Values to lead a team and its creations are not just pretty words. They are fundamentals that come from somewhere and move us forward in the direction we will feel proud about.
Find why I (Mar) do what I do in our values stories.
1. Stories contain life-changing messages.
I have a short, emotional story for you.
When teenage me bought the fifth volume of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle’s manga, she was aiming to continue reading a nice story.
Well, that is a beautiful way to say I was almost desperate to know what would happen to my beloved characters Sakura and Shaoran.
However, what I found that was life-changing advice:
Shaoran is making his father sad. He has a problem (won’t spoil you which one) and he keeps apologizing over and over to his father who takes care of him. Guess what, Shaoran feels like a nuisance to his father and the father is sad to see him feeling down.
But then the advice happens. Sakura tells Shaoran that, instead of saying ‘sorry’ he should say ‘thank you’. He kind of doesn’t get it but, once he tries, his father rushes to hug him, full of joy.
If you thank someone trying to help you (instead of apologizing), you won’t be positioned in an awkward inferior level + the person helping will feel appreciated.
(Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle by CLAMP, chapter 34, volume 5)
That is a life-changing message I found in one of my favorite manga and I have applied it countless times since.
Maybe it is not even the first time that message came across through my life. However, we are more likely to learn when we are interested in something than when we are forcing ourselves to learn (aka. In school subjects we don’t have much interest in).
So here is my goal and the first value for Maru Exposito:
STORIES CONTAIN LIFE-CHANGING MESSAGES
I don’t care if it is a short story, a full chapter or a full saga. My best communication skills hide in drawing stories and I want to help you using that medium.
I will put my best advice in Maru Exposito's stories. It might be direct and obvious (as Sakura is advising Shaoran) or indirect (when some character acts as I would advise people to act and then receives some kind of gratification).
Stories have power, especially the ones you direct attention to. So... what are you paying attention to?
(I hope it is WIndy Lightning ;P)
2. No filler content to prolong the story.
Have you ever stopped watching a series because you lost interest? Or where you interest for it slowly went down ‘mysteriously’?
Here are some examples where I did: Detective Conan, Inuyasha, Suits, Dexter, Downton Abbey, The Big Bang Theory, Dragon Ball, Bleach, How to Train your Dragon (the tv series)…
I loved those series at first (and I kind of still like them) but the never-ending factor is making it tedious. Like ‘ugh…. I hope something really happens in this episode!’
For media industries, a long series means ‘steady revenue stream’.
But here is the danger: if your main goal is not finishing the story, you will end up adding filler content that over time makes people lose their interest.
Just as you want a good doctor when you are sick, you want quality entertainment when you are watching tv series. You spend your precious time watching them after all!
The second value inside all Maru Exposito’s products is:
NO FILLER CONTENT TO PROLONG THE STORY.
Windy Lightning has an ending point, which has already been decided. And same with the rest of the stories inside the Believe in Fake Magic saga.
Each single action inside the story is pointing to the final scene.
This does not make the story shorter. Also, the characters can rest and are not facing life/death problems every minute.
Having an ending point in mind allows us to craft the best story and keep it interesting and meaningful every time!
So, this value gives strength to the story and, ultimately, ensures Maru Exposito is respecting your time.
If time is our most precious finite resource, select the best for you and the people you care about!
3. Stories don’t support gambling, smoking, drugs, homophobia, racism or war.
My parents have always had a strong ‘no-smoking’ policy. Actually, my grandfather died because of smoking (lung cancer).
I have refused persistently to smoke and never even considered trying. So, you can guess where I stand when it comes to smoking.
However, I can’t help but thinking men smoking are cool when appearing during certain movies scenes.
STORIES INFLUENCE US!
Lots of times a cool character is featured smoking and that is the association in my head. I don’t like smoking, but it looks cool.
The third value of Maru Exposito is:
STORIES DON'T SUPPORT GAMBLING, SMOKING, DRUGS, HOMOPHOBIA, RACISM OR WAR.
My strong belief is that these are important issues for the human kind that develop into very bad consequences. You might not believe in it, and that is ok since I am not forcing you to change your values.
But once again, stories are powerful. And Maru Exposito will put emphasis on creating strong stories against gambling, smoking, drugs, homophobia, racism and war because that is the influence we want to have.
This way, you can see the other side of the coin and feel supported and encouraged to live and act according to these values.
It is tricky to follow this value because I do use these issues inside the story (never to promote them!). How to make it so every reader understands the position of Maru Exposito has a risk because interpretations of one same story are, even in the most obvious cases, subjective.
But it is absolutely worth trying!
We all have some strong values we live for, and although we default to protecting them by default, receiving support to it (from society or media content) always helps!
If you also find important to go against those issues, stick around and enjoy stories with your same ideals. You are not alone here.
4. We push into developing environmentally friendly creative processes.
What do you use for studying?
Not so long ago, I was observing some high school students walking in front of me.
The Japanese uniforms are super cute, but their bags worry me a lot. They look super heavy and not ergonomic at all!
