- Remote Video Shoot |
- 9 min read
Alex Brown is an English photographer and filmmaker, currently living and working in Barcelona. An early career in professional kite surfing landed him magazine coverage around the world, as well as his first print credits.
After starting in the sports industry, he branched off for several years to develop his skills in traditional advertising. There he received experience shooting for clients in the tourism industry, real estate, and product marketing.
Alex has a keen interest in digital filmmaking and a passion for travel and exploration. He personifies the dream of a commercial and adventure Director of Photography.
Since joining 90 Seconds in 2014, Alexander Brown has completed over 170 projects. He has taken roles as director, camera operator, editor, photographer, and animator.
We caught up with him recently to find out more about his background, how his body of work, and what sets great creators apart from the good ones.
90: What was the hardest part about starting your career as a creator?
Alex Brown: The hardest thing wasn’t starting out, but was to not stopping or changing paths. Generating enough income was always a challenge and learning to live simply definitely meant that I could stretch my finances further when starting out. Of course, there are the equipment costs, but it’s the normal costs of living that you can’t forget about.
90: How did you make the transition from hobby/part-time work to professional?
Alex Brown: In my teens, I traveled the world as a professional kitesurfer. I was surrounded by filmmakers and photographers who I worked closely with to get shots for magazines and sponsors. So I was seeing first hand how things were happening on a commercial level, to begin with. I bought my first cameras and shot an instructional video (DVD) which went on sale around the world. And things built onwards from there.
90: What advice would you give to new creators who want to develop their careers?
Alex Brown: Well, if we are talking about creators who want to work on commercial/advertising content, I am so glad that I took the time to study Media Production at University which helped me stop prioritizing the creative side of things, and learn to focus on the factors that drive commercial work in this industry.
90: What does it take to succeed in this business?
Alex Brown: I am for sure still trying to figure this out! But working on no/low budget personal work over the years forced me to learn how to shoot and edit to a reasonable level. After picking up my first generic production work I soon realised that I needed to be quicker and more confident in what I was doing. Being reliable and turning around work fast and accurately is what I would say is most important for creatives to be able to offer.
90: What are the biggest challenges you face as a freelancer?
Alex Brown: Finding work. The talent pool is extremely saturated no matter where you live, so standing out and being able to pick up work over others is my greatest concern working as a freelancer.
90: How do you get work?
Alex Brown: Apart from while studying, I have not spent more than 1 year in any country for 12 years. I was traveling for all sorts of reasons and picked up small bits of work in each location. But I was sure there must be a way/future to be able to work remotely to some extent – given the advances in internet speed, connectivity, and societies (slowly) changing view on how we choose to spend our working life. When I discovered 90 Seconds, I was absolutely stoked to start picking up editing projects that I could work on wherever I lived. Other than 90, I am spending a lot of time pitching concepts to brands that I want to shoot for, with a focus on sports and outdoors.
90: How do you get a project from good to great?
Alex Brown: I think it’s about the whole package. Of course, the visuals and product itself need to be top of the class (that I am shooting/editing). But I also need to deliver a service to my employer, who needs to feel confident that I am the best person to handle their client’s needs and experience. Being reliable, articulate and knowing the production process is just as important to “getting the shot”.
90: Where do you see yourself professionally in the next 5 years?
Alex Brown: I’d really love to be doing what I do right now, shooting and editing, but of course at a higher skill level. More brands are combining video and motion graphics together, so this is an area that I am developing my skills in and hope to land more gigs with going forward. Ultimately, in 5 years, I hope that 50% of my workload is handling corporate/event/promotional film, and 50% toward shooting lifestyle projects on location.