The pandemic forced Anthony Istrico to think fast. Almost at the onset of the virus, his media production company, Istrico Productions, lost more than $200,000 in work, and Istrico had to act quickly or the business he’d grown from the ground up would be in serious trouble.
“We had almost $200,000 in signed contracts back out,” Istrico told ALXnow. “It was a significant drop in our income for the first two quarters.”
Istrico got on his phone and started calling clients about what help they needed to survive, and he ended up using more data and minutes allotted by T-Mobile in its unlimited plan.
“T-Mobile actually sent me a note saying that I went over the limit, so that gave me hope that I was at least hitting the phones enough for someone to notice, even if it was my cell phone carrier,” he said.
Istrico Productions has been based in Alexandria for the last 10 years and in Del Ray for the last six. The company prides itself on creating visual experiences for clients, but with large, convention-style events not happening it meant a change of direction for his company. Now, Istrico and his staff of eight full and part-time employees and freelancers are making concise video packages to cater to those audiences.
“Our clients are finding that this is reaching more audiences,” Istrico said. “Concise packages — unlike a traditional all-day conference where you wouldn’t mind sitting in a chair for eight hours sitting over session after session, we’re making episodic packages that are 20 to 30 minutes apiece that can be rolled out over time.”
Istrico Productions, which won numerous awards for its 2017 PBS documentary The 2 Sides Project, is also making arrangements for socially distant clients for events like wine tastings with the McLean Community Center. Customers pick up the wine and pairings and then get home and log into a Zoom chat to learn about their drinks.
Istrico has lived in Del Ray the last six years with his wife, Heather Garlich, and their dog, Lionel. He characterizes himself as a hugger, and the pandemic has meant new perspectives for him living in Alexandria.
“I just had a Zoom meeting with a client this morning, and it dawned on me how intimate, yet distant communication is now,” he said. “You are welcomed into someone’s home, but you also have no personal connection. So, we want to improve that with compelling narrative stories. We’re still here for whatever you need, and this too shall pass. We will come out of this, but we will be a different animal with the same spirit and DNA.”