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Hi, my name is Ashley (aka rifraf2009) and I am a theme builder. I thought ... Stackers' Lounge forum

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    theme builders anonymous

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    Hi, my name is Ashley (aka rifraf2009) and I am a theme builder.

    I thought I would start this thread for all of the "themers" that just need to take a load off, and just talk about themeing in general. I know that there is a theme developers forum, but this thread isn't really for discussing the latest tricks, and techniques. This is for those fellow theme developers to bounce ideas off of each other, or ANYONE that is interested. Also to talk about themeing nightmares. The frustrating things that we as themers incounter (such as strange, or even sometimes annoying requests).

    This thread is also where all of the fellow themers can simply get to know one another. Tell us your story, and how, or why you started building themes.

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    Ok, I guess I'll start it off. My name is Ashley (aka rifraf2009). I have only been building themes for about a year. My focus device, for the time being, is the Pearl (which is what I have).
    I started building themes because when I first got my BB, as many have done, I wanted to personalize it. But all of the sites that I first found with free themes, well they weren't very helpful. I found many, many, many free themes that I liked, but never one that was JUST EXACTLY what I was really wanting. And to make requests, what a joke! I actually got banned from a site for simply asking someone if they could make 1 minor change to one of their themes. I even offred to pay for it. But nooo! I got banned for 24 hours.
    Well, when I finally wa able to download my first edition of theme builder (Plazmic 4.6), I kind of went crazy. Of course not knowing anything about resizing icons, etc, my first attempts where VERY basic. BUT within the first hour, I had made 7, what I felt were, impressive themes. Of course then I figured out about resizing icons, and even making truly custom icons from scratch. So needless to say the quality of my themes increased. And I did it. I actually made the "perfect" theme! Well, perfect for me. Right now I have 30 or more themes here at PinStack. And this one is not one of them, and may never be.
    I do take requests, and have built themes for other devices other than the pearl, but seeing that I don't have any of the other devices, and none of the simulators that I have downloaded ever seem to work for me, I don't make that many. Something that does bother me though, is the fact that I simply don't have the time to spend on making them that I would like to. And it does bother me when someone makes a request, and I am not able to get it to them right away. I truly do not mean to put them off, and not to sound mean, but I do have a life other than building themes. A wife, a 3 year old son, and another son on the way. A job where I'm working 13 and 14 hour days, 6 days a week. Theme building has been out on the back burner.

    Well that is my story. I hope everyone that has ever downloaded any of my themes have enjoyed them. And for those requests I still haven't filled...."patience IS a virtue"....

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    Good idea 4 a Thread. I will post more in a bit

    *Edit
    I started building Themes before they were even considered Themes. The very first generation of CDK did not allow for much customization compared to now but it was nice to simply offer some added change from any default choices.

    It was very fun and like you I would make Themes on my down time to pass the time (so to speak). My first Theme was for the 7100, 7200 series phones. In part I actually purchased my first Blackberry b/c my company would send me all over the US for different things and not pay for an internet connection. So the Blackberry was the perfect way to stay in touch. Every time I looked at my phone screen I hated what I saw. So that is why I took intrest in making Themes. I made one for myself that was perfect and I never did share it with anyone.

    It was about the same time I made my own web site. I made the web site b/c I wanted one place to go using my Blackberry that contained all the information I needed and optimized for a Blackberry screen. While keeping the front page reserved for my needs I began posting all the Themes I made on the back side or additional pages. Before long I had over 1000 Themes for a variety of devices.

    After a few years it became a burdon and huge pain in the rear. People are sometimes very rude and actually think you work for them or something.
    Out of all the Themes I had made I also make at least 10 more versions of it to meets all the special requests. I will spare with all the nastys but sufice to say I no longer enjoyed making Themes for all those who wanted something special. When I was making Themes there was very, very few others who were making them. Today there are thousands of people making Themes and doing an outstanding job of it. So the culture and styles have certainly changed since the beginnning or early days.

    I was never so happy to actually change phone platforms It was my real excuse for shutting down my web site and turning my back on a RIM product for good.

    It was like a huge vacation seriously, the hundreds of emails a day stopped coming in and I could finally relax and when time premitted offer others a little help or advice and I have found I enjoy that even more. For the record I was the first to make the iPhone Theme for the Blackberry. One with the correct icons and textures. It was so good I received a call the Apple themself requesting I make certain changes b/c of copy right issues.

    That one Theme took in over $100k before I took it down and off the site. Since them everyone has made that Theme and it continues to be very popular for some odd reason.

    So that is why you will notice in my PIN location (profile) I say "Retired" because I am. I do still enjoy looking and seeing a quality Theme tho. There is no substitute for the smile and joy it brings a Blackberry user.

