Oct 28, 2008
Gama-Go's Yeti: Packaging + Final Production
[Today we bring our behind-the-scenes series on the development of Gama-Go's large Yeti figure to a close. Greg Long, Gama-Go cofounder, is your tour guide in this final installment and he dishes on the final package design, final figure, and the impending pre-sale this Thursday. Enjoy.]
Sometimes I head over to the Brainwash cafe to clear my head and get some of the thinkin' work done that I find difficult to do in the office. Brainwash is a bit of a SOMA institution. It's a cafe/laundromat with a typically SF snarky staff and ridiculous clientele. Once you've gotten your coffee, grabbed a table, and started looking around - you'll see five or six people on computers, a couple of faux or not-so-faux junkies, a bunch of overly-made-up gals from the cosmetic college down the street, and a couple of frisky-looking europeans who just rolled in from the hostel around the corner.
After spilling the news that we couldn't do the plastic-molded ice cave box, Denise quickly sent me an alternate box option that had a bunch of photoshopped elements that would work together to make the Yeti look enmeshed in ice. It was alright, but it wasn't the direction I was looking to go. Now here I am sitting in Brainwash with some coffee and looking over our fall product mix spreadsheet. I need to put it away and get to some doodling. I quickly sketched what I was thinking. Lots of cutaway windows: front, top, both sides - all of 'em have windows. Get the Yeti name spelled out in logs and a carved GAMA-GO on a board. Loads of huge icicles, etc. I took a quick photo of it with my phone and texted it to Denise and Omar. The main thing is that I wanted all of it to be painted.
Before I had finished my coffee Denise wrote back that Dave Higgins - the same artist who had hand painted the master of the wooden Dbot - could do the painting for the box. Excellent.
When I got back to the office I found that Denise had sent me some photos of the actual painting of the resin one-off of the Yeti. Some sweet timing. We had gotten images of the resin master the week before & things were rolling along reasonably smoothly. This first round of painting photos were a bit off. Denise's painter, Liz Belomlinsky, had gone with an ashen gray color for the face and hands of the yeti - definitely off-spec and a bit creepy, but ultimately not a huge deal as the rest of the painting was on target. I typed out a color change email to Denise and that was that.
With the painting done, the yeti could now move into production. Last piece was finalizing the box. Fast forward a week and a half.
Oct 21, 2008
Gama-Go's Yeti -- Sculpting + Fire!
[After a little bit of a hiatus, we're back with the third installment of our look at Gama-Go’s Yeti figure coming in the fall from Ningyoushi. Once again, Gama-Go co-founder Greg Long is your colorful and insightful tour guide. Enjoy. ]
Ok, picking up where we left off with this Big ol' Yeti. I was talking about Ningyoushi's Denise and Omar's surprising suggestion.
But first ... let's have an amusing anecdote.
GAMA-GO's offices are in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco. For you who don't live in San Francisco, SOMA is that part of town where you can still find companies that are actually making physical do-dads, gimcracks, gewgaws, etc. There's sweatshops and welders, furniture makers and coffee roasters.
There's a lot of hobos. It's part of the deal. Loads of reasons for it, mostly it's because there's a lot of people and services trying to help folk out here in the SOMA. It's the neighborhood where needle exchanges, shelters, and outreach programs are allowed to exist.
Our offices are on the second floor of a building that, long ago, was a textile mill. Beneath Chris' desk are a pair of steel doors for when they use to hoist the raw materials up for processing. We've got some odd windows that run about a foot above the floor the length of the warehouse. They're good for scoping out the shitty alley next to the building & watching the hobos break into cars. There's your run-of-the-mill drug use and pissing and whatnot. I've personally put two fellas in jail after they broke into some cars.
Across the alley is a fantastic restaurant - Basil Thai - the folks who run it are a good group of people. They work hard, make great food, and are a tight-knit crew. In between lunch and dinner, around 3pm, the kitchen crew takes a break & has a couple cigs in the alley. A couple years back they got a dart board and hung it on the door to the kitchen. It's become a part of my daily ritual to watch them toss some darts and relax.
The point of this yarn is the other day a hobo took their dart board.
I was looking down in the alley and noticed the dart board oddly sitting on the ground resting against a car's fender. "What the fuck is that doing there?" I wondered to myself.
Then I noticed this hobo kinda quickly stagger-pacing around. He was giving off a bad vibe. He kept coming back to look at the dartboard & look around to see if anyone was watching. On one of his passes he grabbed it and walked down and around the corner.
"Fuck!" I yelled. "The hobo stole the dartboard!"
"What?" That was Chris from across the room.
"He went around the corner!"
Then I see Chris jump up and run out of the office. A quick glance out the window shows him barging out the alley door and sprinting down the street.
"Well hot damn." I mutter to myself.
Five minutes later I see Chris walking back around the corner with the dartboard in hand. The kitchen crew has meandered outside and he's explaining to them what went on. There's suddenly a lot of smiling and laughing and patting of backs. It's a good day in a SOMA alley.
What does this have to do with a toy Yeti? Not much. But nothing happens in a vacuum. I see hobos and dartboards in the GAMA-future.
Back to the Yeti.
"We want to include a torch that lights up"
Sep 03, 2008
Gama-Go's Yeti -- Sculpting
[Today we continue our look at the development of Gama-Go’s new ‘big’ Yeti figure coming in the fall from Ningyoushi. For this second installment Gama-Go co-founder Greg Long returns with his cure for Yeti Constipation -- and he talks about sculpt revisions as well.]
"It looks like he's taking a shit."
Well, there ya have it. Chris is right. He often is. That bluntness of his has gone a long way towards making GAMA-GO the success it is.
"Yup." I agree.
Denise had just emailed over the second round of photos from her sculptor. The form was looking pretty good. It's always a trip watching something move from a sketch into reality. I hadn't worked with this sculptor before, but Denise had good things to say about Mr. Eli Livingson & the work he'd done for them prior was solid.
The first shots had come through a week earlier. A rough shape. You could still see the marks of Eli's fingers in the clay. It's hard to gauge scale with photos, but it sure looked big. He had tackled successfully some of the really odd areas of the Yeti. For Example, the Yeti's crotch in our illustrations is just plain strange.
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.