#WFH Diaries: Erin Sarofsky of Sarofsky

As lockdowns persist worldwide, Muse checks in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here, we catch up with Erin Sarofsky of Sarofsky.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

My name is Erin Sarofsky, I own and am the executive creative director at my Sarofsky design-driven production company based in Chicago. Most people know us from our work on TV and film main titles. On the TV side: Shameless, Community, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and Animal Kingdom. On the film side: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, and Guardians of the Galaxy. To not-so-modestly name a few.

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

I am at my home in Chicago. We live in a neighborhood called Logan Square. In addition to myself, I am sheltering in place with my husband Kevin, my 2.5-year-old Rocket, and my 1.5-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog named Luna. There are also two chunky bunnies that frequent our yard.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

Everyone at my studio is connected to the office and able to work fairly uninterrupted. But the real situation is that I stole my daughter's bedroom because it has the best light and the best wallpaper for Zoom. It also had the smallest bed to deconstruct and replace with a proper desk. Don't feel bad for her, she sleeps with us anyways. We really have tried to figure this bedtime thing out. But the struggle is real.

Describe your socializing strategy.

I try to do video calls as much as possible so that I at least get to see other people.

Honestly, managing work has been challenging with all the digital communication. It's hard to walk out the door, so to speak. So, I have found it challenging to just talk to friends and family. What I have been doing is, if someone crosses my mind, I just send them a note. That helps me stay in touch. Because if I saved it all for the next Saturday, I would be reaching out in July.

How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?

My husband Kevin is a stay-at-home dad. He was in production design for theater before Rocket arrived—which, now that she is a little person, is paying off. The house is constantly being transformed into a large-scale pillow fort. Anyway, Kevin wrangles her all day, and I hunker down and work. She comes and visits whenever she wants. She's known to climb up onto my lap for calls. I just always make sure to have a "high value" snack on hand so she is eating instead of futzing with the laptop.

What are you reading?

Just before the pandemic, I had just finished Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. Boy does that give some perspective to things.

What are you watching?

My friend Jen just made me promise to watch Killing Eve. So, that's next up. Also on her list was Troop Zero. So that's up, too.

We also watch movies from our childhood to see if they hold up. Last weekend I wanted to watch Blade, but couldn't find it anywhere on all of our platforms. So we watched Highlander (seemed like a good alternative). It does not hold up. Stigmata, however, does. As does Queen of the Damned. I should publish a list. Also in the background when I work is always some Star Trek—either TNG or DS9. Or Harry Potter.

What are you listening to?

My daughter is currently downstairs on a Zoom call with her speech therapist. Yes, apparently 2.5-year-olds have speech therapy and it can be done on Zoom.

How are you staying fit?

My shelter in place is sponsored by Hostess. So unfortunately this is not going well. But when my dog stretches, I do, too. Does that count? On June 1, I will do Whole 30 and take a yoga class. You should probably follow up with me or my chances of follow through are slim.

Have you taken up a hobby?

I don't need another hobby. I knit, among other things. I have made a point of ordering yarn from my local shop. They did a drop off on my porch just yesterday. This weekend I will start that sweater.

Here is the yarn I got.

The color is "Fire in the Sky." The pattern I will be working on is this. It'll probably take two or three weekends of intermittent work.

Any tips for getting necessities?

Just go to the store as little as possible, be as fast as possible, and be nice to the people you interact with. Wear a mask and wash your hands. I also order online whatever can be delivered, but with lots of time to spare so we don't have to do extra trips. So I upped our Honest delivery and the Chewy deliveries.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Most of my moments are somewhat awkward. I think that's what makes me likable. Most awkward was maybe having my dog snag a snack off my desk while on a client call. It's a little like Jaws. Her head tilted and she shovels it in. Pretty speedy about it, considering the silliness of its appearance.

Best work email you got since all this started.

We have a ritual in the office where we ring a bell. Everyone gets all excited and speculates about what we landed. So, yeah, those emails that say, "We are awarded, let's begin!" But more than ever, those emails make me feel valued, that I can continue to provide people with jobs and remind me that design and communication is always important to people.

An aha! moment since all this started.

It's nice to not live in fear of mass shootings. No school. No concerts. No parades. Even grocery runs are infrequent.

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

Everyone says there will be a new normal after this. I am not sure what that even means. At the end of the day, so many people have died and millions have lost their jobs. How can an economy just rebound overnight?

If history has taught us anything, it's that we rarely learn from our mistakes. So we have to use the immediacy of the event to change things now, New Deal style. If we do that, then programs will be in place that protect us from ourselves later when time washes away the urgency of the issue.

The optimist in me thinks that really could happen. That there could be a cataclysmic change in the make-up of Congress and the White House, and they can use that momentum and majority to pass laws, create programs, reshape the Supreme Court and even amend the Constitution.

The realist in me knows that the party in power will use these events to help the people funding their elections so that they can remain in power and keep their pockets lined.

So instead of speculating how it will play out, I am going to lay out my path to setting this right. Someone buys Fox News on the DL. They slowly shift the programing towards journalism, using the same fembot anchors and aged-out erectile-dysfunctional spokesmen. Let's hire Sorkin to slowly re-write the script on them. Once we re-program them to believe that all humans deserve equal rights regardless of any other factor, then we can begin to have deep, meaningful, nuanced conversations about what to do next.

See our full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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