"A video game comic and blog that would have been awesome and relevant 10 years ago. Maybe." -Famous Website
The comic this week was extremely loosely themed on Clay Fighter for the SNES. Did anyone catch the reference to Bad Mr. Frosty? Well, I don't have much to say about the game other than Pie and I enjoyed it briefly when we were younger.
Now, on to the misery I had eluded to in one of my short updates, for anyone who happened to catch it!
As Pie and I mentioned, we've been working on getting the Kickstarter launched for several months. I would probably want to postpone it for a little longer, but I hate the idea of not being able to "close the deal" so to say, and I believe that the time is ripe. We've taken virtually every single thing into account and can honestly say that once the campaign is successful, we can deliver on our promises without question and in a reasonable timeframe.
We had a script written and a lot of the planning done when we started working on the flash animation directly after the Full Steam Ahead comic. I had already worked on getting an animatic prepped for us, so all we needed to do was bust it out in a few days and have it ready for Friday's entry.
No problem, right?
Come Thursday morning, things were coming down to the wire. We still had a number of things left on our plate; several key frames needed to be drawn, pictures needed to be gathered, Kickstarter project info had to be written/reviewed, voice-overs needed to be adjusted or certain takes had to be re-recorded. The list was a mile long and we wanted to be timely with our update. It was very important to us to have the Friday update come out with a bang. First time hearing our voices, semi-animated entry, brand new shirt design, banners....the whole nine; it was going to be an epic entry.
By Thursday evening, things just weren't there. I suspected we would be posting sometime mid-day Saturday at that point, possibly even Sunday. As I was gathering the last of the information on pricing to run quadruple checks of numbers and get sizing and availability information from our shirt printer and supplier I run into something interesting on their website.
Oh! A holiday message update was just posted...that's cool! I thought it funny that I should just happen to see it post after checking their site all day. Then I begin to read it and my heart sank deeply into my chest.
"Thank you valued customers for you continued patronage over the years. We would like to inform you that we will be shutting down as of December 31st 2011"
WHAT?!? The printer I had chosen to do business with...the printer I had based information on was going out of business?! I couldn't believe it. I was genuinely heartbroken. Here we were on the verge of posting promises that were reliant on someone who was shutting down operations. Promises that I felt were the most critical in establishing a bond with some of our most supportive initial readers and our friends and family who are cheering us on. It's one thing to miss an update or be late; I already beat myself up plenty for when that happens. Not being able to fulfill commitments where money is involved, however, is absolutely unacceptable.
Thursday night I went to bed feeling defeated. A good man I wanted to do business with was shutting down. Our campaign launch was running late and we had no back-up comic to post in its place. When I woke up, I felt anxious and depressed. Then I thought about something that Pie said to me once earlier when I felt miserable.
"Sometimes when you are falling, you are so focused on the ground that you forget all of the vines around that you could be swinging from."
In our relationship, I have noticed that we share this incredible dynamic; when she is feeling weak, exhausted or depressed, I am usually strong and know, instinctively, exactly what to do or say to cheer her up. When I am feeling similarly, she exhibits a subtle strength that helps me feel better; usually in the way of her being silly or lighthearted. The time she said this though, it was so profound that I will never forget and it helped me to think on my feet in regards to the printer situation.
Hope was not lost. Luckily, I did not put all of our eggs in one basket. I had heavily researched two companies and had a backup in mind that I was confident could get the job done. I had even traveled to their location previously and met with their kind staff already. I did not choose them originally because they had a couple of printing limitations; 7-colors on screen prints ("I Love Rock and Roll" HAD 8) and not being able to print in a process called Direct-to-Garment on dark colored garments. They were minor, but I gravitated to the other printer because he was 30-minutes vs. 2 hours away and I met and spoke with the owner directly, who seemed like a genuinely great guy.
So I got to work on Friday and began reaching out to our secondary choice. That morning, I posted that we would have the entry in on the weekend sometime believing that we would finalize the video and Kickstarter, and I would simply iron out the details and numbers after we had posted, believing that my planning was strong enough to deal with a change in printers.
Life has a way of working in strange and mysterious ways, because things really started to open up at this point.
Somehow, I got in immediate contact with someone from the company who was hard working and straight forward, helping me price out and get numbers for everything we needed for the project in record turnaround times. Even though I never said I needed rush quotes, he was working in the late night and even that weekend to help me get everything, answering my e-mails promptly and with enthusiasm.
It turned out to be a huge blessing!! With this printer, the numbers even looked better and our options were even opening up! We weren't going to offer nearly as much flexibility in what we were offering as far as some zip-up hoodies and ladies shirts because it didn't make sense before. The down side was that we had to have a higher minimum print order, which boosted our targeted Kickstarter goal from $3000 to $4000; at the same time though it gave us the ability to make our offering more closely fit our vision.
At this point, we ended up finalizing all of the details for the pricing and had everything solidified by Sunday night. It took away a lot of time from me working on the project, but at the same time, I was able to actually settle on a printer and modify our Kickstarter offering to deliver at better prices, which I was MUCH happier about.
And finally, the home stretch...
Mo-uesday, as the combo day shall now be called, was a mad 40-hour rush for me to catch up from the weekend detour. We modified some scripting, added in some new frames, re-recorded lines to meet the changes. I also learned that you do NOT underestimate an application you have no experience in; trying for 10 hours to figure out why you can't get the compression right when using Flash for the first time is no way to spend an exhausting, if caffeine induced, morning. I nearly went mad watching compression failures as I tried not to let my head slam into the desk with the dull "thunk" of exhaustion.
So there we have it! After getting things up and posted on Tuesday and rushing to get a comic out for last week (on Christmas Eve), we celebrated Christmas by sleeping all day and binging on Terraria to help recover over the last two days.
What a ride!! It makes me really excited and eager to see what sort of adventures we have in 2012! Fulfilling this Kickstarter; building up a backlog of comics; building our online store; returning to a twice a week schedule (permanently); posting on time like clockwork; making a Volume 1 book; making awesome poster prints; making new and exciting shirt designs; meeting and playing with people; honing our comic and blog abilities; these are just some of our goals for 2012.
I really can't wait to see what the year has in store!! Thanks for sharing in the excitement in our wild ride of life!
My post will have to come later. We JUST finished the comic and we need to run off to dinner with family. I'll post probably tonight or tomorrow; for now enjoy the wintery themed comic!
Pie and I wanted to take time to say thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to our Kickstarter campaign so far! Already within the first couple days we are almost at 1/4 of the way there!!! WOOO-HOOOO!!!! With 29 days to go, we are definitely on track to making this a very awesome and successful shirt printing, so thank you to everyone who has and will back us! Seriously, we love you guys.
Also, because of the recommendations of a dear friend, we will now be offering a WHITE ZIP-UP for the "I Love Rock and Roll" back design and "Endless Quest" front design. I'll update the project page a little later and put up mock-ups for everyone.
For now though, go have an awesome and wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate. Whatever it is, go out there and have a good time people!