I made a bunch of notes for posts that don’t amount to much on their own, so here’s a pile of them. Yay!
It’s been an intense December at my magical book and animation cave. Many records were broken with books flying out the door. This month’s gross sales matched what I sold in my first 2-3 years in business. I can’t wait to slow down and catch my breath.
Also flying out the door: stolen goods. $1500 of my stuff walked away, either from postal loss or trespassers. (I should set a trap with a GPS-equipped decoy). It’s not personal loss, and I’m luckier than others- my upstairs neighbor had robbers get in his apartment.
San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood might have a lot of people on Santa’s naughty list. Or maybe a naughty person left him a reindeer burrito, so he got revenge by loading up his bag at our places himself.
When I had time this month, I enjoyed some good movies. Here’s some links to spread the Christmas Evil!
Fandango did a contest to pick the worst Christmas movie ever. Doesn’t Santa With Muscles sound great?
Santa’s Slay: Here’s a heartwarmer that’s just as rewarding as the trailer promises. Santa Claus is actually a demon, forced for 1000 years to carry presents and spread cheer against his will. Now he’s back to kick ass, with a side trip to the strip club. Bad Santa is another favorite pick for black comedy, but I liked this one for more slapstick with bad ass stunts, and it didn’t make me want to take a shower after laughing so much.
I also saw a non-evil movie, Elf for the first time, and laughed so hard it made my GF buy me a bunch of buttons that say stuff like this.
Rare Exports: On the night before Christmas Eve, 4 of us went to the SF Film Society Cinema (review) to see this Finnish movie about a Lovecraftian Elder Santa, dug out of ancient ice under a mountain. Unlike the above movies, it was totally straight-faced, with no parody in it’s absurdity. They did a good job of implying lurking horrors on the frost-blasted tundra, despite having only a handful of evil deaths (mostly offscreen). It left me with the impression that someone needs to edit it into a black metal music video.
Do you know the Krampus, the Christmas ghoul who comes for bad children? Feast your eyes on this!
Movie Production Hell: About another kind of hellish movie…
I was casually commenting to someone, that movies with troubled productions can be cool and special experiences, even if they aren’t exactly good. (Specifically about David Lynch’s Dune.) I really liked it as a flawed movie where the flaws add character, and show gaps that they tried to paint over, like with the storyboard/voiceover intro. It helps to read the book to know what a challenge Dune was to adapt. Flops with redeeming quality teach me things that I might not get from seamless, perfect movies. Another one I’ve had on my list for a long time is Heaven’s Gate. It killed the career of the director of The Deer Hunter, but kept holding notoriety instead of being forgotten. Final Cut, the story about making it, is one of the best movie books ever. In 2005, they let out a 5-hour cut that’s supposed to redeem the mess of the theatrical cut. I must see it one day. I also must watch more David Lynch movies. He just released an album in time for holidays:
Here’s another production hell story that mixes animation and publishing, for John K (Ren & Stimpy creator).
Why There Isn’t a Spumco Coffeetable Book: My Personal Story
I left this comment for the book’s author, and Cartoon Brew blogger, Amid:
You sometimes catch heat in comments for having harsh opinions. I wanted to thank you for not keeping this story safe and untold. (It’s also good that you took care to mention it’s just a personal story written from your perspective.)
I was really interested to read this, since I could tell you a story or 2 of my own, about slippery business dealing with small publishers related to large animation properties. That would have to stay private though.
If you care to write more, I’d love to hear specifics about why the approach that failed was “tame, respectful, and completely at odds with what John was asking for”, and what the approach should have been.
Please post more about your experiences that cross over between animation and publishing, especially with launching projects like this.
Leaving production hell, here’s a happy success story about an experiment by an independent creative guy: Louis CK’s comedy special. I love it enough to post it before I’ve seen it.
Enjoying book business sometimes gets overtaken by the “business” part, especially in a month like this. Then I get an order that reminds me why I love it. I sell books all over the world (including finland and australia today), but occasionally I can hand-deliver with a 5 minute walk down the street. (One time I did that for a rare documentary someone bought for a gypsy party. I tried to get myself invited, but it didn’t work, because maybe I smell funny.) This nearby order is extra cool, because it’s a special photo book sold to respected photographer, Jim Goldberg. I sent an offer to consider coming here to pick up, and check out some special items.