Spanning the end of 2019 and most of 2020, Sonic Eye’s sixth year has been described as the ‘Year from Hell’. There have still been some silver linings, but we’ve had to look very hard to find them.

Sonic Eye’s 6th Birthday

Each year since starting in 2014, I’ve written a short post on Sonic Eye’s birthday, 3 October, about the year we’ve had. Where do I even begin to describe the year we’ve just been through?

The year for Sonic Eye kicked off with catastrophic bush-fires across much of the East Coast of Australia. The skies darkened to an ominous orange, the air in Sydney city filled with smoke, and each night we watched horrifying footage on our TV screens of those unlucky enough to be in the middle of it all. Scenes of destruction, people’s homes and businesses destroyed and many lives lost. Millions of hectares of forest burned to the ground and thousands of native animals dead and injured.

The news also brought us scenes of great courage and compassion, as people struggled to fight the fires or supported those who were affected. We marveled at our amazing Fire Service Volunteers, the resilience of regional Australians (who had already been battling a seemingly endless drought) and the generosity of people both at home and around the world, donating to support the firefighters, the people affected, and the charities helping the injured animals.

After this catastrophic end to 2019, we had high hopes for a better year in 2020.

The new year started well for Sonic Eye, kicking off with building a brand new, mobile-friendly website and featuring some of our best work. January to March were three of our best months, and things were looking good for the new year. We even completed a music video in March, shooting on the beach at Coogee. That was our last video shoot all year.

Just a few weeks later, everything had changed. Covid-19 arrived on our shores and everything went to hell in a hand-basket. March was probably the worst, not knowing what would happen, or if we could survive. There was an eeriness to the start of the pandemic, with images of empty cities and a strange quiet that took some getting used to. Even news broadcasts were limited, as journalists struggled to find out what was happening while staying locked down themselves.

When the Government response kicked in here in Australia, I was lucky enough to be eligible for support as were several of my network of videographers and other colleagues, and I’m so grateful for this. It has kept Sonic Eye up and running and we’d most certainly have gone under without it. Of course, there was no chance of any video production work until the lockdown was over, and as other businesses went under, there were few-to-no paid video editing jobs.

The worst moment for me has been hearing that my Dad is in hospital interstate. His condition is not treatable and because of the lockdown, I can’t go and visit him. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected by the pandemic in some way.

Pinned on the wall above my desk is the motto ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ – you know the one. Strangely this was a failed ad campaign. People found it quite patronizing when the poster was first launched during WWII, but since then it’s become a catch-phrase for keeping going during challenging times.

One of the key things that kept me going this year, is thinking of all the ways in which I am lucky.

I wasn’t affected directly by the fires, and I was able to contribute in a small way by donating a percentage of each job I booked towards the fire recovery, and to wildlife charities.

I felt lucky that I’m here in Australia, and not overseas during this crisis. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve been able to get support to get me, and my business through this. While I’ve no idea what the future brings, I feel ready to face it with as much positivity as I can and to try to make the best of it, no matter what happens.

This is one of those pivotal moments in history when we see what we’re really made of. This gives me a lot of hope for Australia, which has shown time and again that we’re pretty decent people.

We care about one another, about our environment, our wildlife and we value our freedoms.

Rather than reacting with aggression or ‘me first’ attitudes (well, aside from those people fighting over toilet paper!), for the most part, we reach into our pockets and help other people doing it tougher than ourselves.

I don’t know if Sonic Eye will survive for a seventh year, but I know I’m not the only small business in this position. Most of us doing it tough right now, and no-one knows what the future will bring.

Meantime, while waiting hopefully for things to improve, I’ll continue to stay sane by keeping in touch with friends and family, doing YouTube exercise classes, watching any and all of the good stuff on Netflix, revising my website and writing new posts (you might notice some of the recent posts are a bit longer than usual), listening to Podcasts (Dr Karl, the Nordic Mum and Thom Yorke’s curated music channel) and heavy use of my Calm app – which is frankly a life-saver when the stress gets overwhelming.

The rare silver linings this year for me, have been realising the importance of the little things; kindness, family, caring for our land and supporting each other. Many of us have been re-learning how to cook, realising we can still get exercise without a class, reading more, spending more time with loved ones, valuing what we do have, appreciating the importance of nature and the outdoors, of art and music, and generally appreciating what we do have even more than before.

I hope that the end of 2020 treats you kindly and that we can work towards a brighter future for everyone by focusing on all the good things we learned from this most challenging year.

Thalia Kemp is the founder of Sonic Eye video editing service.

Disclosure: Just so you know, I am not paid in any way by any of the services I’ve referenced in this post. If anyone would like to pay me, by all means get in touch!