Friday, September 08, 2006

The Crowd Roars On

Q: Updates! Updates! Updates! You don't know how impatient those of us who sent in our $97 (or whatever it was) five or seven years ago are, now that things are in the home stretch! You were doing pretty well in early August, but it's been very quiet since. Even a sentence or two every couple of days would be nice. The crowd roars on: Updates! Updates! UPDATES! -- Mark S. Zimmer

A: I was able to post several updates in August, because exciting progress was made and because it was convenient; but since then, the time either hasn't been quite right. Updates should answer questions or mark positive advances, otherwise there no point in taking the time to report that there's nothing new to report. But since Mark is curious, others surely are too, so here's what's going on:

Last month, we got through the layout of all the front and back matter, and all the illustrations have either been dropped in or photographed to be dropped in. The entire interior is pretty much finished, in principle. It's beautiful. We received a nice photograph of Martin Scorsese and a signature from his office, to accompany his Introduction. Incidentally, his "Foreword"-- as it's described on our presently posted book cover -- has become an "Introduction," while Riccardo Freda's "Preface" has become a "Foreword" and my "Introduction" has become, more rightly, a "Prologue." To see the Freda preface and Scorsese intro finally laid out, accompanied by their photos and signatures, gave me a vivid sense of these great men stepping forward in support of my work; it was a surprisingly moving experience for me.

On the printing front, we have settled on a printer (the company is in Hong Kong) but are in a holding pattern while awaiting their new "color profile," which is essential to our progress and which the company is in the process of updating. I can't very knowingly describe what a "color profile" is, but it's a tool that will allow Donna to attune the colors on her computer screen to the printer's set up, so they can use our PDF files to print pages that will match the color values we intend. The profile was supposed to reach us early this week but has not yet arrived. The delay is aggravating, but probably a godsend: While waiting, Donna discovered that her present monitor screen was dimming, which could result in inaccuracies on our end, so she's out at this very moment buying a new high-end model -- her first in about six or seven years. This whole side of things may not be brain surgery, but it's awfully close.

What's on my own plate at present is editing VIDEO WATCHDOG #127, which is why I've had to neglect Video WatchBlog for much of this week; it's got to be on newsstands next month, and it's nearly done. (It's got to be another bimonthly issue, since the book is still not completely out of our hands.) Once I finish with those editorial duties, I have eleven hundred pages waiting for me on our dining room table: I have to check this clean corrected print-out of the book's interior against the red pen corrections from my read-through, to make sure that Donna implemented all my corrections correctly. Of course, Donna will have to spend most of her time next week on laying-out the next issue, but it's probably for the best that something other than the book will be her task at hand while she's adjusting to her new monitor.

That's where things stand at present. The interior is basically one editorial step shy of completion, which means that the book's future progress will largely be a matter between Donna and our printer (and increasingly in the hands of our printer). It's doubtful there will be any more updates for the next couple of weeks, but never fear: the work continues to move forward.


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