Roadblock or detour?

Well, there’s a wrinkle that I probably should have foreseen. Apparently, the employees recently cut loose by Tokyopop were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement of some sort in order to receive their severance pay, which makes exit interviews a little difficult. I certainly don’t want to complicate anyone’s situation further, but I do want to pursue this project and try and get their names out. I would imagine that even forwarding the non-disclosure agreement to someone who isn’t the signer’s legal representative may constitute a violation of said agreement, and even if I could read it, I wouldn’t be remotely comfortable trying to distinguish what constitutes a violation and what’s safe to discuss. (I don’t even know if describing job duties would constitute a violation, to be honest.)

I’ve already got one interview ready to go, and two others have written to express an interest. Based on the first interview, it doesn’t seem significantly different from the kinds of interviews that have been conducted with Tokyopop employees while they were still working there, but… again, a pittance of a severance package is still a severance package during difficult economic times. And since my former PR contact at the publisher no longer works there, I’m not sure who to ask.

Anyone have any advice on how I might proceed? Here’s the list of questions I’ve put together:

  • What was your title at Tokyopop, and how long did you work there?
  • Could you summarize your responsibilities for them?
  • What were some of the highlights of your time there? Projects you’re particularly proud of, or experiences that had a major impact?
  • How did you get into the comics industry?
  • Could you tell me a little bit about your education and training, or other professional experiences that have contributed to your skill set?
  • What would you like to do next? Keep working in the comics industry? Or are you open to other avenues?
  • And I also wanted to leave a sort of “open question” for anything else you’d like to comment on – the state of the comics industry, where you’d like to see it go, how you’re doing since you got the news. Anything’s fair game.
  • One Response to Roadblock or detour?

    1. […] open offer to interview former Tokyopop employees hit a snag when he learned that Tokyopop made everyone sign non-disclosure agreements as a condition of receiving their severance pay. Former editor Peter Ahlstrom, who has always been […]

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