I also remember having lots of book weight in my back while studying, up to the university level. The bag was maybe better suited to carry weight, but I think that it could all have been avoided.
We take way too many things for granted.
It took me until after the university years, when I restart studying using heavy books again (for my Japanese studies) to start ‘destroying’ my books to reduce weight.
We never use the whole book at every class (or even to study) so cutting books into chapters is more than OK.
My teachers didn’t like that I appeared with just a few papers of each book putting chapters together with just a stapler. But my back loved it! And my studies and learning experience was not negatively affected by having not pretty, complete books.
Also, I started using the back part of any paper copy they gave me (for exercises) as a place to make notes, sketches, practice handwritten Japanese, etc.
It didn’t look clean. Actually, it looked chaotic.
But I don’t see ant reason to refrain from using a white paper side that’s already been given to me. What a waste!!
Why should I use the specific notebook if I already have wide blank spaces elsewhere?
We are tied by emotions. We like the feeling of a whole book in our hands, clean and new clothing, and basically, new 'anything' that is well packaged. But there is not always a real need for that.
There are still new ways to deal with certain experiences and processes. And you too can find this new/original/effective ways that break some general norms to act in favor of what you believe or really need!!
The fourth value of Maru Exposito is:
WE PUSH INTO DEVELOPING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CREATIVE PROCESSES
I strongly believe plants and animals deserve companies and individuals to think and implement ways to not harm them more and more.
Maybe I can't avoid destroying things to a certain degree as long as I am alive. I do consume.
But it is worth the extra effort to strive towards pursuing the smallest consequences for the planet. And, if possible, help the environment improve.
Also, this value does not only apply to the creative processes of creating this comic.
I am currently making no benefits out of Windy Lightning, but it is my plan to donate part of the benefits in an environmental cause as soon as I have products and collect a decent amount of profit. Or even think of a business model that is actually good for the planet.
Promises have weight and compromising to something very specific now is not wise since we are in such an early stage. However, I can say that my consideration now is on planting trees or cleaning the ocean. (We'll see how I get it done!)
Share Windy Lightning with you nature lover friend if you want them to enjoy a good story and take part on a brand highly compromised in making a good impact to the natural world.
5. High importance on publishing content that meets set expectations and deadlines.
During chapter 1 original release, the comic panel update frequency switched from 5 to 3 panels every week.
I hated that. Let’s be sincere, I rather stay with what is promised. However, I know that I was hitting a human limit there and I needed a shift to adapt to certain circumstances. So, I informed you as soon as possible.
Also, at the same time I had a surprise prepared for you... But I kept quiet! I couldn’t tell what was coming because I don’t want to give you some expectations and break them!
I respect people's trust in this brand.
The fifth value of Maru Exposito is:
HIGH IMPORTANCE ON PUBLISHING CONTENT THAT MEETS WITH SET EXPECTATIONS AND DEADLINES.
I prefer make sure I can deliver what is promised before making a commitment and breaking it with no reasons. Yes, I am human and I can make mistakes. We all do.
But I use my energy on implement processes that ensure that breaking commitments is as rare as possible.
Trust from someone else is a very rare gift to receive. It takes lots of time and effort to obtain such a gift. Moreso if broken once for any reason.
Let’s imagine a situation that will be very familiar:
We are in a group preparing a surprise party for our common friend Jason.
The plan is to get into a certain place you are borrowing. For example, a classroom. The day the party takes place, everyone has to bring certain material at 6 pm, one hour before Jason comes. That way, we can prepare it all on time.
Who will have the responsibility of bringing the classroom key at 6 pm?
To the person that always arrives late whatever they say or do? To the person who cancels at the last minute? Will, we give that key responsibility to you?
Depending on your answers here, it can be hurtful. But I am not here to criticize and compare one person to another.
I am aware that my actions can easily take me to a place where people stop paying attention to me because I am not reliable
I want to make sure that you understand how important it is in real life to have people’s trust. And if you want that, you will have to do what you say you will do as often and truly possible.
Returning to the brand value issue,… if you’ve been a subscriber of my newsletter, you will know I am true to my word as human-ly as possible. Why? Because so far I’ve always done what I said in Believe in Fake Magic matters! Even whan I was changing commitments
I have messed up with links and I have mistaken some pictures, yes. I am not perfect in that and I make mistakes at all levels. But trying to meet expectations is one of the things I hold as very important and worth the effort.
That is why I am doing whatever I can (within my imperfections) because I want you to believe that I respect your time and trust.
TRUST IS GIVEN TO THOSE WHO CONSISTENTLY KEEP THEIR PROMISES THROUGH TIME.
And my fifth value is the best I can do to obtain your trust though time.
I am doing whatever I can (without breaking my own values and health) to continue creating Windy Lightning comic and related content every week. Or to have all promised treasures in the Patreon tiers.
If there are changes and interruptions, I will let you know in advance.
Do you like our stories, comics, and advice? Find more in our Patreon ;)