Today we clarified something with our order rep Nicole at USPCC (United States Playing Card Company). Sometimes when placing custom orders there is a miscommunication between the customer and the rep. Our issue was that Nicole kept sending us a proof that used images that were outdated and not properly sized. Today after a few emails and a phone call we got everything straightened out, the resulting cards are gonna look awesome and we are really excited to almost be able to announce our fundraiser.
We wrote a press release back in December when our project wasn't fully fleshed out. At that time we were thinking of selling prints instead of just decks of cards. We were also looking for sponsors and thinking of partnering with a local store front. Since then, we have focused our project to include only playing cards which was really a result of our relationship with Nicole and USPCC. In addition, since then we created a cool animation with cut paper and wanted to mention that in the release. Check out the video here.
Lastly, something we have been trying to do for a while is update our website so that payment can be taken directly. In the past we've used third party sites like red bubble. The problem is they take a huge hunk of the profits meaning less money can be given to the charity. This time we will sell on our own site with Paypal only taking a very small percentage of every sale. This is the first time we've sold something through our own site, so it's a little tricky figuring out coupon codes, shipping prices, etc. In the end the result will be more money for our very worthy cause OBP. Check out our store at our website page.
Hello all of the bloggy blog!
Today we finished making the commercial for the CFC project.
We had to finish animating the goat scene. Just like we did for Danny and Sandy, we cut out three types of faces and rotated through them to make it look like the goat was talking.
Then it was time to record!
We began this by getting a Blue Yeti mic that we just found lyin’ around, and plugging it in to a MacBook to record with GarageBand. Then I (Angie) set the mic into bidirectional mode so Jackie and I could sit across from each other and record with the best clarity and least background noise.
After we recorded, it was time to compile. Using iMovie, we cut, clipped, and edited!
Click any of the links below to watch!
See ya next time!
Today we started filming the commercial which is an animated film staring Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsen. We used an Xacto blade to cut out the heads. So that each character had 3 mouth movements. That way, it looks like they're talking.
We used the app Stop Motion Studio to create the animation. A tool called an 'onion skin' helped us make sure it looked smooth and not choppy. An onion skin is basically a shadow of the previous frame. We will use the script next time to record the audio on a Blue Yeti microphone and edit the video and audio together on the computer.
Also we spent some time reformatting our cards, so that they fit PERFECTLY in the template sent by USPCC. Our first attempt would have caused some decapitation. Once we upload the new template the cards should arrive within a few weeks. Then we can sell them on the new AJ ink website - that can receive payment. (Same URL) Lots of work done today see ya on flip side.
[Insert don't you forget about me]
Today we did a lot of work! We worked on posting the NFTs, wrote a commercial for the cards, created a spreadsheet to keep track of payments, received the official AJ ink stickers, started finalizing the proof, and set up a PayPal business account! Check out the script to our commercial:
Danny Zuko: *sigh* I wish there was a company that would produce plays for people with special needs. *sigh* if only.
Sandy Olsen: Aha! There is, it’s called “Off Beat Players,” or OBP for short.
Danny: Cool! How can we help them out?
Sandy: Maybe, we could make playing cards, and sell them for a fundraiser.
Danny: Good idea! That’s like a lot of work though so… We could just like make drawings and not cards
AJInk: We’ll do the drawings AND make the playing cards
Sandy: Ok! Now, we gotta find some people to print the cards
United States Playing Card Company: We’ll do it for a great price!
Danny: [insert r2d2 wooooooo’s]
Outline, sketch, inked, color
Danny: After the drawing, Jackie would color the cards..
Sandy: And then, Angie would make the cards consistent
Danny: Woah bro
Sandy: Let’s upgrade the website to sell the cards virtually
Danny: And reformat to the USPCC’s guidelines so when they print it it works
Stop motion of creating a paper airplane - fly it across green paper
Goat: Woah bros I got my card but what’s so good about these?
Danny: Well you get some awesome cards and the money made is donated to OBP so they can make more production, bro.
Sandy: Let’s go watch the OBP production of “Guys & Dolls”!
Thank you Nicole Sinsgon!
You are probably wondering... why are we thanking this random person? BECAUSE! She is helping us to get our decks of cards professionally printed by the Bicycle Playing Card company. Here are some of the things that we had to do, according to Nicole:
1-INSTALL Adobe Illustrator! I had not yet installed this program because it is stupid. OK, fine, it's not stupid, but it is tedious. The upside is that Illustrator is allowing us to make the cards uniform in the template that Nicole Singson wants.
2-EMBED all images in the templates! This is so when they cut the cards, our drawing does not get cut off. It is pretty easy to embed something in Adobe Illustrator- you just hit the "embed" button. Then, it snaps to the template!
3-CROP art to the bleed lines! For the back of the card, the pattern needed to run off the edge, because Nicole let us know that it doesn't always print perfectly. By printing the pattern to the edge, all the backs of the cards will look the same.
The majority of our work today centered on CENTERING the custom faces of the cards... ALL 52 of them! While doing this, we noticed a couple of issues. Some cards have different sized suit symbols, and other cards had an "artifact" (a small blemish caused during the design process).
One last thing that we had to do was fill out the order form. We had to come up with an "in-hands" date even though we don't have a specific time that we need these cards. If we don't give them a date, it will take forever because it will not get in the production schedule.
