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Wait, Shouldn’t That Be “Malki !dian”?

Warning: keep hands away from the GNASHING TEETH OF DOOM.

It is fast becoming a basic tenet in the world of independent creation that you ignore David Malki ! as your peril. He has his hands in more endeavours than you can easily count, he has stumbled into problems and found solutions that you need not recreate, and he’s generous about sharing his knowledge. Also all those projects take so much time that by my calculations he’s averaging about 37 minutes of sleep a night, meaning by now he’s dangerously insane; definitely you want to keep your eyes on him at all times so he can’t sneak up behind you.

Case in point: in and around all of his own projects, Malki ! took on a gig with Audible UK to promote a new book by Bill Bryson, which became Real True Actual Stories of America (here, and here, and here). Now Malki ! has done animated versions of his Victorian illustrations before, with some paperstock and sticks and suchlike, but for the RTASoA he went and invented a motion-capture technique that allows real-time rendering of virtual performers. Check out the entire behind the scenes video and then come back here.

All done? Here’s a thought for you — one of the last projects that Jim Henson worked on before his untimely death was a motion-capture system for real-time virtual puppeteering. It required an elaborate electromechanical interface and 120 hours of rendering for a 2-minute short. Malki ! has essentially achieved the same thing with some paper, some clothespins and sticks, and a Mac; certainly some of that is down to Moore’s Law and the work done by previous generations of motion-capture development, but a hell of a lot of it is due to Malki ! messing around with an idea that might. just. work.

Not that everything works out so easily. With the long, intercontinental production of the Machine of Death game nearing the endgame, it’s time to make one last attempt to make sure everything goes to where it should:

So now that we’re getting really close to shipping, we sent out an email to all 10,468 people asking if the address we had on file for them was correct, and providing a link to a form they could fill out to correct it if necessary. We used the email addresses we collected from Kickstarter.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but for the sake of data and trivia, here are some of the results, so far, of sending out that mass email at roughly 1pm this afternoon:

  • Autoresponses saying “My email address has changed”: 4
  • Autoresponses saying “My email address has changed”, but without providing the new address: 1
  • “Out of office” autoreplies: 5
  • Earthlink anti-spam prove-you’re-human autoreplies: 2
  • Non-problem emails just saying “Everything’s fine, you’re doing a great job”: 8
  • “I’ll be out of town from x date to y date, can we make a special arrangement”: 5
  • “Using such-and-such courier service will cause me a problem, can we make a special arrangement”: 5
  • Verifying or confirming something specific in their order: 3
  • “I don’t currently have an address so don’t send anything yet”: 2
  • “I’m in a different place in my life now, so you know what, don’t send it at all”: 1
  • Undeliverable email bouncebacks: 19

[bold original]

So that’s 50 out of more than 10,000, not bad.

Responses to the form submitting a correction to their shipping address (so far, more are coming in every minute): SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN

That is BONKERS. Overnight it will probably top 1,000 people. That’s TEN PERCENT who need to change their shipping address all of a sudden TODAY.

If we hadn’t sent out that email, would 1,000 packages have been returned to us as undeliverable? The thought is terrifying! [bold original]

Oh. Mind you, every single person that replied at the last possible moment that their address had changed has had access to BackerKit since April, and has been occasionally exhorted by Malki ! in project updates to make sure that their addresses were current. And let’s not overlook the likelihood that even the first 50 backers Malki ! recounted could be incredibly hassle-filled and expensive:

then you you send a package overseas and it’s returned to you because the backer moved and then they ask for a refund of their pledge

that is not only a true story, it happened more than once

That would be Sara McHenry and Holly Rowland, logistical geniuses at TopatoCo and Make That Thing. Take this as a lesson, anybody that’s creating a Kickstarter campaign — there are things almost entirely out of your control that could very possibly ruin your attempts to provide a timely delivery to your backers, and eventually drive you as insane. In which case you might be the next person we ignore at our peril.

[…] thing I learned: Really never underestimate David Malki ! We spoke not long ago about not ignoring his boundless font of creativity, so I shouldn’t have been surprised, honestly. See, I had gotten it into my head that with […]

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