New image! New video! All of this and a bit of a ramble from Mark...
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I knew we'd been neglecting this blog, but hadn't realized we hadn't posted since APRIL! My bad.
We are just ending a very productive weekend of Illogical work, so this seems a very appropriate time to fill you in on where we are. Are we "almost there"? Yes, yes we are.
Back in April, we assigned the tarot card descriptions to our artists. Back then, there were 19 different artists we were working with, not including their colorists. That, by the way, is quite a lot of creators to work with at once. Especially since it was all done remotely and not everyone is entirely computer savvy or had the availability they led us to believe they had. The quick and dirty summary is-- we ended up with 18 artists on the project, having lost Christopher Jones and Ben Templesmith along the way to other commitments, but we picked up KC Johnson, who is the Re-take Director for The Simpsons.
We received many drafts of the pieces over the next two months. There was a Rough Draft deadline in Mid-May, and a Final Draft Deadline for June 11th. These stopping points helped us (Mark Masterson, mainly) point out corrections that needed to be made, and made sure the card art was on target, to be consistent with what Mark was picturing it should all look like.
Three colorists joined our journey, and they were nothing short of brilliant-- Diego Rodriguez, Lizzie John and Moose Baumann.
Dozens of emails back and forth between me and the artists, with drafts and questions and corrections, and we finally received the final versions of all of the works of art, in the middle of last week.
In the meantime, Mark was busy writing the accompanying Booklet. Mind you, we weren't even sure this deck would have a booklet just a few months ago. Even with a family trip to Tahiti, he wrote and wrote and wrote.
Think it's easy to write a poetic, humorous, thoughtful, spiritual booklet about 78 works of tarot art, most of which you haven't seen yet, and sometimes have last minute artistic changes that affect the card description? Well, having spent the weekend Proofing and editing every single card, with Mark, I can tell you that this work is genius and clearly it was extremely challenging to create. But it now matches the Tarot Card artwork just as it should. I think you all will be highly entertained and bowed over by the beauty of it all.
Now, we send it all to the printer. If everything goes without a hitch, we will have the decks in our hands by mid-August, if not before.
We'll have images of all of the artwork up in a few weeks (if not sooner), so you can buy prints, and the carved wood box for your tarot deck. And more cool stuff, too!
It's taken hundreds of hours to put this project together over the last 8 months. We look at each other and are struck by the magnitude of this project and realize how illogical we are in our company decision making and creative process. Just editing and final touches took about 30 hours over the last 3 days.
But we did it. From Idea, to Kickstarter to Creation, this got made.
And now, here is an early sketch of one of my favorite pieces:
I know you all will really enjoy this deck. We look forward to premiering it at the Winkie Con in San Diego, in August, at the the BATS Tarot Convention in San Jose, later in August. If you're intending on attending either event, one or both of us will be speaking at these events, and we'll be selling this deck, the prints and our comic Dorothy, as well.
We'll be posting details about the Release Parties happening in Santa Clara, California and the Los Angeles Area, soon.
Ok, who has a question? You in the back? What's your question?
Who is? *I* am. Why? 'Cause one of my favorite writers is this fellow named Mark Anthony Masterson. And I get to read through all 78 of his Card Descriptions for our artists, as I send them each their assignments (the list of which we should post for you, soon) and it's So Much Deliciousness! 35,000 words. It's a novel. Baum would be impressed.
Wanna peak? Maybe we should let one lucky fan see some of these here bits.
Oh, and our EmCity podcast was ready, but then I remembered to add a sign off. So that had to be re-edited. Should be available for your earholes in a day or two, now.
Ok, back to sending the artists their assignments.
Ack! No post for 2 weeks! Well, we sure haven't been sitting around.
Last week, we were at Emerald City Comicon, which was the first convention we attended as publishers 10 years ago. It was an amazing experience. We ate, we walked, we saw more comics that could be believed fit in that building, we ate more, we drank, we celebrated Mark's 43rd birthday and had an extremely dandy time. We even recorded a podcast, which should be ready to listen to, soon. Once our Sound Editor, Jake Wright, has finished with it. (I listened to it again a couple days ago and giggled through it all.)
