Emma Alexander #FounderOfTheFortnight
What is MotherBran? What do you enjoy most about it?
Mother Bran is a photography production company, and I am the founder and executive producer. As a producer, I don’t physically shoot photos (anymore), but I bring creative ideas to life, building the perfect team for each brief and budget, and overseeing the job from start to delivery. I make the impossible happen, and ensure every shoot runs without a hitch. So, not stressful at all then!
What I love about it is exactly that: I just bloody love doing it! I’m a facilitator at heart, so the meticulous organisation and planning appeals to my slightly OCD nature, whilst literally breathing life into incredible imagery scratches my own creative itch. It’s so rewarding to know that you brought all the pieces together, to create something phenomenal.
Each job is unique, and I find that really exciting. I’ve had to do all sorts of weird and wonderful things over my career, from shooting Academy Award winners, to commissioning prop watermelon helmets, and sourcing 100 medical slides with real human brain cells. (From Germany, in case you were wondering.)
What is your biggest challenge you face regularly? How do you overcome it?
There just aren't enough hours in the day! When you run your own business you can literally end up doing everything yourself, and it can be very hard to relinquish control of your baby - but after years of clocking ridiculous hours working in advertising, I was determined to work smarter, not longer.
There are so many brilliant tools and apps to get you organised; so much talk and advice about productivity; and tons of fantastic services available that there's really no excuse; outsource what you can't or don't want to do. Whether it's website maintenance, accounting or social media, don't be afraid to get help so you can focus on the things that you really love.
What are your influences for your creativity?
Beautiful imagery; I just love looking. Galleries, Instagram, magazines, those odd leaflets you only find in dentist waiting rooms, clouds, patterns and textures - there is inspiration everywhere if you allow yourself to look. And really look. *Note: I do actually read too, I don’t just look at the pictures!
What's the best and worst piece of advice you've been given?
‘Work Hard & Be Nice’ has always been my mantra, and I really stick by that: it was said to me in the early days, and its the one thing I always pass on. Be respectful to everyone you meet from ‘top’ to ‘bottom’, you never know where that person will go and, besides, who wants to be remembered as a dick!
What's the most common misconception/myths/old wives tale you come across?
That there is such a thing as ‘luck’. My grandad always said you make our own luck, and I really believe that it true. Talk, follow up, reach out, pick up the phone, be cheeky - and put yourself in a position where opportunites happen.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
Waddling my way through a 5-day shoot with Javier Bardem, Chris Evans and Don Cheadle in Canada, while 33 weeks pregnant. It was the last hurdle on an incredibly long and overwhelmingly stressful job, but we got there, and it was an absolute blast. The whole team were just amazing and we had such a great time. It was a lovely swan song!
What's next for you? Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?
I’m slowly working my way through a 40x40* list, but as things get ticked off, new ones just keep getting added. I’ll never stop trying new shit. Last month I drove a 2-ton excavator. I know, you’re #welljel.
*40 things to do before you’re 40
What would you say to yourself 10 years ago?
There’s nothing to be afraid of, just go and do it. Make it happen. But know your worth: over-deliver, but don’t over-service.
Tell us one surprising fact about yourself
I once swam 11.2km along the Melbourne coastline. The event was called The Bloody Big Swim (underrated Aussie humour right there). I got a medal, and chronic sunburn on only one side of my face. Sexy.