Aug 20, 2008
Gama-Go’s Big Yeti – The Inception
[Gama-Go makes swanky Tees, Hoodies and more featuring strong character designs from some of the coolest artists around. But wait... There's more up their sleeves. Toys and more toys! Today we're stoked to bring you the first of a multi-part look at the development of the Big Yeti coming later this year from Ningyoushi. Your guide for this journey is Greg Long, Co-Founder of Gama Go and dope storyteller].
The fries are really good at Custom Burger on 7th Street, but the fucking beer - Corona - is $6. That's just unconscionable. I make my way over to the table where Chris, Omar and Denise are sitting.
"This fucking beer was $6"
Nods all around. I sit down. Chris commiserates about the cost of beer in swanky-gentrifying-burger-spots and we all do a little bitching while munching on the sea-salty fries.
It's an odd feeling eating fancy fries and talking toys while watching the everyday mélange of disgusting San Francisco 7th street hobo antics occurring right out the window. Junkies, shit-stirrers, crotchety geezers, mean-ass SOMA regulars clucking and scrapping for turf.
It's like I'm submersed in a deep-sea bathysphere peering out at a nasty and hostile terrain.
I take a swig of beer.
"Ok, right. Toys."
Omar and Denise are good people. They've been buying GAMA-GO for Ningyoushi since they started. We've done events and pop-up shops at their store, Double Punch. They're some of my favorite industry people to bounce ideas off of 'cause they get all excited about things but have a real keen business sense about what works and what doesn't. They talk straight, do what they say, and don't fuck around. They make things happen.
We talked about all sorts of projects at this meeting, banged things out. New paintways for the wooden deathbot, a triple-threat collaboration with Joe Ledbetter, and the big-ass Yeti Vinyl figure.
The Yeti. Ok. Let's talk about the Yeti.
These sorts of conversations often start backwards. Price and drop date. Once you set those, then you can figure out what your limitations are with the tooling and dies and painting. You can guesstimate the cost of materials, packaging, shipping, promotions, and all the little nuts and bolts that make a piece special. With the wooden Dbots we made something really fun at the lower end of the price scale. The Joe project is going to be ridiculous and over the top & because of that it'll be at a different level.
The Yeti needs to be somewhere in the middle. Expensive enough that we can trick it out a bit, but affordable enough that it can be given as a gift.
The gift aspect is key 'cause we want it in time for Xmas. That gives us 6 months, which is just barely enough time if we hustle.
"How big can we go?" I ask.
"The Yeti should be big." States Denise. "Yeti are big. How about like so..." She's making shape sizes with her hands. Pretty big shape sizes.
"What's the pose?" That's Omar.
Chris and I kinda look at one another. Chris pipes up, "what about running? Like that drawing where he's heading towards his cave?"
I nod. "There's also that great illustration Tim did where he's running and carrying a log on fire and the whole forest is burning. I love that one. The body isn't right & the teeth are wrong, but it's a good start."
Omar and Denise both light up with the mention of the burning log.
Omar: "That's great, a burning club. How can we do that?"
Denise: "Would there be a leg back and a leg forward?"
Me: "I think we can stylize the flame without much problem, kinda like the Statue of Liberty ya know? Yeah, one leg back, one leg forward. Kinda like this."
I do a quick shitty sketch in my notebook.
Chris: "His arms should be able to move."
Nods all around.
"We can articulate at the shoulder." Omar suggests.
"Can we work from existing art?" Asks Denise.
"No." I say. "We don't have good turns on the Yeti. His shape has always free floated a bit."
"I'm partial to where he has a large, overdeveloped back. Almost a hump. It makes him a little more strange."
"I think Ridd Sorensen is a good choice for this. He's got excellent technical skills and he has a real feel for how to capture the Yeti. He's also quick."
"Sounds good." Says Denise. "Once you forward me the approved front and side technical drawings we can get our sculptor going. He'll take 2-3 weeks depending on revisions."
"Weeeellll," I begin, "we should get started with the packaging early. I know I'm always fancying up shit, but I really like a nice package. Maybe we do something where we play with Ice and have him captured in it, ya know?"
I catch a knowing glance running it's way around the table. I sip my beer and eat a fry. Outside a legless woman in a motorized wheel chair is repeatedly swatting the ass of a tall black man with a grungy copy of the Street Sheet homeless newspaper.
"Ok," says Chris, "well let's get moving on the drawing right away. You'll talk to Ridd?" Tipping his beer at me.
"Yup, I'll write to him today."
I grab some of the last fries, there's a toasting of beers and waters & we adjourn. Later that afternoon I type up an email to Ridd, forward him a bunch of the Yeti illustrations. He writes back quickly that he's into it and has time & asks some questions about the pose and how the torch should look.
Within days, the sketches arrive.
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