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Old May 13th, 2013, 05:39 PM
AR AR is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,597

Mike's story about sending wine back reminds me of a parallel situation that has nothing to do with wine, but makes a similar point. . .

Some of you know that I was in the film production business. One fine day many decades ago I found myself in the timers' projection room at a major Hollywood film lab. I was there to screen the answer print (first print) of a film I'd made. The timer sat beside me to evaluate the print. In film, timers have nothing to do with clocks. They're the people who do (well, did) the scene-to-scene color and density corrections before the film was printed. If there were further corrections needed after the first print was made, they'd go back and tweak things.

OK, so the picture ran, he made notes on his data cards, and I took notes on a yellow pad. When the lights came up, we compared notes, and it turned out (as usual) that we had each caught most of the same things, which were pretty minor. As he was putting his paperwork back in the folder, we both noticed that our coffee cups were not yet empty, so we started chatting. He mentioned that his next screening wouldn't be so pleasant, because Nutty Nancy was due in about 20 minutes. He told me that Nutty Nancy was in charge of approving air prints for the various TV series made by a major Hollywood studio which will remain nameless (Universal). Back in those days all the episodic dramatic TV shows were shot on film, and the nameless studio (Universal) did shows like Columbo, McMillan and Wife, etc.

My timer friend said that Nutty Nancy never varied in her routine. She'd come in, sit down, the film would start, and five minutes later she'd jump up, put her hands on her hips, announce loudly "When you have something worth watching, give me a call," and storm out of the screening room. At first, the timers would diligently go back and check all the work, which is largely objective, but certainly has some elements of subjective analysis. They'd scratch their heads, maybe add a point or two of yellow here, cyan there, whatever. Hardly noticeable. Then they'd pull a new print and call Nutty Nancy back. The second time she'd watch the print all the way through, and announce, "That's more like it!"

This went on for awhile until the timing staff finally figured out what was going on. When Nancy stormed out of the room, they'd simply put the print on the shelf for 72 hours, call her back, and run it again. And always the response was, "That's more like it!"

There are poseurs and incompetents in every racket, whether it's wine, movies, or anything else.
The most dangerous man in society is the man who has nothing left to lose. -- Saul Bellow
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