Wednesday, August 30, 2006

real ingredients

So lovely Jennifer just posted a response to triangulation and I loved it.

"Can I say I adore Cathy Zielske. She is so cool. If you like her, you'll love Ali Edwards. She's as real as it gets."

I should mention that I can't imagine Cathy Z. possibly being tickled by anything more than hearing "if you like Cathy then you'll love Ali Edwards." It makes me wonder if Ali Edwards is a more believeable Cathy Zeilske than Cathy is...

So how real are we talking? Like pick your nose in public real? I don't mean driving in rush hour and scratching the rim... that's nothing. I mean like right down the sidewalk baby. Maybe a double knuckle job?

How about a raw unshaven armpit cuz' let's face it... anybody can share the trials and tribulations of their day. Dr. Phil "gets real" but do we ever see him out of makeup?

I throw the gauntlet down ladies. Let's see how "real" these scrapbook rock stars really are!

friendly famished faces

Today my day was filled with sending grahics for the 'nth time down to the duplication house, answering calls from companies about the release date, pricing, fulfillment, building the storefront, slapping up a new website ( well, the frameowrk for one, more coming soon ) stress from things way past deadline, ramping up some promotional stuff, people wanting pictures, press kits, problems with encoding web promos, returning calls for upcoming events, two appointments, etc. etc. and a strange smell from under the fridge. No screaming children or prostate exams though, so I've got that going for me...

This is probably a normal day for many people, the part that's new to me is having a couple hundred emails from people who are bummed that you don't have time to chit chat. "Wes, I saw you at the premiere, AWESOME, Wes... I was one of the 5,000 consultants you signed an autograph for and got a picture with. I've been emailing you, I've been calling. Where are you man? Where's the Scrapped love?" Well... sorry I haven't had a chance to get back to you Jane / John Doe... I've got about five thousand people sending me emails. :0)

If you've been disappointed that I haven't been prompt in response don't you fret! You're on the list somewhere... Here's a sneak peek at my priorities list so you can tell if we're talking communication in a few hours, days or centuries.

1) My Wife or her cats saying her ( or their ) arms and / or legs have been chopped off.
2) My arms or legs have been chopped off.
3) The Scrapped Public Release DVD is held up in production somewhere.
4) The Scrapped Website needs to be ready for 09/05/06
5) The Scrapped online store needs to be finished for the distribution company to get test files.
6) Food / Water
7) Fire or flood somewhere in the house.
8) The marketing company needs stuff from me so they can give more stuff back to me.
9) "I need ( fill in the blank ) to finish my article, interview or interrogation on you."
10) Confirm SSL for accepting Visa's online is secure and functional.
11) Return emails and / or calls from stores or groups that want a visit but seem surprised it costs money to travel.
12) Return emails and / or calls from manufacturers or vendors that want me to look at their website.
13) Waste time answering calls and emails from people with ideas about how to save me time.

Let's skip down a few...
1022) Erase emails and calls like "I really liked your movie but you should change ( fill in the blank here.)"
1023) Answer emails and calls like "Where can I get a DVD?", take a look at the webite.
1024) Answer emails and calls like "When can I get a DVD?", take a look at the webite.
1025) Answer emails and calls like "Where can I get ahold of you?", just did! take a look at the webite.
1026) Bathroom Break.
1027) Answer emails and calls from people assuming rejection: " You don't call / email me back... are we still buddies?" ( No offense, just no time to affirm our bonding. A real friend will understand... )

Anybody else in this boat? If so, would you have time to reply?! I want to hear about how you personally determine which of the late items, stressed people or bodily functions you deny for the sake of advancement. I suppose cutting out blogging would be a good first step but right now, this is my only marketing campaign. :0)

Monday, August 28, 2006

triangulating to find your location.

Here's a quick shot of me calculating a geosynchronous orbit of my desk with a toy satellite and a picture of me in an old Broadcast Engineering magazine proving I'm qualified to use terms like pitch, yaw and geosynchronous. It was a paid advertisement and I didn't actually fly any satellites, just tune in transponders. Not nearly as impressive.

Steven Wright said "It's a small world... but I wouldn't want to paint it."

Yesterday my wife and I went to the Minnesota State Fair like we do pretty much every year. While we were at the fair with 172,000 other people yesterday a woman came up to me and asked "Are you Wes Thomsen?" and I said "Yes, are you a scrapbooker?" She had been to the premiere where she and her husband had their picture taken with me. Apparently I stuck my finger in her husbands ear right before the shutter snapped. Being a distinguished couple in a situation where we were all wearing suits and ties I can see where I would have easily done that. She and her husband had some great words and then she asked if I felt like a celebrity. It never really entered my mind.

