Downing our PPM booklets and location recces to head home mid production season is just another of the many surreal elements of our current normal. As is happening all over the world, a team of active, busy, hard-working people suddenly find themselves at home in the South African lockdown that’s just been extended to the end of April.

There are so many elements and perspectives to this but above all is the hope that we come through this nationally and globally; we are thinking of all our friends and colleagues and we hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.

On the one hand, there is still (happily) work to be done. We will emerge from this nightmare and we are making sure that we are ready to adapt and shoot in whatever way is possible when that happens. TVC’s will still need to be shot and South Africa will still be the production utopia it’s always been with the world’s best crew. Clients are still asking for budgets and Shayne is quoting them based on every scenario from a small crew to a 100% remote shoot; we’re fine-tuning the Virtual VT Village that we used successfully on our recent shoot with London’s 1st Ave Machine and were about to use on a German shoot before lockdown curtailed it. We’re looking into different scenarios for how we can start filming again safely. We’re going through our location libraries; we’re updating our budget; we’re brainstorming; we meet up on zoom (of course) a lot. We’re probably working in a more concentrated way than ever before; in fact, for many of us, life is really busy as we juggle home, the dreaded home-schooling and work all in our own little microcosm.

Where it gets really interesting is what we’re discovering about ourselves and what we truly appreciate that we used to take for granted. I sent out a few questions to see how everyone was doing and it turns out that we have a host of writers, cooks, teachers, comedians, dancers and more right within our walls.

Allan (handyman, builder) is a Tic Toc champion; Wade has green fingers and is watching his plants grow (he’d also “run through traffic for a bag of Chuckles and a Stoney’s Ginger Beer right now”); Shayne’s dog Steven clearly can’t believe his luck that he’s got her home 24/7 and won’t leave her side while husband Anthony (VT) is also an Afrikaans teacher. Philip’s wife Lisa does zoom story-time every night with the 7 grandchildren around the world; Kerry has baked 2 cakes, cleaned the house, done clay activities with her kids and colour-coded her cookery books before most of us have had our morning coffee.  We’re all connecting way more; Nolan is chatting to friends in Europe he wouldn’t normally have time to connect with & Beccy had 3 birthday parties in one day thanks to zoom and house party. Martina has been more social (virtually of course) in lockdown than in the first 2 months of the year; she’s also discovered she uses an inexplicable number of teaspoons every day.  We cook based on what’s in the fridge and what will expire first. You can’t buy yeast in the shops as everyone is home-baking. Fathima is still fielding calls to the office remotely and surprise, surprise, telemarketers are still at it. Suzanne is actually getting to spend time with her kids and took them camping – in the garden! Isabelle sends us all tantalizing pictures of her mouth-watering French cooking while Vincent plays table-tennis with Tom and runs around their garden. Then there’s the dreaded home-schooling. Let’s just say that Mimi has a HUGE newfound respect for teachers.

What are we grateful for? Our health, our families and friends, our work colleagues, our president’s brave decision to act early and the fact that we have a roof over our heads, electricity and running water unlike so many in this country. We’re deeply grateful for all the key workers from the medical staff to the shelf-packers in the shops and to the other selfless heroes who are providing food packs and aid for those without.

What do we miss? Hugging our friends, seeing friends in and outside work, fresh air and exercise and working through the rest of season.

Have a great week everyone!

Beccy Kellond, Marketing