or: how Jesus would run his social media
Editor Note: Before we get to today’s 5 questions, I wanted to discuss a few meta blog topics.
First off, you will see that instead of a Five question Friday, I have a Five Question Saturday! Which means this is two times this week were my post scheduling was off. Darn. Let’s just say that when work his giving you almost ten hours of overtime a week, the rest of life is hard to schedule around that time drain. Yes, I want to introduce myself as “Blogger and Author” so these are priorities, but keeping a job while I pursue writing and blogging is also a priority. A very important priority.
But, I really do need to prepare for these posts and get on a more reliable schedule. I used to do each post a day ahead, and then publish on 10:30 AM sharp, and then I started telling myself that I would delay it until later in the day. While I do think later in the day, say 1 or 2 PM is still more ideal, I do want to go back to having the blog post rough drafted the night before. So I need to be finishing each blog post the night before. So for a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedule, I need to have the articles finished by Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. And then somehow figure out how to do a thousand words a night. Haha
Second, this interview was the first “live” interview I’ve conducted. And wow, transcribing sucks. So much. So this article, just to write (not even edit) has already taken quite a bit of time. That leaves a lot to think about if I decide to do more articles in person. Or just shorter articles lol.
Third, with some input from a few readers and bloggers, I have resized some text and column sizes to be easier to read. You might notice that the blog used to be smaller in width and in text, and that was an effort to make the blog more “docked to half screen” friendly. I have since moved away from that. Because if you are going to only spend half your attention to this blog, well, screw you. (Okay, not really, half attention is great too)
Fourth and Final! This is it! February 28th! The end of the month! Tonight, at Midnight PST time, I will be releasing the Second subscriber email, and the first Newsletter. So please, sign up! This newsletter will also contain the sign up for my first “Friends of Quantified Opinions/Michael Bacera” gift. Yes, this is really happening. I just sent out quotes for the gifts. If you are CONUS, it will be shipped to you. If you are in Utah County, it will be hand delivered. If you are international… I’ll figure something out. Now on to the interview! (Mikey G, when you read this, I am so sorry it’s late!)
“I would think I should draw a comic about that one time I hung out with that one guy or I should draw a comic about that one time I went out on a date with that one girl.“
Mike Garcia and I first met when we lived in Guam. Being on an island is tough, especially pre- social media and easy networking. Want to meet people with the same interest in music/video games/movies/ tv/ comics as you? Good luck, there’s only 160 thousand people on the island (that’s the population of a small city only).
But we were able to have the unique opportunity of having a island styled scouting and childhood experience together. I still remember one scout camp where we stayed up all night drawing comics and talking about video games. Mike Garcia is from a web comic artist and writer at http://mike-garcia.com/. Previously he was a comic for the Brigham Young University – Idaho school newspaper, and currently works as a Programmer for Vivint.
“So I started making comics for the school, and they were mostly based on my dating experiences, and that just seemed to be something that a lot people at BYU-Idaho liked, and I think everywhere in college, people like to hear about dating stories. I mean, that’s what everyone is doing in college!”
Michael Bacera: Well, let’s start at the beginning! How did you get started drawing comics?
Mike Garcia: I was on my mission and I would make comics for investigators and members as thank you cards cards. They were mostly inside jokes And they really liked them and always talked about them. So other members would ask me to draw them. And I felt that as a missionary I was using my talents helping other people and I felt really good about it. And Honestly, I spent a lot of my time on the mission drawing comics for people, trying to pin point and pick out funny instances.
And even if the instance wasn’t really that funny, I would try to make a comic about it and make it more funny. It was a really good way to build relationships with people.
When I came home, I just kept doing it! I would think I should draw a comic about that one time I hung out with that one guy or I should draw a comic about that one time I went out on a date with that one girl. Then I would put it on Facebook and then tag people in it, and they would share it with their friends and say, “Hey, look! This is me! I’m in a comic!”
MB: People love it when they are in a comic!
MG: Exactly, and that’s when things started blowing up. I started my Facebook group, way back in the day, and I had about 900 to 1100, almost instantly. And then when I went to BYU-Idaho, someone immediately contacted me from the school and said I should make comics for the school paper.
So I started making comics for the school, and they were mostly based on my dating experiences, and that just seemed to be something that a lot people at BYU-Idaho liked, and I think everywhere in college, people like to hear about dating stories. I mean, that’s what everyone is doing in college!
I went out on a lot of dates, and I’m not the most suave person, so I say a lot of stupid things on dates without really thinking. Yeah, I’m not very tactful. Which kinda helps, because later on, after the date, after I butcher it, I look back and think, “oh man, that was really bad, I can’t believe I said that.” Which makes for a pretty good comic! So I just draw a comic about that date that would go horribly wrong
And then I would put it on Facebook, tag the girl that was in it, and it was kinda funny, because it was almost a way to get a second date:
So I would take a girl out. And I’d make a joke about, maybe, her weight — I mean, not always about her weight — or something stupid like that. And she would think “wow, he totally offended me”, but then I would draw a comic about it, and she starts think think, “well, that was kind of funny. He’s a pretty funny guy! I’ll give him another shot!”
MB: What do you think make’s a good structure and flow for a 3 or 4 panel comic. How do compose it in your head?
MG: A lot of it has to do with the setup. People need to know, what’s going, where is this guy, what kind of situation is he in. Is it a date, is he in a library? You need to set up the scene. And then you want to set the mood — let the reader know what’s going on in this 3 panel instance.
