#WFH Diaries: Filmmaker Gleana Albritton
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 filmmaker Gleana Albritton.
Give us a one-sentence bio of yourself.
I'm a Georgia-based filmmaker, reformed marketer, and pop-culture connoisseur.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
Currently I live in Columbus, Ga., with my parents (to save money) and my dog, Ginger, a chiweenie that with a big chip on her little shoulder. I'm living the dream right now (that's sarcasm). In all earnestness, my parents have been kind to let me live with them for way longer than I should, with a dog in tow. Pre-corona, whenever I worked on set in the ATL, one of my very generous cousins allowed me stay at their place.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
I was working on an independent feature film that got shut down right in the middle of filming because of Covid-19. That means a lot of my work now is on my own projects—research, transcribing interviews for an episodic I'm writing/developing, and rewriting scripts that I've been dragging my feet on.
I've also been spending a lot of time screening films for my gig as an associate programmer for the Bentonville Film Festival. The organizers pushed the festival back from the original dates in April to early August, which gives us a bit more time to review things.
I have a queue full of short films that I should be screening as I sit here, typing my responses to you. I primarily focus on features (documentary/narrative) and episodics, but I've screened a ton of shorts this year as well. At some point, once the official selections are released, I plan to shout out my faves from all the categories.
Lastly, I've been taking opportunities I couldn't before, like volunteering as the communications chair for the Alliance of Women Directors Atlanta. Getting back into developing creative for something outside of my own production company (Sisu Media Group) has been a good way to distract myself from all that's going on in the world.
Describe your socializing strategy.
I'm socializing more now than before Covid-19. I typically have a few Zoom/Google Meet calls a week, which requires making an effort, with at least the top half of my body being presentable and camera-ready. I am also making a point of getting better about checking in with people, and people have been pretty great about checking in on me.
What are you reading?
I've been reading Exodus for the past 30-plus days, which is an incredibly trippy book in the Bible to be reading right now. The earlier parts, about all the plagues the Egyptians faced because the Pharaoh's heart was hardened, felt really on the nose for the moment, with some of the leadership failures I've observed over the past couple of months.
What are you watching?
Besides all of the movies I've been screening, lately I'm watching Insecure (HBO), Westworld (HBO), Mrs. America (FX on Hulu), Run (HBO), Celebrity IOU (HGTV), Some Good News with John Kraskinski, and I just started streaming Never Have I Ever (Netflix).
What are you listening to?
How are you staying fit?
Fit? What's that? I am prioritizing time to run around and play with my dog a bit more now. I sort of take it personally when she doesn't want to play with me, which happens more often than you'd think.
Have you taken up a hobby?
Not really a hobby, but I'm pushing myself to do very basic graphic design work and video editing for Alliance of Women Directors Atlanta. It's relaxing and keeps my mind from spending too many hours going down all the news rabbit holes. I'm also watching webinars on filmmaking/writing to keep my mind sharp.
Any tips for getting necessities?
Plan ahead (this is a huge privilege for many) and order ahead online when possible. That saves you a long wait in line, and at some stores, they'll bring it out to your car or offer home delivery. Be OK with substitutions, because some stores are having supply chain and fulfillment issues.
An awkward moment since all this started.
Not really awkward, but for a Google Meet call the other day, they have an odd landing page that shows you your own video. I didn't realize that you had to click all the way in to join the meeting, so I was awkwardly saying "Hello, can you hear me?" for way too long—like two minutes!—before I realized I needed to hit the "Join the Meeting" button. In my defense, it was my first time using it since they updated their UX.
Best work email you got since all this started.
Hands down, getting the email from Angela Natividad—one of my favorite people on this planet—inviting me to answer these questions.
An aha! moment since all this started.
I don't mind sheltering in place as long as I have good WiFi.
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
I have no idea how things will play out, but I do know that we will have to change the way that things work. This situation is shining a big, bright light on all of our societal inequalities and skewed priorities.