Creative: August Self-Publishing Project, Chapter Eight


Ignore the boring font and basic design. In a hurry here people.

Okay, up early and not a lot of time. I’m juggling family, vast distances, local friends who are accommodating and the complexity that crowds are having on my immediate future. I’m attempting a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C for the next three days, which isn’t easy around here. I might be sleeping along the road, on a ranch, here in Laramie, up at Tie Siding, or some unknown location that has yet to present itself.

I wanted to illustrate the spread idea I was talking about, “Live Booking,” if you will. These are SAMPLE spreads because I’m in a hurry, but just think about how easy and fun and strategic this could be. What I have been doing is focusing on ONE thing. Stills. I was thinking I could do both stills and motion, and I’ve done a LITTLE bit of motion, but primarily I’m doing stills. My second focus is on notes. Writing, and recording quotes. And when I say recording I mean pen and paper. My audio rig is in my bag and won’t return. Not only it is too much to do, and do well, but none of the people I’m working with have time or patience to sit around while I rig my audio over and over. I also don’t have the ability to carry these things when I’m jumping from vehicle to vehicle. Truck to truck to Razor to on foot.

Okay, these spreads are again just samples, but they literally took two minutes to mock up. All you need is a solid still and a solid quote or observation. You do this several times a day and you have a book on your hands. When you return you put finishing touches and you go to print. BOOM. Simple and efficient. And fun. Working this way makes a LONG day of logistical challenges seem like a productive day, and I don’t know about you but I’ll take any perceived mental victory I can get.

What I learned yesterday.

1. Less is not only more it is the only option.
2. Even on a challenging day photographically, I can save my lack of imagery with good observations, notes and quotes.
3. I need a second body because there is no changing lenses out here.
4. I love this place.
5. I will return here much more in the future and will eventually create a serious project of depth and higher quality. But, it will require both summer and winter time and the winter here will kill your ass if you aren’t careful.
6. THIS IS A TOTAL BLAST.

14 Comments on “Creative: August Self-Publishing Project, Chapter Eight”

  1. Very cool! Love the Emergency Broadcast message… I’m in the process of reliving my youth with the emergency procedures taught at school in the case of nuclear attack!

    1. You mean “Get under you desk when the 50-megaton hits so that jagged metal and partible board can shield you?”

  2. I am living vicariously through you at the moment mister. Look forward every day for these posts to show up in my Twitter feed. Not sure what I am going to do when this halts – may have to read them over again and again.
    Absolutely love the access you are giving us to the process as we peak over your shoulder.

    1. Hey Mick,
      Good to hear. A few more days of this. Gonna get crazy with the eclipse here real soon. Everyone here is dreading it.

  3. Oh I love that spread idea. The simplicity of it. Recently made a blurb mag to test the format and materials, and was so blown away by the end result that I’m dying to make more. But I’d like it to be more substantial without turning it into a writing project (because it will never get started). Your spread + quote idea is perfect for that.

    And it does look like a blast you’re having…. Only slightly envious….

    1. C,
      Baby steps. I think this applies to just about everyone. I also think this technique improves observation skills.

    2. You’re totally right. I just surfaced from Teju Cole’s Blind Spot, which is a book on essentially the same idea from start to end. One image, one caption in a spread. It’s brilliant in a way that is unique to Teju… but it is essentially what you say: observation. And links to the greater world. Both intimidating, and quite, quite inspirational.

      1. C,
        It’s pretty darn easy, which makes it fun. Like building with small blocks. Simple but capable of building just about anything.

  4. I have to sheepishly admit that I only recently figured out that the spread, not the page, is the fundamental unit of the book.

    Even if it’s just two pages facing one another, it’s still the irreducible unit.

    Which is why tradition has a single picture left, and nothing or almost nothing right – spreads are hard!

    1. AM,
      Yep, the damn spread. Riddles, every is a riddle. Sometimes you nail it, other times they blow up in your face.

    1. EB,
      Hard for me to get real time to do these things. I THINK about it a lot but practical application is rare.

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