There are many stories to tell, from those who have had coronavirus to being a parent during these unprecedented times. Whether it is mask making to help those on the frontlines or using music to entertain and raise funds, the message is universal one: “We are all in this together.” This pandemic continues to impact the industry. Read Variety’s ongoing series of stories.
FOX News Channel’s Chief political anchor and executive editor of “Special Report”
It had been a busy three weeks on the road: a town hall with Senator Amy Klobuchar in North Carolina, South Carolina primary and then Super Tuesday coverage in New York, a town hall with President Trump in Pennsylvania, and then a town hall with Bernie Sanders in Michigan.
Word came down early that I would be anchoring the show from my home to keep as many people out of the DC bureau as possible – as a result of the coronavirus. I hadn’t seen my family much because of my recent travels so we actually looked at it from the beginning as a time to slow down and to be together, a blessing. My wife Amy and two boys Paul, 12, and Daniel, 9, got into a routine right away.
The boys’ “distance learning” – school at home over the computer– was definitely a challenge at first. Amy supervises the operation most mornings – but I occasionally sit in before my morning conference calls. (The “new math” is not something I’m used to. I like the “old math” and they told me there would be NO math anyway.) We eat lunch together, go our separate ways for more class or work and then we take “movement breaks” together – usually 2-on-1 basketball or walking our Golden-doodle, Coco. Then, late afternoon – most days involve a family walk through the woods before I get ready for my show – which is shot in a makeshift studio set up in our garage. One day runs into another, but we’re together and safe.
Amy has been vigilant on making us wash hands multiple times a day, use hand sanitizer, drink a lot of water, and take vitamins, zinc and elderberry. We’re extra cautious because we’re vulnerable – well, Paul is. Paul was born with five congenital heart defects. He’s had three open-heart surgeries and nine angioplasties. You would never know it – he’s one of the tallest kids in his class and plays on the basketball and golf teams. But, he is definitely at risk for complications if he got COVID-19 – which has crossed my mind during several sleepless nights – but, we do what we can and take one day at a time.
Along with the latest news developments, I’ve been trying to share positive, uplifting stories from around the country on my social media platforms. I’ve also been sharing innovative efforts by parents to keep kids busy. (We played board games for the first time in years and had a blast).
We don’t know how long this will last and parts of our country are hurting with the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job or both. I decided at the beginning of this home studio stint that I would add a line to my show’s close – usually “Fair, Balanced and Unafraid.” Now I added a line that I used to tell Amy every night we walked out of the hospital when Paul was recovering from his heart surgeries – “We’re one day closer to getting through this.”
Candace Cameron Bure
About two weeks ago, my brother Kirk called me after watching another benefit concert on TV. It was great and entertaining and he said, “Something is missing from it, the source of hope.”
He said he wanted to put together a concert with music that had lyrics that provide hope and inspiration. And that’s how it started.
We frantically started putting it together, reaching out to different artists. They taped performances from their homes.
The concert was meant to air on a network, but they pulled out a few days before because of the faith content. We asked Facebook Live and now it’s become this grassroots event to promote the concert.
It’s really exceeded our expectations. All the money is going to Samaritan’s Purse. They have mobile hospitals all across the country. What’s meaningful about them is that they do it with the purpose of sharing God’s love.
It’s airing this Sunday with inspirational messages and performances from Kristen Chenoweth and Gloria Gaynor.
President Paul Farberman Entertainment
I returned home from London to Los Angeles on March 2.
At that time, life was completely normal. Sure, people were talking about the virus in Los Angeles, but every store and restaurant was open and the streets were busy with tourists. Nobody was wearing a mask and people were going about their everyday business.
Five days later, on Saturday March 7, I started to feel sick. I was physically tired like I have never been, had no appetite, which was unusual for me, and I had a fever. It was not the same feeling of being tired from lack of sleep or being jet-lagged. It was a much more severe exhaustion. I was not coughing and had no pain or discomfort in my chest or anywhere else. I felt the same on Sunday. On Monday I saw my doctor. After a chest x-ray, blood work and a battery of other tests, I was given a prescription and told the doctor would call me with the test results. And then I was sent home.
At that time I was not tested for the coronavirus. The next day, the doctor called me and told me to stop taking the medication that she had just given me the day before and I should immediately go to the emergency department and get a CAT scan. I took an Uber right to the hospital. There, the doctors determined I had pneumonia and I was admitted.
And yet, I was still not tested for the coronavirus.