Today I was reading Cathy Zielske's blog because I think she's cool... and a legitimate scrapbook celebrity. She showed a plume of light from the fair bandstand out the window of her house saying she can turn to the right and see it every evening of the fair. She also talked about the horrendous parking situation during fair time.

I'm in the strange place of shedding my skin from growth as a cold blooded media man ( as many of media / marketing types really are reptiles ) and need to kick into the phase of production where you have to tell everybody how great you and your project is, how important it is that people watch and / or buy it. I'm hyper sensitive to "the pitch" and am trying to find a middle ground, climb out of the media ooze, walk on dry land and become warm blooded yet live in the carnivorous land of reptilian sales and promotion.

I took a shortcut away from traffic leaving the fair late last night and in some weird way I found my bearings this morning when I read Cathy's blog. She's having a crap day and since ( I can only assume ) everyone outside of the People's Republic of China reads her blog, they all know she's having a crap day and yet her personal brand assets aren't plummeting on the Dow Jones. Thinking about last night when I was on the Midway with the lights and noises spinning and blasting adrenaline in all directions, then being approached by someone thinking I might be a Scrapbook celebrity, potentially driving right by Cathy Zielske's house who really is one but living life like everyone else, needing to scheduling in self maintenance "me time" and watching the fireworks outside from her quiet place... well, it just reminded me where I am... where we all are.

This morning I thought that place is the moment of all of us being who we were made to be that changes in a split second because of the fluidity of life. We're all celebrities to someone aren't we? Karen the scrapbooker and Larry her husband are celebrities to their kids and I'm sure many others... they may never know how much until after they've passed on. Cathy influences me, I influence other people. It all goes on and on. We will never "arrive" because life's obviously to damn big for us to harness and steer. I'm going to just ride the wave, get my bearings and try my best to steer in the direction I want to go.

Sometimes it takes at least three points of reference to determine where you are.


PS> You can see Cathy Zielske's blog by going here:

PSS> Ahhh, no this post isn't very clearly communicated and yes, I'm mixing metaphors like a mo-fo.

Scrappers Haven

Connie and I went down for our first scrapbook store event Saturday to Scrappers Haven in Winona, MN. It was a blast. Everybody started out getting their picture taken with me ( that and $3 will buy you a cup of coffee ) then we had a meet and greet, Katrina the owner got up and spoke a little about the premiere on August 5th and how cool it was to have a "Winona Premiere" and then I got up and spoke a little about making the movie, scrapbooking in my experiences, etc. We watched the movie, then used the pictures from the beginning for a make and take, ate food, had some great beverages, signed posters, everybody got DVD's, music, and just got to know each other. It was a blast.

It's extremely interesting to see how the differnt people connected with all the balaogna I was saying in the movie. There were some older people, younger people, High Schoolers, men, women, all kinds and they all got something different out of it. There were certainly a couple guys there that I have to guess have never stepped foot in a scrapbook store. I love that.


Monday, August 21, 2006

battle of seconds

Just finished a leaner edit of Scrapped and am encoding it as I type. I ended up trimming a little off the Memory segment with Dr. Redish, a bit of the Creative Memories Lab segment and some off the It's Magic and Therapy interviews as well as tightening up the segment where Rebecca helps me with my first page. I think it shaved off about four minutes in all. I also changed the font on the credits so you can read them without a microscope and fixed a couple type-o's.

Tomorrow I'll make new menu's, hunt around for special features and get Christine the graphics guru a new pic or something for the new DVD cover. The countdown is on!

I was cleaning out my digital junk drawer on my laptop as the editing computer is crunching compression away. Here's three pictures of beautiful moments of zen I found. One is from when my wife and I ran off to Las Vegas on my bike and got married. On the way back I really wanted to go out of our way out into what was then the middle of nowhere to visit carhenge. A storm was rolling in and there was nowhere to find cover for miles but we went anyway and got some great pictures before we got soaked. Another is of my wife and her two cats. Being on top of her is their favorite place in the world. I got them for her so I wouldn't have to snuggle. They've done a pretty good job at keeping their end of the bargain. The last one is my last bike, the completely impractical one that I sold to pay off bills before I started production on Scrapped. I burned through a couple drive belts doing stupid stuff with it. Some of my favorite times in life have been sitting in the garage listening to the BBC at two in the morning when everything else is quiet cleaning, polishing, fixing or tearing down with a Glenlivet and nowhere to be in the morning.

