Well, now that that’s all over with, I thought I’d share a few little “behind the scenes” tidbits with you fine folks out there in Blog-land. Consider this kind of the “insider’s tell-all book” of the Evans for Governor campaign. Read on for more…
How it got started: Vint Falken was, I think, the primary instigator here. I found two copies of the original “Concerned Residents Letter” (shown here) in my inventory, one from her, one from Dolmere. At that point, I figured, someone was trying to send me a message…so I declared my candidacy. I borrowed a tagline from the campaign of Tirebiter for Political Solutions Committee, Sector R, as chronicled in the Firesign Theatre’s Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers.
The Position Paper: This was the backbone of my early “campaign strategy.” Having had experience in the past with political campaigns–and considerable experience dealing with SL–I was able to craft a statement that sounded glowing and was comprehensive enough to establish my bona fides as a “real” candidate. It was also aped by at least one other candidate, so I must have done something right.
The SLGOP: With other “party” names in play like the Grid Democracy Party, the Punched Cards as Law Party, and so forth, I knew I needed a party organization of my own. As an RL conservative, I wanted to pick a name that reflected my particular viewpoints…and perhaps to show people reading this that, contrary to “liberal” opinions, not all “conservatives” are religious-right authoritarian bastards. Hence the “Second Life Grand Old Party,” inspired by the nickname for the Republican Party (and maybe also a bit by Frank and Brian Herbert’s Man of Two Worlds, where it was a political party on the skids). For a mascot, instead of the GOP elephant, I picked a T-Rex…and soon was able to put together the official announcement.
Campaign Personnel: I knew I wanted Danielle on my side, so, as soon as I’d persuaded her to accept the Campaign Manager post, I rolled out the press release. Danielle was, of course, groaning throughout the rest of the campaign…when she wasn’t laughing hysterically at posts like this one, for instance. Fiona was also a natural to add to the team; she’s really cute and bubbly, and proved to be an asset in more ways than one.
Campaign Posters: My first poster was relatively crude, but the second one was a big improvement. The third one was one of my favorites; Fiona did a great job with that pose, even if it was hard for her to stop giggling long enough to take the picture. The fourth one was more “high concept,” but fell kind of flat…and I rightly got called on a couple of the images I “borrowed” from a fellow candidate. Then there was my definite favorite of the posters, Number Five…which featured the red-hot Danielle, of course, but which also sparked controversy when Tyffany Flintoff accused me of stealing her idea. I still maintain it was an independent creation. Of course, what’s a political campaign without a little controversy?
All posters were created in The GIMP.
Radio Spots: I wanted to do something unique that other candidates wouldn’t necessarily be doing, and my experience with audio production and DJ’ing came in handy here. The two 30-or-so-second spots were recorded, processed, and mixed with Audacity, with bits of background music added for the convincing touch. The first one echoed the general theme of the campaign as a whole, while the second one mirrored the theme of the third (“Fiona”) campaign poster.
I actually played these spots during my DJ sets at the Gin Rummy, too. Usually, they would elicit another groan from Danielle.
Campaign Events: Danielle slipped in a ringer on me with the “meet and greet” event at the Gin Rummy, but I just rolled with it and took the opportunity to recruit a couple of Party members. And Forsythe did his part by saying encouraging things about me during his live set.
The club described in this campaign stop, Desire Gentlemen’s Club, really did close down, and, last I saw it, was just as it’s described here. However, the reason it closed had more to do with its owner, Bane Darrow, getting burned out on the whole thing…but it made a useful backdrop to emphasize the “broadly offensive” issue. Danielle DJ’d and danced there, and several of the dancers that were there have since become friends of ours…and one, Fantasia Tripsa, now works for us as our Host Manager.
Reactions: As much as I enjoyed producing all this material, I enjoyed seeing how others reacted to it. Here’s some of the reactions I got from fellow bloggers in the SLelections:
Wrath Paine: “Who is this up and comer in the political arena? Let alone, the blogosphere? Look at the sharp and polished made-for-politics suit and tie, and that news anchorman perfectly coiffed hairstyle – oh, we’re not dealing with an amateur here folks, not by a long shot. This is politics as smooth as it gets. Why, if incumbent Gov. Phil Linden had an alt running in this election, he’d want it to be in the form of Erbo Evans.”
