Rest assured, all Patrons will continue getting the videos early, and the higher tier gang will hopefully be getting some exclusive video content over the next week. I'm going to scour the hard drives for whatever I might have that we never used.
I think I said already that I kind of want to do some rough-and-ready videos with Sanja alongside our regular ones. No idea what they might entail, and I've not ruled out doing a live stream either. Luckily, Gannon lives near me, so - providing neither of us have symptoms in the next week or so - we can get together to film some regular videos too.
I'm going to need that.
It's weird, but I had a phone meeting yesterday about work, and it really, really helped me to be focusing on that for an hour, and not thinking about everything else that's going on. Working this week has been such a challenge, as I keep checking the news every five seconds. It was nice to feel, even if it'll be proved futile, that some part of life is carrying on as normal.
Like many of you, I'm going to be hit financially by Coronavirus, due to what I think will be the unavoidable cancellation of the three-part 4 O'Clock Club finale, that was due to start filming a week on Monday. I've not had confirmation yet, but given what is happening with production closing on other BBC shows, and CBBC's specific duty of care to young actors, and the fact that - as befitting a series finale - there are big crowd scenes... I can't see it going ahead.
The best case scenario I'm looking at is they postpone filming until later in the year, but given actor and crew scheduling... I don't know how realistic that is. The reason this impacts me is because pretty much all writers receive a payment on the first day of shooting that's equivalent to 100% of their writing fee. No filming = having my pay cut in half, effectively.
Fortunately, I've still got other work on at the minute, though whether that other show will go ahead is, of course, entirely up in the air at the minute. Currently, they only have funding for the first six scripts of the 13-part series (of which I'm writing three), and obviously getting funding for the rest is going to hinge on how likely it is that it'd actually film.
So, I just don't know what's happening there at the minute, but I'm hoping for the best.
As I've said elsewhere, I'm going to have to rely on Patreon more than usual just to keep us going, so thank god for all of you who support me (but please... don't go out of pocket to do so; these are completely unprecedented times, and I totally understand if you have to cancel).
Normally I try to invest as much of the monthly Patreon funds as I can back into buying weird props, food, and equipment. Now I'll have to see myself as the investment, and get even more creative to keep you furnished with content.
Strangely, I do take some comfort in knowing we're not going to be the only ones struggling. I get a weird feeling of community that we're all going to be making our way through this together. It's different to when bad stuff happens to you individually; I've not got that sense of "Whyyyyy me?!".
FAMILY AT WAR
My family has been hit in other ways. As I mentioned before, I've had two daughters in isolation with symptoms. Both work with the public, and both are young and sociable, so if any of us was going to get it first, it was going to be those two.
Sadly, but inevitably, one of them has also now lost her job, as the cafe in Brighton where she worked is closing to everything except deliveries. Her mum and I were prepared to go halves if she needed help with her rent, but with my income now that much less certain, I'm not sure if I can afford to do that. I'm eager to hear how the government is going to be supporting renters...
I've another one of my kids living up in Derby. There'll be no visiting there for a while, as his flatmate has a compromised immune system, and they're understandably being extra cautious. Sanja's middle daughter has had to cancel her 18th birthday party this week. Worst of all, my eldest has also been forced to cancel her wedding in May, which has been in the planning for over a year, and we've spent thousands of pounds on already.
That's probably the most heart-breaking effect of all of this. Her job is safe, because she's a teacher - and she's going to have to continue working through this, because she works with special needs kids (though her school has now closed for a couple of days, as it needs a deep clean after two of the students tested positive).
Her fiancé, however, has been told he could be made redundant, because he works for an agency that provides supply teachers. With schools closing, the company has no work coming in.
In one bit of good news, though, he yesterday received an email offering him a job as a police officer (not randomly; he did apply months ago... we're not in Police Academy territory yet).
And then, of course, there are my parents. Neither are in great health, especially my mum, but the biggest concern there is trying to get my dad to take this whole thing seriously. I dropped some shopping into them last night, and lost it with him when I found out he didn't want to give up his daily trip to Wenzels to get a load of bread.
He's a creature of habit, and he's already despairing at the lack of football! Losing the rest of his routine is going to do his head in.
He looked a bit shellshocked last night when I railed on him, but he's not alone. I know Sanja's mood has been up and down, and I started the week feeling very low. I've kind of bounced back since then - even with everything that has happened since - and I'm remaining optimistic despite it all. All things pass, but in the meantime I can already feel myself beginning to adapt to this new normal. What will be will be.
Obviously, with schools, unis and colleges closing we're also now going to have three teenagers stuck at home for the foreseeable. Our youngest was hyperactive and excitable last night because school had been cancelled. We'll see how long that lasts...
It isn't always that easy, but if you're not a frontline keyworker, and are fortunate enough to be stuck at home with your nearest and dearest, please try to be your best self. It's hard, I know, with so much uncertainty, but we need to keep one another's spirits up.
That, as much as a vaccines and sensible precautions, is what's going to see us through this. Focus on the small positives and minor victories. Know that there is an end to this. If you've friends who live alone, reach out to them remotely. Stay busy. I know I'm very much looking forward to getting stuck into Doom Eternal this weekend (I'm tempted by the new Animal Crossing, but having never played one before, I dunno...).
So... onto Digi Live.
We received an email from the Arts Centre last night telling us that they're closing until further notice. They'll be contacting all hirers individually, and asking them to reschedule their bookings.
The Arts Centre is a vital local hub, and has been struggling with money in recent years. For their sake, as much as us all needing something to look forward to on the other side of this, I'm loathe to cancel. Therefore, I will be looking at working with them to find another date, and we've spoken with David, who's organising Chunky Fringe, to make sure that can still go ahead on the same day.
If people can't make it, we'll discuss refunds then, though I hope it will be far enough ahead that everyone will be able to attend. It may be a while until I can give you a date. Don't worry; it's not like I can take that money and fly off to the Bahamas...
So, that's where we're at, and we're just one family. Ours experience is hardly unique, I know, but I've taken a sort of comfort in feeling connected to everyone else's struggles though this. We're only at the start, we've got a long way to go before this is over, and it seems it's going to get tougher before it gets better. Digitiser is going nowhere. Let's try and find ways to craft positive experiences out of this.
Just remember; the sinking of the Titanic was a terrible disaster, but in its wake liners started carrying sufficient lifeboats for every passenger and crew member, they instigated 24-hour radio communication with ships, a treaty was signed which led to the formation of the International Ice Patrol, and the design of ships were changed to make them safer.
As hard as it might be to see right now, some good will come of this.
At the very least, a reasonably decent disaster movie by James Cameron.