Two days later the doctors finally decided to test me. Three days later I received the results: I was positive for COVID-19. I was in total shock and disbelief. There is no way I could possibly be one of those statistics in the news! I was in total denial. I was moved immediately from the intensive care unit to a critical care unit where only coronavirus patients were being treated. My breathing was labored and heavy and I was treated with an ongoing oxygen supply.
Every time a doctor or nurse came into my room wearing long gowns, masks and facial guards when he or she left my room, they immediately took off their gowns and threw them right in the garbage.
I stayed in that hospital for a week. I was sent home in an ambulance and required to be on oxygen for 24 hours a day. It’s now five weeks later and I am no longer on oxygen. While it was a very, very tough few weeks, I am happy to say I am feeling better than ever.
I am lucky that I was already in the hospital being treated for pneumonia when they found out that I had the coronavirus. I am lucky that I was there in early March before the number of cases began to increase dramatically. I am lucky to have been treated by such truly caring and compassionate doctors and other medical staff. I can never show them enough appreciation. My sincere heartfelt gratitude goes out to the doctors, nurses and all the hospital staff who worked tirelessly, risking their lives to save ours.
While I was in the hospital and for the first three weeks that I was home, I made a conscious decision not to watch any news or read any information that would bring any negativity into my life. While I am feeling well physically, my sense of smell and taste has not fully returned. I still have some very emotional days where I cry, overwhelmed by what I see on the news and realizing how fortunate I am to be enjoying life.
It is absolutely critical for everyone to listen to all the doctors and scientists who are doing their jobs over and above the call of duty. Listen to them. They are telling you the facts and the truth. Believe me, you don’t want this virus. It’s sad and unfortunate that because of misinformation and the lies we received from the Trump administration in February and early March, people just did not take this situation seriously. Now, with all the reported cases of people with the virus and all the tragic deaths, most people are wearing masks, practicing social distancing and listening to what the experts say. But we can not relax. This problem is more serious than ever.
Every citizen on the planet must do his part to ensure the virus does not continue to spread.
Actor, “This is Us”
This is a crazy time to be alive. A time filled with a lot of fear, anxiety and uncertainty.
I have struggled with anxiety long before there was a pandemic, but now even those who did not previously battle anxiety are experiencing it. I think it is important to find the balance of taking this situation seriously and following precautions, yet not feeding into hysteria and living in panic.
Constantly seeking silver linings in all this has helped my state of mind, which is very important considering the power our minds hold.
I’ve been using this mandated time at home to write and record original music. Creating art is essential for my mental health because it gives me an escape and a place to let out what
I have bottled within.
One day during quarantine, I was feeling more anxious than usual and had a lot weighing on me. Rather than laying around and trying to sleep it all away, I felt compelled to write truthfully about how I was feeling. I wrote and recorded “Ode to My Anxiety” that same day. I’ve been very tentative when it comes to releasing original music because it is so personal and vulnerable and feels much different from playing a character.
I’m always advising people to “push through insecurities and don’t get in your own way,” so I decided to practice what I preach when I realized that this song could resonate with a lot of people right now.
Although the song is talking about anxiety, it still has a message of hope by reminding everyone (including myself) that things will be okay and even this too shall pass.
I hope this song brings peace, joy, and unity as we all continue to fight this battle together. I strongly encourage everyone to find their silver lining, mine being having the time to
fully focus on my music and create art that I am proud of.
We can use this time at home to give attention to things we didn’t prioritize before whether it’s reading, organizing, cooking, creating, self-care or spending quality time with family.
Perspective is everything so if you are feeling low, try changing your point of view because as I said before, our minds withhold endless power.
Director, “The Painted Bird”
Here in the Czech Republic, I am fine, as is my family. I’m working. I come to my production office every day because so many other things have been put on hold.
At this time, ”The Painted Bird“ was supposed to be entering cinemas around the world, including South Korea, the U.K., Holland and Belgium. Soon it would go to the United States and Canada.
Now everything is postponed, but not canceled! Cinemas are still interested in putting on the film. When the situation gets better – and it will – ”The Painted Bird“ will fly on.
Czech politicians committed many missteps. But worst of all, they lied. They lied about how ready we were, how much stock we had in state reserves of masks and ventilators. Cities and streets are deserted in the evening. Prague looks like a ghost town.
But most importantly, the crisis has spurred an enormous degree of solidarity. For example, people help old people who are unable to get important things on their own, especially shopping for groceries and medicine.
And people try so hard. When there are no government masks, they sew them themselves at home and then offer them free of charge.
It’s also typical of Czechs to resist by humor. Although everybody understands what‘s going on, they’re making light of their situation, trying to shoulder it better.
