For the last month, and sporadically over the next little bit, I’ll be going over through the final stages of the production process of writing one red paperclip the book. I grew up around manufacturing. And worked more assembly lines as a kid than you can shake a stick at. (FYI – My parents ran a sweatshop garment factory in the basement of our house and employed more than their fair share of child labor.)(Not kidding.)(Don’t worry – it was all legal and safe.) Anyhow, despite thoroughly understanding the production stages of such wonderful products as cable joe or Fiddy‘s favorite, 1188s, I never knew books had a production process. Proposal, first draft, second draft, copy edit, second copy edit with pictures, pre-production mock ups, galleys (whatever that means) and then some other copy just before they go to “final” production. I always thought books were one of those things that somebody just wrote. Somebody else.
And now I’m that somebody else doing things other people did. Which is fun. And I think the sentence after the next is amusing, if not anecdotal. Here it comes. When I was younger I absolutely hated to write book reports. I’d put it off to the last minute and kick and moan. My favorite book report was for the 1988 Guinness Book of World Records. I just said I’d read “about” 300 pages of the sucker and then listed my favorite facts. I forget what those favorite facts are now, but I’m sure they were awesome. Facts are like that.
So after watching Allan Wills’ videos, I’ve realized I have zero talent for video production. It’s one of those things that I think everyone with a blog thinks we should be good at, because with youtube and cameras with video settings, we all easily can. The difference is, Allan actually can. And it’s great to see somebody doing something he’s obviously good at and has a passion to do. Maybe for most people getting better at stuff is just a patience thing. Take for example my approach to this graphic. No, it’s not a dumbed down purposely-childish design developed by an avant garde graphics design collective to unilaterally appeal to the childish yearnings in all of us to play games like bigger and better aka one red paperclip and strike a chord with people in such a way that they’re more likely to purchase the book and increase sales and make the writer or and publisher happy and give a guy with a blog to pretend he knows what he’s talking about sorta like every single all night paper he wrote in university. Not that at all. I just cracked open photoshop and used the paintbrush to write the letters in with the trackpad mouse on my laptop. It’s WAY hack, but I couldn’t be bothered to deal with figuring out how to make it look nicer. And it took me five minutes to find the paintbrush button. But somebody else is awesome at that stuff. Being awesome at stuff is sweet. But until one red paperclip the book is read, and enjoyed, I’ll still be editing with paranoia and be ultra unsure it’s as good as I’d like it to be and will forever be re-writing sentences until somebody says stop. That sentence two sentences ago was great huh? Kyle
I always thought No Fear was just a brand of T-shirts and those things you were supposed to put on the top of your 1992 Z24 Cavalier windshield. I guess I was wrong. Way to go pops! Philosophy!
PS – That’s my dad. He’s nice.
I’ve been holding out on promoting this until “the big launch”, and the digg-fueled, server-melting big launch happened yesterday. The 1 Second Film is awesome. I can’t accurately describe how much I like this idea, or how in awe I am of Nirvan’s scope on things, so it’d probably be best if you check it out yourself, and become a producer! I’m a producer, are you? Become a producer! We can produce films together!
One Week Job is an undertaking that quite simply rules. There’s no two ways about it. Sean Aiken grew up in the same hood as me and Scotty and Fiddy. We all went to Seattle together in the late 90s as part of a binge work/get kicked out of the go-karts excursion. So we’ve got history, you could say. Sean’s off to a running start with One Week Job, and is doing it for all the right reasons. I expect only good things to come from this. I can’t wait to see where this takes him.
I write like this all the time in google docs, but never publish on a blog because it’s really, well, rambly…and might “blow” my “image” of writing purposeful blog posts, or something like that.
My mom said to me the other week, “You know, you have lots of ideas, but if it’s too much to do them all, why don’t you write fiction? People like to read stories that they know are made up, as well, you know.” And I know that. I’m reading Slaughterhouse-Five right now, which is fiction–ish, but it’s quite obvious the “research” for Billy Pilgrim’s character was pulled directly from Vonnegut’s POW time behind enemy lines. Thankfully I’ve never been imprisoned in a POW camp before, and I hope things stay that way, but after getting into this book and watching the movie Capote the other night, I’m really fascinated with the idea that it could be a book of fiction based upon real events, as opposed to a factual memoir a la one red paperclip.
But I’m still not sure, I’ve only ever written stories memoir style, like these. I feel that a jump to writing fiction requires a total disconnect in ways I might not be prepared to do. If you write fiction, then you really have to be a writer. When you write about stuff you did, you’re just a guy who did some stuff. Then wrote about it.
So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m looking for that first step again. It’s either going to be another idea that I get to “take to the streets” or something much more random and secretive that’ll get developed in secrecy, perhaps using special code words and handshakes and stuff. The thing with all that secrecy is, well, that it’s secret. And keeping things secret is really, really hard. I have hundreds of ideas, and I’m ready to make the move to get things in motion. (If anyone knows where these stores will be located, please let me know. I’ll pre-order the first person to find that info a copy of one red paperclip!) And then there’s this, which fascinates me to no end, including the fact that if I’m going to put forth a sophomore effort, it might be a nice idea to base it on the worst idea ever, as to flip the script on the whole sophomore slump thing. I’m not really sure what flip the script means, but I’ve been listening to a lot of early 90s hip hop lately and it seems to fit with what I’m trying to say. I think. We don’t even use the word sophomore in Canada, unless we’re talking about an “artist’s” sophomore effort. A sophomore in Canada is just somebody in grade 10. Not tenth grade, grade 10. So that’s deep.
