Yesterday, I had a conversation (OK, a conversation in the digital sense, but words and ideas were conveyed, making it a conversation in the modern sense) with a friend, and, though we were discussing drawing and designing cars for fun and no profit, we hit upon the business side. As we dove deeper into the differences between illustrating and designing, the elephant in the room reared its head, and brought up the classic issue of dealing with monotony and having to educate a client or two along the way. And then he (my pal, not the elephant… I’m sure that the elephant is a she, as it never laughs at farts) did the unthinkable:
He asked a question. If you know me, then, well… you know better than to set the synapses a-firing. He posed the question that has gotten so many into trouble over the years; “What small business doesn’t have to deal with a customer base that doesn’t understand the craft, and always beats you up on price?”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what inspired me to create a whole new niche.
For your consideration: The hot dog cart.
When you approach, you know the price. You may not know what goes into said food product, but you know that you like it. Much like art: Can you make a hot dog? Further: Can you make an EDIBLE, visually pleasing hot dog? …much less in the time frame that you want it? Chances are that you can’t. So you pay the price listed, no haggling, no bartering, no getting five other quotes from other vendors, and then going back to the cart where you found the hot dog you wanted, and telling the proprietor that a cart over on 52nd has them $1 cheaper. You purchase the dog, perhaps you throw a suggestion or two in there (“Mmmm sauerkraut sounds good!”), you eat it. End of transaction.
The porn industry, I’d imagine, is very similar, but lacking the customization in many cases (I’m talking broadcast/pre-recorded… I understand that there are outlets online where they’ll tailor a performance, but for our purposes, that’s like seeking a Picasso that matches your couch, not having your Gremlin drawn — which is a funny innuendo all it’s own, but I digress). You see the video, you delight in the creative title (“Sorority Sisters 85”, “Boobnado” or “The Fucked and the Furious 69”), and think “Yeah, she looks pretty hot”, and BAM! You clean up… I mean “purchase said video”. You don’t quarrel that the lady on the cover should be a brunette or redhead, or haggle for a cheaper price, simply because the prop used wasn’t big enough or this or that color… No, you pay the price, and head back to your parent’s basement and get your creep on. No hassle… you enjoy the movie for the, uh, “art” that it is.
That said, I’m going to hit Shark Tank with my revolutionary idea:
I’m taking my craft on the road. Working from a re-purposed hot dog cart, I’ll sell my art on pre-packaged DVD’s, featuring titles like “Sixty-Nine Camaro 25”, “Brothel Belvedere”, “Salt Flats Slut”, and so-on. Pre-made designs, renderings and illustrations with no hassle. The price is the price. You have a thing for another gray pro-touring Camaro on Forgelines? We’ll have you covered. You like it weird? We’ll have a slammed, patina school bus that’s part Donk, part resto-mod, and all triple-turbocharged with lowrider paint. A little something for everyone.
Should you want a more “customized”, “intimate” experience, well, that’s what the website is for (“Private Drawing Sessions With Brian and His Big Pencil”). And, should this be a hit, the part that I’m most excited about is hearing on the news how the “Adult custom automotive art industry is seeing record numbers, but there’s a dark side: Many are addicted to buying renderings and prints.”
Oh, SEMA, you bring out the best in me.
Today’s topic: A Half-Dozen Helpful Tips on Fitting in Where You Obviously Don’t Belong — This Means YOU, Guy Who Either Mooched a Pass or Works Somewhere on the Very Fringe of the Industry (ATTN: Guy Who Supplies Thumb Tacks to the Local Auto Parts Store)
1. Don’t grab every pen, Post-It pad, sticker, magnet, ruler, sippy cup, catalog, magazine, DVD, keychain, light-up mascara case, sunglasses clip, lanyard, really tiny pouch to hold, well, really tiny things that you grab at other booths, or extra bags as you stroll by every booth… much less HANDFULLS of them. This tells me that you’re either a complete douchebag, or that you are a hoarder, and yes, probably also a douchebag.
2. Speaking of extra bags, that giant-size tote you’re hauling (with 1/3 of your giant mass listing to starboard to compensate) makes it easier to spot you from afar when I’m looking for outsiders to walk in front of as they take a photo with their flip-phone at mid-stride. There is no fine line between grabbing a few things and EVERY GOD DAMN THING YOU COME UPON. Rather, it’s a giant, conscious leap to make, and your chances of sticking that landing are as good as, well, the next item on our list…
3. No, Skippy, Miss Valve Stem 2014 wasn’t really into you, or super-excited to have another photo shot with you. While you may think that the previous 400 lard-ass, hangers-on waiting an hour to meet her and get that poster were but a warm-up to your brilliant entrance, lugging 3 metric tons of promotional materials and bashing that load into her leg, you can rest assured that all she’s thinking is “only four more hours today, and but three more days until I can cash that check! And why does this guy smell like stress balls and catalog paper, mixed with onions and Axe spray?”
