Quarantine sucks. We all hate it.
It was hard to image a day where the human race collectively agreed that going to the office for that 9 o’clock Monday morning meeting is something we ‘miss’, but here we are. Our island has been in a quasi-lockdown for just over month, so keeping up with current happenings and ensuring our creativity keeps flowing is becoming harder and harder every day.
That isn’t to say that we are doing nothing. Physical shoots are unfortunately no longer an option; filming with actors and crew coming in and out is a bit of a no-no, but that doesn’t mean we are twiddling our thumbs. When it comes to our productions, we are hunkering down and focusing on our VFX and animation projects, something that is possible from the safety of our homes while also producing good and creative content. So, with the extra free time we are… well… doing what exactly?
How are we filling the time?
I’m glad you asked. Apart from the normal meeting being held through video conferencing and the flurry of emails being sent back and forth, we are trying to keep the work flowing by focusing on some more ‘in-house’ products. To start off, we are releasing a podcast every Monday following filmmaking in advertising and marketing, which you can find here. We have been wanting to setup a podcast for some time but simply never found the time, so in that sense, cheers to quarantine! The same goes for this very blog (oh, by the way, we are doing a blog). Here you will be able to find varying types of content following our audio-visual productions, general filmmaking articles, and insight into the inner workings of the Alpacas.
Handling house arrest is not easy. Firstly, who knew house arrest was so bad? Secondly, keeping our heads between our shoulders is becoming an increasingly difficult task as we scratch off the days until we can go to the grocery shop without having to keep reminding ourselves not to pick our noses (something that we should be doing in a pandemic-free world anyway). Although it hasn’t been too hard at keeping the rhythm going, establishing a solid routine has certainly helped bring a slice of normality back into our lives.
Find a rhythm
Defining the borders between work and play has gone a long way to reclaiming our sanity, especially since both are happening in relatively the same spaces. Waking up at a healthy time, going for a quick run (while avoiding others), having a good breakfast, and ending up at your desk to start the workday is a massive difference to sitting up in bed and opening up your laptop to groggily answer your emails. While the latter might seemcomfier, it isn’t going to do you any good when you take a 5-minute break and end up on a YouTube deep dive.
Dedicating a space to work has so far been working wonders for us. It may seem enticing to work in your pyjamas all day but dressing up in something that doesn’t have toothpaste and red wine dribbled all over it (don’t judge) can help with productivity and creating a rhythm to the week. The other benefit to all this is the feeling of accomplishment. After clocking out, there’s a sense of satisfaction to the day, a gratification that comes with a permission to relax and enjoy yourself. If mid-day we flipped a film on and took a bit of a lengthy break, it might get confusing as to how much work was actually done and the moments of relief turn sour with a sense of guilt as you feel you should have maybe worked a bit more. But, by focusing on being productive and allowing ourselves to unwind, we can achieve a balance that before was second nature yet now requires self-discipline and lot of focus.
Above all, be creative!
Productivity shouldn’t stop when your shift ends. Just like we, as a company, are producing content for ourselves, now is the perfect time to work on yourself. Remember when you were going to pick up reading because you went to the book fair and bought a stack of crime novels that have been collecting dust ever since? Well, now is the perfect time to get cracking. Since we are working within the media industry, creating projects for ourselves has been an excellent way at keeping the creative juices flowing. Whether it’s attempting to learn a new instrument or experimenting with lighting and filming techniques, these self-assigned tasks ensure a little variety to our self-imposed quarantines.
As the sun sets on a busy day, we all deserve a little break. Fire up the PS4, mix yourself a couple of drinks, or read a few chapters (seriously, reading is fun); the house is your oyster. Enjoying yourself isn’t a luxury but a necessity to making sure we all get through this together, so let’s kick our feet up and not forget to pay our Netflix bill. As Simon Pegg says in Shaun of the Dead, “…have a cup of tea, and wait for all this to blow over.”