inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #51 of 228: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #52 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #53 of 228: David S. Greene (dsg) Mon 14 Jan 02 09:36
    

What projects would you like to do next?
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #54 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #55 of 228: David S. Greene (dsg) Mon 14 Jan 02 16:45
    

The Vegetable Macbeth?
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #56 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #57 of 228: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 14 Jan 02 20:52
    

Yes!
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #58 of 228: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Mon 14 Jan 02 21:53
    
Ahh....the fire burns and the cast bubbles...
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #59 of 228: Gail Williams (gail) Mon 14 Jan 02 22:37
    
Har.  And then of course you have to try to clean your hands.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #60 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #61 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #62 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #63 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #64 of 228: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #65 of 228: 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? 
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #66 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #67 of 228: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #68 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #69 of 228: 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!  
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #70 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #71 of 228: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #72 of 228: 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/
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #73 of 228: 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/>
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #74 of 228: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.136 : Adam Gertsacov and Donna Atwood: Rhode Island A to Z
permalink #75 of 228: 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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