Monday, September 14, 2009

Making Memorable Cards

What can you do with all of the items in this photo?

Make a personalized celebrity story for someone!

The first card I made was for my sister’s 24th birthday on September 11, 2002. There were lots of ads for the new show “24” in my Entertainment Weekly so I decided to write a story that involved Kiefer Sutherland trying to locate my sister who went missing because she did not want to make a big deal of her birthday. He enlisted the help of Jennifer Aniston and Jimmy Fallon who found her after an exhausting cross-country search. They let her know they all wanted to help her celebrate and that they had arranged a special concert with P.Diddy.

The stories end up being about 10 index card sized pages, front and back. No real rules other than a cast list at the start and a special surprise concert given by P.Diddy at the end of each one. I punch two holes in each of the pages to bind the book together with dental floss. I could use ribbon but it gets a bit thick and hard to turn the pages. I suppose I could invest in string, but dental floss is handy enough (and is oh so minty fresh). I've accidentally put a hole through my writing before, so I typically put the pictures nearest to the binding side. I’ve done about 20 cards over the years for friends and family, so they are definitely an intermittent endeavor and aren't cranked out consistently.I start by flipping through my old magazines to see what pictures stand out. Usually a cast of 3 will need 6-7 pictures of each and, of course, the obligatory P.Diddy cameo at the end. The celebrity photos sometimes help me build out the story - one starred Jared Leto for the sheer fact that I found a picture of him eating corn on the cob and just had to use it! “Celebrities: They’re Just Like Us!” in US Weekly provides some great action shots. On the other hand, if I have the story in my head already then it’s the more difficult search for photos that match the text. Hence, this latest card starred Beyonce and Liam Neeson because they are the only celebrities I could find talking on the phone! There are usually some inside jokes or personal touches for the recipient peppered throughout.Storylines are about as simple and absurd as I can make them – like Keira Knightly trying to thwart a surprise birthday party put on by Steve Martin and Kristin Davis (whom I wrote as a married couple, then about a month later I saw a rumor they had started dating, eerie!). I also tend to write the first thing that comes into my head which can make for some interesting dialogue and even more interesting penmanship while my hand tries to catch up to my mind. I think my favorite line was from something called the “Pitt-Jolie Family News Hour” when Brad Pitt says, “Sports coming up after the break. Maddox on Maddux: my six year old Cambodian son will discuss Greg Maddux’s move to the Dodgers.”

Since I have all the materials on hand, the cards don't cost me anything except time. Each one takes 2 to 4 hours, with the photo search being the most time-consuming. However, I am always happy with the results and I hope the recipients are too!

PS. I do a six month purge of my entertainment magazines so as not to have a room full of mags to search through. A 14-year subscription to Entertainment Weekly could get a bit unwieldy otherwise. However, home magazines like Domino and Real Simple stay tucked away in magazine filers for periodic inspiration!

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