Part 16: Starting the Layout

Part 16: Starting the Layout On September 4, I started thinking seriously about the layout and what the design should look like. Given the troubles we had been having securing a photograph of Charlie, I started leaning toward a design that could live independent of a great portrait or a stylish piece of typography. The other thing on my mind was the GEB undercurrent Jason had tapped into and I started to wonder about running the rough draft in the layout. I put together a sketch and sent it to the gang to gauge their opinion and test its feasibility. 
From: Scott Dadich
Sent: Thu 9/4/2008 6:52 PM
To: Tanz, Jason
Cc: Miller, Nancy; Alexander, Anna; Mitchell, Wyatt
Subject: layout thoughts

Nancy and I talked a little today and I showed her the idea that i mentioned to Bob the other day, the one where I run your 00 in the final layout (sort of DFW-style, in agate type) that ends up in the magazine itself. We'd need to redact any fact-sensitive materials (perhaps in blacklining?), but the advantages could be numerous:

A) we get to pepper the agate type with little tiny thumbnails, movie stills, timelines, etc, that might ordinarily run in a sidebar or some such

B) we could include NM's edits in redlining?

C) you get to see the story progress from 00 to final

D) it cleaves nicely with the GEB theme, (which I'm glad to see still in your rough) and keeps with the infinite loop theory that Synedoche holds front and center.

This D point is most germane, and it's what I'm sure Bob will want to work though. To my way of thinking , we do this story on 8, and the design is has a fairly light touch and the "wired" part of it is the break in design form. Nobody will need to read the blog bits to know/"get" what we're doing, we could establish with a little fancy footwork in the display writing.

my only concern would be that the piece seems fairly straightforward (nice job, btw), but it might seem like we're tapdancing too much with the layout, too gag-y [break out the whoopee cushion!]

I dunno, i like how this looks, i'm just starting to sketch here, so see what you and nancy think. If you like, i'd like to pre-cook some display with you all in order to make the sell to CA/BC. maybe we could discuss a bit, when are you back from NY?

Wyatt? weigh in here, also want to get Santino or Margaret to think about carving a bit.
On 9/4/08 9:01 PM, "Wyatt Mitchell" <> wrote:
Weighing in here, in cynical fashion...

Sounds good to me except for a few pitfalls I think we should avoid.

Are we planning on 'screen-grabbing' the desktop? I hope not. (This is meta, I have to ask).

Running the 00 is great but, it has to be on another 'layer', The DFW-style works for footnotes, as do the Post-it notes. This 00 is a entire parallel track. I fear only magazine people know how (or want) to approach a rough.

The rough should take on a different feel for the reader. If it were sections of the rough (start-stop-style) peppered with timelines, notes and pics I think it would come off better.

Example: A back and forth evolution of one paragraph between JT and NM, then a jump to the protagonists of each of Kaufman's movies (another evolution of sorts), etc...

Or a riff on Jason's blackbox theme: the first exchange between JT and CK from their meetings, followed by a blacklined graph, followed thumbnails of failed openers.  

Maybe we pass the layout between you, me, Santino and Zuzu and then back to you? Sort of Derivatives, or circle of 5ths in music, very GEB.
On 9/5/08 6:48 AM, "Jason Tanz" <> wrote:
Hey, all. Thanks for including me in this conversation.
Just a couple thoughts to add:

1. I am always happy to get as many pages as possible, and as many of my words, even if some of em are the same word twice.

2. Scott's right, the story itself doesn't hit you over the head with it's meta-ness. There are a few touches in there, that I hope stay in there, but I think of them more as easter eggs for tuned-in readers. That's by design (if you'll pardon the pun), bc I think anything less subtle risks getting gimmicky fast. On the one hand, I think that gives us more room to play with the design. On the other, if we go too far it may seem out of balance with the piece. No conclusions there, just thoughts.

3. following Wyatt's thoughts, there are other meta-elements we could add rather than the entire rough. A particularly tricky paragraph makes sense. Or some of the stuff we're posting on the blog. Immediately after the pitch meeting, Eilenberg came up to me and said, "Of course you have to run the pitch as a sidebar." I don't know if htat's a good idea or not, but there are other materials.

4. Another thought would be to get meta, not about the text, but about the design itself. I have no idea what that means, but the desing could be more self-referential, less referring to the copy, somehow.

Just random musings, take for whatever they're worth, which may be nothing
On 9/5/08 3:29 PM, "Nancy Miller" <> wrote:
Hey All,

So I'm about to drop the 01 and I realized something: Damn that Jason Tanz, but--at least for now--the 01 and the rough aren't a whole lot different. I did some line editing, asked a few key questions and made a few suggestions but I wonder if it will be a tad disappointing if the drafts aren't wildly different. Obviously, there are many more steps after this (Bob hasn't read and it hasn't been through the whole Wired process yet), but wanted to mention it now. I love the idea of running our 00, but will it be disappointing/redundant if it's close to the original?

On 9/5/08 3:40 PM, "Scott Dadich" <> wrote:
Stupid Tanz, being all good and shit
On 9/5/08 3:42 PM, "Nancy Miller" <> wrote:
I know. Tell me about it.
On 9/5/08 3:44 PM, "Jason Tanz" <> wrote:
Oh THIS is definitely going on the blog.

On 9/5/08 3:56 PM, "Scott Dadich" <> wrote:
just getting back to this chain.

to wyatt's points, no, i wouldn't be including the screen grab, i was just being lazy and didn't want to export a pdf.

What if you did run the whole rough, as-is, but you grayed out the sections that didn't seem to change-is this what you mean by blacklining, Wyatt?- (or changed minimally) as a visual cue not to read. you could, in theory, add a whole other layer of detail into the rough, sort of "footnoting the footnote" but that might get too far crazy? or too self-indulgent? does that actually further the GEB thesis? is it germane?

I do like the notion of passing the layout around. we'd do that anyway...

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