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Overcoming COVID; Shant Tutunjian On Filming During A Pandemic



COVID sucked.

We can all attest to that, but there’s one industry that took quite the beating from the pandemic and is still licking its wounds.

The film industry.

Following lockdown rules, cinemas were closed down or only operated at a limited capacity worldwide. Filming and production for movies still the works were shut down or delayed, and there was an ungodly rise in the number of streamed shows. The box office dropped by billions of dollars, and the effects are still being felt today. Viewership is only just recovering, and companies are considering unorthodox release methods instead of the traditional cinema.

Shant Tutunjiani had to work during these troubling times. The 42-year-old is an actor and producer, but he is best known for his executive producer role on the immensely successful HBO MAX show, Legendary.

Working in the middle of a pandemic was hard. In fact, Shant named COVID-19 as one of the most significant challenges he’s ever faced in his career.

However, where there’s a will, there’s a way, something Shant proved with the release of not just one but two seasons of his critically acclaimed show Legendary.

He spills the tea on how he did it and what kept him motivated in those trying times.


The first thing you need to get right is your mindset, and Shant believes that if you’re going to succeed in film, you need to be tenacious. Add the bigger challenge of a global pandemic, and you need to be extremely tenacious to get anything done.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic and the resulting lockdown hit in March, the first season of Legendary was largely complete, so it wasn’t too difficult to get everything in order and in time for the release date in May. However, the real challenge was in filming the 2nd season. Making sure that safety protocols were up to par to protect the talent, enforcing safety procedures, and managing the tension that comes with knowing a highly infectious and potentially fatal disease is out there in the world took a lot of grit and willpower.

Luckily, thanks to his vast experience, Shant has developed a will forged in iron and found the strength to forge ahead with the project.


Finding new ways to do old things was at the heart of filming for Legendary during COVID. If anything good came from covid, it’s that it forced us to rethink the way we’ve done things for so long. Shant had to evaluate current practices and devise new, more efficient ways to do them while keeping social distancing requirements and general safety in mind. Designating areas on set and setting up periodic tests were some of the measures devised to tackle the pandemic and keep everyone safe.


We can’t predict all outcomes, and there will be setbacks. Shant faced many setbacks while filming. Safety protocols are not perfect, and sometimes someone tested positive, and filming had to be postponed to ensure that the virus did not spread. Moments like these were highly frustrating and shook his resolve.

In times like this, keeping his goal to tell unique and undiscovered stories kept him motivated and helped him shake off the failures and keep advancing towards his goal.


I’m sure we all felt it, so we all know that dealing with a  pandemic is a highly stressful situation. Getting people on one page is hard enough on ordinary occasions, but getting them to agree when a dangerous virus is introduced into the mix is a lot harder.

Tackling this situation required effective communication that considered the positions of everyone while maintaining a solid stance on crucial points. Shant learned a vital lesson during this period which was “talk to everyone and listen more than speaking.”

Considering everyone’s perspective helped to avoid discontent within his group and at the same time maintain a safety standard that kept everyone safe.


The pandemic brought with it a whole lot of unknowns. We didn’t know how things would progress or when they would return to normal, or how we ought to conduct ourselves in the meantime. In such uncertain times, Shant found that the answer lay in learning. Learning everything he could about the virus, the efforts that were being made to combat it, and how he could continue to function despite it played a huge role in the success of Legendary. By learning, he could educate others, andtogether, they could work toward an even better result.


Working during COVID-19 brought with it untold hardships, and it is an experience Shant would like never to have again. But he did earn valuable lessons, and for those, he is grateful. The importance of believing in yourself, tenacity, and communication helped him overcome COVID-19, and he hopes they can also help you conquer whatever challenge you face next.

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From Immigrant to Innovator | Monica Tuccella’s Journey to Success



Monica Tuccella

In Boston, Massachusetts, marketing agency Seolvit stands out as a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and resilience of its founder, Monica Tuccella. Originating from Venezuela, Monica faced the daunting challenge of relocating permanently to the U.S. amidst worsening conditions in her home country. Despite cultural and linguistic barriers, she dedicated herself to mastering marketing, transforming her initial goal of securing simple employment into a visionary enterprise.

Monica launched Seolvit by initially sharing marketing content on Instagram, which quickly attracted her first clients. Today, the agency specializes in delivering custom digital marketing solutions that enhance visibility, increase sales, and strengthen online presence for various businesses. Under Monica’s leadership, Seolvit has achieved remarkable success. The agency has helped clients generate over $100 million in revenue, and separately, it played a pivotal role in securing an $80 million government contract.

