Wollongong production house Ten Alphas has gone from working on feature films and documentaries to spreading the word about COVID-19 and mentoring other creative businesses to get by.
Nick Bolton said he and partner Jess Milne have definitely "taken a hit" during the pandemic, but is grateful for some interesting opportunities that may not have presented otherwise.
A short film worthy of international release, "COVID specific" television commercials and helping arts businesses find their feet free of charge are now filling their work days.
"We've had enough work to keep us emotionally and intellectually satisfied," Mr Bolton said.
"But we've also had a little bit of time to work on the business."
The husband and wife team have been enlisted as advisors on the NSW Government's Business Connect program, which offers free help to creative freelancers, start-ups, and small to medium arts businesses.
The sector supports about 118,000 jobs across NSW and contributes $16.4 billion directly and indirectly to the state's economy, according to the Minister for Arts Don Harwin.
However, it's also among those industries to have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
Mr Bolton said anyone from a sculpture artist to an acrobat or theatre group could seek their help, while a professional witch is also on the list of clients for the program which offers four free sessions.
"We're almost like a therapist to bounce ideas off," he said.
"As a creative business often you are running on your own. You often don't have a board or any mentors, and it's really nice to be able to once a month focus on the business rather than the work."
The duo have extensive experience in the industry with branded content, photography, design, photography, social media, commercials and film listed among their services.
"We also make our original content as well - we've made documentaries, short films and we worked on a couple of feature films last year," he said.
"We worked on Back of the Net ... I had an acting role in it [as the nerdy science teacher] and Jess did all the social media strategy."
The economic slow-down has also freed up time for the pair to develop their own creative projects, such as a short film which is destined for the Sundance Film Festival.
Mate follows the story of an estrange father and son, a relationship forged 15 years earlier due to a one-night-stand. The drama explores themes of faded dreams, masculinity and the changing face of Sydney.
While various government agencies needed Ten Alphas to create commercials around the pandemic which has also diversified their time and income.
"We've done a lot better than what we thought would happen," Mr Bolton said.
"The first week [of lockdown], like most creative businesses, we had virtually every contract pulled - we were seriously panicking. But we've got through it pretty well."
For details on Business Connect and free mentoring visit: https://www.business.nsw.gov.au/support-for-business/businessconnect
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