I deeply believe that we can do everything together and that we will survive.
6:25 a.m. I wake up the same time every morning. No matter how late I stayed up to watch the last episode of “Unorthodox.” I wake with a start. As though someone’s breaking into the house. Feels like that, doesn’t it? But while we’re tucked safely away in our homes for the unforeseeable future, presumably safe as we’re unified with the world in our effort to “flatten the curve,” it doesn’t feel like we’re safe. Something has disrupted our lives in such a fundamental way that something as simple, say, as a handshake is no longer safe. I wake with dryness in my throat. And an inability to take a full breath. And I’m overcome with this tidal wave of absolute certainty: I have Covid19!
By 6:27, I’ve taken a sip of water and come to what’s left of my senses. I have to remind myself of what we’re doing. Why I’ve only worn a T-shirt and sweatpants for over a month. Why so much of our time now, when we’re not trying to meditate (good luck) is about getting support for those on the front lines of this pandemic. For me, First Responders First aids healthcare workers risking their lives to support ours. And FeedingAmerica.org because the simple act of getting food is not so simple anymore.
Our business has been undone. We work from home, yes. But TV shows are no longer in production. Pilot season as we’ve known it, has been stopped in its tracks. And the film industry may never recover from theaters being shuttered. Beyond that, we must bear witness to friends and colleagues getting sick or, in some cases, dying. I lost my dear friend, acclaimed playwright, Terrence McNally. He gave me – all of us — and particularly the American theater, the gifts of his talent, activism and inspiration. Now Broadway is dark and I can’t imagine when the curtains will go up again.
We in the entertainment industry rely on audiences. And we work in crews and teams and families. But when will we be allowed to be together again? What will be the new “SAFE”? In the meantime, I can work on writing projects. Because I can do them alone, from home, without wearing a mask. And I’m going to exercise and argue with my kids about screen time and then play a lot of Monopoly. And I’ll pray we find an audience for my show “Baker and the Beauty.”
But first, I’ll bake some bread. Because life now is about controllable variables vs. uncontrollable ones. And the four ingredients that’ll lead to an oddly satisfying stress binge while I homeschool my kids? That, I can control.
Composer and songwriter
First off, I miss hugging my friends and seeing their smiles in person. Secondly, teachers should get paid a billion dollars (though I believed that before the virus). Because of the nature of composing, some parts of life haven’t changed as much for me as they have for others, but with homeschooling and high-risk in-laws that live with us and older parents nearby…schedules are certainly a bit more challenging. The good news is that I’ve gotten to spend more time with my wife and kids, and the even better news is that, in between a few meltdowns, that time has been filled with much fun, silliness, and creativity.
I’m still working on season 2 of “The Boys,” a film called “Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar,” and after that, the” Tom and Jerry” movie, writing from home and doing meetings on Zoom and Skype.
But the biggest hurdle is the thing that concerns me the most about our film music community: How will we record everything while the world is on lockdown and how are the amazing musicians and studio crews going to survive for months or more with no sessions? We’re going to do our best to have people record remotely and share files, but the truth is, that they are facing a massive challenge and we all must try to do our part to make sure all of our extended creative families can make it through this.
Emotionally, it has been up and down…sometimes bringing waves of creativity and inspiration, and other times, loneliness and anxiety for friends and family when the weight of news and stories of doctors without enough masks and hospitals without enough beds makes us all feel so very helpless. It’s at that point that the world needs art and music more than ever. When people can’t share touch or close human contact, there’s nothing that can make people feel more connected and “together” than sharing the perfect song with just the right message that seems to erase the distance and seclusion.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve been cooking (and eating) up a storm. We threw a virtual Zoom Luau for spring break, have had multiple dance battles, created “D&D” characters, watched almost all the Disney musicals and “Harry Potter” films again, learned some TikTok dances, and have done much in-depth research on the many uses for Nutella.
I’ll just finish by saying thank you to all of the medical professionals, first responders, scientists, delivery, and food-service professionals that are risking so much and working so hard for all of us right now. You are our heroes and we are so very grateful!
Producer and writer
It’s all Hoda’s fault. My boyfriend, Jason Collins, and I were 15 days into our COVID-19 illness, and finally starting to feel better. I’d kept calm through the entire illness, then Hoda Kotb, one of America’s national treasures — whose pores spew positivity and kindness — breaks down in tears after interviewing Drew Brees about his generosity for his neighbors in desperate need. She, like all of us, realizes this is going to be a long road. Seeing Hoda crying permitted me to cry too — not for Jason or me, we were sick, but safe and getting better every day. My tears were for friends like Txema, who’s just in his 30s in Madrid with pneumonia fighting for his life, and for the massive ordeal our health care workers have in front of them this next year.
