Inspired in self-isolation (4)

Inspired in self-isolation

With Covid-19 lockdowns worldwide and health authorities urging people to self-isolate and practice social distancing on a massive scale as part of an enormous effort to #FlattenTheCurve of this global pandemic … we are reaching out to industry friends, colleagues, associates, partners, etc., and asking them to share their #StayHome and #QuarantineandChill activities with us during this extraordinary time.

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Inspired in self-isolation: Tom Sung

Taiwan-based Sung, Fang-Yu AKA Tom is a lighting and visual designer whose work includes concerts, theatres and exhibitions. Interesting recent projects include the opening show of the new National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts WEIWUYING – the world’s largest single-roof span performing arts center which is in Taipei, and also the spectacular kinetic light show that opened the Taipei Music Center. He is also Taiwanese singer and record producer Bobby Chen’s LD and has lit his famous New Year’s Eve concert for 26 years in a row! Without the Coronavirus pandemic disruption, he would have been lighting a fashion show now.

Robe: Where are you right now?

Tom: Taipei, Taiwan.

Robe: How are you spending time whilst isolating / on lockdown?

Tom: In fact, the situation of COVID-19 is quite stable here in Taiwan. So as of May 8th, Taiwan has had no local cases for 25 consecutive days. We therefore don’t need to be locked down anymore, so most elements of daily life are running normally again, except for crowd gathering events which are illegal! So, people working in this field have nothing to do for now!

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Robe: What’s the most creative thing were able to do whilst in isolation?

Tom: During this jobless period, I have created a small mapping work for myself in response to the world at this moment in time – SOGOODTHANSEE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sJZP2m5TII

It means that even if we are separated at this difficult time, we must believe everything will eventually be overcome and we will get back to normal in the future.

Robe: Are you looking after anyone else during the Covid-19 crisis? Like neighbours or others in the family?

Tom: Luckily, I don’t need to look after anyone. In the past two months, I was invited by several workshops and lecture sessions to share knowledge and teach on subjects like timecode, mapping and lighting design for college students, so I have been using this time to educate students and enrich my own experience.

Robe: Has anyone particularly inspired you since this crisis started?

Tom: During this time, I have seen many people using simulation software for lighting. And I enjoying watching these videos, especially when they make some interesting scenes. One of the most fun pieces I have seen to date is an Alien video created in WYSIWYG.

Keeping a sense of humor … can make life easier!

Robe: What has been your favourite book / movie / Netflix or TV series / viral video / Games / music?

Tom: PS4 Spiderman … It’s a really cool video game, and at this time when people can’t go out, it puts the whole of New York City in front of me!

Spiderman can traverse the city freely, using his special abilities, especially his webs to move horizontally or vertically, circumventing obstacles without stopping.

Robe: What’s the first thing you’d like to do when we are through this crisis?

Tom: Of course, getting back to work and repaying the loan that has covered for the current situation!

Robe: Own question / answer / message of solidarity or something you’d like to say?

Tom: We all know this situation will not be an easy recovery! The biggest challenge our industry will face in the next half-year will be how to make income from the skills we have.

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Inspired in self-isolation: Darren Russell

Darren is the owner and managing director of Elite Event Technology, a Canberra, Australia-based full-service production company. He is also an audio engineer with almost 35 years’ experience in the entertainment and events industry. Normally he would be running a very busy production house whilst still getting out on the odd show as a noize boy to keep his hand in and skills up.

Robe: Where are you right now?

Darren: Canberra, Australia, our nation’s beautiful capital city.

Robe: How are you spending time whilst isolating / on lockdown?

Darren: I am still in the office 5 days per week, the only person here full-time, with a skeleton staff each day.

Robe: What is the most creative thing you are able to do whilst in isolation?

Darren: I have been doing numerous little jobs around my house that I normally never find the time to do, getting lots more exercise and enjoying some time for cooking both favourite and new dishes.

I have also been spending some time on a few of our audio consoles that I use less often, getting more acquainted with them.

