Once you are caught in the world of any kind of media development – maybe any kind of development whatsoever (but I cannot speak out of experience then) – you will be faced, at least once, with the incapability of a client to understand what you are actually doing.
Which is fine… that is the reason, after all, why the client has hired you in the first place. The problem show up, when a client doesn’t understand it but is under the assumption he or she is.
I don’t say it is a bad thing, not at all. With a huge amount of people and companies billing for more time than actually spent on a project, it is a good thing for a client to be a little bit informed and even paranoid when hiring an outsider to do some work. I don’t mind having to explain why some things take long, and some things take a lot shorter.
The problem kicks in when it does not make sense why something that is small, takes days, even weeks. And something that is large can take mere hours.
The concept of this answer is simple; a seemingly small element of a production might have to rely on a perfect collaboration of 10 other elements that first need to be built. While the 11th, that might appear so gigantic, can rely for 80% on things that already have been built because of the previous element.
Ehm… dare I say it? Size doesn’t matter.
My wife, an M.D. turned Antiquarian, put it so perfectly together in the age old question; why can we fly to the moon, see a gazillion miles into outer space and build full-scale power computers the size of our phones… but we can’t find a cure for the common flu.
I would like to say… maybe it is simply because it is easier. This whole common flu, dealing with these ever evolving germs, adapting to hostile environments, and finding new ways to avoid vaccinations might be simply a way bigger obstacle than, for example, the immense radiation and total absence of everything into outer space.
Worse, people landed on the moon in the late ’60s… over 40 years ago… and I’ll bet they were heavily working on the flu-problem back then too. While researching the flu might be a lot more easy, cheaper and accessible than researching space travel. Still…
Small things might not be so small after all. And they might just contain a lot more work than seemingly bigger things might have – given of course that you are dealing with a trustworthy person 😉