2020. Being asked to write a look back at this of all years feels, well, hard. Are we going to take the “this was just the opportunity we needed for some much needed change” approach? Or the “WTF” approach?
Perhaps we’ll do what we always do and set our gaze forward. But we would be somewhat remiss to not reflect on a year that was a “make or break” for a small business like ours. In reality, we were given an opportunity to put all our ingenuity and creativity to the test with a chance to change the course of our company and adapt, evolve and emerge stronger.
Despite the world seemingly spiraling out of control in March, there were a few silver linings even if they did become slightly tarnished by year’s end. For starters, most of us were able to spend more time with our immediate families. And your regular posts about banana bread, fitness goals and new puppies filled the void of your usual travel and party pictures. It’s the little things but they kept us smiling.
And speaking of travel, as a business reliant on travel we were pretty fortunate. We filmed in some of the most beautiful places in the country with some of the most interesting people in photojournalist Kirsten Luce, Academy Award winning filmmaker, Jimmy Chin, world class climber, Savannah Cummins, and photographer, Katie Orlinsky.
We collaborated with all our favorite clients at Travel Channel, Nat Geo, HBO Max, AMC Premiere, MotorTrend and ID, Buffalo Agency, and Freddie Mac and were recognized numerous times with Promax Daily Brief HOT SPOTs.
Leaning on our tech savvy creativity, we figured out how to set up the team to work remotely, safely and without missing a beat. It’s a model that has been so successful we are completely shifting to a majority remote model in 2021, giving back countless hours of quality time to our staff (Bye, bye Beltway, Erica).
We re-connected with the production community, colleagues and mentors. I truly felt that we all let down our competitive guards a bit and instead extended a helping hand or a sympathetic ear. We were there for each other and that will never be forgotten. We are grateful for folks like Joel Pilger and the REVThink community for continuing to gather and keep us all talking. And to Nancie McDonnell Ruder and the stellar team at Noetic for reminding us to celebrate each other through acts of gratitude.
This year also afforded us the opportunity to collaborate on some very meaningful projects. We helped the Foundation Fighting Blindness stay connected to their community by bringing two of their biggest fundraising events to life virtually with a little ingenuity and a lot of trial and error.
We paused for a passion piece that was recognized by Motionographer. “Not My Job” told the harrowing story of how Maryland was able to secretly secure much needed COVID testing amidst federal chaos. This was a scary time but we channeled that fear into a featured animated short to share with the world.
And as the pandemic raged on, racial injustice boiled over in America. As a community of storytellers, we were proud to have been given the opportunity to edit a game changing sizzle for MotorTrend’s docu-series, NASCAR 2020: Under Pressure, and play our small role in standing with Bubba Wallace and the Black Lives Matter movement. We established Juneteenth as an AlterEgo recognized holiday and sought out new ways to look at old history.
One of the most enlightening and meaningful projects of the year came in the way of a multi-tiered campaign for Oprah Winfrey’s #OwnYourVote which shed light on the important players who helped get out the vote and change the course of history. We are excited as many of these influential women featured have been appointed by the Biden-Harris administration and look forward to watching them rise.
Like many Americans, we saw the value in our small businesses fighting to stay afloat. We produced and streamed our first ever live show, Wish You Were Beer with our friends and neighbors at Denizens Brewing Co, which evolved from one locked camera to a three camera production using a live switcher. Being lifelong learners definitely came in handy when figuring this and other technical firsts out. Delicious beer helps too.
We didn’t have to let anyone go. Although one in particular let go on her own and seized the opportunity of a lifetime. #foreverfamily, Monesha. We know the best is yet to come.
But most importantly, we learned 10 different hand signals to tell someone that they’re on mute.
So, we want to take this opportunity to look back on 2020 with grace. You are history now and all we can do is learn from you and set our gaze towards the future. Thank you, to our team and to our friends and family in and out of the industry. It was a rollercoaster, but you made the highs so high. Here’s to a much brighter 2021.
Cheers, Heather & Justin