Wrapping Up An Episode
You’d think that once an episode was up online that would be it; you’d be done and it would be time to move on to the next episode. Turns out there’s still things to do.
If you did a fundraising campaign for the show, you have to get all of the donor gifts sent out. A lot of those gifts are DVDs of the episode, so you have to get the episode, menus, extras, and disc and case art all put together, formatted correctly, and agreed upon. This results in a surprising amount of conversations about text justification, spacing, and color. No matter how many times we’ve done it before. Then you have to have the master discs duplicated a bunch.
For this episode and the last, we’ve had a very generous duplication offer come from within the audience. Greg and his son Kyle from Little Rock generously volunteer their time and materials to make all of the discs that are being sent out to donors. It’s unbelievably helpful and no matter how many times I thank them I can’t ever thank them enough.
Once we get those back to Illinois, we’ll have to print all of the DVD case inserts, cut them down to DVD case size, stuff them in the cases, and add a disc to each case. There were less donors for episode 7, so I think we only have about 70 or 80 of these to do this time. Our producer Tim might be doing that part of the process this time, but we also might be doing a DVD assembling party between him and his wife Emily and me and Lize. Sounds kind of fun to me.
While we’re doing all of that, our DP/VFX-guy Ryan has to get the digital downloads of the episode and outtakes sorted out and sent out to everyone. I have no idea what goes into all of that.
Then it’s mailing time. In the past, we’ve addressed the envelopes by hand. For the international mailing, this includes standing at the post office for about an hour or two filling out overseas forms—redoing the addresses and answering questions about contents. This time though, we’ve got a digital scale and I think we’re going to do the whole process at home, printing stuff from online, just stopping in to the post office at the end with everything filled out. We haven’t tried this route before, but it sounds better.
Once the DVDs, t-shirts, knits, and downloads are taken care of there are a couple other considerations. After each episode, I put together a new “Intro to PoPS” video incorporating some of the footage from the latest episode and concluding with an episode selection screen. First it was PoPS in 52 Seconds, then it was PoPS in 77 Seconds, we’ll see what it is this time. I want to edit one of those together in the next couple days so that it goes up right after all of the episode parts are actually public.
Of course, during all of that I have to keep checking in on view counts and comments on the episode, because it’s like a drug. Can’t get away from it. The view counts aren’t where I’d like them yet, only around 10,000 on the first part, but the comments are so great. So many people are calling this their favorite episode. It’s such a relief. It makes me feel like all the work and problem solving and endless conversations and hours at the computer are worth it. The negative comments this time are still staying nice and specific. A few people think that it’s damaging to the show that my cast of real people who work in libraries, boutiques, and offices can’t do fight scenes like they’re a professional stunt team. I’m talking like 5 people out of the hundreds of commenters who loved the action. So I still feel pretty good about that. One person thought I ruined the show because he thought he understood a character better than I did, so he’s wrong. And one psychic/empath commenter thinks my character irreparably damages the reputations of real psychics and empaths everywhere, and she doesn’t like the show anymore. But if my work is well regarded enough to do that kind of damage, I think I have to count that as a victory too. My cousin Kirk thinks she must not be very good anyway, or she would have seen it coming.
So far only one person has sent me a collaged-something since the release of episode 7. @jellyninja2 sent it to me on Twitter this morning:I love it. I hope we get more GIFs and fan edits and collages and drawings. They’re always the best.
A week from today, my lovely wife and I will be in southern California. A week from tomorrow we’ll be on the floor of Vidcon. Then Disneyland, L.A., the New Beverly, and probably Mel’s Drive-in again. Then we’ll have spent all of our money and I can sit still for a couple minutes to start writing episode 8.
Thanks for reading.