Thoughts, boughts

I have these ideas. I get these ideas. These ideas, they get in my head. Some of them come in moving so fast they never quite get a grip and if I don’t redirect them through my language centers and my motion centers and force them out onto paper, they pass through and are gone seemingly for good. Others are big and heavy and they just sit there in my brain until I take care of them. Of the big heavy ones, some are polite, gently knocking themselves against the borders of my consciousness from time to time, trying to get my attention for a moment, but sitting back and patiently waiting for their turn to enter the maelstrom that is my active thoughts at any given time. Others of these big heavy thoughts are more insistent, they press their full size against the edge of my mind and weigh heavily on me until I relent and allow them to puch my other thoughts aside until they find a way to be satisfied. Worse, to me, are the tiny or incomplete ideas that have somehow found voices more immense than they could ever deserve, screaming and knocking about violently against the insides of my head, trying to get my attention the way I expect a four year old full of sugar to. They are possibly the worst because even if I give them my full attention I still don’t know what to do with them; they aren’t ready for anything, and they aren’t offering any help, just noise. Sigh.

I think I make the inside of my head sound more interesting than it is.

So, yeah. Went to the con. On the first day and the last day I bought some comics. Well, Wednesday (Preview Night) I bought this free webcomic in print form. Seriously, no matter how much I support the Dumbrella comics in my mind, I failed to spend any more money on their physical swag all con. But I’d never heard of that comic somehow, and it trying to find out what it was by browsing the print version, found I had quickly read half the book. So… I bought the other half. Anyway, no more comics purchases (or really, con purchases of any kind for me) until Sunday afternoon at 4PM (con closed at 5) when I all of a sudden went around and bought ~$50 of SLG comics (two volumes of Gloom Cookie, two issues of Hsu and Chan, and … something else… something new… I don’t remember. Bah.), two semi-standalone card-type games (~$30) from SJG (Nightmare Chess 2, which is complete on it’s own but requires a chess set and is fully compatible and integratable with Nightmare Chess, plus INWO Sub-Genius, a standalone set of 100 cards which while compatible with INWO (a collectible card game), does not require anything not included in the box except 2D6), and two independent DVDs (~$30) from Film Threat DVD, who gave me MORE than $30 in free stuff for buying two DVDs during the last hour of the con.

Did I mention that on Saturday my brother and I walked over to the frustratingly reduced in size and value Contemporary Art Museum where I purchased the Karim Rashid Chess Set? Yeah. I think that part of what was frustrating for me was that a museum with free admission could have sucha palpable reduction in value for me. Last time I went, the whole museum (upstairs and down) was free and had several different artists’ work on display across three different ‘gallery spaces’ – and it was very interesting and engaging and thought-provoking art and I felt that it would even have been worth some cost of admission. So, I walked back over to it this year and found that although I did get the chess set I was after (more on that in a moment), the museum itself was not worth the trip from the gift shop to the museum and back, let alone the walk from the convention center and back. So, yeah. The Karim Rashid Chess set. You can take a look at it at Bozart‘s site (warning: Flash required). It is a thing of beauty. I love it. I saw it a couple of years ago in a blurb in a magazine and immediately wanted it. And then proceeded to never see it mentioned again or for sale in stores. Even gaming stores. Even strictly chess stores. So a month or two ago I looked it up online, and found that Bozart, the company which produces it and a wide selection of interesting items designed by top artists, only offers its products through museum gift shops and some select online retailers. I was thinking I’d like to go back to the contemporary art museum in San Diego, so looked and found happily that it was on the list of museums what carry the Karim Rashid Chess Set. So, happy happy, I would have a great excuse to return to a museum I very much appreciated, and I would bring home a work of art. Until Saturday, I did not own a chess set of any kind. Today I own a chess set, a very beautiful chess set, which I may have been better off simply ordering online for the single, disappointing set of strange things the museum had for me to see.

What else, what else?

The San Diego Comic-Con International seems more and more to get me interested in making movies more than comics. Scott McCloud, who has been a great inspiration in the past, did not speak this year. ScottMcCloud1.jpgIn fact, aside from seeing him whoosh by my on foot at a stoplight, I didn’t get to see Scott McCloud at all. Between the ridiculously huge convention floor itself and the non-intuitive way they laid out Artist’s Alley, I was not able to locate Scott’s table for three days, and when I did, every time I went by he was not there. I really wanted to talk to him about a few things, including the ‘Mouse’ Project and BitPass. Alas, no such conversation was to be had. Instead I basically got to talk to no one who was able to spark my interest. I spoke briefly with several online comics creators, but since I don’t read their comics and they’ve never heard of Modern Evil and I don’t have any regularly updating comics there, there was basically no common ground to even start from. And even the panels I missed which I’d really wanted to go to were on animation and movie-making in one way or another; when I missed the three panels on webcomics, I basically didn’t care. But I walked away from the opportunity to represent Modern Evil at the Cafepress booth for free for the chance to hear Rob Zombie talk about making House of 1000 Corpses.

