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Monday, May 14, 2007

“They saw the Hump! 3 ad and completely freaked out.”

posted by on May 14 at 15:29 PM

That’s Clint Berquist, director of STIFF, the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, talking about Portland’s Wright Business Graphics, which was supposed to print STIFF’s programs, but refused at the last minute because of some content, including a Hump! ad.

That’s $2,000 worth of prudishness—WBG’s freakout is forcing the little film festival to find another printer to do an expensive rush job.

Clint delivered the program proofs to a printer-broker (a Seattle middleman) last Monday, expecting to pick up his programs today. But on Thursday, he got the bad news. “Apparently, they took issue with the back cover,” he said.

(This, an Ouch My Eye ad, which is a little weird-looking but probably doesn’t even earn NSFW status.)

“Then they looked inside and they saw the Hump! 3 ad and completely freaked out.”

So Clint had to find a new printer to do a rush job. Wright Business Graphics was going to charge $3,000. But, at the eleventh hour, all the other printers said STIFF would have to pay $5,000. (STIFF’s annual budget is around $35,000.)

“It was kind of a Jimmy Stewart moment,” Clint said. “I went to the other people at the festival and said, ‘I just don’t have the money.’ Then one person said ‘I’ve got a thousand dollars’ and another said ‘I’ve got five hundred’ and it went from there.”

Why didn’t Clint just take out the offending ads?

“It never even crossed our minds—the same way it’s a moral issue for them, it’s a moral issue for us. Ouch My Eye and you guys have been very supportive and I think Hump! is one of the coolest things going.”

“Still,” Clint said, “it sucks. We were planning on doing a lot more promotion with that money.”

UPDATE: It’s not Right Business Graphics, as Clint originally wrote in his email—it’s Wright Business Graphics. I’ve left them a message and am waiting for their reply. Their contact info is here.

RSS icon Comments


God, that is so incredibly lame. Anyone have Right Business Graphics contact info so I can send them a protest e-mail? I did a Google search but came up with nothing. I just get so righteously angry when I hear about scaredy cat businesses that freak out over content that is far from freak out worthy. Especially when their lameness causes others to scramble for money they don't have.

Posted by Stephanie | May 14, 2007 4:23 PM

Whatever. They have the same right NOT to print them as the Stranger has to have the festival in the first place. Clint said it correctly.

That said, I agree it's bad for business and I certainly would print them. But the only thing to do is not give them business.

Wait. I just actually looked at it. That poster/card/thing was totally safe for work. Completely harmless.

Posted by Just You | May 14, 2007 4:40 PM

Sounds more like a legal issue than a moral issue. The original printer should pay the extra cost. They failed to perform the contract. STIFF was injured. The original printer should pay damages in the amount STIFF was injured, i.e. final cost less price contracted with the original printer.

Posted by BP | May 14, 2007 4:40 PM

whatever. the printer can turn down business just like the stranger can turn down advertisers. c'est le vie.

Posted by whatever | May 14, 2007 5:33 PM

Almost the exact same thing happened to the Seattle Erotic Art Festival this year. The printer who originally was going to print their program freaked out at the last minute and refused to print it. SEAF had to scramble and find a new printer at the last minute, and ended up paying a ton more money for the program printing.

Especially baffling because it was the "EROTIC" art festival. Like what, the printer was expecting pictures of daisies and kittens? I can't imagine why they even bid on the job in the first place if they didn't want to print adult content.

I don't have a problem with printers turning down jobs that offend them. But a bit more communication well ahead of time might prevent some of these last minute printing disasters. If printers are squeamish about what they will and will not print, they need to make it known at the time of the bid, not cancel jobs at the 11th hour.

Posted by SDA in SEA | May 14, 2007 5:55 PM

They can turn down business, but they can't accept business and then later turn it down to the detriment of their customer.

Posted by BP | May 14, 2007 5:57 PM

I couldn't understand what the big deal was either. It wasn't like the old man with the boobs was getting fisted or anything.

I had actually thought about taking some sort of legal action, but we just don't have the time or resources. #1 goal was finding a new printer. Now that we have, our new #1 goal is getting the word out about the fest. So, please come.. There is some great stuff this year. Excellent movies, fantastic bands, and sets by The People's Republic of Komedy.

Thanks Brendan for posting this SLOG..


Posted by Clint Berquist | May 14, 2007 6:00 PM

So, why is a Seattle Festival using a Portland printer?

Suggest they use the fabulous, cost effective and non-prudish woman-owned queer friendly Girlies Press on Union - they ROCK!

Posted by Jane | May 14, 2007 6:09 PM

Printers are the new pharmacists.

Posted by Dan Savage | May 14, 2007 6:09 PM

That old man has some nice little perky tits. Can someone explain what the fuck?

Posted by Sean | May 14, 2007 7:41 PM

So, why is a Seattle Festival using a Portland printer?

This is a fair question. We were actually dealing with a print broker who was local. I didn't realize that he was using a Portland printer until the whole thing blew up (and probably never would have known had they just printed it).

I hope that Bob or John or whoever took that picture can explain it and I definitely plan to ask them when I see them next.

Posted by Clint Berquist | May 14, 2007 9:23 PM

The dude in the photo lost something like 200 pounds but had localized fat deposits remaining...he was left with some serious moobs (man boobs).

Posted by Jackie | May 14, 2007 10:04 PM

Did you take that photo Jackie?

Posted by Clint Berquist | May 15, 2007 1:03 AM

I believe that is Michael's photo and Bob's graphic design on the ad.

Posted by Jackie | May 15, 2007 9:36 AM

If I recall correctly, the Erotic Film Festival program ended up being printed in Portland, too, because NO ONE in Seattle would print it. My understanding is it's not so much the management of these printing companies, but the workers who run the presses, who threaten to down tools if the naughty stuff comes along.

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