Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Rant, Plus: How Far Ahead Does Jon Work on These Blogs, Anyway?

OK, first thing you need to understand is that I hate deadlines... that is, I hate just meeting deadlines. It doesn't matter if it's work or the blogs, I'd rather work as far ahead as possible, so it gives me flexibility, the options to plan things out on a greater scale than normally possible, as well as the chance to fix things well ahead of time.

Now, if you've read the "about me" part of the sidebar, you know I'm a graphic designer at a local newspaper. What that means is that I create ads that are published in the paper. In addition to that, I get to take on extra projects that aren't ads, because I'm very skilled, I work fast, and I don't just wait until the last minute to get things done.

So, my current extra project is a thing for visitors to this city... there are three parts of this, and today, I finished the first one, which is a map showing area attractions. I first met with the client about a month ago, and I was given PDF files of the last version, which I needed to convert to an editable format, and make changes to.

Whenever I have to make changes to a PDF, I try to open it up in Adobe Illustrator. This usually works fairly well, unless there are a lot of fonts I don't have on my work computer, or if there are a lot of extraneous "artifacts" that are hidden in the PDF, but show up when it's opened in Illustrator. Fortunately, this PDF only had font problems, and I was able to find fonts that worked out all right.

It was a week after I got the files to start working on that the customer finally got me a supposedly updated list of the businesses that were to be included. So I got to work right away, revising the list in the layout, and adding the color-coded numbers to the map so someone who looks at the map can find things. I then created a PDF of this map and sent it to the client. And then, a few days later, I began to pester them for the sponsor ads that help pay for the publication.

Well, it was just this past Monday that I got word from the client that, somehow, there were some businesses missing from the list. These were added, and then I had to renumber everything to match it.

And then yesterday, there were a few more. And more today. These changes were given to me over the phone, and it quickly got to the point where it was impossible for me to number things correctly, so I had the client mark up a copy of the map with the corrected numbers, and with her sitting next to my desk, we went over it. Oh, there were other additions to the map, as well.

Now, if this client had their act together, and actually looked over that first proof that was sent to them a few weeks ago, this could've easily have been taken care of long before today... but they are apparently grossly disorganized, and can't do anything until the last minute.

The final file was supposed to be uploaded to the printer's FTP site at noon today (Wednesday). It wasn't finally approved until about 4 pm.

We're supposed to have a proof from the printer on Thursday, which the client will have a few days to look over and indicate any further changes... which I fully expect will happen. God only knows if they'll be given to me in time to get corrected files to the printer in time to make the print deadline.

It's all very frustrating... this is the kind of project that is really great to add to one's resume if one's looking for a job (and given what's happening to the newspaper industry, that's a possibility in the near future).

Now, let's take my blogs... starting with this one you're reading right now. How far ahead am I on writing posts for this? Well, it's all written through December 31, although I'll be writing a post "live" (kind of like this one) around November 9, which is my birthday.

The Give-A-Show Blog has entries prepared through December 15, and I have scans done for about 50 days beyond that which, once they're color corrected, I'll start converting into videos and adding music.

Let's look at the new blogs that haven't even started publishing yet, shall we?

The Frankenstein blog is written thorough June 30, and starts publishing November 1st.

The Dracula blog is written through August 18, and starts publishing December 1st.

The Godzilla blog will start publshing January 1st, and is already written though August 13.

The Spider-Man blog is written (as of right now) through August 9 of 2009... that starts publishing on February 1st.

The Captain America blog is written though December 21, and starts publishing March 1st.

The Fantastic Four blog is written though September 15, with some selected entries pre-scheduled through to January 2010! That starts April 1st.

My goal on the new blogs is to have a full year of posts already prepared before each one starts publishing, because honestly, those new blogs won't require as much time to prepare on a day-to-day basis as the Random Acts of Geekery, with its multiple posts each day, or the Give-A-Show Blog, which requires me to scan everything, color correct it, convert to videos, add music and sound effects, and then upload to YouTube (although I've noticed more people are checking out the public YouTube videos... at least 10 times the number who go to the blog itself!).

So yes, I work very far ahead... the nice thing about this is, while I end up being in a flurry of activity on all these things, it does afford me the opportunity to take breaks if I need to. In the case of the Give-A-Show Blog, if I end up purchasing a set I'm missing that came out before stuff I've already prepared, I can change the publishing dates on those, and insert the new acquisition in proper chronological order. By the way, the scans I have waiting to be converted cover from 1966 through 1970 -- at least, for the sets I actually own!

You can see why the above work situation feels a bit frustrating to me... now, if only I could make blogging pay! Although that could happen if some of you checked out the new Random Stuff of Geekery Store! A link for that will be on the pages for all the blogs, and the new blogs will have Amazon Associates links for related stuff in the sidebars, too. There's a lot of cool stuff there, and if you were planning on making a purchase through Amazon anyway... well, why not help support this blogger? I thank you in advance.

By the way... I have to admit I'm also considering starting even more blogs, once all those new blogs are a year ahead! I'm considering a Hulk blog, a Superman blog, a Batman blog, a comic art blog, a Planet of the Apes blog, a Mummy blog (sorry, no Wolfman and Werewolves blog, at least until my photo files for those are a bit larger... although I may consider a new monster blog encompassing monsters without a blog of their own), a "goofy toys" blog for those toys that just don't fit the licensed property (like Planet of the Apes parachutists, for example), and a Movie Posters, Lobby Cards, and Stills blog! Of course, I'll have to think of names for those (and considering I've already had to settle for "Spider-Man Stuff" and "Fantastic Four Stuff" for those blogs, I'm hoping to be a bit more creative... although I think a Hulk blog should just be called "Hulk Blog!" and be done with it!).

So why the heck am I doing all these new blogs? Well, I have about 22,000 photos in my Flickr files, and just using them on the Random Acts, I could stop collecting photos now and probably go a few years before I start running out... but on the other hand, it would be nice to get some of them out there! So the new blogs will probably get to stuff related to their respective subjects much sooner than this one, but there will still be plenty of stuff that will probably only appear here!

Anyway, now you know... the rest of the story!

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