Sound The Alarm - Chapter 2 - The Wax Machine

Sound the Alarm

Chapter 2

Janet Newley always wanted to be an audiobook editor. But now it looked like the most dangerous decision she had ever made. The security of the country was depending on her and her headphones.

The package arrived and Janet couldn’t contain herself – the new controller for her audiobook workstation had arrived, and now Janet could bring her work-flow optimization effort up to a new level. Every audiobook editing command imaginable could be programmed into this high-tech keypad and shuttle. She could increase her speed and accuracy to new heights with this baby.

Technology changed so much since Janet first started working in the industry. In the late 1980’s, when she started working at Sony Music in the Creative Services department, they didn’t even have phones with intercoms. The old phones with five large square buttons – a red one at the end – were antiquated even for the time. Executive assistants could be heard yelling down the hallway to their boss’s offices “Bob Dylan in the phone,” “It’s Barbra Streisand. The bump on her chin is approved." It was completely insane.

The machines and techniques used for graphic design were indeed from another millennium. Gruff and manly art directors used T-squares, Exacto knives, waxing machines, Photostats and “C” prints to create layouts. Representatives from typesetting companies with giant expense accounts would treat the art directors to outrageously costly lunches at the finest restaurants in mid-town Manhattan. The men would return to work, clearly drunk off the finest liquour, and ready to direct some art. These relationships and the entire industry of typesetting would disappear overnight when the computers arrived.

Other things changed with the arrival of the computers into the Creative Services department. The character of the new art director hires was one of the most notable differences. Instead of the wild men of graphics a wave of well-groomed, poised and tasteful females arrived on the scene – all ready to design in the new way – no wax involved.

Janet watched all these changes occur as she set out on her own mission – to get out of the “Traffic” department where she had landed and into a more creative side of the business. Lot of people in the company had the same goal, so this was not going to be easy. Luckily, Janet had one of the old gruff men of design on her side.

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