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Finding Passion in a Pandemic May 22, 2020

Finding Passion in a Pandemic, and Other Life Lessons We Learned on Set

“How do we get a horse to eat at the dinner table?” This is a problem we never thought we’d be trying to solve in the midst of a global pandemic. Several months before the earth stood still, our team began brainstorming ideas for our next project – a showpiece for French interior designer Caroline Giraud. We could not wait to get started…cue the national shutdown. What started as an opportunity to flex our creative muscle, turned into a labor of love for our client and ourselves as creators. Here are three lessons we learned along the way:

Take it one day and one challenge at a time – Like the rest of the population, the ability to plan ahead has been taken away, forcing us to focus on the day and challenge at hand. Before we could troubleshoot getting a horse to pose at a dinner table, we needed to tackle our first challenge: health and safety. “How can we accomplish this project safely?” “Should we even try?” “Is this the right time?” After busting down to a skeleton crew and nixing any indoor locations, we moved on to the next challenge, and then the next.

Roll with the punches (and keep rolling!) – If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to write our plans in pencil because life is predictably unpredictable. We found that the same to be true on set and while we arrived with an airtight plan, the horses had other ideas. From running away with props, to gnawing camera equipment, working with wild animals felt like the current state of the world personified – flexibility was key. But even in the midst of chaos, magic can happen. We staged a scene with the hope of having a horse stand stoically in the background. It seemed unlikely, given the horse’s temperament, but we vowed to try and keep rolling. Seconds after yelling ‘action’ – we watched in awe as the horse stood for a moment then charged out of frame in epic fashion. The result was a better shot than we could have planned for!

Circumstances don’t define you, but they can give your story meaning – When we asked Caroline Giraud about her approach to design, she expressed the importance of loving what goes into your home because “your home is your only space in the entire world.” With travel bans and stay-at-home orders enforced worldwide, her long-held sentiment has never been more true, and her belief in the transportive power of design holds a new weight. There’s no doubt that these difficult circumstances made our efforts more challenging, but they also emboldened our message.

John Oliva

John Oliva oversees day-to-day operations, video editing, cinematography and production for Digital Cut Productions.

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