Full disclosure: Steve Gadlin and I are pretty good friends. We've worked together on several comedy projects and both worked at WBEZ on an earlier version of this here web site. Steve and I can also be found drinking a quick tallboy at the train station bar between commutes (he works at WCIU, I live in West Loop).
I've always loved Steve's work. He is the force behind the long-running game show (not running anymore) called Don't Spit the Water. He also is the brainchild behind the live talent show Impress These Apes. You can also catch him on CAN TV with Talkin' Funny, where his alter-ego Sasha and his silent partner the Noob take phone calls. Yes, that's it. For a half an hour. And finally, Gadlin also is the man behind The Nairobi Project, which is the production of a play written by a Kenyan playwright through a spam email.
Now that the background is out of the way, let's talk about Steve Gadlin's new project - www.iwanttodrawacatforyou.com. It's a site where you can order Steve to draw a cat. You tell him what you want the cat to do, he'll draw and send it to you. It costs $10.
Steve is also a master promoter. And he had a great idea to get his fledgling web site in front of more potential customers: Groupon. This week, Groupon agreed and featured his cat-drawing work at a discount, for $3 instead of $10. Steve thought it would be great for publicity. But would people actually buy it? Probably not.
Wrongo - it sold out and Steve is now on the hook to draw 1,000 cats. Yep, he has 1,000 orders to fill before, well, whenever. I was chatting with him yesterday and asked him a few questions about his newfound full-time job (without the big payout):
JK: So tell me again, how many cats do you have to draw?
SG: There were 1,000 purchases of the Groupon, plus all of the attention has generated many full price purchases since the Groupon expired. So far only 170 of those 1,000 have redeemed their Groupons for cat drawings, but theoretically all 1,000 could.
JK: How long will it take you to draw 1,000+ cats?
SG: I'm not sure! I've never drawn this many cats. I've burned through 100 of them over the last three nights, and I can probably get more done on the weekends. Maybe one month if I can keep at this daily.
JK: Will quality suffer because of the sheer quantity?
SG: I don't think so. My cat drawings are very simple to begin with, so there's not much room for quality loss.
JK: How can we be sure that you aren't farming this work out to cheap labor?
SG: If I did that, the quality would probably increase. Nope, every single one of these cats will be hand drawn by yours truly.
JK: Well, you have two little children. How does the wife feel about this project?
SG: She laughs and laughs and laughs.
SG: I think I'm somewhere in between: a guy with a mild disposition and average intelligence who really wants to draw a cat for you.
JK: Can you draw a cat for the Vocalo blogs - getting interviewed online?
SG: Yes. But it may take a month to get to you.