Tag Archives: Projects

Making Media Magic

reels-bl-2 copyIn the media producing world these days, it seems as though there are only the two extremes of thought. “Art for Art’s sake” or “be as creative as you want, as long as it makes money”, kind of like Henry Ford’s “You can have any color car you want, as long as it’s black”.

An Art Zealot I am not, a money grubbing fiend… maybe a little, but no. I do want to produce something I am proud of artistically and at the same time have it be commercially successful.

The measure of pride in an artistic endeavor is relatively easy for the artist to gauge, ether you are satisfied or you are not. Defining “commercially successful” on the other hand can be a difficult task.

In the “professional” production world, commercial success is all about having a good profit margin. If it cost you $1,500 to produce the media, you want to be paid at least $3,000. Let’s face it, we don’t work for free right? A 100% margin is, in business parlance, an acceptable margin. Anything below 25%, and its more like a hobby, at least from a business perspective.

As an artist, paying the bills to produce the project, getting by personally, and having a little extra to fund the next project is usually sufficient to consider your self commercially successful. This is of course the typical “art for arts sake” artist and not the person employed to make a living on there artistic skills; who is by the way no less the artist. Frequently the two coexist within the same person; the daily trudge side and the high art side. Producing TV spots by day and personal projects by night.

I believe most people who make a living from there artistic talents, have an idealistic streak within themselves that wants to do nothing more than their art and just not have to worry about the day to day needs for subsistence. I know I certainly do. The freedom to make movies when the creative iron is hot, having all of the hardware and technology needed for production at hand all of the time, it would be a wonderful thing. But for most of us that is not the case.

For me, the goal is a balancing of the two extremes, produce something that I am artistically satisfied with that also keeps the bill collectors away, and provides for a growing collection of the equipment, materials, and technology to keep moving my art to new levels. Along the way it would be nice to help others on the same path.

So where’s the magic? The magic is when you can achieve artistic and commercial success in one project. Regardless of who the media is produced for, a TV spot, a documentary, a slasher film, a corporate piece. If you the producer is satisfied internally with the work, and you actually made a dime, you have made media magic.

I guess after all of that, it comes down to this…
Only you can make your art magic.


Wanzer Aviation


With things the way they are, I thought it best to merge the Wanzer Aviation site with the FlyBoyJon site. There are many things that I want to do under the WA moniker, such as aviation education products, aircraft design, and others. At present, time is at a high premium and keeping up with several business arms was becoming less practical.

I have reduced the number of domains I manage and contribute to, and cut the non-producing social networking endeavors. I am now down to managing two domains (with blogs), one social network, and three twitter feeds. At peek, I was the primary contributor to seven domains, each with multiple social networks and feeds. Now that I have cleaned house a bit I will be able to focus on the path most dear to my heart, Aviation.

The decision to move to the FlyBoyJon as the primary site was one of practicality. It is important to the development of WA and all of its intended projects that a strong foundation be forged in the aviation community, and FBJ is the way to do that. At some time in the future WA may move back to its own digs, for now, home is where you hang your hat, and that my friends if here at FlyBoyJon.com.


At the drawing board


Back at the drawing board this weekend. Many hours have been put into the the adventure program, things like business plan, cost sheets, program expensing, and biz structure, you know the boring paperwork stuff. Actually I enjoy some of this stuff, it is like flight planning for the whole she-bang, and I do like flight planning.

More to come soon on the adventures, for now I am working on revamping the pages on the site and sprucing things up around here. I think I may find some time to spruce up me self a bit too. 😉 At some point I need to get a decent portrait on the site.

During this coming week I will be off doing non aviation or site stuff but I will be back in the evenings to keep plugging at it.


Descendants of John Thayer


I wrote this piece for the Genealogical Archive.


505 years has transpired through this 16 generation descendancy, five centuries, half a millennium. When I inherited the genealogy project from my mother, generations 16 back through 10 where in the research files my grandmother had compiled. When I discovered the Chase family bible among the files and memorabilia, I found a few clues that helped me track down nine more generations to John Thayer.

John Thayer was born in 1503 in Thornbury, Gloucester, England. The Thayers, from John to Cicely where all from Thornbury. Cicely came across the Atlantic to set up hearth in Haverhill Massachusetts. The family stayed in Massachusetts (Haverhill, Rehoboth, and Swansea) until Benjamin Chase and Abigail Mason moved the line to Wisconsin where the family lived until Mortimer Wanzer and Virginia Rogers moved to Kansas. Robert Wanzer and Wanieta Sullivan moved from Kansas to California where the rest of the line resides to this day.

Efforts to keep moving back in time are presently at an impasse. I am stuck at the very beginning of the 16th century. This will give me time to fill in some of the blanks and check citations and get copies of documents.

The family names that span the 5 centuries are Thayer, Davis, Barney, Davis, Saunders, Chase, and Wanzer.

