Submitted by Jeff Quan (www.jcquan.com)
One of the things we promised to do, if we reached our Kickstarter goal, was to film us fainting at the news. (Don’t ask me why, but Kaja seemed to think it would be popular) Well, as anyone with a passing interest in these posts knows, we did indeed make our goal– in fact we made all of them, and so this weekend we had to film ourselves fainting. luckily, we secured the help of James Ernest, who is known primarily as the brains behind Cheapass Games (http://www.cheapass.com/), but who lately has discovered that he likes making moves. He took this rather idiotic idea, and made something pretty neat. Here it is (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/girlgenius/girl-genius-volume-12-printing-and-reprint-frenzy/posts). While he was here, he also filmed ‘Mr. Hyde Peels an Orange’, another Kickstarter obligation film, which went rather well, considering. We’re still cleaning spatters of fruit juice up off of the walls, floor and ceiling, and I’m going to have to get some dry-cleaning done, but a jolly time was had by all.
In other business, I have done some work for the local theater scene. A company called Pork Filled Productions, hired me to design the poster for their new steampunk play which will be on the boards this summer; The Clockwork Professor. At the moment they are running a Kickstarter of their own, in order to raise some extra cash so that they can make sets a little more elaborate than tin foil, cardboard and christmas lights. Well worth supporting, as I think that if you’re going to do Steampunk, it should look smartly turned out. Studio Foglio will certainly be there for opening night. (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1086790052/the-clockwork-professor?ref=live)
We are already beginning to gear up for the San Diego Comic-con. It’s our Big Show of the year, and the one that we wanted to get books printed in time for. Kaja is slated for a panel; The Witty Women of Steampunk, which she’s been a part of for the last two years.
I must say that I’ve noticed that I’ve been a lot more relaxed ever since the Kickstarter ended, and that we’ve both been getting a lot more work done. That was kind of the point of the whole thing, but I have to admit that I’m rather surprised that it actually worked. How odd.
Phil and James are downstairs destroying the kitchen. Actually, James is filming our “Mr. Hyde Peels an Orange” video, which was one of the promised stretch goals. I keep hearing crashing sounds, and the kitchen floor is covered in cocoanut milk.
The dog has been banished upstairs, and is having fits. She really wants to come down and see what is happening, and if she can eat it. No, she can not. Also, I have trained Experiment #1 to use a mop. We shall see if my training was effective. (Okay, honey, you raise the mop over your head, utter your fearsome battle cry, and rush at the mess screaming. That usually does it.)
I will be doing my video: “The Language of Fans as used by the Sparks of Europa” a bit later, as I still haven’t found quite the right fan. More on that later.
This is going to be terrific.
I enjoy listening to podcasts. I especially enjoy listening to podcasts of people being smart. I write about mad scientists after all, so it’s always a good idea to try to keep up with what’s still considered mad and what’s available this week from Think Geek (http://www.thinkgeek.com/).
I had heard a lot about Mr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, legendary smart guy connected with the New York Planetarium and tapped to revive Carl Sagen’s ‘Cosmos’. Hey, look at that! He’s got a podcast about science! (http://www.startalkradio.net/) Neat!
…Yikes. I guess he is really smart, because I doubt just anyone could have developed a show this annoying. I complained about it to Kaja, who was convinced that I was Exaggerating For Humorous Effect, which admittedly, is sort of a given around here, but then I played some of it for her and I was gratified to see that it wasn’t just me.
Here’s the format; Mr. Tyson comes on. Then we meet his idiot of the week. A comedian, an actor, a sports guy, a singer, whatever. Then he talks briefly about the genuinely smart person he’s interviewed, as well as some of the background of today’s topic. Then we get a snippet of his interview with said smart person. Just when it starts to get interesting, we cut back to Neil and his co-host, who spend an equal amount of time exclaiming about how this person is really smart and aren’t their ideas really far out and isn’t this science stuff amazing? Yes it is, Neil, NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LET ME LISTEN TO THE SMART PEOPLE!
Every now and then there is some poor academician along with Neil and his monkey, there to plug a book that’s tangentially connected to today’s interview, and those are always fun, because you can actually hear their teeth grinding as they try to keep up the ‘good sport’ facade until this train wreck is over and they can get to a phone and fire their agent. And they bounce back and forth between the sublime and the ridiculous for the entire show. It’s a masterful balancing act. Just enough of the clever person to keep you interested, but not quite enough of the yee–haw golly Mr. Wizard crap to make me snap it off.
If this is what it takes to make this stuff interesting to The Youth of Today, then Western Civilization is indeed doomed. Needless to say, if anyone has a recommendation for a good science podcast, I’d be all over that. (Already know about Quirks & Quarks (http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/), 99% Invisible (http://99percentinvisible.org/), and Brain Science (http://brainsciencepodcast.com/), just so you know.)
In other news, we are beginning the transition to the Iron Rule of Carol Monahan. I spent a few hours sweeping through my e-mail folders, transferring all the old business stuff that had sat there moldering. We are gearing up for the San Diego Comic Con (http://www.comic-con.org/), and we are waiting for the funds from our Kickstarter to land in our In Box. (Oh, I should mention that I am hearing from people who thought that we were going to Heroes Convention this weekend. Well, sorry, but that one was like Phoenix, a con I wanted to do, but we didn’t have the money or books to actually do. Maybe next year.)