So next time you see this blog, dear readers, the order will have been placed (hopefully) and producticized. Thanks! -AJ Ink
Today we formed a partnership with Bicycle Playing Cards (specifically this woman who had a Pinterest about reupholstering things.), made by United States Playing Card Company. They are interested in helping us out and have given us a GREAT rate for 100 decks with a white window box. It will take about three weeks to create the cards once artwork has been approved, henceforth the parceling over of the illustrations has become a top-eth greatest importance.
A recent idea was to partner with local businesses who would sponsor the cost of the cards and provide a location to pick up the cards BUT with the new low rate for the USPCC we will not need sponsorship and instead will do a direct or fulfillment from our bungalow. In order to pull this off we needed to upgrade our website account so we could receive payment, check it out, a link to pre-order things (maybe not sure how it works but they will tell me I hope). Some of our past ideas included NFTs, making greeting cards, finding local sponsors, creating a custom box (saves me time), private casino night style dealers for VIP sponsors, and still considering framed laminated prints. This is not an end all be all that be won't be doing some of them (some we will not :P). Another way to help students with special needs to receive a theater experience!!!!!! GoFundMe
Welcome back to the bloggy blog!
We have a LOT going on here at AJ Ink this week.
Here's what we have done today: Began selling NFTs, emailed more potential sponsors, and started a Go Fund Me.
Yes, last week we said NFTs are bad for the environment... BUT if we sell our NFTs as a collection, we will reduce our carbon footprint by a lot by reducing the transaction fees. To begin selling our cards as NFTs, we needed to create an OpenSea and MetaMask account. Once these were done, we were able to begin uploading our cards as NFTs. Check out the AJ Ink OpenSea page here: https://opensea.io/AJInkDesigns
Yeah, no one got back to us over the past week... BUT we will not let this bring us down! We continued emailing more potential title sponsors and are hoping that we hear back next week.
Like our Calendars for a Cause fundraiser, we decided to create a Go Fund Me page for this cause: https://gofund.me/2d2efc5b. We are linking everything to this in order to start covering costs of the card production while we wait for some NFTs to sell and some title sponsors to show up!
Tune in text week to hear about some more progress!
Today we started off by exploring an idea that we have never thought of before. Non fungible tokens! These are a non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a block-chain. This could be a photo, video, or audio. We did a bit of research and realized that NFTs are environmentally controversial. The high energy usage of mining crypto-currency in order to buy the NFTs makes them something that AJ Ink might want to avoid. On the other hand, for a small investment of $150, we could post all 16 of our cards and potentially sell them for 1eth each. If we were to do this successfully, we would be able to use the money to print all of our cards AND have leftover to donate straight to OBP. This is a concept we are still exploring and AJ Ink might be able to use NFTs to make a lot of change in the world!
So, we went back to our original plan which is contacting large corporations and playing card producers to see if we could get one title sponsor to cover the cost of 100 decks of cards. Our first move was to investigate the sub-brands of the United States Playing Card Company, namely: Bicycle, Kem, and Legends. What we did was created a write up specific to each sub-brand and filled out their online contact forms or in some cases card customization forms.
After reaching out to these card companies, we also thought of PepsiCo which is very local to us. They're known to sponsor a lot of student run projects in this area and who knows, maybe we could have "Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Quaker Oats, Frito Lay, Gatorade's Cards for a Cause".
Tune in next week to see if we get any replies! Email AJinkdesigns@gmail.com to tell us about your thoughts on NFTs or if you know a CEO who would be open to this partnership!
Angie and Jackie
Today we worked on finding more ways that we could cover the costs of our card decks. We starting brainstorming about casino nights or have people pick up their decks at Minute Man Press with a DJ style event. But, we finally came up with the genius idea to find a corporation to sponsor the cost of the decks so we can have our fundraiser in a covid-safe manner! If done this way, we could cover all the costs of making 50 (or maybe 100) regular card decks and provide more profit for OBP.
We constructed a template email so that we can easily ask each company for the same thing with our purpose, process, and product. For this, we began working on an elevator pitch for "Cards for a Cause".
Another idea to build on to this is have a title sponsor that goes on the back of the cards with OBP along with local and smaller sponsors that can go on the back of a pamphlet we sell with each of the cards. If we are able to do this, we can maximize the amount that we can raise for OBP.
So for the title sponsor, we went on LinkedIn and company websites and collected any contact information we could find.
Hopefully next week we can send along our ask to each of the companies and hear back!
Hey-yo welcome back to the bloggy blog!
From the very start our project idea has been to get these customized card decks. We have not understood until now how expensive this can get (52 different customized cards, front and back, full color, in low quantity). Because of this, we are trying to find a work around to cheapen the cost per deck- using standard business card size.
While we look into the price difference for that, we are realizing that framing our fundraiser as an event provides a lot of new opportunities for us. First and foremost, corporate sponsorship. There are a lot of business in Greenwich that want nothing more than to support a good cause. There are really three reasons that they do this. First, to support a good cause. Second, to increase visibility and good will in the community. And third, to decrease profits reported to the government in order to reduce taxes.
So, we are coming up with a giving ladder that will offer rewards to people for giving at different levels. We want EVERYONE to feel comfortable giving at any amount that they can... But some of these corporations are able to give a huge chunk of cash that could go towards our cause. Also, in-kind donations could help to make our event more fun! Some ideas include, having a DJ, snacks and drinks, and maybe even some games, or a performance!
Right now, our biggest issue is figuring out how to send and receive money as AJ Ink Designs. We are either going to move towards making AJ Ink finally an LLC or making a DBA as AJ Ink for this event.
Hope to see you next time with some more news!
(Greeting cards Phil Lohmeyer: Lohmeyerdesign.com/eyecandycollage.html)