Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Big Printing

If you're like me, you set out to make a playset and you think, hey, I'm an artist, the art part of this is a cinch. Once I get the vinyl sealing down, once I figure out the design and how to do the snaps I'm home free. You never really get around to doing the math. If you are like me.

Well, turns out this 22 inch wide set I've made actually covers a lot of real estate. Each wall has 3 sides: 10x10, 10x13, and 10x10. So that means I have to generate two 33 inch wide 10 inch tall posters to decorate both sides of one wall, plus a 9 x 22 inch piece for the floor. Stack three of them together and you're talking about not only a lot of pixels, but a lot of printing! Plus, since it's 10x10 you have to print on 11x17 paper and, if you have a ton of them, have it cut at a printer's shop. Whew. So tonite I came home with a big pile of Mego playset prints:

They look really great. These are all color laser prints---I'm dealing with small numbers of dozens of different images so any offset printing is out of the question. The quality of a color laser print is pretty great these days, though, and I made a friend who works in the copier business who gave me a sweetheart deal. Otherwise I don't think these displaysets would be at all affordable.

The one thing I feel obligated to point out is that the art for the floorboards in the displayset are made of two prints joined together with double-sided tape. At 22 inches wide there's no more reasonable way to generate the art. So I design the floor with that in mind, so the seam is somewhat hidden. After that, you see the magic of clear vinyl take over and makes everything shine...

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Mine Eyes Glazed Over

Can't think anymore....It's late on Sunday night and I think everything on the website is ready to go. I've been working on it for days getting pictures together and trying to figure out the clearest way to explain and present what I am doing. It's especially hard setting prices given that I'm two months away from having part assembled and ready to ship. While I've done my best to figure my costs I am almost certain something unforeseen will pop up to throw me off. Labor, shipping, printing, who knows. But the order is going in to the factory this week and I need to take pre-orders on the deluxe sets so I know how many people really want one.

The first Mego Museum newsletter goes out tomorrow and there's lots of great stuff in it. Brian and I wanted to step up the Museum's promotion of Benjamin's book (Worlds Greatest Toys!) and it seemed like a great opportunity to make use of the mailing list we put together for the Star Trek cards in December. Not wanting it to be the only thing in the newsletter we hit upon the idea of doing a profile of Rob Chatlin, a great Mego collector and a good freind to us over the years. That will probably be the favorite of all and deservedly so, Brian did a great job. We are also covering the Logan 5 discovery and the aforementioned Mego Meet. Last but not least, a little thing I've been obsessively working on since August, the Displaysets...

So we'll see how it goes. Reaction to my customs has been very strong and many people have approached me seriously wanting to be on the list to get them. I hope that all translates to reality, I'm certainly optimistic.

And tired.


Sunday, April 1, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dida!

April 1st is my late grandfather's birthday, always memorable because it's also April Fool's. This will be a fairly serious post, despite the wacky holiday....and just to be safe I'm posting it nearly on April 2nd.

My grandfather is one of the most important people in my life, and 6 years after he passed away he's still there for me as an inspiration.

I spend a lot of my spare time working on the Mego Museum and its projects. My passion for those particular toys started the day this photograph was taken, when we had just come back from Montgomery Wards with Superman, Batman, Robin and Aquaman. The smiles say it all.

For the last 6 months to a year I've been obsessed with manufacturing Mego style playset displays with interchangeable artwork and parts. I call them Displaysets. The project is coming to a head now and I am ready to order parts from the factory, have them assembled and shipped to (hopefully) many happy customers. It's the culmination of years of dreaming about making toys, and it's so satisfying to have pursued a vision so relentlessly when it would have been easier to give up the many times I felt overwhelmed or despairing. It's also scary and at least 3 times a day I ask myself, my wife, or just the empty air if I am crazy and doomed to failure. We shall see. As she says, what's the worst case scenario? You lose a little money and gain an experience.

My grandfather was a smart, hard-working man who built a successful business for himself and his family. I've always been the artist who doesn't understand math and has never balanced a checkbook in his life. I wish I could ask him for advice. I know he'd want to see a more thorough business plan than the vague swirl of ideas in my head.

Sorry, Dida, I'm doing the best I can.

Dida was what I called him from a very early age. It is pronounced "dee-dah" but doesn't look that way on paper. People always say "Dih-Daa" or "Die-Dah"....the same way they often say "Meh-Goh" instead of "Mee-Goh"....So that's pretty much perfect for me and my new endevour.

The domain isn't set up yet, I haven't built the website or even finalized my prices....but I have the business license from the city of Oakland and the state of California that says I can start doing business on April 1st as "Dida Displays"....

No foolin!