New Normal: Bottle Rocket Media finds unexpected perks

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Editor’s Note: The world changed right before our very eyes. We now work, live, exercise and entertain ourselves in our homes. This is the new normal. In this new on-going series, we check in on ad agencies, production companies, post-houses, and anyone else who wants to talk about their personal experiences during this coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.


Bottle Rocket Media is a video content agency that boasts more than a hundred industry awards and a staff of eleven.

Like most of the world, the group at Bottle Rocket Media has been working from home since March 16.  Since then we have been communicating using video chats, the phone, slack, email, and text. To put it another way, just another day at the office.

While we are proponents of working through the creative process together, in the studio together, it has become clear these past few weeks that our team has refined the concept of together as we maintain strong communication and robust creativity.  Except, of course, we miss one another and our clients and life on set and Le Colombe coffee on Randolph street.

Today, at our daily standup Dan complimented Siobhan on her vaulted ceilings and the team discussed toilet paper.  I guess this is the new normal.  We are more intimate than we were before (which is hard to believe) and as a result we are more concerned about one another’s well being.  And it’s not just with our team, but with all of our clients and vendors and idle crews as well.


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It seems necessary to address the technical aspects of working from home when discussing the new normal, but there really is very little to discuss in this area.  At the end of the day on Friday the thirteenth we packed up our workstations, consolidated our media and went home, only to reconnect for our usual Monday morning meeting via Google Meet.  Oh, I guess we did have one small hiccup with our server so we called our IT Guru, Adam of Most Training & Consulting. He logged in remotely, killed a Gremlin or two, and we were good to go.  

Beside the team themselves, a few more work-from-home honorable mentions go to Slack, Frame io, Sprout, Microsoft, Google, and of course the entire Adobe family.

And as we have been working away these past few weeks we can now say that the anxiety of working from home was much greater than the actual task of working from home.  Uncooperative kids and noisy roommates and poor internet connections begone. At the end of the day, each of us has found at least one reason to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow.

Here are a few of the unexpected perks we have learned in the first few weeks of working from home.

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Dan Fisher – I underestimated the joy of having a dog at my feet all day and taking dog selfies.

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Brett Singer – It’s been nice to play chess everyday with my boys. And cool to see them get into it and play one another.

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Dan Wulfing – I used to view meetings as a necessary evil. I always felt as if I was being pulled away from an active project. Now I really look forward to seeing my coworkers, even if it is through a webcam. Meetings have become a welcomed event.  It’s a good reminder we’re all in this together.

Bottle Rocket
Siobhan Summers – My afternoon coffee has become time to brush up on my hopscotch skills.

Stephanie Jaslowski – being able to step out and find the different ways people in the neighborhood are choosing to be creative and inspire others

Dave Sarno – The greatest perk, no commute!
Which leaves a little more time for extracurriculars.

Tre Manchester – Now that I’m always twenty feet from a kitchen, there’s been more opportunity to cook and play with new foods and recipes, something that I had stopped doing during the hustle of a “normal” week.

As we continue to push forward, waiting for the film permit office to reopen, we know that our motion design team is going to be busy this Springtime.  With production grinding to a halt from coast to coast our clients have allowed us to get creative with previously shot footage and stock footage, motion design, and animation.  So until we get testing and it is safe to be on location again we will continue to tell stories and deliver messages as we’ve always done, keeping an eye out for unexpected benefits along the way.


ALSO READ: MORE NEW NORMAL


What’s your New Normal? Send your story to editor, barb@reelchicago.com. We want to hear about it.

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