A project died.

Lately I feel as if my counterparts for these collective projects are either highly incompetent or simply lacking in the professional determination that I deeply desire in a partner. Am I an intense slave driver when it comes to directing projects? I don't really think so. To be honest, it's a recurring event for me. Something I've come to simply accept as part of the job. I'm out recruiting, or am recruited into working on a rather complex project - a visual novel, a manga, anything else that often requires a staff - and a week past the first deadline, you see several writers and artists - mind you that these people were vouched for by senior staff; la stessa cosa - suddenly up and leaving. Even better, you get a few people who came into the project claiming to be a specialist in their field, but when the time to present your work approaches, their work is substantially lesser in quality. My most amusing affair with one of these members had him come to us with a portfolio of some of the most excellent portraits and comic strips one could see, but upon asking him to write a sketch for our manga, he ends up scratching figures on a paper that could be accomplished by a thirteen year old.

It's like a human twist-ending. You know you'll see something by the end of the week, something that's been foreshadowed and hinted at all throughout the adventure, but suddenly when the great event presents itself, you can't help but be shocked - not disappointed - by how extravagantly it went the other way.

Is the bar so low for one to consider themselves an artist or writer? There are hobbyists, of course - I could certainly associate myself with a hobbyist writer more than a professional one, considering my work ethics and the painfully dismal amount of money I get for my works. But a hobbyist often considers themselves a hobbyist and avoids serious work that might endanger their self-reliance and consideration as a writer. Hobbyist have a tendency to write for themselves, with all their beauty and imperfections, because there's no one actually present to say otherwise. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a hobbyist writer or artist - in fact, I'd love to see more of their work so that they might manage to become more of a journeyman artist in today's vast internet.

There are others, however. Fledgling writers and artists with inflated egos, who believe in that sick thought, "It's not so hard - I could do better." Or those who take too close to their pride the otherwise offhanded compliment on their work. "You're not bad." becomes, "You're really good."; "I like this part." becomes, "This is amazing." and etc. etc. In this world that attempts to mitigate failure by using gentle compliments, the overly proud and delusional too often begin to think that their failures are a success, and that whatever they produce will be of such quality as to not allow for disappointment. So when these people finally do end up coming to work under a more severe director, when their faults are exposed, many simply leave, believing their skills are better used elsewhere, or they keep at it, thinking that they'll eventually "fall in" to the necessary skill that they believe is just out of their reach.

Believe it or not, I do believe that practice makes perfect. No one can simply take up a pencil and make a work of art. But more so than just practice, I think one needs to have a very deliberate kind of mindset or personality. They need to look and see the works of people around them instead of attempting to isolate their own skill - they must be willing to adapt to the circumstances and sometimes deviate enormously from their original hand in order to better their project. Also, all writers and artists should learn to be responsible masters - their work needs to be regularly touched up, every unfinished task needs to be set on the path of completion, and their deadlines should be met with a fiery passion, not a sad reproachful cry.

Having said all this, I'm no master in my field. I've worked a long time as a writer, but I don't exactly swallow my own medicine. I have a graveyard of abandoned projects and failed works, I don't always write - I have a job and a life that needs careful tending to, and I absolutely have never looked at a deadline with a passion - I've kicked, screamed, and sobbed bitterly as that deadline surged forward like an unstoppable wave breaking upon the shore.

Anyway, I digress on this point. In the end, I lost an artist and those remaining on the project feel pretty antsy about the whole thing. Can you make a manga without an artist? My bet is on "no", but miracles do happen. This wouldn't be the first time I rewrote the entire script to match that of a lightnovel instead. Then again, a fresh plot in my graveyard of abandoned projects just came up...