If U B An Artsy Type

Yep, that's really me.
Yep, that’s really me.
While I have always been the stunningly good looking humanoid you all like to worship, I have also tooled around the arts and entertainment industry most of my life. You can CLICK HERE if you need a casual bio (it’s not what I use for submissions). While most of the stuff I was involved in could easily be called fun there is one aspect of my career that makes me want to punch nuns. It’s called reviewing artist submissions. Not because of the art, music, writing, whatever. I can handle bad creative efforts. You just say “No thank you” and move on. No, I’m talking about the submission process itself. Above and beyond the item being submitted there are four elements that go into any kit in any genre; Cover Letter, Bio, Credits, and an Image that accurately portrays what you are trying to convey. And people manage to fuck these up in spectacular fashion. Now that I’m working with a couple of comic book companies I was appalled to discover the Fuck Up Fairy is still handling careers.

The first thing that will make me Hulk out is bad grammar. I actually had one artist tell me he wasn’t a writer as an excuse for mixing up there, their, and they’re, among other sins. When I asked who wrote the mess I had failed to translate into usable English he replied he had. To which I said, “You wrote words on paper, that makes you a fucking writer. Learn how to do it or pay someone to not be you.”

He was very insulted and said I was mean.

Fuck him.

Wait until he hits a major company. They’ll use his shit for paper planes and burn the rest.

Okay, rant number one over, let’s move on.

Cover Letter

The cover letter should state, in the first sentence if possible, why you’re submitting. Something like this is fine, “I thought your series “Anal Clown Girls from Venus” was a work of art and feel my submission will appeal to your audience.”

Now they have a baseline comparison to work from. Remember the cover letter is not a bio. Hit some highlights, mention the one thing you’re most proud of in your career – WARNING: If you say anything about your kids or spouse or your ability to make a peach cobbler, your shit gets tossed. Nobody, and I do mean NO FUCKING BODY, cares. You’re asking people to put their careers and reputations on the line for you. Respect that simple truth and prove you’re worth their time.

Make sure your contact info is clearly available and DO NOT use cute graphics, colored paper, or difficult to read fonts. If you’re older than ten you should avoid Comic Sans as well. Also, unless you’re Steven King, the cover should be kept to one page, with 1 1/5 line spacing, indented paragraphs, and no double spaces after periods. In fact, even if you are Steven King keep it to a page. They should already know who the fuck you are in that case.

I’m assuming your smart enough to address to a person and not “To whom it may concern.” The latter is an instant garbage can filler.

BIO

Bio is short for Biography. A professional biography is a written dissertation of facts which are exclusively relevant to your career. It should include awards you’ve won, accolades (keep them brief), previous works you’ve released and anything similar which makes you look like the hot shit you are. It can be conversational or more résumé-like. Use what feels best given the amount of information you have to include. As a general rule new artists should remain conversational.

It SHOULD NOT include anything about your childhood, your family (they’re not getting this deal, you are), or anything which occurred in high school, or previously, unless you are actually in high school.

CREDITS

If you’re new you may not have any beyond what you list in your bio. That’s fine, just skip this page if that’s true. DO NOT make shit up. I check, companies check, everyone will check. You lie, you die. Keep in mind that each industry is a small group. Piss off one member of their tribe and you’ll succeed in pissing them all off. You’d be stunned to see how fast that can happen and how hard, nearly impossible, it is to overcome.

But, if you do have credits, put them in a nice bullet point list.

  • This got released – when / where
  • This got released – when / where
  • This got released – when / where
  • This got released – when / where

If anything received an award or accolade, even if you mentioned it in your cover letter, note it here. Also, if the accolade has a more complete version, here’s where it should go.

IMAGE

People want to know who they’re going to be working with. A simple head shot with no background is best. Unless you’re positioning yourself as a professional image manipulator, then a manipulated image of you would be fine.

The “NO” list:

  • Kittens
  • Porn – yes, someone did this
  • Some image you stole off the web – someone once sent me something I’d created
  • Amateur graphics
  • Squirrels
  • Your family – see above
  • Food – no exceptions

SOME PRO TIPS

Know your weaknesses. If you are not good with the language you’re using for your submission, have someone else do the writing. You can even note it in your cover letter. Something like “I am fluent in Nigerian and am having Amanda Wiley write this for me.” That lets them know to have someone who speaks your language available should they need to speak with you. If you choose this option make sure the person you’re using is actually fluent in the submission language and not just someone who uses Bing.

If you are fluent in the submission language but terrified of grammar, hire an editor. Yes, take your money, give it to them, and say thank you. Please don’t use a family member or close friend. They will color the results to their opinion of you and, quite honestly, no one gives a fuck what they think. Get fresh eyes.

Actually, hire an editor anyway. What makes sense to you could get completely lost on others. They don’t live in your head. And, just like Eminem in 8 Mile, you only get one shot. Before you ask, yes, I use an editor on my submissions

Make sure your contact information is in the header or footer of every page. I prefer a footer, but that’s entirely your call.

If you have a web site, and you should if you’re trying to be professional, make sure it’s a site dedicated to you. Addresses like www.OurHostingService.com/YourWebSite make you appear to be a pre-teen.

Overall keep this in mind, you are asking for a huge favor from complete strangers. You want them to give you a career in your chosen field. You aren’t owed that, you have to earn it.


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