Seolvit’s impact is amplified by its commitment to empowering business owners with strategic knowledge. Monica emphasizes transparency and empowerment, ensuring each client is equipped to navigate their business landscape effectively. The company’s involvement extends to consulting for over 300 entrepreneurs, each engagement reflecting its dedication to enabling businesses to flourish.

Monica’s journey extends beyond business success. She actively supports the Hispanic community through Instagram, providing marketing tips, free resources, and strategic advice, particularly targeting Latino and minority women. Through these efforts, she passionately encourages them to pursue their dreams vigorously.

Her latest initiative involves developing a comprehensive marketing course tailored for beginners, with a special focus on Spanish speakers. This course aims to equip aspiring marketers with essential skills, reinforcing Seolvit’s dedication to fostering growth and success.

Monica’s personal narrative is one of overcoming significant challenges—adapting to new cultural norms and mastering a new language, to graduating Magna Cum Laude from Bentley University. She is now a respected business leader and mentor, inspiring a broad audience of Latina entrepreneurs and minorities worldwide.

Beyond her direct business endeavors, Monica engages in mentorship with organizations like Hope Community Development Corporation in Springfield, eForAll in Lynn, and the Latino Economic Development Corporation. Her story serves as a profound source of inspiration and a powerful illustration of how perseverance, passion, and belief in oneself can lead to remarkable achievements, showcasing the transformative potential of immigrants in their new communities.

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Geek3 | Unraveling IT Complexities for Small Businesses



Founder & CEO of Geek3, Erik Herrera

Established in 2009, Gainesville-based company Geek3 has been breaking down complex IT jargon and providing simple, effective solutions for small businesses in North Central Florida.

Erik Herrera, the founder, and CEO of Geek3 recalls the inception of his venture during the summer of 2009. Having nurtured a small client base over the years, he set out to debut a business that places emphasis on maintaining uncompromised simplicity in managing IT infrastructure, with a promise of “no techy talk.”

After deliberating between three potential company names and corresponding logos, Herrera decided to ask his clients for their opinions. The result was a unanimous vote in favor of the name ‘Geek3.’ Today, Geek3 offers a suite of services, including managed IT, cybersecurity, cloud services, and residential services, delivered by a team of friendly IT superheroes, who prioritize their clients’ success.

Geek3 takes a proactive approach to network monitoring and computer management at small businesses. They offer clients a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy using best-in-class services. This approach helps clients focus on their core business activities undistracted, confident that their technology is in capable hands.

In addition to business IT services, Geek3 lends a helping hand to residents needing assistance with a range of technology issues. These include WiFi, routers, printers, computers, televisions, and smart devices. An extremely friendly help desk system underpins Geek3’s service offering. There, skilled technicians offer remote support via phone, email, or chat, round the clock.

Geek3 places significant emphasis on preventing network issues even before they surface, ensuring the smooth operation of their clients’ businesses. This careful approach, combined with remote monitoring, helps mitigate costly downtime – which is paramount in today’s day and age.

Geek3’s current projects focus on staying updated with the latest cybersecurity threats. This allows the team to equip their clients with the necessary measures to stay secure. The company has also curated a diverse selection of IT services, from general IT services to WordPress and VoIP phone services, addressing different needs of their clients efficiently.

Not only is Geek3 passionate about delivering beyond-impressive IT support and services, but they are also passionate with their locality. Over the years, they have showcased their affection for Gainesville, deriving inspiration from the city’s vibrant bird population. The company even orchestrated a backyard bird camera to enjoy nature’s sounds within the office, a source of pride featured in the local bird store and Alachua Audubon’s Backyard Birding Tour.

Geek3 takes an active approach to shield businesses from data breaches and Day-0 attacks. They also offer disaster recovery solutions, aimed at minimizing downtime and overall losses.

Erik Herrera (founder/ceo), like a true tech enthusiast, interacts with customers and helps them navigate their devices fluently. His leadership style centers around empathy, trust, and growth. He proudly introduces a touch of humor into the workplace as well – creating an engaging atmosphere.

Geek3 is all about taking the stress out of IT for small businesses. They’re dedicated to smoothing out tech troubles and ensuring your business runs without a hitch. To make staying in touch and tackling technological challenges easier, they invite their clients to reach out via their website, connect on LinkedIn, follow along on Facebook, or tweet to them on Twitter. Plus, you can stay in the loop with all their latest news by signing up for their newsletter.