Mark has spent the last week working on detailed card descriptions and artistic direction for our artists. I haven't even seen the revised draft, yet, so I'm eagerly awaiting it!
We posted a Kickster Update to our backers a few days ago. If you are a backer, go take a peek!
What have I been doing? hmmm... oh yeah, digging out from 300 emails the deluged me while I was gone, taking all of the data and making a spreadsheet so we can work out what orders we have (lots more orders came in post-Kickstarter completion by our backers), celebrating Tabletop Game Day at my Shop, and preparing for Free Comic Book Day on May 3rd.
So... I think that sums up the last 2 weeks, work-wise. How have you been?
The last week has been a chance for me to get caught up on a month's worth of neglected paperwork for my main company. It's also offered some de-stress time from the freaking out that a Kickstarter brings into one's life. I tried to train myself out of thinking that any flicker of light on my phone is the notification of another Backer or new Message.
Mark is hard at work writing up the cards for the Artists and I'm hard at... waiting? Waiting and watching the Backer's sums go through Amazon. I'm all ready to write checks to our Artists, so they can start working. Aaaaaaaany day now... just waiting. Although, for realsies, it'll be another week, according to Amazon, before they're available.
I do have this one new piece from Kori Thompson :
So I've been obsessing over the completely awesome time we're going to have at Emerald City. Are you planning on going? If so, what are you most looking forward to?
Yesterday was one of the weirdest days of our lives. And that's saying a lot, for both Mark and I.
I went to sleep at about 3:30am Sunday night/Monday morning and woke up at 9:30am to find about 15 new backers had jumped on board. That "Ending Soon" section of Kickstarter must get a heckuva lot of traffic.
But we were still short several hundred dollars. The last hour was crazy. Mark was home watching on his computer, and I, 450 miles away was sitting on the couch with my 4-year old, Cat in the Hat on PBS, crazy neighbor-lady's voice of yelling at her dog floating through my window.
Refresh the screeen, refresh the screen. Mark and I were IMing our panic to each other. All of the internet seemed to be running slow, particularly in the last 20 minutes. AND THEN, we made it! One friend hugely increased his Backer amount and we hit goal. BUT, a few people reduced their pledges immediately after that. And we were suddenly a bit afraid they might reduce below the $28,000 mark.
The dog needed to be taken out to pee (which she would not do), and my son demanded a new bandaid for his scratched knee. These creatures are very fortunate I love them to bits.
Running back to my computer, I wondered, "Do we get credit for hitting goal if people reduce their levels last minute?" However, we did not need to worry. Another friend also hugely increased HIS backer amount. And then a few other people jumped on board. By 10:55a, we were at about 101% of goal and by 11am, when it officially ended, we were at 102% of our goal.
I felt the Shower of Relief that one usually only hears about. Mark and I were both crying. Happiness. Relief. Fear. Success. Astonishment. Shock.
This was the first project we made together with no one else to mess it up (see: Former Company's History), and no one else had started this idea. We came up with this concept in the midst of a conversation. It was OUR dumb idea!!! And it was made real. Thanks to all of you.
We're still processing this reality.
And I got us right to work.
And a Backer asked for the opportunity to buy one of our posters, so I added that to our Shop, too.
Now I'm stumbling through the weird Kickstarter Survey program (it's kind of clunky and very inefficient). I gave Mark a minor scare with the reality of his upcoming deadlines for getting all of the artists their card descriptions. He's also programming the Dorothy #1 download in our Shop.
Oh, and Kori Thompson sent us two new pieces of art for his Tarot Cards. (We'll share those soon).
Anyone have questions about the process?
In all of these posts, we haven't really talked about the experience of running our Kickstarter. I will tell you that the last few days get increasingly more stressful. There is a lot of Staring At Your Computer Screen (and phone screen) WILLING it to show more money has been backed to your project.
When someone decreases their level or has to back out, you feel as though you've been stood up for the Prom Date you've been primping for over the last month.
But when someone increases their Backer Level? You want to find them, jump on them and cover their face in kisses, like a happy Golden Retriever welcoming you home from a long day away.
15 hours left...