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Wow - I can't believe it's 5 months since the last issue of The 420 Buzz. To say the summer was silly would be a bit of an understatement. Quite a bit brewing, so let's get down to business.
- New Web Servers - First off, a few of you will be getting emails from me [oKee comX] asking you to re-register. Read on and you'll find out why.
Due to circumstances beyond my control I had to find a new server-service for okee.com, captaincannabis.com and verneandru.com. Finding a suitable service and getting the code installed and running took a considerable amount of time. It became even more complicated when the first provider couldn't deliver the goods and I had to move all the sites yet again. The good news is they've been running off the new servers since September glitch-free, so I'm hoping the worst is behind me.
A number of you registered with either okee.com or captaincannabis.com [thank-you] and your log-in information fell through the cracks [sorry] during all this bouncing back and forth. If you get an email asking you to re-register, this is why. As I said, the new service is proving stable and more robust than the last, so sorry for the inconvenience.
Technical PS - The websites are written in a language called ColdFusion requiring a special server service and I have been maintaining 2 sets of code - one for verneandru.com and the other running okee.com and captaincannabis.com. With the move I've consolidated all 3 sites so they are all now running off the same server and code. This will make it much easier for me to manage site updates in the future as more features are added to enhance your 420 web experience.
- Festivals and Conventions - I took the 420 road-show to Hempfest in Seattle in August. An extremely professionally run operation, Hempfest is host to just about anything and everything hemp related. I met a whole bunch of wonderful people, gave away and sold a bunch of 420 comic books and got lots and lots of compliments on my new 420 baseball cap [more on this in a bit]. Unfortunately, rain blew in late Saturday and I cut my visit short, but am anxiously awaiting next year so I can do it all over again.
Similarly, rain hampered the Word Under The Street festival [jokingly called Word Under Water] in downtown Vancouver. While the comics portion of the show was supposed to be inside the Vancouver Art Gallery, the union behind the Vancouver civic workers strike refused to drop their pickets for that Sunday and we were forced to spend a cold, wet and otherwise miserable day under canopies in the Canada Post parking lot. A huge thanks goes out to Canada Post and to all those people who braved the inclement weather and dropped by to say hi and check out my 420 project. As far as the union goes...
I had an artist table at the Vancouver Comicon in June and again in September. A couple of the better con's in a while and I'm eying dates for 2008.
- The Interview Show - Scott Wood's interview with me [Verne Andru] about Captain Cannabis/420 aired on the Interview Show on Monday May 21st @4:30pm PST! The show went over so well Scott re-ran it during the first week of September. A big "thanks" to Scott and crew.
- New Merch - Hempfest saw the début of a new 420 baseball cap [similar to Hal's] and a Captain Cannabis T-shirt. Comments were so encouraging I've been exploring making them available for sale. I'm still shortlisting suppliers and finalizing the designs, but I need your help.
Take a few minutes and check out these designs and email back the one's that strike your fancy. No obligation to buy - I just need to know what people like and don't like.
One is traditional, the other a "truckers" cap. I've had some suggest I put the CaptainCannabis.comX writing on the back and have just the 420 on the front. Thoughts?
Choices include Captain Cannabis "superhero" pose [I have a few others, but this gives the idea], or 420 logos. Shirt colors and sizes are also up in the air but black male size large is the current front-runner. It's running 50-50 in design preference. It would be nice to do a run of them all, but resources dictate one run of a single design at this point.
Email me your preferences now!
- Help! I've Been Blogged! - I had a chat with fellow comic artist Dave Sim a while back and sent him a copy of the first issue of 420 to check out. He maintains a "blog" [Dave Sim's blogandmail http://davesim.blogspot.com/] and did a fairly lengthy treatise on 420 on Friday, June 22, 2007 [#284]. He admits to not being much of a fan of the "culture," but does provide an interesting perspective on the project pointing out both good and bad [hey, nobodies perfect and I always appreciate constructive feedback].
In short, Dave's blog echo's many of the comments I've received from others - looks great, nice art, intriguing concept but not enough story to sink teeth into.
This is all good.
It's almost a year now [good god, is it THAT long?] since I published the first 420 issue. As you may recall, I'm doing a feature-length movie as webisodes, books and film production simultaneously. As this has never been done before, there's quite a bit of pioneering going to find the right balance across media. Clearly I've not got the mix quite right yet, but I think I'm getting pretty close. A number of things dictated me doing the first issue the way I did.
- Setup - I'm pioneering and there was a disproportionate amount of time spent fiddling to get a formula that allows me to use one set of art for all media - one of my prime directives - that ate quite a bit of the front-end time but is behind me now.
- Make it "real" - I was/am anxious to get the project rolling but I also want to get it right. The book has gone a long way to accomplishing this and the feedback is allowing me to fine-tune the project before it hits high gear. It's also given me an opportunity to setup important business relationships with distributors, retailers etc.
- Production Costs - The project is designed to be funded through merch sales so the realities of how to print books cost effectively had to be tackled sooner rather than later. As far as printing costs are concerned I had 2 choices - either go POD [print on demand] and have a cost so high I'd have to set the selling price over $20 a copy [way too much], or do a large run on a traditional press to bring the costs down. I opted for a traditional press run which has let me set an aggressive $9.95 selling price, but it's left me with a large inventory for the moment. Neither choice was optimal - until now.
I've just taken possession of a full colour, large format duplexing printer. This solves my problem of printing short runs at reasonable costs because it's entirely in-house. It gives me far more control over the final product, far more flexibility and speed in producing books and I can do it at a price that will let me deliver product to you at a reasonable cost. Plus I can do short runs of posters, prints, postcards - just about anything you can imagine. Best of both worlds.
- Vancouver International Film Festival - I took the opportunity to meet with some producers and industry types during the recent VIFF and received tremendous support for the 420 film project. No deals inked just yet, but the interest is definitely there and the 420 film will happen. Stay tuned.
- So Where's The Story At? - Amongst all this silliness I was able to do one complete rough draft of the 420 storyboards. This means that the entire film - start to end - has been sketched out and I'm now in the process of doing clean-up and refinements. My conversations with producers at VIFF indicate a strong desire to move the project along to an animatic stage [storyboards synced with rough voice tracks]. Very exciting times ahead.
All this means I have to stop writing and get back to drawing, so until next time - Any Time's 420 Time!
Cheers - Verne
20% OFF WEB EXCLUSIVE SALE...
- 420-001 Comic Book - was $9.95 now $7.96 - save 20%
- 420-001 Companion Extras DVD - was $9.95 now $7.96 - save 20%
- 420-001 Comic Book/DVD Bundle - was $14.95 now $11.96 - save 20%
- The Playback article, Getting a buzz, featuring the 420 comic/film is available online at:
- 420 is all the buzz and making quite a stink - we've posted scans of the recent High Times and Skunk reviews here:
High Times -> http://www.okee.com/WebApp/Downloads/High-Times-420-article-Feb-.jpg
Skunk Magazine - > http://www.okee.com/WebApp/Downloads/Skunk-Mag-420-article-Feb-2.jpg
- Amazon.com - Regardless of where you are, you can get your very own copy of the first issue of 420 from Amazon.com:
Books are also available from:
- Dimestore Productions [US Distributor - http://dimestoreproductions.com]