Foo Fest: Success!

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So my first experience “manning a booth” is over- it was exciting, rewarding, and exhausting. I came home from Providence’s Foo Fest/Makers Faire late on Saturday night, and Sunday was a day of foggy memories, sore muscles, and slow, zombie-like movements. Standing all day, talking to potential clients continuously, and lifting and moving my machine and all my display materials had taken a toll on my mind, body, and soul.

Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by to see my work and to reminisce about the old arcades and the early days of the E-street Band. I could have sold several “Bruce” machines if I had them or was willing to sell my prototype. Several guys lingered and studied my price sheets to see how they could afford to have me make them a new/old machine. If any of you are reading this- please give me a call- we can make that a reality! Several small groups of guys and gals huddled near the booth just to hear the endless string of songs from the machine in its “jukebox” mode.

If nothing else, I proved to myself that there is an audience for my work- and the positive feedback and words of encouragement and praise made it all worthwhile.

I had no expectations of getting any strong leads from my booth at this festival- after all, the demographics for Foo Fest tend towards the younger, “fringier” crowd. I considered this a practice show- I am really aiming to show more at arts festivals where I am more likely to find more clients from my era that would appreciate my work- but I was very pleased with the feedback here- the younger attendees especially were very complimentary- and interested in what these old machines were like- many having never seen or played anything but video games.

For example- I got sincere compliments from a 20-something DJ, who appreciated the art work and attention to the artist in the design. I heard words of appreciation from a young local female radio personality. I was asked if I would be interested in displaying a machine in the Providence Museum of Art and Science (if the curator’s dream ever becomes a reality). Finally, a writer for a prominent Rhode Island monthly publication indicated that she wanted to write a story about my work.

Even if nothing comes from any of this, I believe these are signs that I may be onto something. Thank you to anyone and everyone who offered kind and encouraging words.

Chapter 1 is complete.

My First Booth

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I hadn’t planned on getting serious about my custom pinball machine business endeavor for another year. I wanted to complete 3 sample/prototype machines, work through a business plan, meet with a lawyer and an accountant, etc.

But in the space of about three weeks, I’ve developed a “real” website, purchased my own domain name, worked up a pricing strategy, written a few blogs, and submitted one of my projects- Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out – for consideration in the local “Maker’s Faire” in Providence- a showcase of “Makers”- those like me who dabble in unique combinations of art, technology, etc. In other words, a place where weirdos can go to meet other weirdos so they don’t feel so weird.

I didn’t have high hopes that I would be accepted into the weirdo circles immediately- I suspected that they needed to get to know me, quiz me on my eccentricities, challenge me to prove that I deserved to be on the far end of the weirdo-spectrum. Only then could I be accepted to participate in their “Faire”.

But either they aren’t so weird or I’m weirder than I thought I was- my application was almost immediately accepted, and I was invited to put my creation on display in a booth at the event this Saturday. I was honored, pleased, and panicked a bit at the thought of putting something semi-professional to promote my business concept (and solicit potential clients) as part of the show.

This week has been a crash course in designing a hanging banner for my booth (designed in one night, submitted to Staples for printing yesterday, printed today, trimmed and ready for pick-up tomorrow), designing and printing business cards (complete with a QR code), designing tri-fold promotional fliers (inside designed and printed tonight, outside to be designed and printed tomorrow), and planning the layout of the booth (complete with the actual functioning machine, promotional materials, email sign-up sheets, price lists, free candy/bribes for the kiddies, etc. etc. etc.)

Oh yes- and I just returned from a week-long vacation so I had a lot of catching up to do at my real job. So my pinball work happens in the evenings. It will all magically come together on Saturday morning, I am certain.

So if anyone happens to read this, and if anyone reading this happens to be in Providence, RI on Saturday, please stop by to stare at the weirdos at our little Faire. I’ll be the one sleeping behind the booth as little kids steal all my candy.

Day Two- Crash Course in Web Design

So my tinkering in web design yesterday led to sharing a link on Facebook, and a few hundred views of my digital scrawling. I don’t think I embarrassed myself too much. I must say that the web design software is more of a grammar nazi than any of my friends. So I want to spell playfield as one word- just humor me, please.

I added links today. That was special. I replaced my lame order form with a too-long ramble about price comparisons and guidance on costs for potential clients- but I think it’s an improvement.

So my audience is no longer zero- but it is certainly not captive.

If only I didn’t have a day job, I could make a serious go at this….

Soon….