David S. Greene (dsg) Mon 14 Jan 02 07:49
Adam---is this a problem that it's crimping your day-job? Is your performing still top priority, and if not, how are you striking a balance that keeps you happy?
It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Mon 14 Jan 02 09:29
It's hard to say-- I slacked off a little this winter in order to focus on the book-- I still did a few gigs, but didn't concentrate as hard as I might have on clown stuff. I've got a few things going on in February (and at the end of this month. It will be harder to tell in the summer, because usually that is when I'm away.... It's definitely a delicate balance. One thing I'll probably end up doing is creating a show for schoolsbased on the book so that I can continue to do some theatrical work even while working on the book. A lot of my marketing work in terms of getting new accounts is done. I'll still do a little more, but I'll be toning it down. WE've got 65 accounts now, and I hope to end up with around 80 or 90 when all is said and done. I've still got some other things going on, and probably always will. My clown business has always been very much "Throw a lot of projects up in the air and see which ones I can catch." In this sense, the books are another in a series of projects that I've managed to catch.
David S. Greene (dsg) Mon 14 Jan 02 09:36
What projects would you like to do next?
It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Mon 14 Jan 02 12:23
Do you mean bookwise, or clownwise? Bookwise-- it's doing Mass A-Z. I have some other ideas for books that are not necessarily coloring books-- I'm exploring the idea of working on those. I like being an author! Clownwise-- I'm working on booking my flea circus in more places, creating a new show (of which I have about 1/2 done-- The Puppet Tragedies, which features among other pieces-- The Barbie Oedipus, The Vegetable MacBeth, and Le Poisson Rouge Tragique (The Tragic Goldfish, which is a monologue for a very eloquent goldfish that meets a tragic end.) I also should create this Rhode Island A-Z school show, and then I've got a few other odds and ends shows that might turn into real possibilities, if things flow correctly.
David S. Greene (dsg) Mon 14 Jan 02 16:45
The Vegetable Macbeth?
It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Mon 14 Jan 02 17:26
I do MacBeth (Shakespeare's Beetific Tragedy) using Vegetables and other found objects. I've pared it down a bit. The show is about 6 minutes long right now (and I get up to the death of Duncan) Eventually it will be about 12 minutes long. Right now, Macbeth is a potato, Lady is an artichoke, the Witches are a piece of very wilted celery, and Duncan is a very large tomato. (His guards are smaller tomatos) I haven't quite figured it out yet, but I think at the end of the play, I'd like to put all of the players into a blender, juice it, and then drink them.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 14 Jan 02 20:52
Rip Van Winkle (keta) Mon 14 Jan 02 21:53
Ahh....the fire burns and the cast bubbles...
Gail Williams (gail) Mon 14 Jan 02 22:37
Har. And then of course you have to try to clean your hands.
Donna Atwood (bratwood) Tue 15 Jan 02 06:28
I feel a vegetable Macbeth poster coming on. Vegetables are inherently magical, charismatic entities and make excellent subjects regardless of medium. (Luv dem veggies, soul food.) Even Michael Franks can work an eggplant into a love song. The Blue Fish season with the most popular and price-fetching design was the Veggie line of winter 1998. And I recently designed a color wheel using fruits and vegetables. I'm going to translate it into a ceramic glaze design for a huge bowl. As for me, I'm going to attempt to avoid any sort of day job as long as I possibly can. Hopefully forever. I work too hard to spend eight hours a day away from the studio.
David S. Greene (dsg) Tue 15 Jan 02 06:35
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps on this petty potato from day to day......it is a tale, told by a rutabaga, full of peas and carrots, signifying nothing.
David S. Greene (dsg) Tue 15 Jan 02 06:52
Could there be products associated with RIAtoZ like the terrific magnets and notecards, etc that Donna has featured in the past? If not, might that be an option for the Massachusetts edition? I would think that postcards would be incredibly successful in touristy gift-shops on the Cape, in the Berkshires, around the State House, etc.
It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Tue 15 Jan 02 08:10
We are talking about doing notecards. Doing single items (like postcards) are a lot of work for a little money. And then you have to keep track of the inventory, and then you get stuck with the unpopular postcard that nobody could sell. I don't think we'll be doing magnet sets. They are labor intensive to make, and don't sell particularly well. As I've been going around making sales calls, I've been paying attention to what people are selling, and making notes in my little black book.
David S. Greene (dsg) Tue 15 Jan 02 08:17
Adam, are you finding that this process is using a different skill set from what you normally utilize in performing? More organization, more attention to varying details? Is it harder, easier, more fun, less fun, a surprising challenge to pull off?
Patrizia Dilucchio (fritz) Tue 15 Jan 02 10:39
For both -- and this may have been addressed in which case I appologize for being such a careless &/or lazy reader -- are you self-publishing?? For Donna -- since the very first time I laid eyes on the Sonoran work, I've been absolutely blown away by what you do and how well you do it. As a very bad artist myself, I wanna know about your process. Do you draw from models? Am I right in thinking that you use Illustrator? Do you experiment with other art programs (I'm thinking specifically of my fave, Painter.) Do you use a Wacom tablet for rough sketches or do you draw with pencil or pen and then scan the results? Also -- what's your favorite printer, what's your favorite cheap printer and how do you go about doing your color profiles?
