I had to chuckle when I read Andy Capp's column in the March edition of RAP ["...And Make It Real Creative!", March 1994]. At about the same time Andy was writing the opening line to that article, I was standing up at our managers' meeting uttering almost the very same words. "Hello, I'm Craig (other managers, "Hello, Craig."). I'm a perfectionist (crowd applause). It's been three days since my last perfectionist outburst (general giggles all around)."
Yes, I too am amongst the many who preach production perfection and sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time getting it "just right." Apparently, so is most of the management team here at WAVA, which is why we spent a few meetings covering the topic.
While I am in agreement that being a perfectionist can be debilitating at work or at home, and while I recognize that Andy had his tongue somewhat firmly planted in cheek, I still have to take exception to Andy's comments about digital workstations. There is no question that having this kind of technology at one's disposal can help pave the way from being a MERE perfectionist to becoming a RAVING, MASOCHISTIC perfectionist. But if this happens, don't blame it on the tools. It's something that has to be fought whether you're using analog or digital gear. Look, I sympathize about being a perfectionist. Like I said, I'm a charter member of the club. But I have found digital workstations to be a godsend. They have helped increase my productivity drastically, and have turned a staff of computerphobics into true believers.
I've seen plenty of helpful articles in these pages about time management and knowing when to say, "When" on any given project. In fact, Andy hit the nail on the head when he said, "there are limits." If you find yourself spending more time tweaking projects with digital gear, the problem is not the gear. It's knowing your limits. You CAN set reasonable limits and still crank out killer production. And you can still get home on time once a month or so to see your eight year old daughter like I do.
We have a lot of perfectionists here at WAVA. That's one of the reasons that this li'l ol' Christian radio station won a Marconi Award after only 18 months on the air and some production kudos along the way (shameless self-promotion). We've done it with a 2-track digital workstation. Our second one is on order, and this will most likely be the year that we get a full digital multi-track system as well.
So, as far as digital production, like the great British sprinter, Harold Abrahams, was purported to have claimed, "I will take the future with me." And as far as my razor blade? It's right where it belongs -- hanging in a noose above my SVGA monitor.
Craig Klein, Production Director
WAVA-FM, Washington, DC