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Beyond Gaming | How UGCverse is Shaping Brand Loyalty in the Metaverse



Lian Pham and Joshua Johnson - Founders of UGCverse

The world as we know it is undergoing a dramatic shift towards a digital existence. With the emerging phenomenon of virtual environments, businesses and brands are constantly seeking innovative strategies to connect more effectively with audiences, particularly the Generation Alpha demographic. Leading this frontier of digitally enhanced brand engagement is UGCverse, a groundbreaking platform that allows brands to effortlessly navigate this new world and engage with broader audiences. We had the privilege of speaking with the creators of UGCverse, Lian Pham and Joshua Johnson, offering us invaluable insights into how their unique approach is trailblazing a path in this rapidly evolving landscape.

Could you highlight UGCverse’s unique approach to facilitating brand engagement within gaming and metaverse environments, specifically with Generation Alpha?
UGCverse revolutionizes the way brands connect with the digital-native Generation Alpha by transforming in-game interactions into tangible benefits, such as increased website or store traffic, through innovative use of metadata. This strategy is designed with Generation Alpha’s unique preferences in mind, offering personalized rewards and fostering a sense of community within virtual environments. This approach significantly diverges from earlier attempts at virtual brand integration, such as the Roblox Chipotle promotion, which lacked the depth in personalization and community building that resonates with Generation Alpha.

How do immersive experiences via UGCverse promote brand loyalty among Generation Alpha individuals?
It’s about creating meta-games, games that exist outside of the traditional game itself. These could be digital incarnations of popular real-world activities, like McDonald’s Monopoly, extending across multiple platforms and games to make brand loyalty interactive and accumulative.

How does UGCverse take the digital-first tendencies of Generation Alpha into account when innovating brand advertising?
Our strategy is to align with gamers’ preferences by offering unbranded user-generated content (UGC) sponsored by brands. Instead of using traditional advertising techniques, this approach surpasses gamers’ expectations and encourages repeated engagement, aligning seamlessly with their desires.

How does UGCverse perceive virtual goods and experiences shaping the interactions between brands and young consumers in the future?
We firmly believe in the future of ‘phygital’ exchanges — blending online engagement with offline actions. The future of consumer-brand interactions lies in seamlessly marrying these realms.

How does UGCverse maintain authenticity in brand collaborations, given that Generation Alpha puts great value on genuineness?
Our focus lies in promoting UGC designed by creators, with rewards that don’t involve monetary exchange. This ensures that authenticity is preserved in every interaction.

What measures do brands take, using UGCverse, to form meaningful connections with Generation Alpha beyond transactions?
We encourage brands to build a community around the collection of UGC items. By paying close attention to their preferences, they can forge relationships that aren’t just transactional but valuable and long-lasting.

As the digital landscape evolves rapidly, how does UGCverse plan to stay ahead of the curve to keep captivating Generation Alpha?
We aim to constantly innovate and listen to our community to lead the digital revolution. It’s crucial that we always offer experiences that cater to their needs and changing digital surroundings.

What potential challenges do brands encounter when engaging with Generation Alpha online, and how does UGCverse address these?
The main challenge is maintaining continual, meaningful engagement with this audience. We provide a solution by facilitating constant community interaction, which builds trust over an extended period.

Are there any instances of notable brand engagements on UGCverse that have resonated with Generation Alpha?
We’re currently in our beta testing stage but already have a line-up of brands, creators, and gamers eagerly waiting to engage. A partial launch is planned for May 1, 2024, with a full launch to follow on June 1, 2024.

Could you share some insight on the future trends occurring at the intersection of gaming, the metaverse, and brand marketing, targeting Generation Alpha?
Our platform is at the cutting edge of these intersections, continuously adapting and innovating based on community feedback and the ever-changing digital landscape. We’re actively shaping the trends as we progress.

The inception and progression of UGCverse accumulate as a testament to the visionary leadership of its founders, Lian Pham and Joshua Johnson. Their four-year examination of Generations Z and Alpha, along with the creation of UGCverse, has irrefutably set the bar for branding solutions in the metaverse. They have achieved this by laying emphasis on establishing connections between creators and brands through the sponsorship of virtual goods. With promises of redefining the value, luxury, and interaction parameters for the digital age, brands can look forward to a fruitful partnership with UGCverse in the metaverse.

Explore UGC Verse to unlock real value in virtual worlds. Be part of a gaming universe and integrated platform poised to revolutionize the dynamics of brand engagement in the digital era.

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