New Normal: multitasking at The Colonie

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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.


The Colonie is a creative editorial post-production facility offering motion graphics, color grading, VFX and finishing, located in the Historic Schatz building at 610 N Fairbanks Court.

The New Normal of working from home was not a difficult transition for The Colonie.  Each of our departments:  creative editorial, motion design, VFX/finishing, and color grading already had systems in place that allowed them to work remotely.   The only change for most was to balance that with children, spouses, dishes, and laundry. 


ALSO READ: MORE NEW NORMAL


Sure, that first day had its hiccups.  

– “My wood dining room chair isn’t nearly as comfortable as a Henry Miller Aeron.”

– “The home office next to the TV with the kids at home might be… distracting.”

– “Our basement doesn’t provide snack baskets or beer fridges.  What’s up with that?”

– “’Tiger King’ won’t wait until 5pm”

Once those important details were worked out it was just a matter of wrapping up  our current jobs and beginning all the new work for clients frantically needing to get their COVID-19 messages out to the world.   A quick zoom meeting to make sure we were all showered and “dressed” and we were off to the races.

Leo Burnett, The Marketing Arm, and Mower were some of the wonderful clients fortunate enough to work with us those first few weeks – while not having to suffer our physical presence or inane banter.  Lucky them.


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Facebook, Hourglass, and Peloton have always worked with us remotely.  If you see them don’t tell them we’re at home!

With things running so smoothly, the entire staff is certainly grateful for Colonie IT/Tech wizard, Robert Ferguson, who seems to have planned for such a catastrophe as this. Our rock solid, unhackable servers have been spinning relentlessly and without fail.  Looks like his cynical mistrust of  humanity and technology has finally paid off. 

Inexplicably, our creative director’s cat seems to like him.

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As for the motion design and color grading departments… they also seem to have some sort of connection to cats.  We love their quality work so we’re not going to question this.

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It’s not all cats, though. We’re not sure where Producer Hayley Stuber’s dog ends and her slippers begin.

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VFX supervisor, Tom Dernulc, and his home Flame system have been busily replacing skies and comping out logos on an assortment of broadcast and OLV spots.  Although, it’s strange how often he seems to be golfing when we zoom. He claims it’s a virtual background. Seems very realistic, though.  (Is that Pebble Beach?)

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Lest you think it’s all fun and games at The Colonie,  Senior Producer Anne Siwek is great at multi-tasking.  Ensuring your release masters get sent and masks get sewed all at the same table.

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And while Colonie partner/EP Mary Caddy’s space is awash with inspiring sunlight and art,

partner/editor Bob Ackerman, has a more practical approach. No need to stop editing to change the laundry over.

Partner #3, Brian Sepanik, was too busy editing to get us a picture… so here he is after finishing the Chicago Marathon. Stud.

Editors Joe Clear and Keith Kristinat seem ready to pass the torch to the next generation.  Were those spots really edited by you guys… or child labor?

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And editors Graham Chapman and Nathan Rodgers seem to have called each other beforehand to make sure their pictures matched.  Very cute, guys. 

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And whether it’s Jimmy Helm’s “Meet Me in St. Louis” coffee mug, Tom Pastorelle’s “morning” whiskey or Jeff Borowiak’s soulful acoustic guitar breaks, everyone needs something to get through the day.

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So basically, it’s business as usual at The Colonie.

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

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