Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Friday, June 22, 2007

Project Completed

Today I completed the latest project, Deadeye Albert McNasty and his two dummy's dummies. I showed pictures of Albert and Woody a few days back in the article, “Deadeye Albert and Friend”

Here's Albert with his other friend, Sylvester.

Those are the names I chose for these figures. I need names to talk to them as I build. The client will give them their real names later. But maybe he'll keep these names. We collaborated throughout this project, and those are the names we used. More about that in a minute.

Woody is named after my grandson. Sylvester is named after a local guy whose face inspired the original sculpture that became Woody and Sylvester. Deadeye is named after me. (We share an affliction).

All three get crated up and sent to their new home next week.

This is the kind of project I prefer. I like to design and build figures from scratch. I like them to be original and one-of-a-kind. I want their faces to have enough character to assist in the development of their personalities. I insist on frequent conversations with the client and reviews of photos as designs progress. This procedure involves the client intimately in the design stages. There are no surprises when the product is delivered.

Many figure makers do not work that way. They take your order and, sometime later, deliver your dummy. If it's not from a product line of established characters, you could get a surprise when it shows up.

Years ago, when I was designing computer software systems, I learned this essential lesson:

Get the user involved on the first day and keep him involved for the duration.

The more you involve the user in the research, design, and development of his project, the more likely he is to be satisfied when you deliver it, and the less likely you are to hear, "Gee, I always thought it was going to..."

The other lesson I learned is this one:

The solution to a problem always modifies the problem.

Which means that when a user sees what he can have, it gets him thinking about what more he wants. "Hey, if it can do that, maybe it can do this other thing, too."

Which keeps software developers and dummy builders in business.