While the people who actually BELONG AT THE SHOW and are WORKING are trying to squeeze past you and the 400 others just like you to get to a meeting, just know that you SHOULD take it personally when I mutter “get the fuck out of my way” to you. That week isn’t play time. It’s feed my family time. Stay home, and look at pictures of booth girls on your favorite forum between taking jabs at cars you’ll never have the skill to build, you pile of shit.
4. Stopping, mid-stride in a busy aisle to text your bros isn’t the wisest idea. I forces me to pretend that I didn’t see you when I plow into you, and then pretend that I’m sorry. That saps energy I was saving for when I have to attempt to control every fiber of my being from punching you in the throat when you finally end your phone call to your bros at home about how hot Miss Fender Washer is, and how she signed your poster “CALL ME, LOL!”, and step out of that stall after 20 minutes of hearing “No, bro, it gets better!”, and look at the line of 35 angry colons waiting to explode.
5. If nothing else, DO NOT use someone else’s pass, or try to slip in with last year’s, or some doctored pass or otherwise. What are you, like five years old? And no, I don’t believe that the Asian guy’s real name was Jesus Angelino Martinez de Venuza. I’m not buying it.
6. For the love of all that is holy, DRESS APPROPRIATELY. Nothing makes you look more out of place than the stained t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Honestly. If you can’t respect my industry, at the very least respect yourself. It’s a PROFESSIONAL TRADE EVENT. Not the fucking Piggly Wiggly on Thursday night, you trash.
Hot off the heels of an exciting SEMA Show, we’re proud to announce…
What is it? It’s a whole new way to get our pricing into the hands of people who can’t afford quality design work… based upon what we’ve heard that we charge. (and I have to say a big THANKS to those who have been assuming the price levels here, and spreading their own figures for what we do. Using YOUR numbers, we’re gonna be RICH!) We’ll be placing our full pricing options into three awesome and very forward-thinking mediums, thus eliminating any doubt as to what you get:
1. Online. A simple pricing table. We’ll be moving some decimal places to keep current with what we heard that we charge, but that’s OK. Our simple chart will spell it out cleanly. We call this method “Take a Look at Brian’s Package”.
2. Download and print the above as a handy PDF. We call this “Handling Brian’s Package”.
3. For those of you looking for more interaction, we’ll be mailing out pricing in the form of lottery scratchers, as they’ve been deemed the most comfortable and familiar for the broke-ass, white trash folk looking for free work. Will it be free? Will it cost you the suggested rate as heard last week from folks who just, well, assumed? Who knows? It’s all up to you, and how you choose to “Rub Brian’s Package”.
Genius, I know. Look for the app soon, as well.
Some helpful hints and tips for making the most of your “Give Me Free Shit for My Project” SEMA Trip:
1. Be “in” the industry. It helps to have some sort of an established presence. I mean beyond the whole “I have a cool car/truck/bicycle”, or the “I bought so-and-so’s cool car/truck/bicycle”. Have a shop. Perhaps some sort of ACTUAL clout, outside of your five good-time buds.
2. Don’t drop names of people who have no clue that you’re using their name. It’ll make for some good times when the rep you spoke to speaks with me following the show; probably some awkward ones for you moving forward.
3. If you’re going to use your connection with an artist or designer to further your agenda, it helps to utilize a rendering drawn BY that artist for the “project” you’re dreaming up as you go along. See “awkward” above in tip #2.
4. SEMA isn’t your personal fucking gift box. It’s a trade show. The professionals are there to network, and plot and plan the coming year. Your dumb ass just makes it feel a lot longer than the week needs to.
5. Stop bugging the designers for free renderings with promises of “getting some coverage”. Chances are, if the designer is at SEMA, they certainly don’t need you.
6. Yes, we pro’s notice that the name on your badge doesn’t fit with your face… and we can sure as fuck bet that you don’t belong. Your loud-mouthed horseplay on the show floor gave it away early on.
7. I’m not your “boy”. I built this business myself (as did all of the working artists and designers), purely on the reputation of good work, and I’ve been blessed to make the connections I have. I work my ass off for them. If you’d like to think that you’re any part of this, cut a check, and I’ll consider making you a partner.
8. Nobody, and I repeat NOBODY owes you shit based upon promises. In this business, it’s all about what you’ve done before the current project. Nobody cares about what you haven’t done yet. If anyone tells you differently, they’re just as full of shit as you are, and you should hook up, and spend your days hoping and dreaming. We’ll look for it next year in the same “proposal” you’re pushing in peoples’ faces.
I promise that we’ll be less negative next time. Maybe.