1. John Thayer (b. 1503 d. 1562)
sp: Constance (b. 1507 d. 1576)

2. John Thayer (b.1531 d. 1584)
sp: Mary Roberts (b. 1537 d.1611)

3. Edward Thayer
sp: Katherine Eddys (b. 1578 d.1658)

4. Cicely Thayer (b. 1600 d. 1673)
sp: James Davis (d. 1676)

5. James Davis (b. 1620 d. 1694)
sp: Elizabeth Eaton (b. 1625 d. 1683)

6. Constance Davis (b. 1674 d. 1721)
sp: Joseph Barney (b. 1673 d. 1731)

7. Esther Barney (b. 1706 d. 1778)
sp: Daniel Davis (b. 1697 d. 1741)

8. Mary Davis (b.1739;d.1799)
sp: Benjamin Saunders (b. 1736 d. 1808)

9. Constance Saunders (b. 1758)
sp: Jacob Chase (b. 1758 d.1818)

10. Benjamin Chase (b. 1782 d. 1847)
sp: Abigail Mason (b. 1793 d. 1853)

11. Melvina N Chase (b. 1836 d. 1919)
sp: Andrew Jackson Wanzer (b. 1837 d. 1889)

12. Mortimer Leroy Wanzer (b. 1878 d. 1947)
sp: Virginia Mary Rogers (b. 1892 d. 1974)

13. Robert Wheeler Wanzer (b. 1920 d. 1962)
sp: Wanieta Ruth Sullivan (b. 1916 d. 2004)

14. Virginia Louise Wanzer (b. 1942 d. 2006)
sp: Lester leland Raines (b.1924)

15. Jonathan Wheeler Wanzer (b. 1967)
sp: Tammy Irene Veloza (b. 1972)

16. Zachery Patrick Wanzer (b. 1995)

The Great HD Crash of 08

There has been a lack of posts on the blog since the “Great HD Crash of 08”.


I have been under a great deal of stress, as of late, and a lack of sleep doesn’t help. The club gig has come to an end. Less than the stellar ending I had hoped for, but this is good in the long run, it doesn’t help with the stress right now, but “it will all work out“. I must admit, I didn’t expect it to go longer than a year, so thirteen months is not far off. After the issues surrounding the big awards show, things deteriorated with some interpersonal relationships that where not expected to recover. I stuck it out because I wanted it to end gracefully. With all of the software and hardware problems poking there ugly heads at me regularly, basically telling me its time to hang it up, I gave it the old college try, but in the end, there was little to salvage.

On the positive side; I took the time to review a couple of other projects I had in the wings, so to speak. The Steam Faire project is moving along, slowly but steadily. The website now has 50 members, there was a good turnout for the first organizational meeting, the second meet-up looks like it will be successful, and I have leads on a couple of sponsorships. The over all plan is maturing quickly. There are several scheduling things that need tending this coming week, a few appointments need to be set, venue, sponsors, promo items, and the like. I have a very good feeling about the project and the support received thus far. Response has been positive, and with a little promotional push this began rolling beyond the initial buzz.

Galeatus AerNavis


The second big project is on a slower development track. There are several tie-ins with Steam Faire, mainly in the promotional arena. If I can garner some financial interest in the basic project concepts and development track, the public “roll-out” could be as early as January. I am hesitant to push for public support as a “grass roots” movement until getting some feed back from a potential interested party.

A number of successful companies have used a similar structure and tactics by opening up to public contribution and support, providing full scale development funding with only subsistence funding from the investment sector. The advantage of this approach is a lower initial investment, typically from an “angel” type investor, low dollar, high return potential. This kind of venture is seat-of-the-pants boot-strapping, and pure risk capital. With smaller investments, and funding commitments at key developmental benchmarks it spreads out the cash flow, and risk for the investor.


Today, where to begin

For starters, today is my wife and my 15th anniversary. Though I know many people who have been together for longer, in todays society it seems like this is longer than most. Not that I’m lookin’ to get out mind you, I lover her more every day. So I have been thinking about her more than usual the last few days. I am feeling a little clingy today.


After coffee this morning with the Mrs. I went up to Alameda/Oakland to met with someone from the club and pick up mail at the PO Box. The person I was meeting with, is someone I have been butting heads with for a while now. That actually went well. I picked up the mail then headed back to the South Bay.

When I got into San Jose I meet with a friend and business supplier, we talked about a deal I facilitated for him and some mutual projects I have been poking at lately. I always like going to see him, he has a great work ethic and outlook on life. I love to steer business his way.

After that, I headed home. I have been catching up on my own blogs and those of friends. There have been several good developments in the SteamFaire project that have come about via email. The registered user list on http://www.steamfaire.com/ has grown to 34, not bad for a few weeks in existence. I have some emails to get out and there is some web site work on a couple of domains that need to get done before the day is up. Now that I have had a break I guess I should get back to work. 😉



PromoPosterMini250x320As previously posted, I have been kicking around an Idea for a con/faire for some time now (3-4 years at least) now that I have come across a genre that I can sink my teeth into and feel good about extending the effort, I am moving forward with SteamFaire. I have not yet put down much of the data rolling about in my head. This is something I will be working on a lot over the next few weeks to get the ball rolling.

If Steampunk is your thing, and you would be interested in a SteamFaire check out the site at SteamFaire.com


A new project is developing

AirshipPilotAs many of my friends and associates know, I have been producing events for many years. Over the years I have toyed with the idea of producing an annual historical reenactment event. This is a tough field to get involved in with most of the established genre.

There is a genre that does not currently have that many organized events devoted to it. There are hundreds of fans in the local area, and many more in the region. I don’t want to go into it to much right now, but I am developing a position sheet and project outline. Once the paperwork is done I will post them and move forward with more info on this site.

I will go so far as to say that the concept is for a Steampunk Faire to be held somewhere in the greater San Francisco Bay Area with the possibility of additional events along the west coast or nationally. Another aspect is a Guild association of some kind. The guild portion I need to ruminate on a bit more.

I am very familiar with kind of operation after years of convention and ren faire work in all levels from volunteer to board member, and from actor to guild master and guild association member. There are many drawbacks to the fire format over the convention format, however, there are a lot of benefits to this direction as well. It sound crass to many of the participants when you start talking money and cost / benefit analysis, but it is a business, and I do intend to make a profit, otherwise the event wouldn’t keep going.

A group up in Washington state is starting a convention in the genre, but they opted to go the 501(c) route. Having been down that road and knowing what ultimately happens, I am not going to contact them for collaboration as I original wanted to. I wish them well and will do my best not to interfere with there operation. I do want to go to there event.