After reading some other people's blogs I feel slightly inadequet with no sweet snapshots of children. This is the beauty that's bigger than myself in my world right now so I guess that's all you get. :0)


Sunday, August 20, 2006

art house

Just got back from seeing the Danielson Faily Movie at Bryant Lake Bowl in uptown with my friend Brad from High School. A good, weird day all around. I also went for a walk around lake Calhoun with some other friends which started all the weirdness. It was great to take a day off. Walking around the lake reminded me of how much the uptown area of Minneapolis has changed. When I met Connie my wife I had a studio condo on Dean Parkway across from the lake that I bought for about $14k, gutted and remodeled it. I'd bike around the lake and watch all the windsurfers and volleyball in the summer and think life couldn't get any cooler. When we got married I sold it and we got a 1 bedroom house in south Minneapolis. I couldn't afford anything near that neighborhood now. It got too cool for it's own good.

I don't see Brad very often so it was a fun treat. As the legend goes he shares the dubious honor of giving me my first mohawk back in 1984 which is also claimed by my friend Rebecca. I can't remember so I let them both be happy. Brad and I were uptown groovers going to First Ave watching bands nobody had heard of and dressing like we cared way back when. To go to Bryant Lake Bowl and hang among the young, tattoed, pierced and tragically hip was a reminder of how little we've really strayed on the inside. He insisted he pay for some Scrapped and Brethren DVD's for gifts and we both laughed at how we never saw any of this movie stuff coming.

It was great to watch a movie that technically sucked but was so honest and fun. People laughed and were inspired. They just took it for face value and enjoyed the moment. There was no critical analysis, no sales pitches, just hanging out and enjoying a group experience. It reminded me of the decade I spent playing music and gigging and how much work, struggle and raw beauty it is. The movie had a scene of Sufjan Stevens singing "To be alone with You" from his Seven Swans album. I've been listening to it about a dozen times over as I'm typing this up and it's breaking my heart. Sometimes Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings are a million hours apart. It made me think about how simple belief should be. I started writing a song on the way home that I'll never finish but had to get something out:

I didn't care
when I saw you, when I saw you.
The judge and jury were not there when I saw you.
The law was lost, the crime was gone,
the looser was the righteous one and
I didn't care when I saw you.

I couldn't fear
when I saw you, when I saw you.
I wasn't scared when I saw you.
The honest eyes I gazed upon
could not lie so I hung on.
I couldn't fear when I saw you.

You were right here
when I saw you, when I saw you.
Surprised that you appeared when I saw you.
Time was gone, I heard the calls,
but no one else was there at all.
You were right here when I saw you.

I fell asleep
when I saw you, when I saw you.
I prayed my soul to keep when I saw you.
The foolishness that makes you strive
is worthless when you've just arrived.
I fell asleep when I saw you.

Good Night.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Barron of Cottage Industry

Man, you put one little link on Two Peas and the next thing you know you're got a bunch of DVD's to mail out...

I'm up to my eyeballs in dropping balls this week. I need to make a new menu, get new packaging going and additional special features for the public release DVD of Scrapped because it takes two weeks to dupe it and I need to get it to the fulfillment company ahead of time so they can get it in their system. I need to send off premiere pics to Memory Makers magazine for a write up they're doing ( if you attended and have some I can use on the website please email me ) Need to call the fulfillment company, need to send off DVD's and thank you's to companies that gave us product at the premiere, need to track down the couple dozen people that paid for DVD's with credit cards that have been declined ( after they've already got their DVD's ) need to work on some upcoming screenings, need to revamp the whole ( currently inexcuseably lifeless and uninfomring ) website to gear up for the big release date so it will have an online way for people showing the movie to connect with people wanting to watch it, need a photos section, a layout section, downloadable press kits so people can promote their own showings from their living room to local theater to convention, need more / new trailers, need to edit some video together from the premiere and showcase to show people, need to dig out the studio from months of receipts, packaging and negleced junk, need to answer emails, need to build the online store, need to start marketing and get into the film festival circuit, you get the idea.

Posting a link where people that are popping a kidney about having to have a copy of Scrapped ASAP and have to have a premiere limited edition one made me call in the big guns. My wife Connie and brother Nate came over and we spent several hours packing up people's orders. That's just how big our outfit is here at White Knuckle Media. :0)

If you absolutely , positively need a copy before the public release you can go to and get a premiere edition copy. The page explains what it is and why it's different.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

peek at the big night

Here's some pictures of premiere night. I was actually holed up in the library of The Woman's club immediately after the movie ended for three and a half hours until people started leaving. Everybody wanted photos and autographs so it was my pleasure to accomodate. I just don't know what happened much outside of that so I'm relying on the photos and stories of others to piece together the evening.