I don’t know. I’m thinking of trying to get into the habit of creating a daily webcomic for Modern Evil. Something. Something with characters and settings and … story… Yeah, well, something. Something ‘regular’ instead of something sporadic, experimental, epic, genre-parody, non-sequitur-based, or any combinations thereof. Something that could build an audience. Something I could charge a penny for access to via BitPass. See, I don’t just want to have something on my site I can describe in one sentence, I want to be able to make use of BitPass without turning content that has been free in the past into for-pay content in the future. But I do want to be able to make the $300 in annual hosting costs for Modern Evil through the site itself without having to worry about the site shutting down. If I have one or two regular online features (comics or something else), even at the very, very reasonable cost of one cent per comic, it would not be too difficult to make that money. One comic which updates 5 days a week at 1 cent a comic would only require about 142 regular readers to make that much money (after BitPass fees) in a year (about $2.50 per reader at that rate). Two comics could make as much with half as many paying readers, and each of three one-cent online comics would each only need about 50 regular readers a year to cover hosting costs. I’m thinking that since New Comic is bigger (and I think better) and less-frequently-updating that I could ask 5 or ten cents for it. If I could update it every month and asked a dime, a year’s worth would be less than a dollar and a quarter. Peanuts. But all the difference to a site of Modern Evil’s size.

These thoughts, these money-thoughts, run through my head. I’m always trying to figure out ways to balance the equation. An equation which only grows increasingly complex at the thoughts of the rest of my creative mind. Like I want to be able to exhibit at the con in a couple of years, but I’ll need to find some way of coming up with not just capital but … products to offer there. So, how can Modern Evil make enough money to cover hosting costs PLUS enough money to pay for a booth at the con PLUS enough money to have more than an empty booth… PLUS enough product to maybe even make back the cost of the booth AT the con. Dumbrella did. I bet Real Life/Megatokyo did. Can Modern Evil? What about Modern Evil/Darwin’s Complex? This year the bulk of the money for hosting came from selling paintings, and the bulk of money for my own attendence of the con came from unemployment. Next year there will be no unemployment, and I want to be able to turn the profits from selling art back into creating as much as possible. Remember the post I made earlier where I wanted to buy digital video equipment? Yeah. Me too. I don’t know where the money will come from for everything; I’m still trying to figure out how to keep the equation balanced.

I think I’m finally beginning to grow weary. I just uploaded a virtual webcam shot to the wrong folder. Did I mention that my new phone is also a camera? Yeah. So that shot’s from the phone camera. I haven’t worked out how to get the thing to update the website directly from an email yet, but I’m looking into it. It may simply not be possible with the software/hardware at my disposal. If it is, then for the rest of the year I may look into new and exciting ways of integrating that sort of feature into the site. Or not.

I’m here in Phoenix until Thursday morning. So if you’re free and would like to get together with me Tuesday or Wednesday (or see a movie, as per the previous post), let me know. Again, you can email me or call me. If you don’t have my new phone number, email me for it. Seriously, it’ll just take you a second. You’re already online. And then it’s back to Pine.

Pine, where I hope to seriously get some work done on finishing the rewrite of this novel. Cafepress is going live with their print-on-demand service at the end of July, and they expect to have Perfect-bound books available a couple of weeks after that, so I am going to try to have the book completely re-written by mid-August, proofed and ready to go with proper cover illustration/design for a September 1st launch. I expect the book to be regularly priced at US$20 for the bound edition and US$10 for the PDF edition (via BitPass, hopefully). These prices are subject to change, depending on several as-yet-unknown factors which I will certainly run into, but that’s what I’m thinking of based on what I know right now. Maybe I’ll offer two or three dollars off for people who order in the first two weeks. Something special for ordering early. Oh, and the old oh-so-far-off-rough-draft has been taken offline. So if you haven’t read it yet, wait to read the finished version in September.

Okay, now my head is beginning to hurt from the staying awake and my belly is rumbling. I am going to go lay down for some hours. I hope you all have a lovely day, your feedback is welcome, and happy festivus!

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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.