But, this sparked an idea. Most of us who get sick will get through this, and every week the number of people who have #crushedcovid will grow. Germany is already testing and registering people who have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, so they can safely aid their community, and even start getting their economy rolling again. Unfortunately, the United States will never be proactive enough to do something like this, because many Americans have been convinced that the government shouldn’t have information on its citizens.
Since a centralized system is off the table, as a community, we can create a positive, non-verbal way to ease people’s fears and offer help. So, I’ve started drumming up my summer camp arts and craft skills and making olive green bracelets to give to friends and family members who have gotten through COVID-19, are non-contagious, and safely able to help community and health workers who are at risk. My thought is that olive green represents the army of immune and healthy people who want to help more vulnerable neighbors get through this — think of the elderly couple who went viral for being scared of grocery shopping. We can change that story.
As soon as the antibody test is available, and I’m clear, I’ll volunteer for an organization that helps alleviate the risk for our brave public servants or health care workers. There are innovative nonprofits already solving problems. Project Angel Food has been brilliant and proactive, taking on the dual purpose of hiring out-of-work chefs as meal preppers and providing food for people who can’t leave their homes. You can donate to them here: https://bit.ly/2WQ6Zkm
While waiting for that test, I’ll keep my distance and weave my bracelets. The first batch I’m making is going straight to Txema in Madrid because I know he’ll make it, and he’ll have too many of his own friends and family to share them with.
Writer and director of “My Fiona”
Moments before Trump announced the coronavirus travel ban I was, well — living my best life. In less than a week I was flying to London for BFI Flare Film Festival where my feature I wrote and directed, “My Fiona,” would be premiering. We also just found out that our film was to be included in BFI’s “Best of the Fest.” Can the day get any better? Answer — yes! The newest biopic script I had been working on was gaining industry interest and I landed a manager that I’ve been hoping to work with for years. Now I don’t spend a lot of time taking in the little wins, but for some reason I was like, “Girl, you go get yourself some champagne — the expensive kind — and celebrate!”
With Trump’s address at low volume in the background, my aunt and I were sipping champagne and talking wistfully about how hard work does pay off. The next five days became a blur of cheap wine, anxiety and little sleep. With the escalating crisis one by one, our cast and producers backed out of London, but the festival hadn’t canceled. My lead producer and I were still going to represent — travel ban and all. Now this is where we step into that dangerous tango dance between huge opportunity and better judgment. This film has been the last four years of my life, after all, and making anything independently is an uphill battle from start to finish and — we finished. We’re going!
When the festival finally canceled, I must admit, it was a relief. The music stopped, and the tango came to an ungracefully abrupt halt, with the festival’s “better judgment” winning out. Mourning my best life, I took a few days to spiral through the classic stages of grief and I realized with the final stage of acceptance, there is something truly beautiful that will come out of this.
I do not doubt that all the festivals and filmmakers will come together with determination so that the indie films of 2020 will not disappear. Empathy will and already is unifying our industry and I’m finding some kind of strange comfort in this creative collective. The story is still being written and I strongly believe we’ll get that world premiere, it’s just gonna look a little different — and come later in the third act.
Although my vision board feels like it’s mocking me, my new perspective shift reminds me that just three weeks ago I was sipping the expensive champagne talking about hard work paying off… and guess what? It still will. That just wasn’t our moment.
Emmy-winning editor and director “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Four weeks ago, I was in India on a family vacation. It’s wild to think how different everything was then: we were barely concerned about the virus going around in Asia but were way more concerned about all the recent outbreaks of violence in New Delhi. Right before the trip, I had directed an episode of the new “Saved By The Bell” and had a blast working with their awesome cast and crew. So on my first morning in India, I was thrilled to get an email saying they wanted me to come back for a second episode. The timing was perfect; it would start three days after I got home.
When I landed at LAX on March 7, I sailed through the Global Entry line, surprised (even back then) that nobody was asking what countries I had visited. I went back to work on the 10th, before we all knew the term “social distancing.” Friends at work asked about the trip while half-jokingly keeping their distance. The next day, the NBA suspended their season, and by the end of the week we were heading home to an uncertain future. The episode was fully prepped and ready to shoot … but would have to wait.
And yet, as a long-time freelancer, I wasn’t initially fazed by the idea of an expected hiatus. Some part of me thought, “Hooray, I’ll finally get to organize those closets, and clean out the garage, and learn Esperanto!” But then, this has turned out to be very different than any hiatus any of us ever had. Sad news comes at us hourly, anxiety underscored by our collective uncertainty about when the industry might be up and running again.
