Brant Fraser started his career making coffee in craft services and doing production work in London and New Zealand, before moving into camera and then settling into the art department 15 years ago. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, his credits include features "The Breaker Upperers", "Beyond the Known World", "The Last Saint ","Fantail", TV series "Wanted" and "Jaquie Brown Diaries" and various commercials.
The transition out of each project has become a much larger focus in recent years, as I have become increasingly aware of the importance of putting myself in the best place to move back to so called "Normal" Life.
Early in my career, the ending of project would normally be met with period of partying and celebration, followed by a big crashing come down. Often met with self doubt, and regret over some aspect of the job, and some times fractured relationships with colleagues.
No matter what, there will always be a natural come down after each project or period of intense work. But I have found that the way in which you end the job can really help put you in a better place to be able to bounce back.
Relationships with your team and the rest of your colleagues will often be the most challenging part of the job. Conflicts will be natural. So no matter what has transpired during the project, I now try and make peace with those relationships and let everyone know how grateful I am for their involvement and the hard work they have put in. Sometimes it can be hard and frustrating, but I have to remember that everyone is doing the best that they can. And pressure affects people in all different ways, so it is very rarely personal. By putting some time and effort into this, it really helps me feel better, and spreading some love really does help squash a lot of the negative emotions that inevitably arise during production. And of course, these are all people in your industry, so it's highly likely you'll end up working with them again at some stage.
Each project begins with lofty hopes and dreams. During production some of your work will end up better that you ever could have imagined, but there will always be things that were failures. It is the nature of who we are as designers, that we will always struggle to be satisfied with our work, there is always room for improvement. And as creators, the work becomes our little creative children, so it can really hurt to see one fail. Or maybe it was filmed in a rush, lit in a way we didn't like, or cut completely from the final product. This hurts, but is all out of our control. So I have really begun to focus more on the process of the work, and taking satisfaction from that. And making sure that I try to come to terms with, and address it before the job is over and we all move on. Each job is a learning experience, and you have allow yourself the room to grow and to fail. You did the best you could. So spread a bit of that love to yourself.
Once the job is over, hopefully you can crash in a heap for a day or two, but without a lot of the negative attachments and self doubt. I try and give myself as much time as I possibly can to recharge and reconnect with family and friends, but also I make time for personal space. Being alone as a designer rarely happens for long. The days are a constant stream of meetings, calls and emails. So when they all stop and the job is over I need to have time to be alone in my own space. For me going surfing is the perfect time for that, to reconnect to myself.
Normally life gets pushed aside during production, so the looming chance of free time also comes with a long list of things you need to do, and a long list of all the things you want to do. It's natural that there's lots to catch up on, but putting pressure on yourself to achieve a lot when you have just finished a big project is not helpful. So I have found making a daily list of no more than a couple of things, and focusing on just achieving one or two is great. Get something done, then relax. Go surfing, read a book, hang with your family. Rest up, re fill your cup, tomorrow's another day.
There is often sadness that all the great people you were spending your days with are no longer around. And you may have been away on location and in some sort of magical bubble where all that mattered was the job and the story you were telling. But that is the nature of our jobs, everything comes to an end. And the magic of our jobs is that you never know what new adventure is just around the corner.
To view Brant's work visit his website: https://www.brantfraser.com
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