38 Some Good News
For giving us something to smile about in lockdown and proving DIY video production can be world-class
I’m John Krasinski, and if it isn’t clear yet, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.”
The actor never imagined he’d be hosting a makeshift news program while sheltered at home with his family. But as the world hunkered down in response to COVID-19, Krasinski looked on the bright side—and delivered what the noisy news cycle was sorely missing: Some Good News (SGN).
Like so many other activities during pandemic isolation, SGN was the ultimate DIY project. Equipped with a pair of iPhones, a laptop propped up by reams of printer paper and a cheery disposition, Krasinski served up a weekly series of uplifting stories on YouTube. The vibe was decidedly lo-fi.
Once Krasinski shot an episode, it was edited by post-production house Senior Post. The process was a case study in the potential future of work, with everyone learning as they went while navigating the new normal of working from home.
“The main challenges we faced in working remotely had to do with three factors: communication, connectivity and transparency,” says Josh Senior, founder and CEO of Senior Post, New York, New York, USA. “All of the efficiencies that are structurally built into our operations were no longer available to us. I wasn’t able to pop into an edit suite to work on an in-progress cut, and no matter how hard we tried, on our best days we were playing a modified game of telephone. These challenges weren’t insurmountable, but all of them required us to modulate our workflow.”
Despite any behind-the-scenes issues, viewers loved what they saw and quickly embraced the show as a much-needed dose of coronavirus counterprogramming.
Along with the show’s pared-down charm and uplifting messaging, the SGN allure rested on Krasinski tapping his own star network to rope in celebrities and big-name brands. One memorable episode brought Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Hamilton cast together for a virtual singalong. In another, Krasinski enlisted support to host a virtual graduation celebration: Actor Samuel L. Jackson shouted compliments at strangers on the street; Oprah Winfrey doled out words of wisdom to the first youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman; and new graduates quizzed the likes of activist Malala Yousafzai, comedian Jon Stewart and director Steven Spielberg.
SGN was such a hit that, after a mere eight episodes, ViacomCBS bought the series from Krasinski in May. During the less than three months that he ran the show, SGN attracted more than 2.5 million subscribers—and generated infinite smiles.
“We are all going through an incredibly trying time,” Krasinski said during the debut episode. “But, through all the anxiety, through all the confusion, all the isolation and all the Tiger King, somehow the human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away.”