Robe: Are you looking after anyone else during the Covid-19 crisis?

Darren: Checking in on friends and family along with staff and colleagues, trying to keep everyone focussed and ensuring they are all physically and mentally ok.

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Robe: Has anyone particularly inspired you since this crisis started?

Darren: Our industry as a whole!

In some respects, I think we have been left a bit behind in the broader scheme of things, with the general population mostly not understanding the impact of COVID19 on our industry and how far-reaching it really is. But we are a strong, tough, resilient bunch, and the way we have banded together and stood by each other is really quite outstanding!

Robe: What has been your favourite book / movie / Netflix or TV series / viral video

Games / music?

Darren: I have been reading Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father (a memoir exploring his early years in Honolulu and Chicago up until entry into law school in 1988) and watching quite a few Netflix and Stan Series’ like Outer Banks (American action–adventure mystery / teen drama), Ozark (US crime drama web television series created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams for Netflix) and ironically re-watching The Last Ship on Stan, which has a storyline quite relevant to the current situation!

I have also been rediscovering how diverse my music collection is.

Robe: What’s the first thing you’d like to do when we are through this crisis?

Darren: So many things! Go out to a favourite restaurant for dinner with the biggest group of friends I am allowed to have there would be a good start … as well as some international travel will also be great too.

Robe: Own question / answer / message of solidarity or something you would like to say?

Darren: Firstly, thank you to all the front line workers around the world, from the health workers to supermarket staff keeping the shelves stocked and essentials available for us all, right through to the transport and logistics workers keeping things moving.

Every single person from every industry that are keeping us cared for, safe and able to survive during this terrible global situation … thank you!

COVID19 has just decimated our entire industry worldwide and I do not know any business with connections to it that has been untouched. I believe it will take some time to get back to normal, or perhaps the “New Normal”, whatever that will look like, on the other side of this.

But we WILL get there, we just all need to stay strong and take care of one another.

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Inspired in self-isolation: Jasmine Williams

Jasmine graduated from the Royal Welsh College Music & Drama last year and is now part of the NETTS skills rotation scheme at Neg Earth Lights (in the UK) as a trainee technician. So far, she’s worked in the generics, strobes and smoke / haze departments of their west London warehouse as well as in the project office.

Robe: Where are you right now?

Jasmine: I’m in my rented accommodation in Ealing, West London.

Robe: What are you doing to fill the time whilst isolating / on lockdown? 

Jasmine: My manager has set a few quizzes and all NETTS technicians are currently filling out a fixture comparison spreadsheet to help the office. Other than that, I have enrolled in an online English Grammar course through edX; my housemate and I are using the garden for exercising, eating and reading, and most importantly … catching up on sleep and taking care of myself.

Robe: What’s the most creative thing you’re able to do in isolation?

Jasmine: I’ve been able to work on my digital drawings. This is something I never usually have the time to do. I mostly interpret visually interesting portraits from references on my Instagram, but I’m trying to come up with more original work. It’s just a casual hobby that I find really calming.

Robe: Are you looking after anyone else during the Covid-19 crisis?

Jasmine: No.

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Robe: Has anyone inspired you since this started?

Jasmine: My uncle has inspired me because although his health is not that good, he is still working as a hospital porter for the NHS as he feels obliged to help in any way he can. I’m also inspired by all of the musicians hosting live, home ‘concerts’ to raise money for relevant charities. My favourite one so far has been Hozier’s but I’m looking forward to Billie Eilish’s too!

Robe: Favourite book / movie / Netflix series / viral video

Jasmine: Favourite book is (American psychological horror thriller novel) Misery by Stephen King; one of my favourite movies is Sweeney Todd (a 2007 period musical slasher directed by Tim Burton); Netflix series is the Vampire Diaries (cringe) - American supernatural teen drama television series - and here is my favourite viral video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMdtYZFTvhY (HILARIOUS!!!)

Robe: What’s the first thing you’d like to do when we are through it?

Jasmine: See my family and my boyfriend and weirdly enough, go onsite and work on a gig!

