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 Julia Rowlands, VP of sales, acquisitions and co-productions at Zodiak Kids. Keep your eyes peeled for more Q&As throughout the month, and catch up on the series so far here.
Kidscreen: What do you most miss about doing business before COVID-19?
Julia Rowlands: The personal contact with colleagues and clients. Video calls are great, but they do not replace human contact.
KS: What have you been primarily working on since you went in to lockdown?
JR: We have been extremely busy at Zodiak Kids across all areas of business—distribution, development, co-production financing and digital. Luckily, our animation development, production and distribution has not been affected by COVID-19, and neither has our digital department.
KS: Did the pandemic change any project you were working on? If so, how?
JR: Zodiak Kids is both an animation and live-action producer, and while the animation side of the business was not really affected by COVID-19, some of our live-action production had to be moved to the end of 2020.
KS: Have there been any positive changes to your business as a result of doing business in lockdown?
JR: Greater flexibility around working from home has definitely been a positive outcome, [and] seeing how efficiently business has continued despite working remotely. I think that most businesses will take that forward to some extent.
KS: What hobbies have you picked up?
JR: With working from home as well as home-schooling, there has been very little time to pick up any new hobbies—quite the opposite. I have learned a lot about adverbial clauses, fractions and general arithmetic, though…I even built a sun dial.
KS: What event or trip cancellation left you most upset?
JR: It has been a shame to miss Annecy/MIFA, Animation Production Days (APD) and Children’s Media Conference—even though the organizers have made great efforts on replacing these with online markets.