So usually the first couple of panels are setting up the scene: so in a date comic, we are sitting there eating. Then next panel would be me saying something really stupid. And then the next panel would be a retort from her, something that makes me sound really dumb. And then punchline will be the next panel or the one after.
I use a lot of panels without any words to create a sense of timing. Because n a comic, timing is crucial.
MB: So you mean like beats?
MG: Yeah, especially when you are drawing a comic about awkwardness, timing is very crucial. Capture the awkward silence!
For Example, if someone was to draw a comic about the office, there would be a lot of blank panels where nothing would be said to try to capture that awkwardness
MG:The number one thing was tagging people on Facebook: it really helped my comic get out there and reach people. That’s probably the best way a far as Facebook comics go. I discovered that people read my comics way more on Facebook then they did online at my blog. And I think it’s because of the way Facebook is setup, with a news feed, when your friend is tagged in a comic, it shows right up in the feed. And now, the feed is big enough to read right off the feed! And they can scroll down on it and think “hey that’s kinda funny!”
There’s a lot of people who I’ve never met before that have added me on Facebook.
MB: My friend from back home added you on Facebook because of your comics.
MG: And as far as Facebook goes, I accept everyone as friends because I assume that if I don’t know them, they probably just like my comics. I mean, who am I to deny their friendship? I mean, if Jesus had a Facebook, he would accept everyone’s friendship.
I mean everyone’s thinking, ah, he probably just wants a lot of friends but really, I’m just Christ like. Christ would accept everyone as a Facebook friend!
MB: What have you learned about yourself while writing this comic?
MG: Wooh. I learned that I definitely don’t take myself seriously. I realized from my comics that I’m very hesitant of making fun of other people. I don’t really want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’ll make comics that offend people sometimes, and it doesn’t really bother me, but the only time I really get offended is if other people get offended.
I realized that, after going back through all my comics, that I make fun of myself a lot! That’s fine with me.
MB: Yeah, almost everyone else in your comic comes off looking really good, and you are the one that ends up as the butt of the joke.
MG: And I feel safer about because I don’t want to hurt anyone else’s feelings. I think I am the kind of guy who can take a joke. There really isn’t anything I won’t laugh at. The more sacrilegious something is, the funnier I think it is.
I don’t get too serious with my comics. My comics just follow my different girlfriends and I don’t really explain why I broke up with them. So I don’t really use my comics to deal with that.
MB: What are your next plans for Mike Garcia comics?
MG: Well the last couple of years. I’ve been really into league of legends, and then Destiny. The problem is, I play those games so much that I don’t have time for anything else. So when I come home, I’m just “League of Legends!” and by the time I’m done, it’s 2 AM, and it’s “crap, gotta go to bed, I gotta wake up in 6 hours.”
And I still try to be social. Even though I live by myself, I still try to go to institute three times a week, just to get that human interaction. So I feel like comics have taken a back seat for awhile, and I haven’t been putting a priority on my comics. But recently, I’ve been thinking about life, and looking back on the past few years, and I think about what I’ve done.
Well I got Silver in League of Legends! And I almost got all the guns in Destiny!
In like two years, I’m probably never going to play those games. So really, all I have to look back on are the comics I have. One of the main reasons I keep a comic is because it’s a good way to keep a journal.
One of the fun things about drawing these comics is going through them and thinking, “Oh yeah, I remember that time!” And it’s really good for me to look back on all the good times, even if there are bad dating experiences, somehow I put a twist on it, so it’s almost better than a journal! I probably was feeling really sorry for myself, probably really depressed for four months. But no, I go through my comics and think, my life is awesome! So drawing comics has been on the back burner for awhile. I mean, I used to do one once a week, but that was when I was doing them for the school.
MB: Yeah when you release regularly, people want to follow you.
MG: Yeah, I had a lot of followers! But then school got busy, and I stopped writing for them the last year. School and work, and girlfriends kept me busy. So here I am, trying to find some spark to get me back in comics.
I think for now I will keep up with this comics until I find something to do. My big thing is to work with people that are solid, and I don’t want to give my comic to something that won’t pay off.
The Writing Process
“When you are drawing a comic about awkwardness, timing is very crucial. Capture the awkward silence! … If someone was to draw a comic about the office, there would be a lot of blank panels where nothing would be said to try to capture that awkwardness.”
Comedic Timing and Beats
We’ve heard it before, and it’s almost a cliche by now, but writing comedy is all about timing. Read about comedy beats and structure. For writing in particular, beat is when an author uses hard breaks in the transcript to create a sense of timing or emphasis. Also, a lot of times, for jokes, less is often more.
Yourself as the Social Media Platform and the Butt of Jokes
Learn to make fun of yourself. Not only is this a great way to write comedy, it’s a great way to be personable in social media. People who take themselves to seriously, while generating gravitas, also can really turn people off. Sincerity is the key, that is sincerely making fun of yourself.
“And as far as Facebook goes, I accept everyone as friends because I assume that if I don’t know them, they probably just like my comics. I mean, who am I to deny their friendship? I mean, if Jesus had a Facebook, he would accept everyone’s friendship.”
I’ve been following Mike’s career for quite some time. He is both a great friend and an inspiration, and what a treat it was to discover that we now work down the street from each other! I’d like to thank Mike for giving me to opportunity to interview him, as well as having an awesome dinner together: Nohomo, and also, I would have gladly paid for dinner fool!
Mike Garcia can be found on:Website: http://mike-garcia.com/
Facebook (personal but he will accept you anyway): Mike Garcia