My working from home life: Drew Jones, Chief Business Development Officer

Drew is our Chief Business Development Officer, he spearheads worldwide business development for our VFX studios in London and Montreal, including Cinesite’s partner companies Image Engine & Trixter, he also develops new business opportunities for the group across feature film, broadcast, SVOD platforms and digital entertainment. Over the years, Drew has worked with some of the world’s biggest VFX studios across a diverse range of prestigious feature films and TV Shows. His 25+ year career includes many critically acclaimed projects including The Bodyguard, No Time To Die, Lost in Space series, Harry Potter Features and The Constant Gardener to name a few. 

Is it business as usual for you and your team as you all work remotely home?

It’s business as (un)usual! Over the last few weeks our technical service teams have been very actively working on a technical solution and infrastructure that is enabling our artists to work from home.This has shaken the core of our industry but I’m hopeful some positives like remote working will stick around long after the virus has been beaten!

How big is the team and how many studios do you have?

Cinesite has three studios London, Montreal & Vancouver. Collectively the talent base is around 1,500.

How are you maintaining an office routine?

I have been lucky enough to have been able to carve an area out within my home that can be maintained as a workspace. I am simply ensuring that I maintain as normal a workday as possible. Start at the normal time, taking lunch and finishing per normal hours. That said I feel as though a lot more focus is required, and I greatly miss the feel of the studio and the teams around.

Which systems are you using to talk to one another and clients?

We’re relying extensively on the following Google Apps: Gmail , Calendar , Chat , Meet . 

How are you and your team keeping up morale?

We all know that the next few months will be tough. Now, more than ever before, we need to pull together – as colleagues, as studios and as an industry. I am pleased but not surprised to see countless examples of that happening across Cinesite. I am spending as much time as I can talking to our people, via Google hangouts, and to clients over a myriad of different video systems. These calls all start in the same way: asking how we are, how our people and families are managing, and offering to help each other however we can. New friendships form quickly.

Which projects are you able to move forward with right now?

Currently, all productions are carrying on. Our artists are committed to producing the calibre of work we are known for and expected by our clients. Our teams have worked tirelessly to deploy solutions that will allow all of our employees in London, Montreal and Vancouver to work safely from home.

What advice would you give to people in the business who are worried about the future?

Be positive. Although this is a global issue it also means that we are all in this journey together. I have no doubt that this situation will be overcome, and we will move forward. I think we will be stronger for it in many ways. The whole process has certainly opened everyone’s eyes to new ways of working collaboratively and in ways not envisaged before.

What advice do you have for home working?

Ensure you connect with your team regularly. Human interaction is important. Working in isolation can be very hard.

  • Work in short bursts – In the office your day is broken up by everything from meetings to water-cooler chats, lunch breaks and even toilet breaks, but when you are sat at home on your own with no face-to-face interaction planned it can be easy to just work for long, unbroken periods.
  • Don’t forget to take breaks – It can be difficult to tear yourself away from your laptop if you’re worried people might think you’re slacking off, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take breaks.
  • Manage distractions – Being in an office gives us a limited number of ways to get distracted but when you start working in a new environment (especially a very familiar one) it can be easy to let yourself get distracted. So proactively manage things which might interrupt your focus.