It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Tue 15 Jan 02 11:07
I'll let Donna handle those technical and artistic questions. (School is starting up, so she might be a little slower to answer.) We are self-publishing the book. As for cheap printers, I found the printer using a website: <http://www.printindustry.com> You put in the specs for your project, and printers that can do it will bid on your project. We got about 8 or 9 estimates for the job, and asked to see samples from 3 or 4 of the places. Our printer, Kromar, in Winnipeg, was cheaper and better than the other guys. It was a no-brainer to choose them. Our rep was very friendly, helped us out with finding cheaper papers, going over different processes, etc. If you are going to self-publish, and you are not familiar with the printing process, GET FAMILIAR! Or find somebody that is familiar. It's easy to make a mistake, or to make a stupid mistake, or to make a choice that you think won't matter, and then it turns out to bite you in the butt. It's not rocket science, but it does require minute attention to details.
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 15 Jan 02 11:16
How did you decide how big a run to do, and how much of your money to tie up?
It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Tue 15 Jan 02 11:17
As for process being different than clowning.... Hmmmm... a little, but not much. Are you talking about the writing or the selling? IN TERMS OF WRITING: Clowning rewards lateral thinking a lot more. When you are writing a clown routine, you want to go in a bunch of directions all at once, that are kind of orderly, but at the same time, you don't want to be too direct. You want your spectator to get where they are going of their own accord, and if they never get there, well, they probably had fun. There's also needs to be a lot of slack in the writing, to allow for the audience, etc. (The performative element) Writing a book like this was a lot more linear. A, then B, then C. Although it really worked out to be C, then L, then Q, then B (etc.) But the thinking about how to write the book (and what subjects) that was more lateral. IN TERMS OF MARKETING They are very similar. At least they use the sam muscles. It's easier to market the book because it's tangible, and I don't have to feel like I'm bragging when I say "See you should buy it! It's good!" People can pick it up and look at it, and decide very clearly for themselves whether or not the object is to their satisfaction. My clown shows are a lot more amorphous, and as a result, harder to sell in that regard. (Plus, it's much easier to figure out who the buyer is when you are selling a book.) Also, the book is a lot cheaper than a clown performance! I'm fairly comfortable in both the selling aspect and the performance/creation aspect. If I had to choose one, then I'd probably just create stuff. But, sadly, that's not how it is. I don't mind doing the marketing so much though.
Rip Van Winkle (keta) Tue 15 Jan 02 11:25
>You want your spectator to get where they are going of their own >accord, and if they never get there, well, they probably had fun. I like that!
It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Tue 15 Jan 02 11:25
Figuring out the number of books to print was a slightly complex calculation. How much money could we risk? If we print more, how much cheaper does it get (the more you print, the cheaper it gets) How much storage space do we have to store the book? How many books do we think we can sell in a year? What is the price per book? I ran a series of projections figuring out how much we would make and the breakeven points, if we printed certain amounts of books. I ran the projections on 3000, 4000, 5000 books. Donna and I discussed them. We decided that 4000 books was the right number for us. I'm glad to report that we have already surpassed the breakeven point! And we did it faster than we expected to do it.
David S. Greene (dsg) Tue 15 Jan 02 11:28
I must admit I am so proud that the sales of this book have taken off the way they have. It's one of those "meant to be" stories. Talent will out. At what point do you think aobut having someone assist in the marketing?
It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Tue 15 Jan 02 11:33
Well, right now we couldn't really afford it! Hey we're over break even, we don't want to add to expenses! I had originally budgetted 500 to hire a publicist to do a press release, etc. As I interviewed people, it was quite clear that I could do it as well, if not better than they would, and the amount of time bringing them up to speed was not going to be efficient. (And most people wanted $2000, which I couldn't really afford.) So I did what I could, and we got some very good press! You can see our press at our web page http://www.riatoz.com/
It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Tue 15 Jan 02 14:31
And for those who have a hard time following the thread of conversation, or missed it, I created a page for Inkwell readers so that you can see some of the images from the book... <http://www.riatoz.com/inkwell/>
David S. Greene (dsg) Wed 16 Jan 02 05:59
Why is Rhode Island such a well-kept secret? Even within New England itself people seem to forget about it. I grew up less than a half hour away from the RI/MA border, and it seemed people were more likely to go twice as far to get to Boston as they were to drive half the distance to Providence. Granted Providence is a great deal nicer now than it was 30 years ago, but it was an undeniably charming little city even then. So how do Newport, Bristol, Westerly and sights like the State House and Block Island get forgotten? I've always wondered about that.
It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Wed 16 Jan 02 06:30
I'm not sure why people in other states forget about RI. I can say that Rhode Islanders in general don't like to travel very far, so are likely to stick close to home. Even though everything in the state is 45 minutes away, people who live in Providence are very unlikely to go to Newport for an event, and vice versa, people from Newport are very unlikely to go to Providence for an event. There is something a little insular about Rhode Island. I think that a lot of people who live here feel like they have "the inside scoop" on the best places to go and the best places to eat what the best place for Pizza is (Caserta's) (etc.)-- and they would never try any other place, no matter how much you cajoled them. In researching the book, I found myself going to places I hadn't been in some time (including a couple of places I went to as part of a field trip in Fourth Grade) How come I never checked out those places previously? I really couldn't tell you! I've been busy.
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