There's a saying 'don't sweat the small stuff.' There is also a book of the same name. Both of which suggest that one should not let the details worry us. When it comes to keeping clients happy and building a lasting reputation for your studio or your production career then I disagree.
Our home building project is nearing the end, and yes I'm using it again for illustrative purposes, but after the money it's cost then I have no qualms about maximising its value.
After the cost of purchasing the house, it has been the most substantial investment my wife, and I have made, both in financial and energy terms.
This project was over two years in the planning and then ten weeks of disruption. We had large parts of the back of the house removed and more steel put into the house to make sure it didn't fall down on our heads than Steve Austin. It has acres of glass to get the light back in, in fact, there is more glass than bricks.
We've spent months researching everything from switches to handles, and chairs to paint, would you believe it when I told you I spent two hours one evening with my wife discussing what colour white we should paint the walls. It seems that white comes in many colours these days and me telling my wife that the definition of white is the absence of any colour just got me a punch in the mouth.
Now we are close to completing the project it's not the big things that have shown me which tradespeople I can rely on but the small ones.
I could write a long list of items that remain unresolved, but everything on that list is small. Doors that don't shut correctly, missing parts, a thousand pound freezer that buzzes all the time! Or perhaps the fact that I had to get the electrical contractor to change the wiring of a four gang socket three times before it was right. This wiring issue occurred despite me having drawn a detailed diagram and being there to confirm this wiring each time.
Some things are still not right.
When it comes to making records and movies, some with huge budgets we are as likely to suffer the same issues. An artist or client is not going to give a damn about your mic collection or vintage console if you deliver a track that has small technical errors like a bad edit, a click or a noise. Furthermore, if you don't deliver work on time then your not going to make any friends. This fact is especially true in TV where scheduling is so tight that you not having a show or an advert ready for air is going to set hearts racing and will melt your phone as the client tries to find out what is going on.
The same goes for little things like cleaning up after yourself, you might not run a building site you may not even work with attended clients, but there are parallels. For examples, a client called me this week asking for some assets for new versions of projects I completed a long time ago. I have all their assets on a drive; each project has a folder and each one a subfolder, all labelled. Furthermore, everything is on a cloned drive. If I need to put my hand on any of their work I can find it in seconds and then get back to work on it. For many of us, our computer is our workbench and making sure we keep it tidy is an essential part of running a modern production company.
If you have a studio that clients visit then first impressions count, even if your place is modest it can still be clean and tidy. It may not matter to you, but you are not the client. If your attitude is 'they can take me or leave me' then expect some to leave you.
The building project draws to an end, and my fantastic builder has brought in lots of third-party contractors for specialist tasks. I can tell you the ones I will work with again and the ones I will recommend.
It's the ones who sweat the small stuff.
The fact is there are tens if not thousands of people who can do your job, make sure you don't lose work because you don't pay attention to the small things.