#WFH Diaries: Chris Ryan of Nice Shoes

Even as the world begins to open up amid the pandemic, most folks are still working from home. We're continuing to check in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Chris Ryan, a colorist at Nice Shoes.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

I'm a colorist and partner at Nice Shoes. I love cinema, history and fiction and am an avid gamer.

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

I'm in Manhattan at my apartment. I'm alone with my dog Leo and cats Truman and Bogart.

What's your work situation like at the moment, and how is it evolving?

The main change is I'm using Resolve for color instead of Baselight. I had a Resolve system that I had been testing for remote workflows at home prior to the outbreak, so it made sense for me to utilize that.

I took home a streaming encoder and extra storage from work to allow me to work fully from home. The encoder gives me the capability to stream the output of my system to clients no matter where they are, and the storage allows me to handle the large files that come from high-end work.

So outside of not being in the same room with my clients, not much has changed for me on the color side. I've been working almost every day since the stay-at-home began. The main adjustment is I'm more of a one-man gang currently since I need to download, prep, render and upload all the work without much assistance since my system is in my den. 

Our other artists are working remotely on systems located at the office so the normal flow of work hasn't changed as much for them. They're still supported by our team of assistants who will import and export footage for them, but I like the added responsibility.

The jobs have been a mix of found footage and stock, for the most part, because of shooting limitations, but I've had a few clients get more creative. Some have done remote productions where they supervise a shoot from home via Zoom, while others have tapped DPs to shoot in their own homes with their families. It's fun because every job comes with its own unique challenges that I didn't have to face prior to our current situation.

We've also had a few instances of needing things from the office—some paperwork for accounting, a spare monitor for an artist, restarting workstations and mounting hard drives for projects. I'm the only one who lives right in Manhattan, so I've taken that on.

When you do you expect to return to the office?

As soon as the stay-at-home order is lifted, we'll open back up for anyone who feels comfortable coming back in. That will be up to each employee to determine for themselves. We've been very happy with our remote capabilities, so that will continue even after things begin to get back to normal. 

Describe your socializing strategy.

In normal times my socializing revolves around food, drinks and films, and all three are off limits currently. As a gamer I'm used to virtual friendships and socializing, so doing virtual meetups is something I'm accustomed to, but they're no substitute for the real thing. That said, I try to schedule FaceTime or Zoom get-togethers with friends and family each week. I also meet up with friends outside when the weather is good. 

What are you reading?

I'm an avid reader who loves the Kindle. Currently I'm bouncing between the Dune series, which I've read numerous times, some true crime novels and some bios.

What are you watching?

Lots of streaming series since I want mindless fun right now. Tiger King (of course), #blackAF, The Office, The Man in the High Castle, Dear White People, Westworld, Better Call Saul, yada, yada, yada. And obviously The Omega Man to get tips on how to deal with the coming zombie infestation.

What are you listening to?

Lot's of comfort food listening—'80s New Wave, '90s grunge and pop, etc. Also podcasts, but since I primarily listen to sports-based ones, there hasn't been much new on that front for obvious reasons.

How are you staying fit?

Walking the dog multiple times a day, for the most part. Some basic calisthenics and dumbbell workouts as well.

Have you taken up a hobby?

I was a big gamer prior to Covid, and that's been a great time killer.

An awkward moment since all this started.

When people get weird about the elevator in my building even when we all have masks on.

An aha! moment since all this started.

This is like the movie Groundhog Day, so I should be using this time to do things I never felt I had time for in the past, like learning a new language.

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

Things will get back to normal by middle of next year, but working from home will be part of that new normal. I'm still a proponent of collaborating with people in the same room, since you can read them better than you can on a screen, but I've also seen how technology has allowed us to continue working when that's not possible. It's tough to predict exactly what "normal" will mean, but I think a hybrid of what we were used to, along with what we've grown accustomed to now, is what we'll be looking at soon. 

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and the founding editor of Muse by Clio.

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