If you backed the book, you have seen some – but not nearly all – of this in my first (!) backer update.
The Kickstarter campaign was funded within the first two hours, and at this time it’s very close to being 300% funded, which is incredible. This means the book will definitely get printed – as a matter of fact, the printer is excited, too – and if more people back, the book could automatically become nicer for everybody owing to economies of scale!
At the same time: I know it’s fun to talk about the campaign being backed at this much percent, or this much percent (well, I guess only if the percents are over 100!), but the most important number of me was reaching 2,500 people. Somehow, long time ago, I thought of that being the measure of success – 2,500 people getting Shift Happens would mean the book is “real enough.” It seems like that’s going to happen now, with the campaign sitting at 2,574, only two days in. I know that number, although based on comparisons with other books, is arbitrary. But what isn’t? I feel very, very happy about reaching a group of people this large.
If a worry about the campaign not getting funded prevented you from backing, fear no more! We met the original $150,000 goal that met going to print, and then the $250,000 goal that meant everybody will now be receiving the additional small third volume (100 b&w pages of “behind the scenes” material) for the same price. And speaking of prices…
…if you read this the very moment I’m sending it, the early backer price will be available for 13 more hours. After that, the book cost goes up from $125 to $150. I wanted to remind you if you were hesitating, because I know there’s a lot going on with the tiers – this is the only one that’s time-based. (And it goes without saying, I’m happy and thankful for whatever tier you want to choose!)
We’ve had a lot of fun on the launch livestream talking about the book, some process, and some design details. Be sure to watch with the chat, especially at the beginning where the campaign gets backed before we go on camera, and we all celebrate it by typing!
Preparing for the livestream was a little stressful. I had to do multiple emergency Best Buy runs. The first one was to (best) buy the cheapest display possible just so I could have more pixels available…
…then, I spent tons of time figuring out the headphone and the microphone situation (I recently moved to Chicago and a lot of my hardware is in storage), and testing it multiple times… just for it to stop working at the beginning of the livestream. Luckily, it was more of an UI than hardware issue and we figured it out quickly, but in the back of my head, I was panicking.
Robin did a great job moderating, the chat energy was fantastic, and I had fun talking about the book. Did I need to pee almost the entire time? I will never tell.
I’m not going to bother you with every piece of media coverage, but only the most interesting ones. The write-up in The Verge was I think in that latter category. It has a few photos I haven’t shared elsewhere, and I like that it feels like me talking, warts and all.
First of all, if you want to see the Kickstarter video in 4K, you can watch it here on Vimeo. Please don’t necessarily look at my face in 4K – but perhaps you might enjoy the high quality photos I took for the book, which looks excellent in tiny pixels? (Fun fact: This video was the first video I watched in 4K myself. I don’t have a 4K TV and I don’t usually watch things on my computer.)
Second of all, if you are interested in the process of making this video, I wanted to share all the drafts with you:
Draft №1 is really much more of a storyboard. You could see that it was important for me to get the pacing and story right, but the visual content is not there at all, and audio is rudimentary. At the same time the temp music stuck around, as I never found anything better.
Draft №2 is where some visuals and effects came into play. The timing got much more tightened, too. (Some of the music tracks had to be edited, so they flowed into each other well.)
Draft №3 shows the beginnings of videos I shot for this – including videos of a printed prototype I was planning to use.
Draft №4/Release Candidate has all the new narration and much tighter transitions. You can see the (bad!) cover I was thinking of wrapping around the book then. You can see me awkwardly memorizing one thing to type in Dvorak so it looks good (incl. the intentional typo) – inspired by the trickery used to sell typewriters long ago, where the salespeople would type one phrase over and over again, really, really well.
The video felt pretty complete then, but not long after making it, I announced the book was delayed because of supply chain issues.
I picked the video back up in December, and this is the final cut. It has a slightly adjusted voiceover and is cut down a bit, but most importantly it replaces the real prototype shots with 3D renderings. This is partly why I invested so much into the 3D visualization on the site – so I could reuse it in other contexts. Also proud of the two gimmicks where the book changes like it was a screen! (I always love a nice little gimmick.) The end of the video still says “PREORDER” – also in Dvorak! – because I couldn’t easily reshoot it to say “BACK NOW!”. Somehow, the powers at be at Kickstarter didn’t notice, or maybe it didn’t matter.
Hope this is somewhat interesting! I am not a videomaking expert – this was all done in After Effects – but I enjoy particularly the pacing and storytelling. I was originally really fearing not being able to put together a good video. But I think it turned out quite well.
Look what just came in from eBay: the original Das Keyboard!
I mention it in the book, but I’ve only had a photo of a newer edition – now I can show the original, and use the same style as the HHKB keyboard nearby. (In the livestream, I talk more about how important it is for me for the book to feel like its own universe, with consistent rules.)
And here’s me sending a cheque to Los Angeles Public Library so they could give me permission to use this photo in the book.
I just think it’s a very cute photo, the fingers on the spacebar, and all! I am not planning to reuse their caption – Early computer “video” games, natch – although perhaps I should?
Please do not worry. The work does end. I have deadlines and am working with people who will hold me responsible to them. And the book is already finished, with photos laid out. But I will always be on the lookout to find a slightly better photo. It’s one of my favourite things.
(Thank you to at least two people who reported a typo in the PDF I sent last time! Please feel very comfortable reporting even the smallest transgressions – I always appreciate that.)
And, vis-a-vis favourite things, this was perhaps the best reaction I’ve seen so far:
Until next time!