If you peruse through the archives on this site, you’ll see that this blog is much more of a rambling unstructured place of thoughts, ideas, and old pictures of Dom that look like North Korean dictators, than one red paperclip. i don’t think there was a single picture of a North Korean dictator on one red paperclip, and that’s how I’d like to keep it. The randomness will stay this-a-way.
My mom wanted me to write a funny blog post today. How’s this mom?
Last December, the Volkswagen Polo TV ad opportunity came along. What sold me on it was the fact that the Spanish crew was prepared to come all the way from Barcelona to Kipling Saskatchewan and shot the whole thing on location. That, coupled with the fact that they probably dropped in excess of $40,000 into the Kipling economy for motel rooms, meals and assorted donations to local causes made it an offer I couldn’t refuse. And Nolan Hubbard got to appear in his first commercial. And it was broadcast in Spain. And dubbed in Spanish. It was fun. It was good for Kipling. So I sold out and hawked ultra-compact German vehicles to Spaniards.
I didn’t really talk about it much around here, or more precisely, at all, but the day after they filmed the VW commercial in Kipling, I flew to New York to shoot a Mastercard commercial. I guess co-opting the one red paperclip story to promote a credit card company pretty much spits in the face of hardcore bartering community. (and what I believe many people take one red paperclip to be all about.) But I really dug the ad agency’s take on for the Mastercard commercial. There was no “Now you should trade up to an apartment building!” or “What are you going to trade for next, the president of the United States?!” It was just a fun, heartwarming corner store fable of a guy who bought a pack of gum and tricked people into a series of trades and walked home with a coffee maker.(In a positive way of course.) Simple, fun, and despite what others may be led to believe, not at all like my day-to-day corner-store-going life. I was sold. Everyone else in the ad were actors, playing roles. The casting director complimented me at the end of the shoot. “You’re really good at this Kyle. So natural.” I won’t lie to you. It was the compliment I’d always been waiting for. It’s been a long and hard road to become myself. I’ve practiced everyday for more than 27 years. I accepted the beer in his outstretched left hand and changed the subject to something totally different, like my new pink-striped shirt or the binge drinking of expense account beer. I know it’s important, but I can’t remember what I changed the subject to. I blame the long day of filming. And the free pink-striped shirt.
Also, I think now is a convenient time to mention the uncanny similarity between that got-it-from-Mastercard’s-casting-van pink-striped shirt and the shirt my mom forced me to wear to school the day Jostens came in 1992. It’s actually kind of creepy how similar Dom and I looked back then – even though we lived 4500KMs apart and didn’t speak the same language. But thank goodness I never did anything like this. Or this.
Anyhow, I guess what I’m really trying to say is that opportunities to bring car-buying Spanish TV audiences to rural Canada or for a guy to do fake internet ad trades for giant corporations aren’t exactly the sort of thing that come along very often. So as long as I can help the community that traded me a house for the movie role or create situations that will make easy segues into onslaughts of embarrassing pictures of me, or Dom, I’m in.
So hopefully after all this, I’m still edgy. Yeah, edgy’s where it’s at. If you don’t say you’re edgy, then your aren’t. It’s simple logic. So with edgy in mind, when my friend Evan and all around favorite person who wears foam-mesh Puerto Rico hats asked if I wanted to be part of something edgy, and most importantly, nice, I had to say yes.
This time I’m going to be in a Superbowl Ad. You can read all about that here.
Have fun – Kyle
The title of the book is “I Sold My Gold Tooth For Gas Money”, and since it’s a compilation of travel stories, I assume there’s a story by the same name in the book. I haven’t sold my gold tooth for gas money, yet, but I did hitchhike in a parade in Banff in order to promote Alberta Beef and score a ride to the beer store, then wrote a story about it and somehow it ended up in this book. If the other stories are anything like the gem of an afternoon we had in Banff, then you’re in for a real treat with ISMGTFGM.
Matt Jackson put the compilation together. He’s the head honcho of Summit Studios, and a writer. He wrote a book about a four year hitchhiking trip around Canada called “The Canada Chronicles“. You can buy it here. I’ve read it. I liked it. A lot. The paperback version’s out now too, so you won’t have to sell your gold tooth for gas money to take in the chronicles.
Have fun – Kyle
Despite often spending 15 hours a day inhaling vast amounts of media over the past 18 months, I hadn’t read many books lately. (like maybe one in all of calendar 2006) So it was nice to sit down and do some good old fashioned reading, free of continuous chains of addiction-satisfying hyperlinks. Yes kids, you can wean yourself off an internet addiction! Just read a borderline-unhealthy number of books over a six-week period!
-Planetwalker – John Francis
-Bringing Down the House – Ben Mezrich
-I don’t Mean to be Rude, But… – Simon Cowell
-Around The World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne
-McCarthy’s Bar – Pete McCarthy
-How to soar with the Eagles – Peter Legge
-The Road to McCarthy – Pete McCarthy
-Mr. Nice – Howard Marks
-Le Millionnaire – Marc Fisher
-Scar Tissue – Anthony Kedis
–The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Mark Haddon
-Life of Pi – Yann Martel
-Breakfast of Champions – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
-The Closers – Michael Connelly
-The World is Flat – Thomas Friedman.
I recommend them all.
Or better yet, get a pair of camo Crocs!
Have fun, Kyle