I’ve been home for over two weeks now. I’ve learned more about tiger zoos than I ever expected to. And my girlfriend and the cat are both doing their best to keep this extrovert sane. I expect the “stay home” life to continue through June, and I’m grateful this has happened in the era of Zoom meetings and myriad streaming options. (I directed some episodes of a Netflix series which premieres in April, and now my friends will have no excuse for not watching it.) I love my work and I can’t wait to be back at it again, and I hope we all stay safe and stay healthy.
Dresser for “Hamilton”
Before the coronavirus outbreak, I was working full-time as a dresser at “Hamilton” on Broadway and as a wardrobe assistant on the “Today.” I took a few days off to travel to Florida to see my partner in a production of “A Chorus Line” in Boca Raton, FL. On the airplane, I found out that all Broadway shows would be closed through Easter. I stepped off the plane in Florida unemployed for the foreseeable future.
When we returned to NYC, we immediately quarantined ourselves in our Chelsea apartment — going out only to walk our pup, purchase groceries, and run along the Hudson River. As the virus progressed, I watched as my fellow wardrobe colleagues began sewing masks for healthcare workers. I researched masks for our personal use, and I signed up to make masks for the Skilled Laborers Brigade. Until I got my first assignment with SLB, I constructed masks for the family.
I struggled to obtain fabric since I do not keep a large stock of fabric. After a few tries to purchase fabric online, I finally successfully purchased a few yards of fabric that I am using to make masks for friends and family members in need.
On Thursday, I received a box of supplies from the Skilled Laborers Brigade. There were pieces to construct 50 masks that will go immediately to frontline workers in California. I immediately got to work and finished all 50 masks on Saturday. These specific masks will be used to cover and protect existing N95 masks. They are now in a box awaiting pickup to be shipped.
You can find many mask patterns online ranging from simple no-sew masks to elaborate masks that require a sewing machine. For personal use, I prefer a contoured mask with a pocket that a disposable filter fits inside.
My favorite pattern can be found here.
I am thankful to still be healthy. Wearing a mask in public feels empowering. Protecting myself and others by simply keeping my face covered and maintaining a safe distance is the one thing we can do to fight this outbreak. The more we all do our part to stay home, stay covered and keep our distance when out in public, the sooner we can defeat this virus and return to life as we used to know it.
Head of Wattpad Studios
It’s almost surreal to realize that just over a month ago, it was business as usual. I was getting ready for SXSW and then was scheduled to head to APOS. Like many of us in the industry, life is usually a series of short and long-haul flights and face-to-face meetings with people from all over the world. That has changed for everyone. Today, meetings are both business and moments of connection. These are moments that are enhanced when my daughter pops in to check on our latest IP discussion, or you end up discussing the horror poster that a colleague has on their wall behind their makeshift home video conferencing studio. More than ever, we are all looking for ways to connect, to share and better empathize with our family, friends and colleagues.
In a moment of relentless uncertainty, I’m struck by the positivity and optimism I see and hear from partners, as well as from users on our platform. Online, people want to create and connect. There is catharsis through creativity, and creators are dreaming up new realms and universes to help spread some joy and connection within our own. As a result, we’ve seen unprecedented growth in creation on our platform: since the beginning of January, we’ve seen a 151% growth in new story uploads and a 125% increase in new writers.
Now that no one is on set, everyone is looking toward the future and reading everything they can. We continually hear from development execs, writers, showrunners, actors and everyone in between about finding new IP and projects. The town, and in fact, the world is reading. It is everyone’s new point of connection.
This all means more time with our producing partners, more time diving into recent story uploads, managing development across nine languages and 15 partners all over the world. It also means more time balancing work and family life when those worlds collide in the same place. It means working together, even while we’re separate. In short, it means taking things one day at a time, and supporting one another as we navigate the new entertainment landscape together. But we’ve always done this and it’s part of our DNA as a studio. We bring together our global team to connect writers from all over the world with amazing producers and studios. It’s our mission statement: to entertain the world with data-driven stories.
More than ever before, we’re all part of something bigger. We’re all in this story together and we need to stay connected. Stories can be that connection today and in the future
Co-star of E!’s “Very Cavallari”
What a weird time we are all in, right?! I think we are all in the same boat with this epidemic that has completely taken over. It’s not easy, but one thing is for sure you have to try and stay positive and safe! Everyone I have talked to has been personally affected by this virus, whether that be a family member or friend who was diagnosed or just the day to day that this virus has caused us all.
