#WFH Diaries: Hugo Legrand Nathan of Birth
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 Hugo Legrand Nathan, founder and executive producer of Birth, a Paris-based creative and production firm.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
Me, myself and I. I live with my alter ego near Notre Dame in Paris.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
Oddly, our situation is that we have a lot more work than usual. Days are intense, rescheduling projects and working on pitches that are still coming in. Also, we've spent a lot of time building up our e-working and collaboration, so we can stay efficient and active.
Describe your socializing strategy.
A lot of Instagram. It's funny the way everyone is creating content themselves—funny content, poetry, powerful messages are everywhere now. I think everyone's trying to create something and it's refreshing.
Otherwise, like everyone, I'm using Zoom a lot to connect with my team, partners and friends for cocktails. It's nice that, with this technology, we can stay connected, but if you want to have a clear conversation, you have to wait until everyone finishes their sentence, otherwise it's just a mess. It requires a lot of patience.
At Birth, we launched little Instagram Stories to connect our people all over the world, and to keep everyone in touch in a more casual way. Everyone shares pictures and videos from their homes and we call it "From Our Windows with Love." We plan on posting Stories through the end of all this, if not longer. It's sort of an open discussion for our partners, clients, directors, suppliers and our teams, as well as the people who helped build Birth in Paris, Algiers and London over the last six years.
What are you reading?
Yasmina Khadra's The Dictator's Last Night.
What are you watching?
The last movie I watched was an Italian film called Selfie by Agostino Ferrente. It was amazing. I highly recommend it.
What are you listening to?
Lots and lots of music.
How are you staying fit?
The first week was catastrophic, with lots of Italian food, pasta and pizza. Now I'm trying to be healthy. I ordered a punching bag and dumbbells and will try to come back fit, but no guarantees.
Have you taken up a hobby?
Music and movies are my main hobbies, so the lockdown is giving me a chance to catch up on those.
An awkward moment since all this started.
Towards the beginning I forgot the key to my place. As I'm the only one in my building staying in Paris, or so I thought, I had no choice but to force the door open. I was masked, with a hat and sunglasses — so not the most reassuring look — banging on the door, and suddenly, a neighbor popped out, armed with a baton. For a few brief, tense moments, before he recognized me, he thought I was a burglar.
Best work email you got since all this started.
I got confirmation on a big film I'd been pitching for a year with one of my favorite directors, Nalle Sjoblad. It was day three of the lockdown and came as a big surprise, since it seemed the project was cancelled.
An aha! moment since all this started.
I discovered my alter ego isn't that funny.
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
I don't want to write anything on that; I'm too scared of getting it wrong. We'll have to wait and see. I'm basically just keeping positive and hoping it will end as quickly as possible.