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 Stephanie Betts, EVP of content and current series at WildBrain. Keep your eyes peeled for more throughout the month and catchup on all of the interviews so far here.
Kidscreen: What do you most miss about doing business before COVID-19?
Stephanie Betts: Travelling to visit the artists at our studio.
KS: What have you been primarily working on since you went in lockdown?
SB: Besides not losing my marbles…we’ve actually never been busier on the development front. Despite the challenges COVID has brought, on the positive side it’s allowed us to work with a lot of in-demand talent (since live-action productions are on hold), so it’s a great time to hire and develop with those fabulous minds!
KS: What in-person event will you miss the most this year?
SB: MIPCOM for sure—the rosé and baguettes just aren’t the same in Canada.
KS: Did COVID-19 change any project you were working on? If so, how?
SB: I think the world changed during COVID, and we’re going to see a more thoughtful approach to storytelling from all content producers/creators around themes and subject matter. I feel like we, as an industry, are finally aware of the platform we have to tell stories and inspire young minds, so we’re making choices that we can feel proud of putting into the world.
KS: Have there been any positive changes to your business as a result of doing business in lockdown?
SB: Lots of savings on travel. I think we’ve realized some meetings we previously travelled for are just as effective virtually. That’s not true for all of them—nothing beats an in-person writing room.
KS: Who have you been meeting with virtually?
SB: It feels like the entire industry. My eyes burn at the end of the day after all the zoom calls. I’m thankful everyone is still happy to keep meeting virtually and move business forward though.
KS: What hobbies have you picked up?
SB: The ability to sit at my desks for extended periods of time without standing. I’m not sure that’s one to brag about, but it did provoke me to buy an Apple Watch, because apparently I need a buzz reminder to stand now.
KS: What have you missed least about going to an office?
KS: What event or trip cancellation left you most upset?
SB: The Emmy’s—I’ve never been nominated, so it was a dream come true when we received multiple nominations for Snoopy in Space and Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10.