JP On Gaming

Thursday, January 3, 2019

[Rant] Wherein JP admits he's an a-hole

Last year, I began a collaboration with someone for a project. He is an artist whose works I've used before, and someone I like: he's a decent guy and a good artist. He has his art genre and is very good at it. He's an artist, I'm a writer...

The project was a D&D adventure that featured iconic monsters. Monsters I had not used up to now, and that I could not see myself using very much in the future. To add to that, I was in something of a funk at the time: I had many on-going projects but no direction, and no real inspiration to finish any of them.

The project seemed like a good idea: a few dungeons, a few traps, iconic monsters, and a good artist to help the illustration. He had an outline that was basic, but that could be expanded into something tangible. I found myself liking the idea and thinking this might pull me out of my funk.

"Bah! Might as well do it, could be fun," I thought to myself. So we talked some more, I expanded his outline, we signed some paperwork for compensation, and off I went. I blasted the first dungeon really fast, then completed the rest of the adventure ahead of time.

Finally, I got my first draft complete. It was not perfect, far from it, but all the ideas were there: basic formatting, with all the stat blocks. It needed work, that's why it is a first draft. It was filled with comments pointing out cool elements he might draw, stuff he might sell later as stock art. Remember when I said "iconic monsters"? Stock art, especially good stock art for iconic monsters is always in demand.

That's when I discovered my partner did not have access to MS-Word, that he wanted txt files. I was miffed because formatting is one of the things that takes longest to do, particularly stat blocks. I was greatly annoyed and broke one of my rules: never answer an IM while hot. Of course, the conversation got heated. For no reason really, I could have prevented this argument by following my own simple rule.

I did a few digs at Mac users... Which like every Mac users, he did not like... (yes that was another Mac dig there). I'm proud to say I own no Apple products!

Later, after much more work than I wanted to do, I put his comments and edits into the working document. First semi-editing run done. I tightened, cleaned up a few things, clarified a few things I thought felt wonky.

For the second draft, I went to a more universal format: PDF. During the clean-up, new mistakes crept in. Nothing bad, but they were there nonetheless. He became furious and I did not like his tone, and told him as much. Dumb-ass me. That's the second time I violated my rule.

This morning, when I got an email from him stating his grievances, I did not respond. I mean, I was working, but I could've taken a minute or two to tell him something along the line of "we'll talk tonight, I'm at work." But now I decided to follow the rule.

So he called off the project later in the afternoon. He stated his reasons for pulling out, and while I disagree with most of them, I can see how he would see things that way.

Yup, he had legitimate reasons for calling me an a-hole!

But in this whole thing, what did we learn?

- The rule about not replying when angry is there for a reason. For a good reason. So follow it, dummy!

- Email and IM are bad ways of communicating during disagreements. Conversations should happen face to face or at least with a camera (skype, hangout or even a Facebook conference). Such a call would've addressed his points and a lot would've been fixed.

- I come off as an a-hole on email and IM, even when I don't plan to. English speakers, when dealing with someone who is a native French-speaker and we use short sentences, it is not because we are angry or annoyed at you; it is because we want to make sure you cannot gather any secondary meaning to what we say. Language of diplomacy, see?

- I have an adventure in need of a final round of editing and art. I may offer it as a "Pay What You Want" on DM's Guild... I will pick it up later, just keep it on a back burner for now.

There you go, I was an a-hole.

Not really on purpose, but I was still an a-hole.

1 comment:

  1. Well, in defense of the original issue: a very good rule is "Never do a project in TXT format." It is unprofessional, and there are plenty of Mac/Windows cross-compatible platforms out there you can utilize, conversions, etc. Heated conversations are never good, but I stop a business prospect cold if it isn't able to handle minimum software requirements. Ask an artist if he'd tolerate working in Paint and maybe he'll understand the comparison?