Fran Krause started with a little side project, and then it blew up.
After an experiment with YouTube animation left him feeling singed from the comment culture there, Fran Krause found the kinder world of Tumblr. He decided to explore an idea he had to illustrate irrational fears. He started out with his own, but before he finished drawing his own list, people began submitting theirs. Now, as he puts it, many fears later, his latest book from this project is out and the fears have been translated into numerous languages.
Since writers are a fearful bunch, I️ wanted Fran on the show as soon as I️ saw his work. Thankfully, he was an excellent sport and recorded with me right away. I️ love this project because reading about these fears made me feel less alone. Even if they weren’t fears that I️ related to, I️ still felt connected to the people who had them. And there were so many fears that had me laughing with recognition because I️ saw them in myself and the people I️ know.
We spend so much time trying to hide our vulnerabilities- this project is an amazing example of what happens when you put them down on paper instead. Happy listening!
Discussed in Episode 76 with Fran Krause:
- Deep Dark Fears is Fran’s first comic. He started out in animation.
- “I never really got into comics because they didn’t move.”
- Working with the comic artist on an animated show showed him a faster/more direct way of working than he’d been used to.
- Fran grew up with his mother and grandmother telling creepy ghost and murder stories.
- Before Deep Dark Fears, Fran was not really on the internet.
- The animated show Fran was working on bombed and Youtube comments were nasty, so Fran left Youtube.
- “It’s not how I want to feel when I’m making things.”
- Fran put a GIF up on Tumblr and it blew up a little bit.
- “I just sat down and thought, ‘What could I make a comic about?'”
- Fran gave himself a reasonable schedule to draw and post every Monday.
- Time constraints also can impose creativity challenges.
- Submissions just started coming in after a few months.
- “It’s like rolling a piece of gum around in the dirt.” (on letting an idea unfold)
- There are still fears that surprise him. He’s looking for the odd ones now.
- In 2013, it wound up on Buzzfeed, then other sites. He was contacted by some agents and some publishers directly.
- A book publishing contract was very different from an animation contract. It made him feel like Ten Speed really wanted to work with him and he wasn’t being forced to give up rights he didn’t want to.
- “If your book is a failure it’s not going to sink the company.”
- “It’s important to sit with your work.” (on developing your voice)
- Develop your own taste.
- Bemoaning storytelling in feature film vs. books and television shows.
- Fran’s next project is a novel, not necessarily another DDF book.
- “As much as I like TV and movies, I could re-read The Shining any day.”
- What inspires people to do art is the feeling that they can do it, but then some difficult barriers to fight through it make it an interesting piece.
- “It’s sort of like making a movie, only you don’t need help.” (on writing a novel)
- A lot of people are under the false impression that they’re not storytellers and that only authors are storytellers. But everyone tells themselves stories. Only some of us write them down and try to make money off of it.
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