Monday, May 24, 2010

Show it to me when it's all finished. And be quick about those changes.

About a bazillion lifetimes ago, I worked as a PR guy for a defense contractor in the Washington area.

We made a fighter jet for the Air Force and all kinds of other things I don't totally care to remember now.

The president of the company was arrogant and mean as a snake. One of my responsibilities was financial public relations, so I was charged with producing things like the quarterly report to stockholders - a little newsletter that reminded them how wonderful we were and gave them a financial update. This president-guy (let's call him "John") had to personally review and approve everything, but refused to actually look at anything until it was a blue line.

For you kids out there, all you really need to know is that a blue line was the very last thing before printing. Which is to say any changes - and with this joker there were always changes, because had to show you how smart he was - were a hell of a lot harder to make then they would have been if he'd looked at the damn manuscript before it was set in type.

Blue lines have gone the way of the manual typewriter, but there are still some clients who resist making life easier on you and on themselves by approving - or disapproving - copy before the artwork is done. "Put it in the layout, so we can see what it will look like," they will say. "Can we have it this afternoon? I can't promise you there won't be changes. But we'll still want it finished tomorrow."

I'm not saying a client's role in life it to make our lives easier. But it is true that if they'd just take us to our word that this is the better way - for everybody - to do it, we'd all be a bit happier.

Now I need to post this thing so I can go back and review it for the first time.

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