This epidemic has put fear in everyone’s eyes and all I hope is that somehow our country can continue coming together and get past this together. I think it’s a good time to focus on what’s important and staying in touch with family and friends. Being a colorist, I know this is a very tough time to make money (other professions as well), but speaking to my fellow salon professionals, I know this time isn’t easy. And that is why I wanted to give back to others by giving them a chance to make money using my dpHUE app! Sell dpHUE products to your clients and the colorist gets half and I get half – fair right?! In times like this I think it’s important to think outside of the box and support each other. I haven’t been able to attend to my celebrity clients but thankfully with the dpHUE root touch kits, I have been able to send these out to my clients to help them maintain their own color during these times and thus keep up the self-esteem which we all know is important. So besides making sure women are looking and feeling their very best in isolation and out, I am using this downtime to binge-watch all my favorite shows and experiment new recipes in the kitchen with my brand new fiancé, Austin.
Co-Founder and CEO, Tongal
Yesterday I wore a bandana mask into Citibank to withdraw an irresponsible amount of cash, just in case there is some more dystopian future ahead where I have to “pull a Bogart” and buy the last letters of transit out of California. On any normal day, I would’ve been handcuffed on the way in, given my look that said, “I’m about to hand a bank teller a note.” But alas, this is just normal life in the time of coronavirus, when going out in public makes you feel like we’re all living in the lost John Carpenter film.
Other personal highs/lows from the week of April 6, 2020:
I made an unsuccessful attempt at an SVOD intervention with a 6-year-old spending “Spring Break” watching TV for approximately 80% of waking hours.
I won an eBay auction for Clorox wipes and felt good about it.
I accepted Wim Hof’s breathwork and cold shower challenge to keep my immune system in peak condition and nearly went into hypothermic shock.
I resisted the urge to touch my face approximately 9,324 times.
I became an emotional disaster when I heard the brilliant John Prine passed away.
I guess all we can do now is stay home, stay safe and, as they say, practice gratitude. I’m grateful for the time with my wife and two daughters. I’m also grateful for the time to reflect and think about the future, including how to make sure Tongal is going to support our creative community and clients through whatever else the world throws at us.
Actor, “The Good Fight”
For me, COVID-19 has been a daily lesson in how to stay hopeful and optimistic, not only for myself but for everyone around me.
Every day I wake up to an alert on my phone from one of the many news outlets, and on cue, I immediately perk up in hopes of reading news better than it may have been the day before. They say “no news is good news,” but these days some good news is better. What I am not ready for, as my hope is challenged daily by the rising number of cases and deaths from COVID-19, are my random bouts with anxiety. Thinking of friends now lost, those who are currently battling the virus, my family and how to protect them, my own mortality, my friends and their loved ones, our communities both here and abroad.
What has helped me breathe through it all is developing a routine and setting a series of goals that will engage my mind, open the imagination, inspire laughter and thought, and ultimately creativity. I write, read comics, and sketch every day. Meditation and exercise have been a tremendous ally throughout this experience. As well as, watching movies and listening to music with my lady. I try to learn something new every day through tutorials or online classes.
I continue to support my local small businesses, doing my part to hopefully help them stay afloat. Instead of visiting my local comic book shop every Wednesday to get my haul, I now have it mailed to me. We order dinners out occasionally from the restaurants in our neighborhood. Every little bit helps.
And above all, I’m connecting with my family and friends through various online means of communication, which has proven to be an incredible healer. We’ve shared important information, our frustrations, our mental health and overall well-being, embarrassing old photos, inspiring stories that moved us to tears and a lot of laughs. We’ve done one of the most powerful things we can do for one another – listen.
I recently saw a cartoon of Superman saving lives by staying home. It is indeed the most heroic thing we can do right now to combat COVID-19. Stay home and stay connected, so that the amazing doctors and nurses who have risked their lives every day during this pandemic can do what they do best – save lives.
Director of Public Figures at Instagram
Much of what we do at Instagram every day begins with the actors, music artists, athletes, creators, entertainers and artists of all types that use Instagram to connect with their community. And, in the wake of coronavirus, “connection” has taken on an entirely different meaning.
It would come as no surprise to anyone that the use of Instagram has increased in the past few weeks (our Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, recently shared that the “Stay Home” sticker has been used 100 million times globally since its launch).
The reality of that increase, though, exists in the details: it’s Miley Cyrus coming on her Instagram every Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. PT to celebrate “bright-minded stories,” and working with her fans to create the first crowd-sourced IG Live/IGTV show. Miley works with her fans to edit her Lives, create cool graphic packages and collaborate on creative in real-time, which is innovative and inspiring.
