I’m never quite sure if technology actually makes work easier or if we are all getting ulcers from a barrage of technical hang-ups.
I’ve just finished a project for a client; I worked with a great producer to edit a video. The client was happy with the final product; I was as pleased as I generally get about my own work. Everything was fine. However, things start to unravel when one works too fast on several things at once. I had to make a few minor changes and send off a final edit to the client and an important contact he had made. Made the changes, burned the DVDs, and sent them off FedEx. Alas, one of the fixes was an audio edit on the music soundtrack; I had switched off the dialogue track to make a finer decision about the music and, when I exported the video, there was no dialogue! (I always check the DVD before sending it. However, except for the minor tweak, this was a version I had exported before. I watched the first several seconds to check for sound [the music was playing] then played through the rest of the video at 4x speed.)

The client was, understandably, not especially pleased when he watched the video.

He’s a good fellow; I hope we’ll work together again. But it pains me greatly that I might have damaged the relationship he has with this contact; on top of that it makes me and him look unprofessional. I am a “trained professional.” I went to school specifically to work in this field; however, mishaps such as this can be professionally paralyzing.

I suppose it’s good I don’t design kitchen appliances or lawnmowers. It reminds me of the space shuttle or the Concorde disasters. We have these immensely complex mechanisms that can fail catastrophically from relatively simple design errors. I’m sure very intelligent people spent thousands of hours on the design of both the shuttle and the Concorde; but it’s all for naught when a piece of rubber or tile fails or there is a scrap of metal on the runway.

It’s just immensely disheartening when, after days of work and collaboration, one oversight sticks out more than the effort that went into the project itself.