Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Production lies.

Quality production managers are worth their weight in splendorgel. Walk into any agency and you can easily identify him/her by spotting the person engaged in one of following activities:

- Sniffing the ink on a newly-arrived print item in an addict-like manner.
- Gently stroking a new stock variety (with a sexually stimulated look on his/her face. Designers too enjoy this activity, so be careful not to confuse them – if they are dressed well, move on and continue your search).
- Yelling down the phone about costs and/or timings.
- Whipping a mac monkey for setting up artwork incorrectly.
- Attending one-by-one to a line of ‘suits’ and ‘creatives’ parked outside his/her office.

It’s this final occurance that sorts the good from the bad. The time-poor production manager is faced with managing the internal expectations of agency staffers, while at the same time screwing suppliers to the point where they still want your business. How do they do it? Simple, they lie.

Suit (frantic): Have those brochures arrived yet?

PM (poker-faced): I’m expecting them soon. I’ll give Printer X a call and follow up.

I’m expecting them in two days. Fuck off. When you come back in an hour’s time, I’ll tell you I’ve placed a call (but haven’t), they are doing everything possible to get them through, but can’t guarantee delivery today just yet. They’ll keep us up to date as the day progresses.

Designer (serious): Is this the recycled non-bleach chemical free nouveau white stock I specified?

PM (poker-faced): Sure is. Beautiful stuff isn’t it – can’t wait to smell the ink on that one.

Translation: No it’s not, pretentious git. It’s half the price, and actually holds ink. But you wouldn’t know the fucking difference anyway. I could print your work on anything and you’d still make the comment “the stock I suggested really makes this piece”.

Printer (beaten): I’ll see what I can do about matching Printer X’s cost.

PM (Poker-faced): Thanks, because there’s a lot of work coming up that I’d like to give to you guys.

Translation: I have no intention of giving you any further work unless you give me the price that I want. What’s more, I reserve the right to not give it to you even if you do match the price.

Point of this post? Production lies is the oil of the agency machine. If your production manager can’t bend the truth, have him/her removed.

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