Anthony Del Col (33) and Conor McCreery (35) started work on their concept for Kill Shakespeare but three years ago. Since then, they have begun to amass a cult-like following for their uber-cool style of fusing high-culture (the Bard’s plays characters and plays) and counter-cutlure (comic books and graphic novels). The duo has big plans for the future of their company, Kill Shakespeare Entertainment Inc., and show no signs of slowing down in their creative process. Find out more about this unique pair in today’s YEDaily.
DC is Anthony Del Col; CM is Conor McCreery.
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Both: Kill Shakespeare Entertainment Inc. is dedicated to creating an international transmedia entertainment franchise based on the Kill Shakespeare intellectual property that “mashes up” the stories and characters of William Shakespeare, the most popular writer in history. It has released a successful, award-nominated comic book and graphic novel series and is currently expanding into the formats of digital media, merchandise, film, video games, additional comic series and educational products.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
DC: Shakespeare’s plays are magnificent pieces of art, but for a vast majority of people they’re inaccessible, whether it be due to the language, the staging, the costumes, etc. With Kill Shakespeare we are shining a new spotlight on the Bard’s characters, and not only entertaining but also enlightening readers and audiences.
CM: I was inspired by the notion of sharing a piece of me with the world through our work.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Both: The best part is collaborating with our amazing artist Andy Belanger, watching him bring our ideas to life on the page. A close second is interacting with fans and readers through email or at conventions. The most challenging part is being overloaded with the small micro tasks (accounting, emails, phone calls) and having them take us away from the creative and big-picture thinking.
Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
Both: In five years, we will be well on our way to becoming the next Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter-style franchise of films, games, comics, merchandise, mobile apps.
What does success look like to you?
DC: It’s very simple: A smile on a face of someone enjoying themselves while reading or watching something I’ve played a role in creating.
CM: Success is enjoying the journey, no matter where the road is leading you.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
DC: The launch of our first graphic novel late last year was a great triumph for us. It was fantastic to be able to walk into a Chapters/Indigo or a Barnes & Noble and find our book on the shelves.
CM: For me it was before I started Kill Shakespeare: the first time I appeared on air at Business News Network. That confirmed to me that I could hold an audience with the power of a story.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Both: Figure out what your brand is to the rest of the industry you’re in and the world. What do you bring to the table that’s unique? And never forget to position yourself that way.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
DC: My two good friends run a new organization called free-them which helps to raise awareness and promote prevention of human trafficking (read: slavery) that takes place in our very own backyards here in Ontario.
CM: My fiancée is on the board of the Native Women’s Centre – an organization that provides support to First Nation’s women in the city of Toronto.
What is Notable to you?
Both: Whenever we meet someone following a passion regardless of the potential outcome, we find that notable.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
DC: I went to school in Waterloo, just blocks away from the head office of Research in Motion, so I still feel devoted to the Blackberry. I’m also addicted to BBM; I couldn’t live without it.
CM: I’m a Blackberry guy myself. I had one with a cracked screen and an all-but-dead trackball. I was so attached to the dang thing I just couldn’t trade it in – even for another Blackberry.
Lead photo by Clarence Yeung. Kill Shakespeare artwork by Andy Belanger.