As vice president of production and manufacturing at Easyriders, Michael Weinglass is a busy man. Not only does he give a full effort at his day job, Weinglass tirelessly shares his knowledge at countless conferences, sits on editorial boards (including PrintMedia's), and writes and produces a variety of educational materials. In between his various activities, PrintMedia caught up with him and tossed a few questions his way.
PME: Briefly describe your background in production and manufacturing.
MW: My introduction was working summers in my father's hot metal type shop in New York. I would clean the old Linotype machines, trip a repro press, set headline type and run packages around the city. It was there that I acquired the fundamentals of traditional graphic arts.
After school, I worked as a production manager for a large national publisher, where I continued my education in every facet of printing and publishing. I then went to the prepress side at a time of tremendous upheaval during the desktop publishing "revolution." It dramatically changed everything. What was once a skilled craft was now in the hands of the masses. While many bemoaned the changes, and it became a death knell for some segments—like the typographers—I was fascinated by the huge potential it offered.
At Easyriders, I have been able to bring all of my traditional production and digital experiences to the table and create a successful, self-sufficient in-house production workflow.
PME: Over this time, what technologies have failed to live up to the hype and what technologies have exceeded expectations?
MW: I temper my expectations of technology with an appreciation of how far we've come since my early days. I don't like to think of innovations in terms of failure. Much research and time go into products that fail, as well as succeed. Our creation and production tools are often taken for granted. Color management, for one, has a long history of false starts and moving targets. On the other hand, our ability to share information and send files around the world in the blink of an eye is still a wonder to me.
PME: You are a constant at industry conferences, advocating digital ad submission, the adoption of industry-wide standards and new technologies to aid production. Why have you chosen to become so involved in the education of your peers?
MW: You have to care. I like sharing my experiences, which I think have been interesting over the years. I also don't take for granted that I was afforded an opportunity to see my production vision through. A less inviting environment might have stifled that vision. As for my involvement, I have sat through many presentations and panel discussions that are excellent. There are also many that are poorly delivered and the message is lost. I try to create presentations that are as memorable as they are instructive.
PME: To that end, what issues are you most concerned with currently?
MW: Production is the easy part. I've solved the lion's share of those issues. The bigger picture presents the challenge. The current economic climate clouds the near-term health of magazine publishing. Just as we have turned a corner in bringing one cost down, such as prepress, or the pendulum of