It’s Noah Centineo going Live every night at 9 p.m. PT to spotlight Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nightly addresses to the city of Los Angeles, and in my opinion, leading the conversation about what it means to be an actor meets advocate in the digital age. He also just launched @favorednations, a 501c3 that spotlights emerging initiatives through social media.
It’s Stephen Curry using his Instagram and Facebook platforms to host a Live conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci with the intent of informing and empowering his community; that’s impact.
When we began to see events getting postponed and canceled a few weeks ago, and as we continue to have to adjust to this “new normal,” we are consistently inspired by the ways that these public figures are sharing and showcasing care, thoughtfulness and generosity during this unprecedented time of change and uncertainty.
As the director of Public Figures for Instagram, it brings me so much joy to see how much this platform is bringing other people joy right now. We are seeing some of the best that humanity has to offer in real time, right on social media, and I am lucky to work right in the epicenter of that. Right now, my focus is on continuing to do that work and continuing to support my team in their efforts to do that work, too.
And as for Instagram: we’ll also continue to share resources that help our partners shape their ideas and reach their communities on our platforms, whether that’s with health tips provided by the World Health Organization, or by helping to produce a livestream on Instagram Live, or by sharing best practices on how to create a fundraiser to aid organizations who are supporting those affected by COVID-19.
FOX News anchor of “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino” and co-host of “The Five”
Earlier this month, as schools and businesses began to close across the country, I walked to the studios at Fox News Channel in New York City without even having to look both ways when I crossed the street — there was no traffic and hardly any pedestrians either. I could even sing of my favorite country songs, “Nobody But You” by Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani out loud. No one was there to judge me!
I thought about how many families were suddenly thrust into working from home while taking care of their kids at the same time. How would they explain this new normal to their children?
I remembered how former First Lady Laura Bush encouraged families after the September 11 terrorist attacks to try to make time every day to read to children, so that they could feel safe and cared for, while instilling in them a sense of imagination and creativity.
I wondered if I could help families across the country by starting a daily storytime appointment for kids using social media. Maybe I could handle the storytime for the parents out there that had their hands full.
I’m known around the office and by our viewers as a bit of a bookworm. However, I don’t have children of my own, and I hadn’t read children’s books in many years. I wasn’t sure if I could attract an audience or hold the attention of little ones.
Yet “Storytime with Dana” was born. I’ll admit it’s a bit strange to read a children’s book and not receive instant feedback—I wonder, is this making any sense? Is this joke landing? Strange new respect for Mr. Rogers!
A few times I have recruited my husband, Peter, to read with me (his British accent is the best). And I’ve also incorporated our dog, Jasper, into the readings. He sits on a chair in our home in New Jersey and looks as if he’s paying attention (it helps that I have some treats on hand to sneak to him).
We’ve mixed it up a bit. One day we didn’t read any stories at all; instead, we did a segment I sometimes do on The Five called “Dana’s Corny Jokes.” They’re just silly riddles and Dad jokes.That was a huge hit.
Now after four weeks of hosting “Storytime “with Dana, we’re hooked and so are the viewers. While I started it on my Facebook Live, FOX News took the ball and ran with it. Now families can access storytime on FOXNews.com, FOX Nation, FOX News’ YouTube channel as well as on the FOX News Facebook page. With those platforms, we have reached nearly 5 million people.
But more importantly, I especially love the feedback from viewers and comments we receive, like this one: “From my 7-year-old granddaughter, telling me what to type, ‘Thank you for reading these books. If I was there with you, I would hug you.”
I wish I could hug them, too!
Jess Wu Calder
Co-Founder Snoot Entertainment
For the production assistants who work the longest hours for the least amount of pay, they also remind us how important it is to be grateful every day of the joy and privilege we all have to tell stories for a living.
For the Transportation department, who can not only rescue a flooded basecamp within minutes, but are the backbone of a location-based shoot and the safety net behind any stage shoot.
For the assistant directors where the grind is in their blood, they maximize every hour of a shoot day while losing their voices but never their patience… and more importantly, they make sure our crews safety is above all things including the film itself.
For the hair and make up departments, they bring our characters to life through their artist’s hands, they also provide an emotionally safe space for actors behind the camera so that they can be comfortable being vulnerable on camera.
For the costume department, their hands end up doing more laundry than a laundromat in an effort to keep up with darn continuity, and more impressive their tireless nimble fingers craft unforgettable wearable art.
