#WFH Diaries: Amanda Schrembeck, Daniel Barnes, Chris Cella and Jameson LaMarca of Dagger

As confinement continues in most parts of the world, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Amanda Schrembeck, Daniel Barnes, Chris Cella and Jameson LaMarca of Atlanta agency Dagger's in-house production studio.

Give us one-line bios of yourselves.

• Amanda Schrembeck, art director
I'm a 28-year-old art director, animator and expert crafter.

• Daniel Barnes, senior 3D motion designer
I create content and consider myself an eternal student because there is always something to be learned.

• Chris Cella, director of video
I'm a director and cinematographer professionally, a musician non-professionally and an aspiring beachcomber.

• Jameson LaMarca, creative copy director
That tall, bearded copy director at Dagger who's terrible at one-line bios.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

• Jameson: I live in one of Atlanta's closest suburbs with my wife and two children. We're visited daily by Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf. 

• Daniel: I am near Cumberland Mall in Atlanta with the girlfriend and the puppy.

• Amanda: Decatur, Ga., with my husband Andrew and our dog Devo.

• Chris: I live in a condo in Atlanta with my girlfriend Cathleen.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

• Daniel: With five different computers, it looks like a hacker's paradise.

• Chris: It's a little challenging during a pandemic when your job typically requires you to be out in the world working in close proximity with a lot of people. Fortunately we've been able to be creative about how we get the job done. Working from home has actually shown me a variety of ways to further the work and improve myself.

Describe your socializing strategy.

• Amanda: I'm usually the first to reach out to my friends to assemble a Zoom call and make sure we're all getting some face time. It's a balance, though. It can become overwhelming, so I'm also using this time to take advantage of projects at home I've put off.

• Jameson: Dagger's done a great job of keeping our team connected through virtual, agency-wide town halls and chat roulette-style Hangouts. Friends I haven't seen since college are now hosting tele-reunions regularly. I've FaceTimed, Zoom'd, and Google met more with people over the past six weeks than ever before in my life. It's a shame it took a global pandemic to bring us together like this, but I hope we maintain this connectedness when things settle down.

How are you dealing with childcare?

• Jameson: We've been incredibly fortunate that our parents are nearby to help whenever they can, but when it's just my wife and me, we divide and conquer. Whoever has the client call gets the basement while the other is on kid duty. Otherwise, we take shifts or just bring the kids to our internal calls. I still can't tell if my 9-month-old daughter claps because she sees people on my laptop or is sarcastically telling me my scripts suck (probably the latter).

What are you reading?

• Chris: I've read a lot lately, more than I have in a long time. It seemed like an opportune time to read Guns, Germs and Steel, which was fascinating. Then I read Hunting the Jackal, which is a memoir of special forces soldier and CIA operator Billy Waugh. On the fiction side, I read the Hannibal Lecter series. 

What are you watching?

• Daniel: Anime, Ozark and lots of random DIY YouTube videos!

• Amanda: I just started Making the Cut, which is a spin-off of Project Runway. I love making clothes, so I'm pretty into it! I like to pretend I'm a contestant and think of ideas when they give a design prompt.

What are you listening to?

• Jameson: Old-school soul and funk. Legends like Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, Parliament, Sly & the Family Stone. The ChilledCow lofi hip-hop playlists are good for writing time. I'm happy to report that my 2-year-old son is hooked on Tom Petty, so we listen to him during dinner. We also listen to the Frozen soundtracks.

• Chris: Thundercat has a new album and it's really good. Khruangbin has a beautiful new EP with Leon Bridges. I also consume a lot of podcasts. Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend has been a nice escape. 

How are you staying fit?

• Daniel: Health and fitness are huge passions of mine. I've been leaning into my alter ego, Mr. Z Fitness, to hold myself accountable to my own health, and checking in with friends and colleagues to make sure the people I care about are moving their bodies and hydrating. Check out mrzfitness.com!

• Chris: I've been running through my neighborhood a little bit in the evenings to stay fit. I also skateboard to keep myself sane. The only workout I've been doing at home is walking to the pantry and back.

Have you taken up a hobby?

• Amanda: I am currently making a two-piece matching outfit!

• Jameson: Belting out all the words to "Into the Unknown" from Frozen 2. 

Any tips for getting necessities?

• Daniel: Be polite, be empathetic and respect we are all going through this together.

• Chris: This past weekend my girlfriend and I went to a Korean market outside of Atlanta for some specific ingredients. They were the first store I've seen in a while that had toilet paper. We bought a reasonable, non-panic-induced amount of toilet paper.

An awkward moment since all this started.

• Chris: I think the most awkward thing is speaking over video chat. I feel like I'm always interrupting people accidentally and doing the "No, you go" dance.

Best work email you got since all this started.

• Daniel: Confirmation that we as a company would continue to take this current world situation seriously. There's just saying you care and then there's showing that you care, so I appreciate that.

• Jameson: With so many friends and colleagues being laid off or furloughed, any work email is the best work email because it means you still have a job.

An aha! moment since all this started.

• Amanda: Some days, designing feels useless, but I think about how powerful it's been to see uplifting messages on social media through really great design. It's a great reminder that design and art can positively impact mental health.

• Jameson: I snack way too much between meetings.

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

• Jameson: Unnecessary business travel will be replaced by video conferencing, and toilet paper will still command respect (though its stock will take a hit from its current all-time high).

• Daniel: Q4 of 2020, I think someone will announce some early progress on treatment and things will start to normalize around Q2 of 2021. People will take the time to thank others more often and value the little things more.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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