James Alsup III
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is this thing on?
To some, this is going to sound like a desperate plea for attention. Hopefully the world doesn't take it that way, since I'm more worried about other things than garnering more attention to myself. I'm really more curious than anything else.... but let me go ahead and start.
You know, creativity is always a hard thing.
As a little insight into me, I've been working in the creative arena most of my life. I started doing little piddly creative-isms back in 1984 when I was first introduced to a little goofy looking computer known as a Macintosh. There was something about that little computer that seemed to breed creativity.
It's been a long time since 1984 and I'm still using a Macintosh, but even if I were using some other computer, the creative process is a difficult thing to work with. It's not so much the actual process of doing the work. It's the follow up that can most times mess us up as creative people.
Let's take an example. When I'm designing a website, there are several things that need to happen to make sure the production side of the project works out properly. There's a fairly large amount of planning, sketching, researching other sites, designing, designing and designing that goes on. There are meetings, phone calls, side conversations... all these things come into play when you're dealing with designing a website. And for all the pain and suffering that goes into designing a website, that's really only half the story.
What's missing? Feedback. Generally things are created with some type of user consumption in mind. (Though I've found that there are times when there is absolutely no purpose for the creative. Yeah, go fig.) Whenever someone creates something, most times it being created for the use or enjoyment of others. Be it a musician, an artist, a web designer, a writer... I won't lie. They all have a certain amount of ego that needs to be fueled. The most difficult thing as a creative person though is to go out and put something out into the world and... nothing.
I think the best illustration of what I mean can be found in the anime and manga industry. When someone in Japan creates an anime series or a manga, they have no clue whether people are actually going to get into it. Sure, the publishers and producers have a bit more of a clue, but that's cause they spend their time marketing and selling. The person that actually came up with the idea is too busy coming up with more ideas to really hear anything on what came before. It's when, for example, a character designer or manga artist comes to a convention and there are legions of people that are fanatical about their work do they realize that, yes, people really do like it. But, until they're confronted with those piles of drooling fanboys and fangirls, they really have no idea that what they created is something that anyone is really paying attention to.
In the 5 or so years we've been doing this, we've had very little feedback on what we do. Granted, due to my need to slack (yet another attribute of many a good artist) and when bizarre things come out of nowhere to screw up life, things have had a tendency to go slow here. But, despite how slow things are here, it's hard to create in a vacuum. Without any type in word from people that come around here, we have little way of knowing if we're even doing okay. Do people like what we write? Do people have things that they'd like to see more of? Do we need to concentrate on other things that we may be lacking? Is there something that bugs you about the way we have things set up? Or do we just really suck and need to find a way to get better? I tend to think we do alright for what we have. Personally, I know I'm not the greatest editor in the world. If I were, well, I'd be working someplace else doing it for a living. We just keep doing what we're doing, in hopes that it's being of some help or enjoyment to someone out there. But even then, we do like to hear when we're doing things right. (Or heck, even when we're doing things wrong. We can't improve if we don't know that we're screwing up.)
I think I'll leave the topic at that. We ask for your help. If you like what we do, let us know. If you don't, let us know too. And tell us why. Or if you have a question about us or about the anime and manga industry, we'll do our best to get you an answer.
I dunno. Maybe it's like with famous painters. You have to be dead for people to truly appreciate your work. I hope that's not the case. It would be hard to update the site from the afterlife.
Until then, we'll keep on keeping on. Just be sure to let us know how we're doing.