For the camera department, they are the toughest most bad ass dance troupe working in synchronicity to bend light and film stories for posterity.
For the sound department, their boom operators have the tall task of being invisible while capturing every silent cry and every primal scream, and their mixers magically make airplanes, waterfalls and car traffic disappear, preserving words and creating waves of sound that embrace the audience wholly.
For the art department, where creating worlds with their bare hands is just their every day job… they’re given impossible deadlines and work long hours to make sure that on the day, that new world is ready to be filmed.
For every member of any crew I’ve ever had the honor to work with, I know I‘m still learning every day, so thank you for your patience, your hard work and your creativity, and your blood, sweat and tears in creating not only a film but for a few short months a family.
And families support each other. It takes OUR village.
Donations It Takes Our Village Initiative: www.gofundme.com/ItTakesOurVillage
I lost a dear friend to the virus and have written about it for Vogue online. Patricia Bosworth, actor and author was an exceptional human being.
At the beginning of this disaster I experienced how dire things would be. Losing a friend tells you all you need to know.
My husband and I are home alone in New York. We have furloughed our housekeeper with pay. We are working remotely with our assistants, mostly by telephone and email. My husband is an attorney specialized in family law. I’m very lucky to be able to continue writing.
My daughter and grandkids are nearby but we can’t hug each other. We check in daily and they are well, thank God! I have also begun a historical novel that I will return to as soon as I have finished my autobiography which is promised to my publishers around the world.
I’m working with a wonderful woman at Sony TriStar who is determined to produce “Fear of Flying” after 47 years. Many, many directors and producers have fallen in love with my first published novel and wanted to bring it to the screen. I could write an epic about all these attempts. The story involves drug addiction in the ’70s, fear of women’s writing in the ’80s. I have often had the experience of working with wonderful women who love “Fear of Flying” and men who pull the money away right before we go into production. Let’s pray that next time we will go forward.
Coronavirus has been a blessing to my writing but a curse to our country. Der Spiegel, the German news source, writes about the fall of the U.S. as a superpower. Many journalists are concerned that the White House is occupied by a fool with no empathy. I still believe that Hillary Clinton is our real president. Were it not for election fixing, memorialized in the Mueller report, she would be doing an excellent job now. Bless all her supporters who understood the disaster we were galloping into. I hope our great country will rise again.
President and Owner MAC Presents, Co-Owner Anzie Blue
When you have time (and let’s be honest, you might have more than usual right now), look at the balconies in Milan where people assemble in mass to sing “Amazing Grace” or play instruments in solidarity. Look at Instagram live from musicians online around the clock. Music is still saving people as it always has. The world is going online for solace, connection, and music. Soon if not now, artists will need to turn online for work. Yes, they will need to monetize their virtual shows. Touring is on hold and stadiums may not see fans in seats until 2021. It is obvious that what America (and the world) craves more than ever is music, connection, and hope. As president of MAC Presents, a music experiential agency, that has matched brands and artists for over two decades, we are actively brainstorming ways to keep the music alive and the shows coming to the ears that need them.
The sounds of quarantine are eerie in every city across America and especially daunting in New York City where deafening silence in Times Square is almost louder than the cab horns that came to a screeching halt along with the music and nearly every other industry.
As the music industry begins its great Pivot, I sit in Nashville alongside my husband, where we recently started Anzie Blue, a new CBD line and opened a coffee and wellness shop. Nothing like opening a new store two months before the pandemic hit. Luckily, Music and CBD are more essential than ever.
In March alone, Nashville, Tennessee experienced what can only be described as a one-two punch. What started as a severe thunderstorm warning on March 2, 2020, left most of us yawning with minimal trepidation at bedtime. A relatively routine storm cell morphed into a wicked tornado that traveled record miles and bulldozed entire Nashville area communities to shards of rubble. Lives were lost. Businesses were pummeled physically and economically. By the time the sun came up the next morning, Nashville was again lucky to find itself within the Volunteer State. All hands were on deck in Music City with sleeves rolled up around the clock in an attempt to help businesses and homeowners grieve properly, get back on their feet, and dream of a return to the new normal. We hosted a #NashvilleStrong fundraiser at Anzie Blue. People took their first deep breath in days, and then the second punch arrived.
This pandemic is a different kind of storm–insidious and invisible and unanticipated. Musicians are entertaining from their couches at home. They are inviting fans into their inner lives now more than ever. That is a beautiful thing to behold. The sun reappeared after the tornado. It will reappear again for Americans, if we all turn to a neighbor and lend a hand, figuratively and literally. If we can find one silver lining from this period in history
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