Don't Go Crazy Pursuing Perfection

Perfection is a lofty goal to pursue in any of your endeavours, but it's worth remembering that reaching the highest peaks doesn't just require commitment: it also often requires a hefty budget.

I was reminded of this while listening to Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg at the HP TechForum in Las Vegas last week. Like its rival Pixar, Dreamworks has seen the technology used to produce its computer-animated movies become increasingly sophisticated. As Katzenberg noted, the improvement in technical capacity has seen the level of obsessiveness involved in producing those flicks continue to rise:

Just when we think we've mastered one set of technological capabilities, a whole new array of hardware and software comes on the scene, and we have to adapt all over again. The computer has simply raised the bar on the amount of detail that we control freaks can control.

If you already have control freak tendencies, that sounds like an appealing mantra to live by. But it's worth thinking about the reverse side of the equation: the latest Shrek flick, Shrek Forever After, was budgeted at an estimated $US165 million. If you don't have that kind of money to throw around, then knowing when to say enough is enough is an even more important skill. And even if you can spend $165 million, you won't necessarily get a better movie. Just ask the producers of Waterworld.


    Perfectibility is fine. Perfection is for those people who hate Christmas because they work like rabid dogs to make a beautiful dinner only to have some smart alec rele complain about the potatoes.

    A deeper message for me from this article is the hardware and software don't make the movie or game etc. It's what you make with it. Witness the resurgence of gaming fun and software cleverness in the underpowered realms of netbooks, iPads and mobile phones.

    The Duke Nukem II development debacle is a perfect example:

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