Back to work in person. And it isn’t awful.
So, this week we switched from working remotely on the TV show to being in-person at the production company’s office. It’s a reduced post production crew. Some of our team are working remotely (from New York City, while we’re in LA). No masks but we’re still doing some informal social distancing and we’re all vaccinated.
The production wrapped filming this week and the producer and director will be back in town soon. They want to work in person finishing the editing of the series. This makes things go faster, but it also has better creative energy. It’s often more interesting and fun, and sometimes you pick up some interesting stories.
I am actually pretty relieved. Working from home, where I’m by myself all the time, has just gotten bizarre and unreal. The worst part of being back in-person is getting up earlier and dealing with traffic. Traffic is way more intense than I remember, but I am getting used to it. A significant number of people don’t drive well and probably don’t care. I have to resist going into “Road Warrior” mode. At least I have stopped flinching every time somebody gets too close.
On the whole, I have to admit, dealing with people again has been a positive experience. It’s a small team environment, with one person I already know, which helps me to focus and feel like there’s some purpose to what I’m doing. There’s more immediate validation and less being in the Vacuum. And it might sound bad to say this, but pretending to be normal is helping me calm down and feel more normal. It will probably get tiresome after a while, but for now it really helps. It also reminds me that I can do it, somewhat convincingly, at least for short periods of time.
Being around other people also helps me pace myself better, rather than just obsessing over work. There is no natural pace to editing (or assistant editing) and it naturally leads to hyperfocus and obsessing. Which is sometimes fun and enjoyable but will wear you out after a while. A “water cooler” conversation is permission to take a break. (Really, a requirement to take a break.) Overall this stops me getting into obsessive or optimization spirals, calms things down and breaks up the day.
Today was a bit of an “ADD Day” where it was hard to concentrate or get anything done. But overall I’m more productive if I have some external structure. A little bit of performance pressure doesn’t hurt, if it’s just a little and has some context.
I’m going to enjoy this for now. It may get tedious and stressful later on, but this job’s only until September (another 3 months), so that’s probably manageable. We also get free lunches again. Free lunches are very important.