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How Producing a Show From Home can be a Challenge and a Blessing

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

March 2020, I think it’s a date we probably all remember where we were and what we were doing. It’s one of those dates for me, at least that will be fully embedded into my memory.

I was working on Ron’s Gone Wrong at Dneg at the time like everyone else in an office and making the typical daily commute. I have a son, so juggling school pick-ups and office hours is a constant puzzle.

To start with, the spread was slow, and everyone thought it won’t come here, it won’t affect us. Then it spread, it came to the UK and people we knew that had been travelling and returned and got sick.

Then the spread got even faster, and within a week, the IT and pipeline heroes had us testing VPN access, remote desktops, and we were all at home with workstations, monitors, chairs and cables and thrust into this new and strange way of working.

Zoom became our friend and enemy.

We thought this would last two weeks – a month at best. How wrong we were.

Days became weeks, weeks became months and a long road of lockdowns.

It’s ridiculous how much we looked forward to those Amazon packages arriving and how worried we got about toilet paper.

For production on a film, our job is not only to strive to deliver a film on time and budget, but our livelihood and reason for going to work every day is our team. Being around the immersive talent that creates a show is energizing, exciting, and adrenaline-filled. You bounce energy off each other, ideas, and empathy. You can ‘feel’ when they are down and be active to bring them back up by going out for a coffee, lunch or just an in-person conversation.

So how do you be there for your team when you’re at home working remotely? And how do you create that unified energy to get a film done? And for me, I was also homeschooling my 5-year-old, and I’m sure everyone had unusual working from home situations. We saw many of them on the news and later as memes.

Take it one day at a time and focus on what you do know at that moment. Start with what you know, your team first, film second. No doom scrolling, just turn up. We had a team call every morning, and we went through the seven stages of grief together. Then as we all accepted the situation, we turned a corner, and a lot of us started to enjoy working from home. When you could start going back into the office, most of us now want a balance of the two.

My son got to know all my team and my team him, he was around, and that was accepted, as were all of my teams’ pets and families.

We were and are a family. We became closer than we had before when we were in the office. In part because we went through a very difficult situation together and because all of our personal lives were suddenly just part of our daily work lives.

And do you know what? We still got the film done to an incredibly high quality that we are all proud of, and I have almost finished my next one. I don’t know what the future will look like, but as we have all experienced, anything is possible, so take it one day at a time.


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