Vint Falken: “Looking at him in a business suit, I’m so considering letting him have my vote.”
Ordinal Malaprop (in comments): “You know, you cannot hope to win against Science.”
Tyffany Flintoff: “What can I say? He seems like such a nice young man. And SO earnest! So earnest in fact that he lets us all know at the end of each missive that his campaign is all satire and a work of fiction. This leaves me confused of course as I take that as meaning all of his policies and platform are fictional as well. No matter, just look at his picture, he brings that much needed dose of good old plain boring reality to the proceedings in here. Residents of Second Life; if you trust men in grey suits please vote for Erbo.”
Zoe Connolly (in comments): “My dear Mr. Evans, I can admire anyone who can reference ST: TOS episodes into their arguements.”
Wrath Paine: “First, a campaign manager (of which the staff at The Inside Scoop® fully approves) is named, and now this? The Second Life Grand Old Party (SGLOP) [sic] is born! Dude, they have a logo and everything! … Oh yes, the campaign trail is certainly heating up over at the Evans camp and we’re pretty sure it won’t stop until somebody loses an eye.”
Triste Bertrand (in comments): “Don’t make me start the Second Life® Theocratic Party, y’all.”
Vint Falken: “What Myg is to Wei shall Ferguson be to Erbo: Erbo Evans appointed Danielle Ferguson as campaign managar. We at the Grid Democracy’s campaign office hope that she knows what she’s doing by accepting this. Remember lady: why did you un-partner in the first place?”
Samantha Poindexter (in comments): “…I would like to extend Mr. Evans my best wishes, and agree that Mint Oreo is indeed a fine indulgence.”
Dolmere Talamasca: “I’m going to go ahead and respond to Erbo’s position paper here but I think it may be a wee bit of a time waster for us both. You see… Erbo knows I have those pictures – the ones where he’s enjoying his REAL position papers, you savvi? I’m creating my Flikrrr account now just in case he sends his goons over to get them back. Livestock should not be subjected to such embarrasing situations, Erbo!”
Wrath Paine: “What can we say about this candidate folks, that he hasn’t already said himself. We now know who the big money maker is this campaign season, as the campaign contributions must be coming in from all directions (except left – Ed.) for Mr Evans – thee very first radio spot we’ve heard getting airplay, not too mention a new billboard for every rebuttal his press team releases. We have to ask ourselves, can anyone working this hard for the job… have anything left once the term begins? And will that hair gel hold up under pressure? We’re staying tuned, you should too.”
Vint Falken: “The Grid Democracy Party here wishes to make the following statement: when in office we shall take a very thorough look at all AR’s filed against Danielle Ferguson, her staff and and Erbo Evans conserning orbiting residents and we shall react appropriate.”
Wrath Paine: “I have to admit, I was not familiar with Erbo Evans before now, but his work has been so realistic in its parody I wouldn’t be surprised if actual US Presidential candidates didn’t start copying his style.”
Tyffany Flintoff: “After reviewing the tape of the 67 minute answer he provided to our opening question of “How are you today Mr Evans?”, we decided to curtail the interview. It was a boring answer and we misplaced our notes because we couldn’t take our eyes off his campaign manager Miss Ferguson. Boy, she sure keeps him on a short leash. Maybe too short, the collar he was wearing under his suit (which read “Danielle’s Bitch”) was clearly biting into his neck as he knelt on the floor in front of her.”
The Outcome: Of course, I had the opportunity to give my reaction to the “election results” some advance thought…and I spent a good deal of time both crafting a worthwhile “concession speech” and making up that “GNN screencap” of myself, complete with “crawler” at the bottom. A fitting end to a very wild ride indeed.
So, was all this worthwhile? I think so; I got a good traffic boost out of the whole affair, got to encounter some fine bloggers I hadn’t previously known about (and hope to meet more of in person at the next SL Bloggers’ gathering, thus fulfilling the requirements to put them on the Evans Avenue Exit blogroll), met the creative challenge, laughed, cried, and generally had a good time. And that’s all I ever really wanted out of the whole thing.
But constant vigilance is still indicated…keep an eye out on the politics surrounding the Grid. Perhaps in future I’ll have a more active role in that as well. Maybe with a podcast…just gotta find some good theme music. Anyone got a copy of the Pretenders’ “My City Was Gone”?