    Stack on!
    Last edited by srl7741; 03-24-2010 at 04:54 PM.

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    Looking forward to it!

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    Well that is one of the main reasons for this thread. Not just for the seasoned theme builders, but also for those up and coming ones. I had read a post some time back, I believe it was raton, but I could be mistaken. Anyway, WHOEVER it was, was pointing out the lack of new themes that were coming out, and that the quality of the themes had gotten worse. In some instance I would agree on the quality issue. ONLY because these are new up and coming themers just starting out, that really haven't learned all of the ins and outs just yet. But even more recently I have noticed that there is a lack of themes in general coming out. I think alot of that has to do with the fact that there are sooo many other smartphones on the market right now, and people are jumping ship and going with the iphones and droids, etc. So I wanted to "keep the dream alive" so to speak. That's the soul purpose of this thread. BUT, it also could serve a dual purpose. Some of the newer theme builders may actually be able to learn from the things the more seasoned themers have been through. And as a result, more new themes.

    As far as your themes, particularly your iphone theme, lol... Yes I've made my own version. Well, actually several versions, lol. They haven't hit the 100k mark by no means, but one of them has done rather well here at the stacks.

    I would have to agree with you about people thinking you work for them. And I don't say that to be mean, but it has at times almost made me want to hang it up, except for just my own personal needs. But, I do hope more theme builders will participate in this thread. If for no other reason than this. Since I became a member here at Pinstack, I have met some very amazing people who have helped me tremendously. Made some great friends. And I, personally love meeting new people, hearing their stories, and yes, looking around at any and ALL new theme builders creations. I consider this my home away from home, and am eager to see more themers stories!

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    I would agree about some of the lack of Theme numbers being done. Platforms or the advancement of some have taken away a few but lets not forget you can now post Themes 4 sale in RIM's marketplace or App Store (what ever they call it). So I'm sure many are giving that a chance and seeing if they can make some money.

    I actually think RIM had no idea the first time they released the CDK it would be a method of income for them or any others for that matter. If they did I think they would have released it in a different manor. It may have been Pay or by some Members Pay model.

    I would not put it past RIM to release additional mods for the CDK which allows users to enhance the OS more beyond just Themes.

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    I honestly hadn't thought of that. The fact that alot are selling their creations now. Honestly I have concidered doing that myself, with some of the better themes that I have just been sitting on. But I have never really checked into it. I know that, especially with the current economic situation we are in here in the US, that ANY extra income is helpful. But can someone really stand to make THAT much selling themes? I thought about this a while back and figured, ok, I guess if a person sold a theme for let's say $5, and they sold 100 copies of that theme, that's a weeks pay check for most people. So let's add another theme, and another, and another, etc. Now they have, let's say 20 to 30 themes that they are selling at an average of $5 a piece, yeah they could stand to make alot of money. I know, of course that alot of it depends upon the quality of the theme, and for which device the theme is for. But my question would be, are there really that many people buying themes? Can someone truly make a fairly decent income off of selling themes? Especially if they can go and find just as nice a theme for free somewhere else? These are just thoughts, but with some of the requests I have had, that is what makes me question even attempting selling my themes. Someone comes to you with an idea of a theme they want that is really just a customized version of a theme they had seen for sell in the app store. Personally I have a little problem with that. I know that building themes in general is taking something you have seen and getting ideas from that. But to ask someone "hey, I saw this really cool theme over at www.blahblahblah.com that was for sell, and I was wondering if you could make it, but add a weather slot, and a different background for this screen, and make this do this, blah, blah, blah!" it makes me want to tell them "learn how to build themes yourself". I love building themes, but all of the themes I have posted to date are FREE! And some people seem to take advantage of that. I don't really blame them, but still. So, it takes me back to the question, can someone REALLY make anything from selling their themes. I do believe that if people see your free ones and like theme, and if you do fill some requests, and then people may be more willing to actually purchase themes that you have made. But, either way, I'm still up in the air about if its worth it, lol!

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    It's a great question Pay vs free and the countless options or selections everywhere. I say "YES" a person can make some good money selling Themes. It's much more difficult these days to do it but it can be done. There are several great sites set up to sell.
    Handango, bPlay and the hundreds of personal sites. Cheri could add to this thread when it comes to the Theme temperature and free vs paid Themes.

    There are millions of BB users and each one has to look at something on that screen. It has to come from someone making it weather it's a vendor Theme, Company Theme or personall one. Company Logo branded Themes are very popular.

    I made several for the Detroit Lions Football team years ago and they loved it. Look at some of these Themes here for sale. Imagine the Thousands of people who purchase them. That is a lot of $

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