Now I’ve been hearing from my relatives (as well as a few other people);
“So you’re rich now.”
“No, Ma, I’m not rich, almost all of that money is going somewhere else.”
“Oh come on, all that money for comical books? Besides, if you’re hiring, your nephew could use a job.”
“He’s training to drive a bulldozer, Ma.”
“With that much money? Tell me you couldn’t use that.”
Thus, as an educational service. I will be keeping an informal accounting explaining where all this money will be going. I am sure that there are people who are interested in this, and I must admit that keeping a record of it will ameliorate the pain of watching it all drain away, instead of buying that solid gold pony I so richly deserve.
Well, now the work really begins. Prepping files for the printer, getting our bookkeeping in order, and hunkering down for the approaching storm that will be Carol and her terrible, pushy minions changing everything.
Now Kaja and I have a bunch of people thank, and high time too.
First and foremost; Julie Haehn, who ramrodded our campaign (and did a marvelous job, obviously). I would recommend her to anyone who wants to put together something like this.
Secondly, James Ernest, who produced our video. James has been one of our closest friends for over twenty years, as well as being the brain behind Cheapass Games(http://www.cheapass.com/). It’s actually pretty cool that he’s discovered yet another talent to add to his toolbox of awesomeness.
Then there are the Beemans, Ellen and Steve, who ran the Rats of Mechanicsburg Kickstarter, which convinced us that this was a viable idea. Blame them. By the way, they say that everything is ticking along marvelously, and the game should be coming out on time. A freakish occurrence in the Game Industry, but there you go.
Then there’s Carol Monahan, who even before we had the money to hire her, was helping us with valuable suggestions (and not just “hire me”) and who will make sure that we don’t run out and buy a pony made of solid gold or something.
And, speaking for myself, I’d like to thank Kaja, without whom Girl Genius would not exist, and certainly would never have made our mind–breakingly successful jump to the web. I love you.
And finally- a big thank you to all you people who contributed. I mean, fair enough, you were clever enough to recognize a good deal when you saw it, and some of you (not you personally, of course) will have a fine old time lording it over the short–sighted fools who failed to grasp this opportunity, but whatever your motivation, we simply couldn’t have done it without you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Well here we are, coming up on the last twenty–four hours of our Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/girlgenius/girl-genius-volume-12-printing-and-reprint-frenzy), and the only question is will we actually make our last stretch goal? I certainly hope so, as I have long thought that the whole system could use a good shaking up, but that’s why I’m a fan of disaster movies, I guess.
Apparently I’m not alone in this. Sociologists say that there is a wide–spread yearning in a large percent of the population for some sort of unspecified mega disaster that sweeps away the old order and cancels all debts. Not don’t get me wrong, I haven’t met a corporate oligarch that I wouldn’t mind seeing up against the wall, but realistically, any doomsday scenario that would weed the human gene–pool to the point where I could toss away my mortgage records, stands a mighty good chance of snuffing out me and mine as collateral damage.
And let’s be honest, any reorganization that apportioned things fairly would probably result in me spending an inordinate amount of time doing heavy labor, which, if I wanted to do, I would not have become a cartoonist in the first place. Now don’t get me wrong, if I have to spend my declining years shotgunning zombies or serving our alien masters– like everybody else– then while I may complain about it, it won’t be because of the unfairness of the system, but just a general kvetching about the overall bad karma inherent in the situation.
So…where was I? Oh yes! Kickstarter! Right! Regardless of whether we make our final goal, we have certainly had our eyes opened as to the efficiency of this particular funding model. We are already planning our next couple of campaigns, which will involve bringing old books back into print, publishing new books, as well as brand new projects that we had always wanted to do, but honestly never thought we’d get around to, such as animation, games, secondary publications and assorted what not.
Kicksterter is very much a product of the web. We have long said that putting Girl Genius Online (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php) was the best thing we ever did, as it allowed us to bypass the Cultural Gatekeepers (who never really “got” our stuff) and present it directly to you, the readers, who could make your own decision about whether you wanted to read it or not, recommend it, or not, pay for it, or not. Kickstarter certainly helps us answer the last part of that question, and it does something else as well; It demonstrates to those people who only understand money, that there are people out there with money, who are interested in Girl Genius. This makes us look good, and increases the chances that someone will believe that they can make even more money by working with us.
However this is a two–edged sword, as far as they are concerned. It used to be that a creator would make something and desperately hope that they could sell it to Hollywood (or whatever) for big bucks and move on. However, thanks to the tools available to us in the modern world (the web, Kickstarter, Cafe Press, Spoonflower, Etsy, etc.) we now can reach enough people that we do not need to sell out. We can make a living– a good living– by dealing directly with our readers. This gives us the most precious thing you can have when dealing with the Entertainment Conglomerates– The Freedom to Walk Away. For example, if and when we make a deal for a Girl Genius movie (if we don’t Kickstart one ourselves) we will have the freedom to make damn sure that they will make the kind of movie we want. This applies to everything, and it is the reason we are the most grateful to the people who buy our books. So, thanks for that!