Business has irrevocably changed since COVID-19 swept the globe. In the kids industry, one of the biggest fallouts has been the shift away from in-person market gatherings, where deals get signed, programs get greenlit, and peers connect and catch up. Kidscreen checks in with execs at some kids production and distribution companies to see what they’ve been up to in this unprecedented time.
Today, we’re catching up with for Shaleen Sangha, VP of production and development at Boat Rocker Studios. Keep your eyes peeled for more throughout August and catchup on all of the interviews so far here.
Kidscreen: What do you most miss about doing business before COVID-19?
Shaleen Sangha: The informal chats with my peers. So much nuance is missed over the phone, video conference or email. It is much easier to get in a room or walk over to someone’s desk and simply talk out issues and come to quick and thought-out solutions.
KS: What have you been primarily working on since you went in to lockdown?
SS: Some exciting yet-to-be-announced animated productions that are still moving ahead. We are lucky in animation to be able to keep working at a social distance. We were also fortunate to get some at-home promotional content greenlit for The Next Step season seven. But truthfully, I’ve mainly been obsessively tracking the comments on a big moment in The Next Step history…our first LGBTQ+ kiss aired on CBBC! It is heartwarming to see how many fans feel represented and heard through this important storyline that ensures we are representing all kids.
KS: What in-person event will you miss the most this year?
SS: Awards shows. The YMAs, CSAs, WGC Awards are always a great time to be able to connect with writers, producers and more in a different way—celebrating our successes and chatting about what the future brings for us all.
KS: Did COVID-19 change any project you were working on? If so, how?
SS: Although we continue to work on animated properties, how we do voice records has definitely changed. Our production teams have faced a plethora of challenges figuring out “at home” record set-ups for actors and temp tracks while we push our shows forward despite the climate.
KS: Who have you been meeting with virtually?
SS: Who haven’t we been meeting with! We’ve been fortunate to be able to book pitches and generals with buyers internationally. We’ve also been connecting with key talent around the world. Self-isolation and virtual meetings have allowed more time and space for face-to-face meetings with people who we may not have had the opportunity to meet with before.
KS: What have you been focusing on most during this time?
SS: As we continue to produce, we also have been making new development deals and building our next slate of content. Our distribution team continues to make sales as content is needed more than ever. Take-out, a couch and some awesome content is the new Michelin-starred restaurant meal.
KS: What hobbies have you picked up?
SS: I’m really into crafting with googly eyes, non-toxic paint, drawing Elmo 100 times; and online-ordering various things to keep a toddler busy. Entertaining a toddler while my husband and I work full-time, means finding lots of things to entertain and engage little hands.
KS: What have you missed least about going to an office?
SS: Being away from my daughter. This is all difficult for sure, but how amazing to have this time to be with our families 24/7.
KS: What event or trip cancellation left you most upset?
SS: They all hurt, a trip to connect with a long-time partner on The Next Step and spend some quality time, market cancellations, award cancellations…but honestly, the one that really stung was my anniversary celebration plans and long-awaited (hard to get) reservation at Alo Restaurant (in Toronto) with my husband.