Why I dread Fridays

Fridays always make me nervous. Almost all of the catastrophes I have had the most trouble to manage materialized on Fridays. Usually at 4:45 and needing to go to press by the end of business, and the printer that usually closes at 7pm, closes at 5:30 on Fridays. And of course doesn’t have an FTP site and the files you need to send at too large to email.

“This has all happened before. And it will happen again.” – Cylon Hybrid, Battlestar Galactica.

That said, catalogs are SO fun…

At the Production Meeting with the publishing team the previous Friday, we reviewed the pagination, cover content, and set the catalog size at 200 pages. We decided to aim at an art to press deadline for the end of the month as reasonable, if tight.

So last Friday morning, while I am well under way with stripping in the 2010 pricing to the re-designed 2010 catalog and setting the folios, I have an email from my contact. The Sales Force needs us to add 9 pages of critical products to the book.

Fine. Re-Paginate, 212 pages.

TECH ALERT, but read it anyway. Pros, you can skip this paragraph, you already know what’s coming.  [ For most print processes, bound books have to be set in multiples of 4 pages, and some large scale print methods such as high speed web presses, use signatures of 8 or even 16 page sheets. So adding ODD numbers of pages is always problematical. Even the very common stapled booklet needs to be printed 4 pages art a time, each sheet printed both sides, folded once on the spine. Okay, get it now? ] End Tech Alert

Midday: I take a call with one of the content editors, adding three more pages. Re-Paginate the book again. Still 212 pages, but just barely. Now the Index is crushed to one page and half of the inside back cover.

Oh yeah… put back all the little icons they had you delete last round. (&#%$#@!!!)

4:15 PM. Another email. Adding four more products. Thankfully one requested was already in the book. But will have to expand two items to a two page spread from one, to keep from TOTALLY fouling the right | left spreads and re-laying out the entire book from the insertion point. Even with the formidable tools in InDesign, it’s a non-trivial task. But at least now we are back to having two full pages to use for the Index. (That inside back cover space is still there to invade!)

Re-paginate. Book is now 216 pages.

Email back: “Of course this is complex enough that the “end-of-the-month” target is likely well trashed —with an anvil, but we’ll forge on.” Can you see the look on the Coyote’s face as he plummets into the canyon? Well, I’ve had that look. And will probably have it again before I retire.

Meanwhile, every other project in the Studio gets pushed back, and my clients circle like hungry wolves. Somehow I will tag-team some of the most pressing work into the rotation. This has all happened before. And it will happen again.

Of course, one of the advantages of being a self-employed freelancer, you can choose work on the weekends. Certainly motivated. Which is time to stop mucking about on the Studo Blog and get back to it!

But I still dread each approaching Friday with appropriate suspicion and paranoia.

Till next!

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