For certain industries going remote is a piece of cake: engineers, digital marketers, designers, and even HR and recruitment jobs can be done from anywhere with only a few tools and equipment that are considered indispensable for remote work.
For other industries relying more on human contact, requiring specific equipment, or which are location-bound, remote work wasn’t considered a possibility until the pandemic hit and forced different industries to reconsider.
When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, companies around the world had to get creative to make remote work possible and keep their business running. As we talked before about “Remote Work: Statistics Before and During the Pandemic” 69% of companies in the US succeeded in introducing a work-from-home policy, while the remaining 31% kept working on-site.
The entertainment industry was particularly disrupted during the pandemic: audio-visual productions were halted, movie theaters closed and events and premieres postponed and/or canceled.
When we got in touch with Dave who owns teleprompting company Promptin’ Circumstance, we were curious to know how they were impacted, and how they dealt with going remote and the entertainment industry during the pandemic.
Hi Dave, nice to have you at The Remote Worker Life today, please tell us more about yourself and what you do.
My name is Dave and I own Promptin’ Circumstance. Together with my partner Vanessa, we essentially provide words on screens to people who can’t — or simply don’t want to — remember them.
Pre-pandemic, we almost exclusively provided operators and gear to the NYC and LA entertainment and corporate speaking industries, but nowadays, we’re all over the world through the wonders of remote work.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have enjoyed inviting celebrities, politicians, and corporate VIPs onto my pool deck in the summer and into a small corner of my basement when the weather doesn’t comply. Even if a majority of the time they don’t know that they’re here. It’s a lot less creepy than it sounds. I also enjoy having my kids nearby so they can hear and thereby parrot all the choice words that these luminaries say throughout their stays. What I really enjoy is my commute or lack thereof. 15 steps are way more enjoyable than 2 hours of traffic in and out of New York City.
Can you tell us more about the TV shows and music gigs you have worked on in the past years?
I have personally worked on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Bravo, which, for the most part, lived up to its adjective “Live.” That is until a year ago in March. I’ve also worked extensively on the “Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” since the show was called “Late Nite with Jimmy Fallon.” Remote Force Promptin’ has allowed my company and employees the ability to work from home on all post-covid iterations of the show.
Years before having kids, I was on tour with a good number of bands that carried extensive libraries and needed to call from their works at any given time. For a solid decade, I hopped between Bette Midler and Bon Jovi. Recently, we’ve toured with P!nk and a whoooole bunch of other performers.
What did you do to make the switch to remote work as smooth as possible?
My work, as it currently is, is absolutely a result of the pandemic’s influence. 100% of my occupation was spent either working on a TV set, in a corporate video setting or backstage with a band.
When we came to the realization that none of this would be possible during the initial Covid outbreak, we worked quickly to secure gear and proper bandwidth that would allow us to work from our respective houses.
My partner and I weirdly had the foresight to test and perfect “remote prompting” as far back as 2016.
What kind of impact did the pandemic have on your industry?
March 12th, 2020 was the last time I set foot in a freezing cold control room. While productions are steadily coming back to life, it’s hard to say that they’ll ever be near the capacity they were pre-covid. TV Productions are still skittish about having people on top of one another (as we generally were before), and many of the workers – writers, producers, crew members – were displaced and moved to their respective childhood homes in the middle of the country or to another coast altogether.
The corporate video and live speaking community has all but shut down since last year. We predict it will come back toward the end of the year, but very very slowly.
Everyone is aware of what has become of live music in the current climate. It’s the saddest part of the past year and a half; however we have it on good authority that 2022 will be a banner year for live music and revelry.
We’ve been extremely fortunate to have the whip smart and quickly adapting employees that we do and the abundance of fortune to retain them and keep them all busy through the year. We hear that other companies in the teleprompting field are still struggling to figure out remote work and how to keep their employees employed.
What are the biggest challenges for you when it comes to remote work?
The biggest challenge we face in the remote work world is extreme weather. No, seriously! Wherever we are in the world, nasty weather plays a large role in whether we can successfully remote in. If power is out locally (oh, and it has been) it’s a manic scramble to employ our backup solutions. No one enjoys the minor heart attacks that brings.
Teaching 3rd grade and occupying the mind and physical presence of a Pre-K 5 year old who believes he is the Flash, while shooting a live-to-tape show is… a fun experiment!
What do you enjoy most about working remotely?
I enjoy what everyone seems to enjoy about remote work, more time with my kids (and fuzzy kid… Bennie, my dog), less wasted time spent sitting in New York City traffic and the ability to barbecue while working a Real Housewives reunion.
Do you have any advice for other companies that are planning to go remote?
If you’re planning on going remote, remember that your work/life balance still needs to remain just that, a balance. Just because you’re in close proximity to your family doesn’t mean you’re spending time with them. If work is devoid of quality time, then quality time should be completely devoid of work. Put. Your. Phone. Down!