Sunday, July 5, 2015

Deadlines are deadlines, even if you are Dead!

Working in the media is certainly not for the faint hearted. There are deadlines. If you are dying, your boss would probably tell you to file the report and then die! The deadline remains.

I have been speaking about this in my class, and have been trying to live by it for so many years now. You cannot keep your client waiting, and neither your audiences. My students had painted this line on the door of the classroom, and some students still call it the 'Deadline Room'.

The news starts exactly at the time it is supposed to, a TV serial also starts when it is supposed to. No TV channel can show a screen asking the viewers to wait while a reporter is busy filing a report. A TV serial cannot wait till an edit is done. Its all done in clockwork precision. If you miss a deadline, you can be sure that you have lost your job.

There are several things tied to this. When there is news at nine, millions of viewers and listeners are glued to the television set, or their radio for the news. For a popular serial, people manage their daily chores to sit in front of the television. Considering how fickle the audiences are, a channel simply cannot take the risk of starting their programme late, because within seconds, they could lose their viewers to the remote control and to other channels.

The second important thing is the other audience, the advertisers. Revenue generation in media depends heavily on advertisements. Every second lost showing a blank screen, means the loss of a lot of revenue. That is why, every second on the television screen is planned. The only exception probably is Doordarshan and AIR, which actually show a screen saying 'The next programme in a short time' or there is simply nothing playing on the radio. Just in case you don't believe me, ask anyone in the media.

But you know, there is a certain thrill living by this philosophy. Just keeping it in mind helps you, and makes you more organised, makes you plan your assignments, your studies, preparing for  your examinations, and your work, so that you don't miss the deadline. It helps you develop a professional approach, and helps you also discipline your life generally. That does not mean you are not supposed to enjoy life. You can set a deadline for that too!

Conclusion? A deadline is a deadline, even if you are Dead.