Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Speed is the ultimate frontier

His name was Michi Taiki. "It means path in the sunshine," he explained to me when I picked him up at the airport.

I found that a very poetic name for an efficiency expert, but I kept my opinion to myself.

While we drove towards the city centre in a taxi, Taiki complained about the long check-in lines at the airport. On arrival, he had also been obliged to wait interminably for his luggage.

"Speed is the ultimate frontier of progress," argued Taiki as the taxi slowed down. I could not have agreed more, since our taxi was caught in a gigantic traffic jam. "Do you know what's the key to achieving speed?" he went on.

I shook my head, Taiki smiled, and whispered the answer in my ear. "Simplicity! That's the key! Have you ever seen the beauty of a Japanese garden, the clarity of its lines, the peacefulness of its colours?"

The taxi began to move again and, an hour later, we arrived at the studio. I introduced Taiki to our producer, who welcomed him warmly. The three of us took seat in the producer's office.

The schedule of our movie was in shambles, the budget out of control, and the production insurer was about to fire our director. Was there anything that Taiki could do to improve the situation? begged the producer.

Taiki listened attentively to the details and asked us a few questions. He was surprised that, with thirty-six people, we had not been able to finish shooting a movie in five weeks.

"Nowadays," indicated Michi Taiki, "it takes only 36 hours of labour to manufacture a luxury car." During the next two days, Taiki observed our work closely, but did not make any suggestions.

On the morning of the third day, Taiki went to see the producer in his office and told him that it would be much more efficient if we changed the script in order to make sure that all scenes in the movie looked the same and had the same dialogue.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Freakland under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]


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