from the desk of the coo – Feb 2021
This newsletter is going to sound a bit different. There are some hard truths I want to ensure we never sugar coat or seem as though we’re unwilling to address the elephant in the room, so here goes:
1) This is hard. This is an exceptionally challenging moment for DFT, and it is an all hands on deck moment where so much promise is in sight, within reach, but also feels like it can slip away with one misstep. I don’t think anyone here takes for granted that this is a genuinely shocking time to be fully employed, have great healthcare, and that we’re able to work safely from home while staying entirely connected to our peers – and that we legitimately have clients beating down our door. That said, keeping up with the volume, the real growing pains testing our equipment, our storage and our own abilities is real.
2) You’re thought of, spoken of, and applauded every single day. More than we might be able to vocalize, more than we might be able to make you feel, but Ramy and I don’t go a single day without considering every single one of you. Every gear in a clock, every leaf of a growing tree – each piece of the whole matters, tells a story of health or a need for attention. We neither take that charge lightly, nor do we pretend as though we’re always the best stewards, but please know that we are in this with you. We *know* how many foxholes there are right now, just how many battles each of you face in a day, and how much weight each of you are carrying for the whole to succeed – to say we’re proud would feel hollow and almost insincere. It’s more that we’re indebted to you, that we’re humbled and grateful, encouraged and empowered by a team that understands that this is, in fact, for the whole… What you do, is done for more than a company looking to be profitable or even for the benefit of just the DFT team – keeping this many shows going, offering our services behind the scenes to help other companies get their people back to work, and continuing to educate our community on the path back to set… Know that we will spend the rest of our careers talking about how this team made and sustained so much progress in one of the most dire times this industry has ever seen.
3) Everyone needs rest. Everyone needs care. Team Dailies is being pushed, pulled, stretched, and challenged every single night with a whopping 6 shows and more in the sales forecast. Team VFX is getting bombarded with a massive influx of new work/shows while maintaining the excellence of every single show they had last season – and more in the pipe to come. Team Netflix is getting passed around more than the green bean casserole at Thanksgiving while turning over insane amounts of data across that entire organization. Cinecode is in full force beast mode with 2 shows, leveraging an Animator, Producer, Developer, and an Editor – aka Andrea, Gregory, Elizabeth, and Joe… they are literally bringing scripted television to life so that they can help DPs and directors keep people off set longer and be more efficient when they’re on. The operational and on-site teams are getting buried under phone calls, deliveries, keeping the place sanitized, rushing to system crashes, delivering systems, getting bills paid, legal documents drawn up and signed, working on security clearances and on and on and on…. It all needs to get done. I know this, you know this… but we are all human. We know this. Please know that we know this is an exceptional time and we want to make sure you have what you need to do your best – be it a day off, OT, lunch, or dinner when you’re buried with work, a call/check in when you need a second opinion or to vent and figure out another way forward. We’re here. And remember the resources you have in place – both Kaiser and Blue Shield plans have counselors available. One Medical has virtual care sessions and rapid Covid tests. We have a physical trainer holding Zoom sessions 2x per week (Tues & Thurs @ 8am). We have a movie theater that you and those with whom you’re quarantining can use – stacked with DVDs and a popcorn machine.
4) We’re seeing a lot of folks struggling with success more than anything else. This is a weird time to be succeeding at anything, but especially professionally. We get that. *BELIEVE ME* Ramy and I feel that in our bones. But the truth is we are succeeding. We’re growing and we’re supporting a lot of visionaries right now. It’s an insanely cool time to be working at DFT, but that has its own weight. Any idea how many times I’ve heard someone on this team talk about how intimidating it is to work here? How many of you look around this place and see one another for the heroes and geniuses that you are? The human condition is a tricky beast, and it tries to convince us that comparison is helpful. It’s not. Not here. Each of you was chosen, has remained and/or has grown here BECAUSE of how exceptionally gifted you are. This is a team of talented, kind, helpful, resourceful, and curiously intelligent individuals. Sometimes it’s almost comforting to question that in ourselves because it can be hard to believe the good stuff about ourselves… to believe that this pool of talent is one that we’re qualified to swim among… I’m telling you; I’m asking you – believe it. I promise, when you stop questioning that and just do what we all know you can do, the work becomes so much easier. Sometimes it’s the light in us that we’re afraid of, not the darkness. Embrace your shine.
January 2021 has, in many ways, felt like an extension of so much we had hoped to leave behind in 2020, but it’s also been a very clear page turn from survival to all out thriving. It’s up to us to scale well and, across more equipment purchases and onboarding new team members (coming soon), we’re doing it. This is the closest DFT has come to being a startup SINCE it was a startup. We are in a whole new state of play here and the doors opening to us are giant. I’m so excited to be doing this as a team. It is an honor and a privilege to make this mark and build these bridges with you.
nancy jundi, coo