Robe: Own question / answer / message of solidarity or something you’d like to say?

Jasmine: I think now is the time to exercise kindness and support (Covid-19 is not spread through smiling at people you walk by on the street – remember 2m!), check in on your friends and loved ones (the Houseparty app is great), express gratitude, take advantage of this time to do what you enjoy (respecting the health guidelines of course), and take time to think of those in less fortunate circumstances, helping where and however you can!

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Inspired in self-isolation: Mikki Kunttu

Mikki is a talented and highly respected lighting and visuals designer whose work spans all areas of the performing arts, live music, and television production. He’s just returned to his native Finland after a two-year stint working with Cirque du Soleil in Montreal and as a freelance designer and creative in Canada and the USA. The move back to Europe was accelerated by the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, and he and his family now have quarantined twice – once in Canada and once in Finland.

Robe: Where are you right now?

Mikki: Helsinki, Finland … where I am sorting out buying a house and resettling.

Robe: How are you spending time whilst isolating / on lockdown?

Mikki: Sorting out life for myself and my two boys (Mikki is a single parent), which is quite full-on, and apart from that, trying to get involved in as many online educational forums as possible. I am also talking to many contacts about starting / developing online educational programmes and learnerships.

I am a freelancer, and likely to have some time on my hands before the industry restarts. I’d really like to share my knowledge and experience in a meaningful way and hopefully this can help support me financially.

Robe: What’s the most creative thing you’re able to do whilst in isolation?

Mikki: I am still working on the production design for the Finnish National Opera for the second part of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle”, although right now there are no firm dates!

I usually do a lot of running, so as I have more time during lockdown, I am running regularly – around 120 kilometres a week in fact and around 20-25 a day if possible.

My general daily routine is a slow breakfast - sauna - cooking - computer time as I am working on some 2021 projects that are semi-active – then a run!

Robe: Are you looking after anyone else during the Covid-19 crisis? Like neighbours or others in the family?

Mikki: My two boys, and they are now joined by their younger sister – so yes, the three children.

Robe: Has anyone particularly inspired you since this crisis started?

Mikki: Not one person in particular, but what has inspired me are things like the amount of new creative collaborations around the world that are emerging from the circumstances.

Personally, I think that online meetings will – and should – become a lot more prevalent when this is over! In so many cases they are an efficient use of everyone’s time, budgets, and the planet’s resources in averting the need for people to fly between continents … for 10 or 15 minutes of input to a meeting!

Showing 3D models and animations via the online platforms means I can demonstrate my visualisations a lot better … than sitting in a conference room!

Robe: What has been your favourite book / movie / Netflix or TV series / viral video / Games / music?

Mikki: I have really gone into audiobooks whilst running since a few years now – which are fantastic – Audiobooks are much like albums … you can always go back to them and to your favourite chapters!

I have watched the whole Narcos Mexico series (crime drama web TV series exploring the origins of the modern drug war by going back to its roots) and Tiger King and also Unorthodox (a recently released German-American drama mini-series on Netflix).

Robe: What’s the first thing you’d like to do when we are through this crisis?

Mikki: I don’t think there’s going to be a ‘that’s it’ moment … it will be a gradual return to whatever will be a ‘new normal’ …

Robe: Own question / answer / message of solidarity or something you’d like to say?

Mikki: I think it puts into perspective the importance of people – loved ones, friends, colleagues and so on. But also, the central role of business and commerce, so this situation can potentially bring us a different quality of life and alternative opportunities to make better choices in the future.

But what I feel really makes a difference is having a good heart! And that is really underlined under these circumstances.

I feel this crisis is also unifying the worlds of arts and events, and we are becoming more aware of each other and hopefully of our potential as individuals and human beings.

Inspired in self-isolation: Miroslav Hrg

Lighting and production designer Miro Hrg works for a leading Croatian rental company Promo Logistika d.o.o. based in Zagreb. He designs lights and sets for concerts, festivals, corporate events, TV shows and others. He also works as a freelance LD for a raft of different clients, and if it wasn’t for the pandemic … would be extremely busy!

