Part 11 -- How To Loot A Railroad Museum Without Going To Prison

For nine months in 2009/2010 I was the Colorado Railroad Museum's volunteer staff photographer. I returned to the museum in that capacity on 06jul-2015 Then, on 05aug-2015, with no warning whatsoever I was banned from the CRRM property forever. This time I saw a lot of ethical smoke but no legal fires as such.

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Mike McCarthy
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Part 11 -- How To Loot A Railroad Museum Without Going To Prison

Postby Mike McCarthy » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:34 am

Scratch my artistic/musical veneer deep enough and you'll find a business/marketing guy who loves to have Plans B, C, D and E in his hip pocket in case Plan A fails. Therefore I have to give serious consideration to my wife's proposal that I write one or more books about aviation. I collect, and read word for word, aviation accident reports. I'm enough of a techie to be able to understand everything that's in the reports. The aviation book I could write quickest that would sell the best is a book about accidents with which I have or feel a deep personal connection. Without further ado, and without explaining the connections (which I would do in the book), off the top of my head I get this list ...

1978 PSA 182 crash in North Park neighborhood of San Diego (am visiting this crash site in two weeks regardless of a book)

1991 United 585 rudder reversal crash in Colorado Springs, and similar crash outside Pittsburgh two years later

1981 American 191 DC-10 crash at O'Hare, engine came off, aircraft shoold not have been flown by the book.

1956 midair TWA Super Connie and United DC-7B over Grand Canyon

1960 midair TWA Super Connie and United DC-8, crash sites in Staten Island and Brooklyn

1975 Eastern 727 crash into Kennedy approach lights, probable microburst

1967? Mohawk BAC-111 crash south of Albany, tail caught fire in midair.

1984 Delta L-1011 at DFW due to microburst

I may have some of the details wrong here -- it truly is off the top of my head -- but that's eight major accidents with which I had some kind of personal connection. These would be human interest stories decorated with NTSB technical crash report detail. Would I absolutely have to visit the crash sites? No, only the 727 crash site in San Diego, and that only for emotional reasons.

This book would take me six months to write if it is to be properly reasearched and the material presented in a way that would excite readers and therefore drive up sales.


Another aviation book I have in me is the hstory of the 727, which is my favorite aircraft of all time. I was one of the first people to ride on a 727, and they are still operated in freight service in some parts of the world even today.

This book would take about a year to research and write. It would not sell as well as the aviation accidents book.


So ... The real question is what alternative business plan my wife has in mind. I'm not fussy about the route we take to get to the music business. If we are to ignore the roughly $1,000 we've spent on experimental art materials and go directly to books, I could dig it provided art was there to be done in the background. I'm a night owl. Maybe art during the day and writing at night would make sense.

On the other hand, if we do a half baked job of art, and another half baked job of writing, then we will be worse off because I could be working on music right now instead of art or writing. We shall see what the morning brings regarding her explaining what the business plan she now has in mind is.


EDIT: It turns out that Evayn was concerned that expenditures on art materials were only just beginning, while writing has no up front materials costs. So yes, she was quite prepared to abandon art in favor of writing. In princicple I'm indifferent to which way we go -- art versus writing -- except for the lead times and revenue potentials.

I think we're three to six months away from the plane crashes book I mentioned above, and six to twelve months away from the 727 history book. In contrast I think we can be selling at local and regional art shows in about a month, two months if we include the effects of the California and Massachussetts road trips. Therefore from a risk management viewpoint we must follow through with the art experiments and with the attempt to sell at art shows.

Only if those fail should we do the aviation books, in which case we probably should do both of them. This is about a year and a half of writing, say through the end of 2016. Then and only then should the music project be started. In contrast, if art is paying off well by the end of 2015, the music project could be started then.

Both of these options stand in contrast to simply starting the music project immediately. This would foreclose any hope of revenue till the end of 2017


Part 12 of the article series is here ...
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Part 1 of the series is here ...

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Re: Part 11 -- How To Loot A Railroad Museum Without Going To Prison

Postby BlueStrat » Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:18 am

OK, so here's my take on "the plan" Mike:
Why not do a feasibility study I.e. try one painting using the technique that you intend to go forward with, then you can show it to a few local galleries to determine if it could generate any interest. I did that with a painting of Red Sox great Curt Shilling with his bloody sock, and the gallery owner asked if I could do a whole series of "Great moments in sports" using a variety of athletes. She said she would take them all on a consignment basis, and that I should also do a few "smaller" sizes like 9x12, that she could sell to the customers that could not afford a 16x20 or 18x24 format. That way, you will have a better idea of where to put your emphasis without loosing too much valuable time. Look at it as "Market Research", you DID say you were a marketing guru right ?! lol
Good luck Mikey, whichever road you choose to follow,

Mike McCarthy
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Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:07 pm

Re: Part 11 -- How To Loot A Railroad Museum Without Going To Prison

Postby Mike McCarthy » Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:24 am

I do intend to do test marketing.

My decal idea crashed and burned in that I could not make it work quickly. (I might be able to make it work if I spend a month or two at it, which I'm not willing to do.) What I'm going to do instead are some of my art photographs done as Andy Warhol transformed image series. I'll bring some examples east with me.

However, art is not a big deal for me. If I can't make money selling my Warhol-themed images I will just drop art entirely in favor of writing. My goal isn't to become an artist, it's to generate a consignment income stream. If that's not going to be easy for me to do then I'll favor books instead. Either way you get to be my test audience, okay? In fact, I've already started the first book. I'll send you an email containing the doc files for the foreword, the introduction, and as far as I've gotten with the first chapter.

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