Once upon a time there was a smartass kid and a silly movie.
The kid was me. My name is Aaron. I live in LA County. I'm eighteen years old. I'm attending a local community college, and should have an associate's by this December. I'm hoping to transfer to a four-year university next fall, and I plan to major in film.
None of this is really all that important, even by blogging's standards, but hopefully it gives you reading this (I don't expect there to be too many of you), some degree of context. The fact that I'm a prospective film major is however a fitting enough segue. Put simply, I dig movies. I like good movies, and there's a special place in my heart for bad movies; as fodder for humor. After half-attentively seeing the movie "Twilight", I was inspired to write a silly, stupid, grossly inaccurate summary of the film's plot. I recorded myself reading this summary, framing it in a way that made it seem to the listener that they were hearing someone praising the movie while revealing that they hadn't payed any real attention to what was happening on screen because they were high off their ass. I lazily paired my recording with some production stills from the film and put it on Youtube. The Youtube video got some mild attention, especially after a webcomic linked to it, citing it as inspiration for one of their strips.
Being a fan of movies, I was already pre-registered to attend Comic-Con in San Diego that took place during July of this year, and took my silly bullshit based on Twilight one step further. Knowing that the next film in the series was going to be promoted at Comic-Con, and it's equally mockable fanbase was going to be represented, I came up with the idea to saunter into Comic-Con with a t-shirt reading "Hello my name is Twilight and I am a Dracula", a joke that evolved from my stupid Youtube review. I took some iron-on letters and put them on a black t-shirt. The result was sloppy and dumb looking, but that was a large part of the overall desired effect.
I got noticed at Comic-Con, and even very sloppily tried my hand at screwing with the Q&A line at the panel for the next Twilight movie (thanks to my own sloppiness I ended up interfering with a similar attempt at subversion of the event from another like-minded humorist, for which I sincerely apologize). I did have a few people express approval of my silly stupid shirt, along with one chubby girl in a licensed Twilight shirt calling me a jerk.
During the event, I was photographed by an internet cartoonist called Scott Kurtz, who then posted the photo he took with his iPhone on his Twitter page (no offense to Kurtz, but if this was how I put food on the table, I'd probably hate myself). The picture soon spread around to other blogs and Twitter pages and similar internet-based channels for the expression of unwarranted self-importance. The picture in question can be seen here and here. Yeah, I'm one goofy looking motherfucker.
It also appears that someone replicated the shirt in Second Life, but I haven't gotten all the details about that. The Second Life version of the shirt inspired some fanart, about which I really don't know how to feel.
So that brings us to today. I find this. An online t-shirt company called "NerdyShirts" decides to replicate my labor of disdain into a shirt that they're charging $19.95 for. They also ran a contest where they gave five of the shirts away through an affiliated site dedicated to movie news. So once I learn about all this I draft up an e-mail to send through their "Contact Us" page. Unfortunately, attempting to send out the e-mail repeatedly gave me a 404 error, so I sent the e-mail elsewhere: as a message through the company's facebook page, and a post on their own blog. The text of the two messages follows below:
This message is in reference to your recently-added "My Name Is Twilight And I am A Dracula Funny T-Shirt". I am contacting you via (facebook/your blog) because the "Contact Us" page on your website was not functioning.
Hello to whoever you may be, and thanks in advance for taking the time to read this. My name is Aaron, I'm an LA County resident and like you, an appreciator of subversive humor. A few months ago I was preparing to visit Comic-Con, down in San Diego, with the intent to take the opportunity to take a few jabs at the fanbase for the Twilight novel and film franchise that was going to be represented at the convention. I sloppily took iron-on lettering to black cotton and made a t-shirt reading "Hello my name is Twilight and I am a Dracula". I was photographed by an internet cartoonist by the name of Scott Kurtz, who published the photo of me on his Twitter page, and allowed it to spread around the internet. I am the originator of that original t-shirt that the shirt your website offers is based upon. Here is a photo of me wearing that shirt during Comic-Con: http://imgur.com/BKKRD.jpg
Now, I know things like this can be sloppy, a lot of the tidbits of humor you sell in a t-shirt form are hard to pin down to an owner or creator, since many of them are based upon internet memes, collective jokes that are "owned" by nobody and everybody. I don't pretend that I "own" the phrase I haphazardly ironed on a Fruit of the Loom shirt that I snagged from Wal-Mart for probably under three bucks, but at the same time, I feel like I'm deserving of some credit here.
I'm not asking for you to stop offering the shirt, I'm not even asking for a share of whatever profit you guys get from your t-shirt sales (but if you do consider sending a small portion my way, I could really use it to put away for tuition), I'm just asking for my name to be put on the page where you have the shirt shown, just some credit put there so that the dumb joke I put my time and energy into is in some ways still linked to me, and not to whoever was opportunistic enough to turn a profit from my little stunt in San Diego. I look forward to your reply.
I tried my best not to sound uppity or confrontational, only time will tell what response I'll get from the folks at "NerdyShirts", if any. I'm putting this blog up as a safety measure of sorts, in case things get hairy and NerdyShirts proves tough to deal with. The fact that my stupid stunt at Comic-Con is apparently worth $19.95 seems reason enough to me to start taking some intitative in all this. So from here on out I'll be keeping all you hypothetical folks posted on what develops.
UPDATE (4/13/2010): Nerdyshirts raised the price to $19.97 at some point apparently. I guess my shitty joke's appreciating in value.