Robe: Where are you right now?

Miro: At home in Zagreb, Croatia.

Robe: How are you spending time whilst isolating / on lockdown?

Miro: Learning some new things that have always interested me but I have never had enough time to do! Also developing some designs I have been thinking about for some time and keeping my memory muscles fresh! Besides that, I’m improving my cooking skills … and trying to do some exercise so when the time comes, I’ll be able to move in a bigger radius than the surface of my apartment! :)

Robe: What’s the most creative thing you’re able to do whilst in isolation?

Miro: I have developed a concept which I’ll try to put into reality when the situation settles a bit. It’s a mix of everything I’ve learned over the years in our industry combined with my enthusiasm of bringing ideas to life and make them tangible. We’ll keep it a secret for now! :)

Robe: Are you looking after anyone else during the Covid-19 crisis? Like neighbours or others in the family?

Miro: Yes, my family.

Robe: Has anyone particularly inspired you since this crisis started?

Miro: It’s more the situation which inspired me … to rethink my system of values and it’s made me more conscious of how small and fragile we are as a species.

Robe: What has been your favourite book / movie / Netflix or TV series / viral video / Games / music?

Miro: I’ve started to watch Friends from the beginning! I haven’t watched this for years and it’s a good laugh before bedtime! During the day there’s always something playing on Deezer.

Robe: What’s the first thing you’d like to do when we are through this crisis?

Miro: Go to the bar across the street and have a beer on a sunny terrace surrounded with friends and random people! :)

Robe: Own question / answer / message of solidarity or something you’d like to say?  

Miro: Something good always comes out of bad things, so I hope that after this we will all learn to be better and more considerate to nature and to each other.

Maybe humanity needed this type of reset in order for the world to become a better place … so I think we should all use the time to rethink ourselves and upgrade ourselves in whatever way we think will make us a better people than before.

Inspired in self-isolation: Andrej Hajdinjak

Based in Ljubljana, one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, Andrej is a lighting designer looking for his 'space' to point, shoot, shine and dim lights and ideas be-tween the lines of dramatic text and sheets of music! His impressive CV includes working extensively with the National Theatre and various high-profile opera, theatre and ballet companies both in Slovenia and internationally.

Robe: Where are you right now?

Andrej: Ljubljana, Slovenia ... Hoping that this will still apply in the after-virus world.

Robe: What are you doing to fill the time whilst isolating / on lockdown?

Andrej: Mostly taking care of my physical and mental health. Every hour spent on a bicycle in nature eliminates the excess time that could have been spent being pessi-mistic.

Robe: What’s the most creative thing you’re able to do in isolation?

Andrej: Playing with different onPC lighting software and trying to stay in shape. Ar-ranging my archives.

Robe: Are you looking after anyone else during the Covid-19 crisis?

Andrej: Not directly, only keeping the basic social contacts with close family.

Robe: Has anyone inspired you since this started?

Andrej: I don't know where from .... but I recently got the image into my head of WWII. Called the Battle of Stalingrad https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad.

I know there is no logical connection with the current situation, but it does inspire me with a thought of a 'collective fight' against domination.

Robe: Favourite book / movie / Netflix series / viral video?

Andrej: Book – Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff Christ's Childhood Pal, a novel by American writer Christopher Moore, published in 2002 that seeks to fill in the "lost" years of Jesus through the eyes of his childhood pal.

And the movie is Uncut Gems, a 2019 American thriller directed by Josh & Benny Safdie who co-wrote the screenplay with Ronald Bronstein.

Robe: What’s the first thing you’d like to do when we are through this crisis?

Andrej: Having my morning coffee and getting confused looking at the rehearsals sheet for the upcoming week, deciding which of the rehearsals to see in the morning and which in the evening … and hoping to have some time for at least a sandwich in between!

Robe: Own question / answer / message of solidarity or something you’d like to say?

Andrej: Smile, handshake, hug. Small things that make a day so much nicer. Over and over.

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