If you attended please write your comments here or email them to me and I'll post them. As always you can click on a phot to get a bigger version. I'll have more in depth info and pictures on the website in a week or so. This is just a quick slap up job. :0)

The short verison is over 500 people ( lots of show ups at the last second so we couldn't keep track ), limos, butlers, lots of free stuff, dancing, food... you get the idea.



next peek

More pics...

Looking for more responses from people that made it! It's no surprise that all the wonderful place settings seen in one of these photos dissappeared through the course of the night, along with anything scrapped related like signs, wall coverings, pretty much any memorabilia that wasn't bolted down is going to end up in scrapbooks somewhere...



more next peeks

Of course you need candy for watching your movie and some people wanted more than the one copy of the DVD in their gift bag.

Overall this was an amazing night and even though I didn't actually get to see much of it I was floored by everyone's graciousness and just how much dang fun scrapbookers can have. I was particularly surprised at responses from men who gave in to their wives dragging them along. They seemed to really enjoy themselves!

I'm very happy to say the event has spawned several other "premiere nights" at regional scrapbook stores in the next few weeks where I come in with a projector and show the movie on the big screen, they whip up gift bags and we all have food and beverages then do the picture and autograph thing. Good times. It's a blast to connect with people first hand after they watch something you make because it opens up so many doors for conversation that goes deeper than if you just met n the street.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Back out of the Saddle

After weeks of working without a day off, some all nighters and a grand finale of meet and greets I took a break. One of the wierdest things I experienced last weekend was the response to this crazy scrapbooking project. I was very, very happy to meet people,sign autographs and do pictures. I just didn't expect to do it for 5 straight hours on Friday, 3 hours on Saturday and 6 hours on Monday. Literally from the moment the doors opened at showcase until well after they were closed I was under a constant barrage of thousands of people. Fun but draining because I'm not a people person, certainly not touchy feely, got about 4 hours of sleep the couple nights before, had a lot of other things going on, etc. You get the idea.

I wrapped up what I could last week and bailed out of town. I left Saturday at lunchtime for the North Shore of Minnesota and ended up driving all the way around Lake Superior... a little longer.

I was talking with my friend Dave last night about how some people thrive on community and would have really felt encouraged and empowered by so much energy and attention. I had a great premiere with amazing food and beverages and overall a very rewarding weekend. I had a blast but had more fun out in the middle of nowhere by myself eating greasy bar food and getting drenched. The thing that hit me was that I literally just finished up a 1500 mile ride on two lane highways in a full day of freezing rain in Canada, sitting on the wrong bike seat because I didn't swap out my cooler looking slim one with the touring seat the bike came with and woefully underdressed and came back totally recharged and rejuvinated. No people, just airing my head out on the bluffs of this massive body of water. I spent 52 solid hours of driving and sleeping and was ready to take a meeting after unpacking and a shower.

I guess I'm lucky that I have something I love so much and know what I'm good and bad at. Thanks to all the people who have patiently waited for their emails to be returned and looking for info on the website. I'll post pictures of the premiere and the CM showcase later today. I'll also pop up a page online where you can order premiere editions of the Scrapped DVD if you can't possible wait for the public release. I've got some extras I was going to use for promo's but have gotten dozens and dozens of emails of people full of drama apparently going crazy because they can't wait until Sept.



Thursday, August 03, 2006


I got a call from Scott, one of the musicians that will be playing at the premiere. As I wrote a couple posts ago we'll have some music going from 8:00 - 11:00 or so with a juicy jazz three piece happening in the ballroom and a great jazz pianist in the "lounge" which is really a gigantic thousand square foot room that spills out onto a veranda overlooking the city.

Scott called with some excitement and mentioned he was able to get George Maurer to come play piano with him for our evening in the ballroom which is a great treat because Geirge plays at several clubs in town, has over a dozen fantastic albums and has played with all kinds of greats like Eric Clapton, appeared in all kinds of jazz and classical venues and even played at the White House. He's a blast because he's very accomplished but can bend rules like crazy and whip into other styles in great moments of humorous brilliance.

I am very stoked. I think people will be in for some great surprises at the premiere. I haven't had the time to hype it too much but still have about 550 attending so they really have no idea what they're in for. Under promise - over deliver. :0)