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Atlantyca’s Vacchi Shares Tips on Producing Toons in the COVID-19 Era

Caterina Vacchi
Caterina Vacchi



Atlantyca’s Vacchi Shares Tips on Producing Toons in the COVID-19 Era

We recently put out a request to see how different animation companies around the world are adapting to the new COVID-19 normal and continuing to create and produce their content despite all the challenges of shutdowns and life-saving quarantine restrictions. We heard back from our friends at Italy’s Atlantyca Entertainment, the Milan-based outfit responsible for animated franchises such as Geronimo Stilton, Berry Bees and Pat Bat.

Caterina Vacchi, Atlantyca’s head of animation, exec producer and distribution director, told us that they have been in lockdown mode since March 8, but since they’re based in Milan (Lombardia region), they implemented the “smart-working” plan on Feb. 25, when the situation became critical locally.

“We determined that this was the safest and most necessary solution to what was happening all around us,” she explains. “We have now been locked in our homes for more than a month (going on six weeks). Staying sane without going out at all is, without a doubt, extremely hard, difficult but not impossible. Basically, establishing a routine has helped immensely! Without the commuting time I can start working much earlier. Now restricted to home, I am working more hours than in the office with each hour counting more, because you are alone with no distractions. Meetings by Skype while working to meet our previously committed schedule plan of production deliveries and deadlines are part of the important routine. And of course, include exercising, since staying at home without walking and without sports can be very dangerous.”

Caterina Vacchi, head of animation, Atlantyca

Caterina Vacchi, head of animation, Atlantyca

Like many working in the animation business, Vacchi says her team is short-term planning for a long-term project and trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. “We are working very diligently to be on target, ready to deliver to the industry new programming content that they are anxious to have — even more so at this time with kids bunkered-down at home anxious to learn new things while seeking new forms of entertainment,” she notes.

Vacchi adds, “Critical for us, has been to finalize our production and delivery of our new animated series Berry Bees. With the world slowly being in a lockdown down mode, country by country we had to deal with all aspects of different production: First, it was here in Italy managing our post audio production; coordinating with our partners in Ireland for video post-production and also India for the wrap up of the animation. We succeeded with the enormous effort and outstanding collaboration of our teams and a great coordination from home, thanks to these really amazing people.”

Berry Bees

Berry Bees

She says they all use Skype, WhatsApp or Google Meet to communicate daily. “We are constantly talking and exchanging information. We have an excellent IT flow and are able also to do big group meetings without any problems.”

In addition, Vacchi has some helpful tips for survival during these difficult and uncertain times.

“Dress up every day just as if you were heading into the office. Pajamas all day long is not recommended. Make regular calls with people that you are usually talking to in the office — not just for business, but also take a five-minute break (the five-minute coffee break that you used to take at the office!). Don’t forget the original goals and objectives you had set previously in your work. If they are no longer feasible, set other goals. One of the real risks of being in lock-down (quarantine) for such a long period of time is not having a reason to be active, which will eventually render a sense of meaninglessness after a while!”

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