Jonathan Deckter is president and COO of Los Angeles-based production, finance and sales outfit Voltage Pictures, which has assembled more than 180 features since Nicolas Chartier founded the company in 2005.
Notable titles include Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, Dallas Buyers Club starring Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey, Colossal with Anne Hathaway, and I Feel Pretty starring Amy Schumer. After We Collided, the sequel to the YA international indie hit After, is in post.
He tells Screen how he’s coping with the coronavirus crisis.
Is it business as usual for you and your team as you all work remotely home?
UPDATED MARCH 24: The entire team is working from home following the lockdown order imposed across California last week.
How big is the team and how many offices do you have?
We are 12 people all in LA.
How are you maintaining an office routine?
We’re keeping to our scheduled meetings and doing them via conference call.
Which systems are you using to talk to one another and clients?
Personally, I like the telephone. If I’m going to get techy, I use WhatsApp. I have a face for the telephone, so I’m not much of a video caller…
How are you and your team keeping up morale?
We are all going one day at a time. Morale seems to be fine. On the sales side, we are taking the opportunity to have lengthier phone calls with our clients and partners. I guess with a majority of us working from home the world over, phone calls have become a pleasant respite from sitting alone in your home office/kitchen table/man or woman cave…
Which projects are you able to move forward with right now?
We are having a number of scripts written. Hopefully whatever the issues the Writers Guild of America had with the studios will be worked out and we won’t have to face a strike on top of what we are all dealing with.
What advice would you give to people in the business who are worried about the future?
We are a resilient bunch in indie film. Don’t look too far ahead because we don’t know how long this will last. And don’t do anything rash.
What contingency plans are you making for Cannes?
We are discussing that with a number of colleagues, but the simple answer is telephone/video meetings, sending links to promos and finished films.
If you have children, how are you managing keeping them entertained/educated while you work?
Luckily my wife is taking on the role of teacher for our six-year-old boys. I have designated myself principal (take that to every principal from my scholastic career). I’m happy to report that no children have been sent to the principal as of yet.
What advice do you have for home working?
Home working is tough at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s manageable. In our house, my wife usually works from home so she has her office. Our kitchen table has become the schoolwork table, the dining room table has become the puzzle station and I’m hiding upstairs in the guest room. Biggest advice is to try to maintain office hours and keep the TV off. The only exception is lunch. It’s nice to have three meals a day with my family.