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Alumni Spotlight: Kenny Porter
Current job title
Marketing Coordinator/Content Developer for Tonic as a part of Gilson Graphics and a freelance comic book writer
Describe your current position
Marketing Coordinator/Content Developer – Gilson Graphics
My role as a Marketing Coordinator and Content Developer is to generate copy, concepts, and creative solutions for clients. I work with a dedicated marketing team inside Gilson called Tonic that services clients both locally and nationally for creative services. This includes developing promotional campaigns, designing packaging, writing content, and managing social media. A typical week in my position includes generating web content for clients, proofreading copy for advertisements or packaging, managing social media accounts, and generating sales samples. Most of my work revolves around different types of writing or generating ideas.
Freelance Writer – Comics/Fiction/Content Development
Writing comics freelance is a bit more of a unique position. It’s a healthy balance between working on licensed work for companies like SEGA and doing creator-owned projects like Barnstormers. I typically work with editors to flesh out story ideas and then pitch ongoing series, miniseries, or original graphic novels. In the case of assigned work, I have to outline the story, get the story approved, and then write with editorial notes from the company. Creating comics is a team effort. I work with artists, colorists, letterers, and editors all across the world on multiple titles at a time. Most of this includes creating my own work for pitching, which means I’m essentially a writer and a project manager/producer on my own titles.
To what extent does writing relate to your current position? /
What type of writing/design do you do for work?
Writing is a major part of my job description at Gilson Graphics. My job is to create concepts, copy, and content for 3D print projects, proposals, website content, and official documents. My freelance work is all writing and ranges from writing comic book adaptations for SEGA to creating promotional branding copy, blog posts, and social media strategies.
Please briefly describe your path from graduation at GVSU to
your current position.
After my graduation from GVSU, I started work as a copywriter with Create and Craft and began booking jobs as a freelance comic book writer. I then took a position with Tonic inside Gilson Graphics that started as a freelance project, but soon blossomed into a full-time position.
My freelance work took off when I was found by a creative agency in California that tapped me to write comic book adaptations for SEGA's Yakuza franchise. Since then I've also been self-publishing comics and graphic novels with my most recent being Barnstormers! through Kickstarter. That project landed me my agent, who represents me in all matters that have to do with my original graphic novels or fiction works. I've also started editing other comic book series as a freelance comic editor and content developer.
What parts of the writing major had the strongest impact on
you as a professional?
The ability to choose my own modules and craft my own degree was key. My unique blend of fiction, manuscript development, and writing for the web prepared me for the type of career I wanted to have. For me, it was always about doing half professional writing and half creative writing. The skill sets you learn in each area easily bleed into each other and can help you develop as a writer.
What advice would you offer to current/future writing majors
at Grand Valley?
Finish your projects. All of them. Don't leave short stories you've done for classes at the bottom of your stack or leave them to collect digital dust on your hard drive. Always make contacts outside of academia in your industry and don't rely on one source of writing for your income or pleasure. I love writing and producing comics and fiction, but I also love having steady work on the professional side.