Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bring on the storm

Watching people under pressure can be rather interesting. Everyone handles it differently. Well, I say everyone but I'm sure if you got enough people together you'd find many handle it exactly the same. So it would be more true to say that some people handle it differently. But that doesn't have as much impact, does it?

I've seen people break out in rashes or get quite physically ill. I've seen some people just shut down, usually vanishing never to be seen again. I've seen some lose all interest in anything, just breezing in and out oblivious. I've seen some people turn into big lumps of rage. And I've seen people love it and work at their most efficient.

While I'm not really in that latter category because real pressure, as in an impossible deadline, I just think well what's the point? If I don't have a chance of winning, I don't like to play. But a tough deadline? That's different. Oddly, the closer I get to a deadline, the more I begin to actually care about something. Not sure why that is.

But I also react to stress the same way I react to pretty much everything in life - I get really tired.

Man, I'm sleepy.

But it's interesting to watch people under pressure. I'm seeing some catastrophic balls-ups right now. Like a ballet of dumbass mistakes. Which then lead to more pressure - it takes more time to do stuff badly and then have to fix it than it does to do it right the first time.

Always does.


Mandy said...

A ballet of dumb-ass mistakes.

Are you talking about MH services per chance? If not, well if the term fits and all that.

The thought of certain MH staff dressed in a tu-tu does bring a smile to my face. I advocate it becomes a new uniform for them.

Red Pill Junkie said...

When I was in my second-to-last year at college, I had an... episode. I was struggling with my final project for the Design class, and on the night before the presentation day, as I was fumbling with my scale model, I suddenly realized that my project was shit, and that no matter how many hours of work I had left, I would not be able to present a project that I would be proud of; the awareness of my own mediocrity was unbearable, so I threw my model away and went to bed. The next day I came to class empty-handed, and even though my teacher was willing to concede me a few more days to finish, I refused and told him I'd rather have an honest F than a hypocrite D; he accepted my decision and flunked me. Because of that I didn't graduate Suma Cum Laude (or the Mexican equivalent of that) even though my thesis got a special commendation; it took me two years to finish my final thesis BTW, and when I printed it it was bigger than the phone book! But I knew that I had to make something I could actually be proud of, if just that once.

It is a very difficult thing to reconcile the perfection of a project when it is just an imagined concept, with the stark reality of the end result, after third parties failed to rise to your expectations, or budget cuts forced you to take tough decisions and make re-designs. But this is a game of making the best with what few resources you have.

Funny how perfectionism can be both a virtue & a defect.

Bitter Animator said...

No, Mandy, not MH services but, hey, if the shoe fits...

No, these people are all animators, producers, compositors and whatnot. Or at least, they're supposed to be.

You're right RPJ that perfection can sometimes get in the way of just actually doing something. One thing I've figured watching animators, directors and whoever is that there will be corners cut - nobody in television gets the budgets they need. The key skill seems to be knowing just when and how to cut those corners. That's what can make or break a project.

From that, I've become a firm believer in working within your means from the start. If you know your limitations, you can set out to get the best possible result within them.

Red Pill Junkie said...

From that, I've become a firm believer in working within your means from the start. If you know your limitations, you can set out to get the best possible result within them.

Ah! but then, in order to truly know those limitations, means you need to fail once in a while after trying something bold, doesn't it?

At least, that's what I keep telling myself to justify my lousy performance at college. I was always daring and trying to do impossible projects ;-)

Red Pill Junkie said...

I know this is an old thread, but I've found this article which seems awfully pertinent to the subject.

How to Procratinate like Leonardo DaVinci.

One thing that struck me as I read it was this:

"If creative procrastination, selectively applied, prevented Leonardo from finishing a few commissions — of minor importance when one is struggling with the inner workings of the cosmos — then only someone who is a complete captive of the modern cult of productive mediocrity that pervades the workplace, particularly in academe, could fault him for it.

Productive mediocrity requires discipline of an ordinary kind. It is safe and threatens no one. Nothing will be changed by mediocrity; mediocrity is completely predictable. It doesn't make the powerful and self-satisfied feel insecure. It doesn't require freedom, because it doesn't do anything unexpected. Mediocrity is the opposite of what we call "genius." Mediocrity gets perfectly mundane things done on time. But genius is uncontrolled and uncontrollable. You cannot produce a work of genius according to a schedule or an outline. As Leonardo knew, it happens through random insights resulting from unforeseen combinations. Genius is inherently outside the realm of known disciplines and linear career paths. Mediocrity does exactly what it's told, like the docile factory workers envisioned by Frederick Winslow Taylor."

I admit it kinda of made me feel a little less bad about my college performance ;-)