Last week, we spoke with creator Mat Broome who gave CBR News with an exclusive look at his new comics and animation project "Defcon 2055: Patient Zero." Broome, who is a longtime comic book artist as well as a video game designer at Sony Online Entertainment where he spent time working on DC Comics Online as Art/Visual Director, mentioned that he will be publishing his new work through a website run for and by artists: CreatorSafe.com.
In the second part of our interview, we discussed CreatorSafe.com, which Broome describes as a "virtual studio" run by independent creators. It is here where fans can see "Defcon 2055" and many other projects. Broome filled us in on what fans can expect.
You described CreatorSafe earlier as a social networking portfolio site, but it sounds very much like a "channel" of sorts.
Mat Broome: It is a channel. The best way to describe CreatorSafe, to me personally, is a social network for pop culture. It's really where ideas go at conception and fans can interact with it when it's born. Before it's a movie, before it's a comic, before it's anything, it's on CreatorSafe. What's different about CreatorSafe is it lets you put stuff up in a safe environment and lock it away where only a certain audience can see it until you're ready to deploy that to the rest of the world or sell it to a publisher. It's built from my network for people I know. This is what we do, but sites weren't built for how we work.
We're doing our day jobs while coming up with ideas, but there's nowhere for us to put things. There's nowhere for us to put it in a safe place for our fans to see it or talk about it or engage. That was something I realized six years ago. I definitely did not want to build a dot com six years ago, I just couldn't find a site where I could find a musical producer. I could not find a site just to get a voiceover actor or producer. I was all stressed out and I was like, "Wait a minute, I'm the guy who can build that site. I know how to build this site!" And that became CreatorSafe.
So, it's a portfolio, more or less.
I would say deviantart is more of a portfolio. CreatorSafe is a portfolio, but it goes way beyond that. It's got technology that's very different. You can make that group public or private or private in a way that no one even knows that group exists. You put content up and you can lock it. You can just collect your screenplays there and you can read them there, by the way. You can put your movie there and you can watch it. You can upload 23 jpegs of a comic, and you don't have to convert it. Basically, when you upload things to CreatorSafe, it lives in that format so that consumers can actually buy it from you. CreatorSafe doesn't take massive percentages, because the creators I know aren't multimillionaires. Some of them are, but a lot of us aren't. It's a way where we can deploy our content so that when we talk about our content, you can come get it from us.
You can come see my sketchbook for "Defcon" even before I air the show in September. You can see the sketchbook. When I get a hundred pages in there, I can now sell that sketchbook before the show comes out. "Defcon" the animation, while it's in development, will cost nothing. I'm just going to let people watch two minutes at a time until it's a forty-five minute movie. You can come in and get my sketchbook even before the movie's done. You can actually subscribe to that or buy it from me when I make it for sale, and you can buy it directly from me on CreatorSafe. That's why it took me six years to build. This site is about us populating an audience for our work at inception. It's about us controlling that audience so that, when we sell it, we already have a community there. The most important thing is, this is all with independents. This is not with a major brand or company. CreatorSafe is an independent dot com.
The rise of social media, at least for those who create media, is in part about interacting with fans and cutting out a lot of advertising and corporations in the middle and speak with the fans directly.
Absolutely. Some people have looked at this and said this is like a creator's Hulu, but I own this content. CreatorSafe does not own the content that lives on CreatorSafe. It cannot reuse a thumbnail. It cannot repurpose any art. That's not what this site is. It's one hundred percent creator driven content. It's an incubator. It's not about us taking people's content, it's about housing all of this amazing content.
You can have your film up and your animation and your graphic novel. Maybe you have a motion comic and a comic book. It supports four different players on one site. Not just video. Not just images. I built it where literally all of these different media types are supported. CreatorSafe is really about, if you have an idea, you can put it here. What's more important, the people seeing this content are the who's who of publishing, film and media. That's who is putting their work up on CreatorSafe, because we know that we can trust each other. That's why I refer to it as this massive studio. I'm a creator, just like they are. CreatorSafe is about a safe place for us to put our stuff where there's no intention to steal it or to plagiarize it. For people who want to keep this stuff private, you can lock every single thing you put up and the only reason someone will know you're there is because your name is present. It just gives us more options on how we work in the business.
