Blog

Feb 28, 2018

My Journey With Spirit Warriors


How I created Spirit Warriors, and the steps I took to get it ready for pitch meetings.

A lot of fans of Spirit Warriors have asked me about how I started off in the first place, so I’m going to cover that in today’s blog. I’ll recap everything from the moment I created Spirit Warriors to hiring professional artists. I’ve certainly had a lot of ups and downs during my journey, and hopefully the mistakes I’ve made will at least prevent anyone reading this from making them too. My journey with Spirit Warriors isn’t complete yet, I still haven’t achieved my goal, but 100% of my life is devoted to getting it done, and one day my series will be on TV.

            I created Spirit Warriors as a sophomore in college. I was literally just sitting at my desk in the dorm, incredibly bored. I’m not really sure why, but for some reason I just felt like doing some creative writing. This was a hobby I had really never done before, it was very out of the blue. I created Spirit Warriors that day, and the writing just flowed out of me. I wrote about 30 pages of material each day for several days, everything from character bios, episode outlines, and longer story arcs. I absolutely loved the series, and I found out that I loved creative writing. Now I had to figure out how to take my idea and get it from my dorm room to the TV screen.

            When I told my parents about my series, my dad said if I was serious about it that I needed to get a copyright. This seemed like a logical first step, so my dad set up a meeting for the two of us with an intellectual property lawyer. I’m not going to go through all the copyright and trademark steps here, the next blog will cover that specific topic in great detail (with a special guest writer). Protecting your work should always be your first step, don’t try pitching material unless your work is protected by a copyright.   

            With my characters and story now protected against potential thieves, I wanted to immediately get my series on TV. At this point I had already made a mistake, I didn’t know how to write a script. I had written about 30 episodes of Spirit Warriors, but they were in novel format. I had no idea that screenplays had to be formatted a certain way, and that networks wouldn’t even give my work serious consideration without proper formatting. In addition, I had no idea how long it takes to even produce an animated series. I simply guessed that it would only take a few months to produce an animated series. In reality, it takes about a year to produce one episode.

            Another big problem was my inability to draw. I had great images of my characters in my head, but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t draw them correctly. My pictures looked like something any kid would draw, and I knew I couldn’t submit pictures like that to a company like Cartoon Network and still be taken seriously. The only choice was to hire professional artists and have them create professional images from my designs. This is expensive, so if you’re just starting out and you can’t afford to commission a professional, try posting on a social media site and see if an artist will draw a picture for credit. Many artists will do a free picture for part of their portfolio, so it can be a cost effective way to get professional art, just make sure your work is protected with a copy write first.

            I worked with a few different artists, from Utah to Boston. I was also still attending college at the time, and juggling both was difficult. I remember one specific case where I flew to Utah to work with the artists I hired, and the only way I could make it back in time for class was to fly from Utah to California and then take the “red eye” overnight back all the way to Massachusetts to make my 8:00 AM class. It was grueling, but it was worth it. Working with professional artists, I now had great looking artwork that I could present confidently to a network.

            Next week I’ll talk in detail about the pitch meetings at Cartoon Network. In addition, the next blog (which will be posted on Friday), will be written by my attorney. She’s going to walk through the copy write and trademark process in detail. If any readers have questions or comments, feel free to email me at webmaster@spiritwarriorstv.com

Best Wishes,

Jeff