Franz Brun is a Steadicam operator based out of NYC
What do you enjoy most about your process of working with a director & DP to bring their vision to life?
Collaborating with a Director and DP is like white-water rafting. It's the three of us on a raft being vigorously thrashed all over the place, yet we all have our oars in the water and are communicating (hopefully not yelling) our methods to not capsizing, all within a violently stressful environment. The rush comes in the form of harmonizing teamwork, cooperation and understanding each other's concerns. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment when you get to the end of the river. It's a beautiful thing when we're all in sync, and I've never even been white-water rafting.
How does being a Steadicam operator, and a filmmaker in general, influence how you go about your day to day life?
Being a Steadicam operator, or rather any creative freelancer, really changes how you go about your day to day. I feel like I always keep a loose enough schedule to fit in a casual meetup with another operator, DP, producer, etc. My time now consists of making sure I make room to listen and exchange ideas with others in my field. I'm not a lone wolf in all of this, and sniffing our way to the pack just leads to a more fulfilling career in my opinion.
Where is one place that your lens has taken you that you otherwise might not have gone without a camera in your hand?
There was a moment in my career, where I was fully strapped into my rig, 70+ lbs of camera digging into my body, surrounded by the absolute mayhem of medieval battle as knights in full plate armor clashed with sword and steel in a muddy arena in Texas. I wasn't even thinking at this point, but moving through the chaos and the noise with an intent on surviving the reenactment of the battle of Agincourt. Only afterward did I think, wow, who would've thought that my decision to go into operating all those years ago would bring me here, Texas, of all places. Amidst grown men beating the hell out of each other with blunted swords and morning-stars. I wouldn't trade this for the world.
Doing what you do can be so physically demanding, yet I’d have to imagine there are moments that make it all worth it, when the shot just clicks and you create something that evokes emotion. Can you talk about how you balance staying physically tough while allowing your mind to stay curious and open to possibility through the lens?
As a Steadicam operator, there's a balance between managing the physicality of the job with finding the poetry within the moment that is being shot. Sometimes, it fucking hurts. It's the end of the day, we got a five minute one take coming up, and exhaustion is creeping in. Being prepared is the only way to combat the imbalance. Keeping on top of proper sleep, diet, mental and emotional clarity is paramount to finding that sweet spot between holding up a bazooka and finding the grace of a paintbrush stroke on canvas. It's an art form that I am still learning, with every job and every take. But hot damn, do I love it when it all clicks.