resources to redirect. That bottle neck is our website. Those of you who followed us from the beginning may remember that we started out with one comic strip per week. Then we went megalomaniacal and switched to three strips per week, but it soon turned out that this wasn’t sustainable, so we dialed it back to two. Now we’ve decided to go back to one strip every Tuesday.
But don’t despair! We actually have awesome plans! See, what we really, really want to do, and wanted to do for many years, is to turn this whole thing into an animated show of some kind. We’ve tried a couple of different routes in the past, through Mike’s connections to the Hollywood world, but alas, even though it once looked very promising, nothing materialized in the end. In the meantime technology advanced, and I started to get familiar with some animation software, so we decided to try another approach: Do it ourselves, publish it on Youtube and try to finance the whole thing through crowd funding, via Patreon, Paypal and/or similar avenues. We want to start with a few short clips and then try to build up some steam and see how much work this actually turns out to be and how well the crowd funding strategy works.
Avid readers of our blogs may know that revamping our website is another project that has been on the back burner for many years now. So I hope to be able to finally get around to do that too. We also need to restructure our online shops (for a variety of reasons). Add to that a couple of new book concepts and merchandise ideas (maybe a new t-shirt or a new silver coin (people have been asking for them)), and we have our work cut out for us!
By the way, we know that we have many readers from all walks of life and with all kinds of professional knowledge. If any of you have suggestions or input regarding our new plans about animation and/or crowd funding, or any suggestions at all really, please tell us! For us it’s pretty much uncharted territory. Any feedback is welcome! I guess one of the main questions is: Do you think it would be feasible to rely on regular donations in return for a self-published show? Would you be willing to pay a couple of bucks a month for us to do this? We’ve seen other people do it, but we just have a hard time judging if we could achieve a sustainable scale. We are going to try it either way, because we think only time will tell, but it would be nice to get a sense of how realistic the whole idea is in advance.
We can’t give you a concrete deadline on when the first animation will be ready, but it will take some time. We hope that all of you, friends, fans, casual readers, remain as loyal and awesome as you have been so far and stick with us during this new adventure!