#WFH Diaries: Romain Demongeot of Unit9

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on everyday life, we're checking in with creative folks all over the world to see how they're adjusting. Here's what's going on with Unit9's executive creative director, Romain Demongeot.

Give us a one-sentence bio of yourself.

Executive creative director at UNIT9, and film director.

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

In the countryside of France, with a friend. I came from London to work a few weeks on a production.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

I am working remotely, but to be fair, UNIT9 has always been very agile and international. Working remotely is in our DNA. We are trying to help all our clients with this worldwide crisis that is highly affecting a lot of businesses.

Describe your socializing strategy.

I don't socialize for fun, I work! 😆 

I see all of my employees, collaborators and clients every day and all day long, and try to find emergency strategies to help keep some of the most targeted industries from collapsing.

What are you reading?

I'm reading a lot. I bought lots of e-books, or Kindle books. I mainly read about being highly adaptable during crises, like Exploiting Chaos by Jeremy Gutsche. I want to think that we can learn from what's happening. 

I don't even watch the news, Facebook and Instagram are already flooded, and I don't want to spend my time thinking about what's wrong. I wanna find solutions.

What are you watching?

I try not to watch too much Netflix, or to choose wisely, to keep my brain alive. 😊 Lots of documentaries, mainly Season 2 of Dirty Money.

What are you listening to?

Podcasts. These days, the biography of Elon Musk, and when I really really need to cool off, a fun French podcast about cinema, "2 heures de perdues" ("2 hours lost").

How are you staying fit?

Hahahahahahah. Yeah, I try.

I was managing to go to the gym every day before the virus, and I try, as much as I can, to maintain my habits. To be fair, I have a loooot of work to help all our clients...

Funnily enough, I had an emergency meeting with Nike this morning about how they could help people keep moving at home, and suddenly felt fat. 😆 

Have you taken up a hobby?

Nope.

Any tips for getting necessities?

Stay cool. Don't be a bastard and buy everything. Stay civilized, and everybody will be fine.

An awkward moment since all this started.

I had to record a voiceover in Paris for a new film, and the actor is 65 years old. Asking him if we should keep the ball rolling was kind of awkward. The virus had not fully spread yet, but he is older, and we didn't know what to do.

Of course, we finally canceled.

Best work email you got since all this started.

From Piero Frescobaldi, UNIT9 chairman, who's Italian. He saw the impact on his family before the word arrived in France, and told us to focus on health and remote work more than three weeks ago, and that business would come in second.

An aha! moment since all this started.

My neighbor, who just moved in, hired a real estate contractor before it all happened. I woke up last week with the noise of two big drills working at the same time. I went upstairs to talk to the bastard, and he wasn't there: he'd hired a team and gone away, with no idea we would all be confined and stuck with his noises.

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

The other UNIT9 ECD, Yifei Chai, has been stuck in Shanghai way before we even heard of the virus. It is just starting to calm down now, three months after the beginning. I would say that a two-week quarantine is an illusion; it will last longer than that.

I do hope people, just like after the war, will wanna go out, and that the world economy will slowly start recovering. But a lot of companies will disappear. My biggest concern is not corona, it is whether people will wait for the same kind of emergency regarding climate change, or whether we will start realizing that this whole virus thing is just the beginning.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is a founding contributor to Muse. She is also the co-founder of esports agency Hurrah.gg, and co-author of Generation Creation.

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