You know who Brian Alcazar is, even if you don’t know his name. After amassing a huge following on Instagram under the handle @1st, Alcazar has used his platform to help lift up the next generation of digitally native photographers, all while developing some of the most popular video games of the last decade. Since the world has changed, Alcazar’s world has changed too. Read on to learn about the redemption of randomness, what’s been disrupted, and how he’s making it work for him (and his fiancée).
Describe what you do for a living and how you are adjusting to social distancing.
I’m a photographer, producer, and also a video game developer at Rockstar Games. It’s been an adjustment period, but being at home has allowed me to catch up on a lot of projects and tasks that I may have fallen behind on. Time is the most valuable currency and I find typically it’s the most difficult thing to manage when you have multiple careers. Now that the entire world has slowed down, I’ve found myself with some breathing room and I’m doing my best to use the extra time wisely to come out of this lockdown stronger than I was going in. Thankfully the whole isolation aspect has been an easy adjustment for me. I find myself in the middle of the spectrum between introvert and extrovert so I’m pretty adaptable.
How do you typically start your day? What daily rituals are you practicing?
Typically to start my day I have an iced coffee and check emails. From there it’s a mashup of photo editing, video editing, Zoom calls, and game dev tasks. It’s a blur really. While there are definitely essential things I do on a daily basis, I try to stay away from things that can feel like a routine or a ritual. I find that repetitive tasks, at least for me, can make every day feel the same, especially since the scenery never changes now – daily routines can make you feel stuck in the Matrix, and that’s the last thing I want. I basically do what needs to be done and move onto the next task right after. I take random breaks in between my tasks and might watch something on Netflix or go for a run to stay fit and keep my sanity. Even my runs are at some pretty random times. Being random keeps things fresh.
How are you staying productive while at home? Any useful tips?
Honestly it’s just a matter of doing instead of thinking of doing. We live in a technological era where almost anything is possible, and even in lockdown we’re capable of things that our parents and generations before could only dream of, even without a pandemic. It’s like muscle memory, if you can open your laptop or get on your phone, you can be productive. If inspiration or motivation is an issue, it never hurts to talk or get on a FaceTime/Zoom call with some homies or your family. Your circle is always a great source of both inspiration and motivation.
What is keeping you grounded/balanced at the moment?
I think the thing that keeps me grounded is knowing that this isn’t forever. The world is changing but this will pass, and life will go on.
During this time of social distancing, people are leaning on things such as streaming services, puzzles, painting, at-home workouts, to name a few, what activities are you using to take your mind off of things?
I’ve been watching a lot of movies and documentaries on Netflix and of course MJ’s The Last Dance on ESPN. I’ve been working out at home a lot as well, mostly calisthenics, but I’ve also been running a lot. Pre-Lockdown I’d usually get my workout at the gym, but I’ve embraced running outdoors lately – socially distanced of course. It’s a great way to stay fit, see the outside world, and keep your sanity. A lot of thoughts get organized on my runs. Also, wear a mask – running with one is hard but you get used to it. Don’t be that person huffing and puffing your germs all over the place.
How have you stayed connected to friends and family during this time?
Like everyone else, I’ve been using apps like Zoom and Houseparty. It’s kind of calmed down a bit but at the start of this lockdown, I’d be on Houseparty or Zoom finding every reason imaginable to take a shot or have a toast with friends and family.
What advice would you give to someone who’s struggling in isolation right now?
Everyone’s situation is so different, especially globally, but the one thing we can all do is stay in touch with our friends and family. They keep us grounded and inspired. Also, if your state or country allows it, safely go for a socially distanced walk and remember that this isn’t forever.
What accomplishment or new project are you most proud of while social distancing?
I’ve been working on a clothing collaboration with Andbox, it’s the first time I ever collaborated on apparel so I’m excited about it. It was supposed to drop earlier this spring, but then COVID-19 happened, so it’s been one of my main priorities while in lockdown, we’re looking to drop early June now.
What are you most looking forward to once this is over?
My wedding. I was supposed to get married to my beautiful fiancée this month and unfortunately, it got postponed. There are a lot of unknowns so planning a new date has been stressful. Our day will come, though, and it’ll be epic.