Cover for the Calendar ©RamblingRican
As I mentioned before, I'm starting to organize a small set of fundraisers for the big trip next year to Japan. (crossing fingers) My hope is to be able to go to Japan in the Spring and interview as many people as I can to include in the books I'm writing on Sasuke's history. The first of the projects was a Calendar with STQ'ers in 3 different locations celebrating the 6 years I've been doing this blog. The locations just happened naturally and would have happened regardless if the photos were not used for this calendar. Miska Sutela from Finland was over in Japan visiting and the STQ'ers just naturally got together to train with him. Even Morimoto flew up from the South of Japan to take part in the festivities. That event was in Yamagata. The Sedai event is an annual PTA event that the city runs. Jin and Tada were invited to participate and brought their cameras to that as well. Sasuke Director Inui even showed up there out of nowhere shocking everyone! LOL The Gunma event was a small local hangout that I got a couple of bonus photos from. I'm happy to say that the Calendar is complete and finally up on the website! Thanks also to Philip (from SMF) for my brand-spanking-new logo! I even added a cat from the Create Calendar site and perched it on the monitor! LOL
December 2015 Events Snapshot ©RamblingRican
I was blessed in having a few photographers who donated their photos. The large majority came from "Jin" Kung Cheen-Howng 洪 恭芹 and Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也 with a handful of photos from Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 and even Sasuke Director Masato Inui 乾 雅人! I also added the birthdays of those involved and featured with some of the Sasuke regulars (Like the All-stars) to fill out the months. I didn't get them all of them but I hope to be able to expand on that next year with their permission. I wanted to add more but just started with this for now and see how people like it. I also had a cultural lesson about Japan. They have never done a fundraiser before. I'm not kidding. This idea is completely foreign to them! Just the calendar itself was a confusing thing. I remember being on Skype with a few of them explaining what a car wash, girl scout cookies, candy bar sale, spaghetti dinner, and even a lemonade stand was! It was quite the experience. I appreciate all of those who participated in this having NO IDEA what this could possibly accomplish! They were so confused... (some still are even though I have their permission!) Seems it's quite an American invention. (wait until the crowd-fund project... that's going to blow their minds! LOL)
April 2015's snapshot ©RamblingRican
I have to admit I had a difficult time with the format though. I originally had less photos and no captions. I did one of those normal photography type calendars with single or double photo pages. The quality of the photos I had were absolutely awesome (and I had over 500 photos to chose from) so I was able to do that if I wanted. However, I ran into a distinct problem. Without the captions no one knew who the heck anyone was. Ultimately that’s what people had the most issue with. The photos were awesome by themselves but it didn’t have any impact on them because honestly only a hard-core (like myself and possibly most of SMF) would know who the heck anyone is anyway. LOL Heck some people wouldn't recognize what they look like but would recognize nicknames like "Moody" or "The Lucky Bastard that got Bunpei Shiratori to speak at his wedding" but they would be damned if they knew what they looked like in photos with other people in it. Also, most Rambling Rican readers go to my blog to hear what I have to say about photos rather than the photos themselves. (and trust me I'm forever grateful for that!)
A snapshot of the creation process
I had a hard time trying to find fonts and colors to fit without screwing up the design. I originally was going to do captions in the Events section (where the dates, numbers are in one of the empty blocks). Then scratched that idea quickly. Then decided under the pics to at least mention WHO was in each particular photo.. but that really screwed up the format. I had chat bubbles and that really made it look worse (and cheap..). I had blocks where I had the captions IN the photos but for the smaller photos they basically cut off the photos making them even smaller. So I settled with this one alternating between black and white font in hopes it didn't blend too much into the background. One of my longtime Sasuke friends (Thanks Cathi!) suggested to add my own Rambling Rican captions like I do on the blog offering my own thoughts on some of the photos. Hubby toned down some of my more wtf moments (he did say and he's right.. this is a family friendly calendar that can be put in any home with children present) so he took out some of my lines and acronyms. Oh future editing projects will be fun and I have to put my ego in check! He is right though as painful as it is to admit it. I moved photos around, took some out, added some in, changed format, order.. heck I fought with the damn thing for 3 straight days! If in the future people want pristine photography photos (like a photobook – which this site also does) then the only marking on the photo would be a copyright. I'm more than amiable to expand on that in the future. But for now this will work. The first year with any project is the most difficult to create. I can change it for next year if I get too many complaints but so far this is the direction I got from my longtime readers (and the most approvals). I know that I won't be able to please everyone sadly but that is the nature of varying opinions. Especially when money is involved as it is in this case.
May, 2015 Snapshot ©RamblingRican
Full disclosure on the "fundraising part" of the Calendar Project. I'm getting about 5-7 dollars per calendar created (not sure if I get hit with back end fees like most companies do these days - if not it's 7 bucks at the top end). All of the prices are up on their website along with a description as to how this works. This is the first time I'm using this website and hope the experience is positive. The calendars are only printed when someone orders them as opposed to other companies that require for a certain amount to be ordered up front. While they also had an option to do a fulfillment drive (like they do in local schools with the sign up sheet) I chose the other route available. They will be doing the fulfillment so I don't have to be the middle person. I won't know who orders are from as the website takes care of that privately between the buyer and them. So far I've had zero issues other than creative issues on my own. I appreciated they had no set up fees (some websites can cost 100-200 bucks just to set up) and their reviews are overwhelmingly positive (yes I checked outside websites and Googled their names). Consider this a test run. If this year works out well I will continue to do this and even expand on any of the other stuff they offer (like photo books, cards, etc.) if people are interested in buying some sort of merchandise that will help me as well. So if you want to contribute to the kitty and get the inaugural calendar (it comes in 2 sizes apparently although I formatted it for the smaller one) you can buy it directly on CreatePhotoCalendar's website! The website accepts Visa, Master Card, Checks, Money Orders, and Paypal. They ship to the USA, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Europe, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, India, Thailand, and Australia. As always I am eternally grateful for your continued support throughout the years and I hope to continue by expanding and reaching that ultimate dream of writing about Sasuke at it's source: Japan!
Lena Horn posing with my calendar! ©Lena Horn
One of my friends (who is also an Author - Forgotten Fox (Book 1 of The Celestial Saga) shown here) was nice enough to send me a photo of her holding a Calendar she bought. That is the standard size 8 1/2 x 11 calendar. I also got a few of them (to mail out to the guys as thank you's) and having never worked with the company before, I have to say, the calendars are a reaaaaally nice quality! The calendars are actually heavy stock and really hefty for their size! I wasn't sure the quality of product but I'm quite pleased!