Updated: May 19
Welcome! What a year it's been!
As I sit here to pen my first blog post, I think back to how strange the past 14 months or so have been.
I was sitting in a hotel in Frisco, TX last March working the Conference USA basketball tournament when things got serious. I remember flying there the day before my work began and wiping down my plane seat with Clorox wipes. An older gentleman sitting next to me, also clearly a seasoned traveler, did the same and we both just kind of laughed at what we were doing. Strange times.
When I landed I walked around an eerily quiet rental car facility in Dallas. Got in my car and wiped everything down again. I remember thinking that it was maybe not the best time to be 1,000 miles from home. Then I got the news that WGI 2020 had been cancelled. I figured that was going to happen but it was still a gut punch. The first domino.
That night I went to a restaurant and got some food to go. I took it all in before I left. The pep bands, the crowds, the energy. I knew the lights were getting turned off. I knew getting back to "normal" would be a LONG time away. That night the NBA cancelled its first game, and all the college tournaments announced no fans the next day. Some of my colleagues had an early start for some women's games and were in the arena bright and early the next day. I was having trouble coming to grips with that fact that once my shift started I was going to spend about 14 hours that day in a television truck with a dozen people. Basically a sardine can. Then I got an email with a subject line something like "CUSA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS CANCELLED." Another domino. And of course many more dominoes followed that one.
I immediately thought back to 9/11 and how people got stranded everywhere. I was lucky enough to have a rental car so I immediately headed east for a 15 hour drive home. I wanted nothing to do with planes at that time. That night as I stopped in Tennessee I sent an email to my staff telling them to plan on working from home for a while.
Of course for all of us the last 12-14 months have been uniquely challenging. I'm lucky that no one I know got seriously ill or died. I still wonder if I had Covid back in February. I was in Miami during Super Bowl week and I imagine that was a pretty wild petri dish at that time. I had some back pain that I've never had before and was really out of commission for about 4 days. Very odd for me. But other than that, I haven't really been sick in a year.
Luckily we had a very busy Q1 2020 so we had lots of footage to edit once things shut down. That kept us busy for a couple months until things started to pick back up again from a filming perspective. Our first "Covid shoot" was at a furniture warehouse in May 2020. A nice big space to spread out so that was helpful. But it was still pretty tense. I think I stayed about 40 feet away from everyone for the most part.
However the tension meter went a lot higher a month or so later when we were sent to Chicago for a week to film some Covid survivor stories. Filming in hospitals with active Covid patients. Inventing best practices on the fly to avoid getting myself or my team sick. As I said, it was tense. But seeing how calm the docs and nurses acted was refreshing. They'd seen things, come to grips with it, and just did what they could to stay as safe as they could. I adopted the same mindset. Although I still felt like I was in the movie Outbreak...
So yeah, it was pretty intense.
More shoots followed at furniture warehouses, hospitals, strangely empty office buildings, and many other places in between. I can't tell you how many Courtyard Marriott rooms I've wiped down over the past year. Found all the best ways to travel while avoiding other people (hint: first-floor hotel rooms to avoid the elevator). LOTS of driving. A snowstorm in DC and jumping into the waves in South Beach. 5 weeks hiding out in the mountains of New York. Even opened an office in Arizona!
An eventful year. And that's without getting into how we invented and implemented a brand new line of service in the middle of a pandemic, rebuilt our entire website from the ground up, changed essentially everything about our post-production workflow, and certainly not least of all, how we dealt with having an office in downtown Louisville in the middle of all the social unrest last summer. Heavy topics all the way around.
Today, my team is fully vaxxed and yesterday we had our first mask-free shoot since last March. I'm hopeful that the progress of the last couple months will continue its momentum and we'll make that a normal thing where it's safe to do so. Although I guess I'll have to shave a lot more often!
Hope you enjoyed the read. We'll try to continue posting some longform content here in the near future.
John Flower Productions was founded in 2007 in Louisville, KY. Today our client roster acknowledges our growth into one of the most respected production companies in the region. From bourbon to horses to healthcare, we work with the largest brands in the region and nationally to create compelling internal and external content. Reach out today to experience our award-winning service.