So if someone has a short film they're editing, they can post it for all to see, or maybe just six people they know scattered around the world to ask for feedback during editing or just to show off what they've done.
That's exactly what this is.
Can anyone can sign up and start uploading material?
There are three membership levels. There's going to be silver, gold and titanium. Basically, starting with silver - anyone can come in silver, anybody can publish in silver. Gold is for people who have done independent stuff or been published or wrote for TV shows. Titanium is something completely different. Guys like Grant Curtis and Kevin Grevioux and Cory Edwards, Ryan Benjamin and Sanford Greene, Criss Cross and Sean Galloway. I could drop a lot of names on you. They're titanium, but all of us work with gold and silver [members] on a daily basis. The reason I have these membership levels is because there's a lot of people doing work on CreatorSafe that are unannounced feature films and unannounced television shows and unannounced comics and graphic novels.
You mentioned before that part of impetus behind the site was that you were seeking other people to work with. Are there want ads or ways to search people?
On CreatorSafe, everybody has a status indicator. Based on the color of that status indicator, it tells the community whether you're looking for help or not. If you click on that person's avatar, it takes you straight to that project that they need help on. There will be qualifiers in there. I [can decide if I] need someone who's titanium or gold, or there are no conditions on this, and in the description of the project it would say, "I need someone to come in and do final score." It can find out the help you need by group, by your color level and there's also a creative jobs section that is just completely unfiltered. "This is my project and I need work. This is a big contract coming out of Tennessee and I need artists now. I don't need an artist, I need a director to do three commercial spots."
There's different places you can easily find stuff, but the site really is about getting the top creators in a place with someone who has never done anything before. So that diamond in the rough out of Vietnam that no one has seen but is doing amazing work can be discovered tomorrow by a major studio.
I know this is the culmination of years of hard work, but it really feels like it's only the beginning.
I have been referring to it - for everybody who's been close to this insanity for six years - as it's the end of the beginning. I honestly think that the toughest work is going to be going on over the next six to ten years, which is putting my head down and working extremely hard. It's tremendously important to make sure that you deliver on a promise. It's the beginning because content is king and it's really more about the quality of the broadcasting that this network does. Who cares how the network was built? No one's going to care about that. You get the top creators in the world, screenwriters and producers and directors and artists, what have you got? What are you showing and what are you broadcasting?
That's the stuff I'm going to be showing at Comic-Con. Twenty five IP's all launching on CreatorSafe. Animatics and motion comics and animation. Fifteen minute movies. You're right - it is definitely the beginning, because now that the site has been put together and the content is being done, now it's a matter of continuing to add in some amazing content. I don't think people even know what's out there, and now that we've got this independent creative channel, they can put the stuff safely up on the site without me controlling their media rights. It doesn't do that. Everyone's coming, because I send them the terms and it's real. I think what's ultimately going to result from this is, it's going to be a place where a lot of media can live, where creators can own it and control it and the world can actually see what we're doing in one place where the creators can control it. As simple as that sounds, it's been a pretty amazing journey.
And now the hard work begins.
Now, for sure, the hard work begins. [Laughs] Late nights with cell paper and coffee. It's just like the old days. I love it. It gets me back to doing creative stuff all the time again. Now I don't have to worry about who's publishing my movie. I am. I can focus on being creative, which is really what I wanted to do in the very beginning. I just want to tell the stories I want to tell. If it's great, awesome. If they suck, tell me they suck. I think it's how things should be. I think that the ultimate editor, honestly, is the fans. My editors can tell me in real time on this site what they love and what they don't love, and my experience as a creator should tell me to make the right decisions from that feedback. There should not be any inbetween to it. I've felt that way my entire career.