Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt will be teaching his signature Introduction to Comics Writing course beginning February 6. But there’s more to his life than running our fair community!
Comics Experience: Tell us a little bit about your life outside of comics.
Andy Schmidt: I have a need to constantly be learning and trying new things. I have a tendency to get really into something, learn a ton about it, and absorb a hobby or skill and then move on to the next one. I can see it in my career working in comics, animation, film, video games, and so on. And I can can see it in my hobbies diving into anything from comics and film to Arthurian legend, to Astronomy and physics. I love learning new things.
But most of all, I love discussing all of these things. And now that my kids are a bit older, what I love most is sharing all of these things with them. Whether we’re out stargazing or pouring over a comic together, watching embers of interest in a subject turn into a bonfire of passion for it is the most exciting thing I can think of.
Also, I dig walking my dog in the mornings through our local park.
CE: What non-comics hobbies do you enjoy?
AS: I’ve been diving deep into astronomy and NASA lately. Not just the stars, but the history of this great organization and what it was able (and continues to) accomplish. For me, NASA might be the most inspiring thing that the US government has ever created or done.
I also play soccer regularly twice a week with other adults and am constantly playing it with my kids in the yard. It’s a wonderful game and there’s so much character building that can go along with it, which makes it a really useful parenting tool.
And that’s probably the last hobby of mine. I try to be very involved with both my sons and I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to be a better parent and to learn how to see things from different angles so I can make as few mistakes as a dad as possible—I know, I know, good luck with that. But you gotta try!
CE: If you weren’t running Comics Experience, what career would you like to have?
AS: I think about this a lot, actually. Not because I want out of anything, but as I said, I like learning new things. And lately, I’ve been learning a lot about engineering and I think I would have loved being an engineer. And when I think about that further, it makes total sense. I’ve built my career on my ability to build projects. I just would like to build more physical things now as well.
CE: What books, movies, and music have had the biggest impact on you? Why would you recommend them?
AS: So many jump to mind, but some of the biggest ones that I always come back to are:
The films of Stanley Kubrick. Not only is he one of the finest directors in cinema history, but he managed to make movies in multiple genre and they’re all among each of those genres best.
I look at Harrison Ford’s trilogy of awesomeness with The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Blade Runner. Those three films in particular are ones that I always come back to for inspiration and a reminder that entertainment needs to do more than simply entertain.
The paintings of Robert McGinnis, who did a ton of crime novel covers. I get completely lost in his work. Much of it is a bit risqué but when you look at the colors he puts together, the textures, the way he handles cloth, flesh and metal and the compositions. His work is fascinating.
There are still some slots open in Andy’s Introduction to Comic Book Writing course! If you want to grow your skills and talk to Andy about his trip to Johnson Space Center, sign up here!
If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you’ll find like-minded friends and colleagues in our online workshops and courses. We hope to see you there!