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Tinseltown Triumph

November 2000
Despite the "glamorous" work going on in sound stages right down the hall, the real excitement for Paramount's director of graphic services lies in the print shop.

There was a time when the sight of a Klingon chowing down in the company cafeteria would have made Hector Amaya's jaw drop in amazement.

But these days the executive director of Graphic Services at Paramount Pictures would hardly give such alien tablemates a second glance. It's all part of life at the giant Hollywood, Calif., studio, where dozens of TV shows like Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Frasier and Wings are shot every day.

"It is glamorous...but not that glamorous," Amaya admits. For him, the most exciting part about working for Paramount is the in-plant itself.

"They will not give you a chance to get bored," he says of his entertainment industry clients. "There are different challenges every day."

Those challenges include producing a host of four-color promotional pieces for TV shows and movies—all with tight deadlines. Things get particularly busy when Academy Awards time approaches and the studio puts its promotional efforts into high gear in an effort to make its films known to Academy members.

Amaya, who has been with Paramount for 10 years, has seen a lot of changes in the in-plant, but he feels that his operation, in its current 17-person configuration, can handle anything that the demanding directors and other customers throw at it. And because customers are free to use outside printers, Amaya concentrates on providing superstar-quality service.

"We have to provide a competitive price, service and quality, otherwise we're not going to get the work," he says. "We're competing with some good printers out there. They hear the name Paramount and everybody sees dollar signs. So we have to be very tight on our estimating and at the same time be able to turn things around the way that they want."

Those turnarounds, he adds, are often onerous. Film may arrive at 4:00 p.m. when the job is due at the mailing house by 8:00 the next morning.

"We won't say no to them," Amaya insists. "We'll do whatever it takes to get that printed by tomorrow morning." Because he knows that if he doesn't, someone else will.

"The entertainment industry, because of the clout they have, they can push their vendors a little harder," Amaya points out. "So since they can get all these miracles done by vendors outside, they expect us to do the same thing. Why should they take less?"
 

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