Brad Nagel
Welcome back to Dadboss, my series which as a self-proclaimed Mumboss, shines a light on the fathers who have found their work life change when they had kids.
Brad is a 31 year old father of two who is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mid 2016 saw him embrace video, making films about fatherhood. He is now a video editor and music composer (often working with me here at Honest Mum) and The Dad Network, and he is currently developing an independent film project.
Here, Brad shares the impact fatherhood has had on his career.
 
1. What was your background before starting editing and were you surprised that parenthood has led to a different career path? 
I moved from Johannesburg, South Africa to London back in 2007 with the aim of pursuing a role within the music industry. It was what I had studied and it was what I was passionate about. Over the years I worked on my composition and production skills and began making the right connections, some small, others huge, in The States. A few months after our eldest was born in 2011 I was approached by a production company based in London that writes / produces songs for A-list artists.
An A&R scout there had heard one of my beats and thought I had potential to work with them on some pitches. Needless to say my eldest became overly attached and craved my attention the more and more I worked at my desk. As a bi-product pf my surroundings my creative output dwindled and I began paying more attention to this little soul who just wanted to be with me. As time passed, my passion for music began lessening, but I felt a new passion was being born and that was filmmaking.
Before becoming a dad, I had written a few film scripts ranging from Sci-Fi, Fantasy to even a Rom Com but now began looking into the art of filmmaking. I bought my first DSLR and began filming what we could call life’s minutiae and editing it into a linear story. Through this process, I discovered that I enjoy film editing and wanted to pursue it further.
2. How has fatherhood made you more creative?
I wouldn’t say fatherhood has made me ‘more’ creative per se but rather it has made me creative in other ways that my original life’s pursuance had intended. Honestly, who knows where I would have ended up had I pursued music a little harder. For starters I know I wouldn’t have spent all the amazing time watching my kids grow up, but also, the candle could have burned out very quickly leaving it a fruitless endeavour in the end anyway.
Whereas now, I have a creative vision which I feel fits more so, with who I am. Yes, it’s taking a lot longer to develop this creative path than it would have had I not had children, but it wouldn’t feel so fulfilling.
3. What challenges have you faced/overcome?
Different types of depression and mental anxiety have been my biggest challenges to overcome. When Logan was born I suffered from the baby blues. I remember within the first few moments of hearing him cry I thought, ‘Is it too late to give him up for adoption?’. Thankfully my wife and I spoke openly about how we were feeling and in those moments of uncertainty we made each other laugh which turned the situation completely around for us.
The next batch of depression hit when my son kept demanding all of my time and as a creative person I had no output. All of whom I used to be was slowly dissipating, and it felt like I was losing myself.
I learned to love the situation for what it is because it would be a time I could never get back and no amount of success could replace.
Then there’s the mental anxiety which reared its ugly head a few years ago when we had a health scare with our eldest and it sent me on a path of fearing mortality.
I convinced myself I was dying and ended up paying thousands of pounds in medical tests to scan myself head to toe. I have learned to combat the mental manifestation, but it tries its luck every now and again.
4. How do you overcome self-doubt as a creative?
I’ve never overcome self-doubt. I have never created a piece of music, script, film or edit that I think is brilliant. Not because I don’t think the content itself isn’t brilliant but because I am forever doubting my abilities.
I will always compare my stuff to that of others and put myself down. Then again, does anyone ever truly overcome self-doubt?
5. What are your work goals moving forward?
I want to get more involved in the film industry. My two major passions are cinematography and film editing. I try and be creative when putting together video content for my social media alter ego ‘Dear Agony Dad’ and I’ve also got a few film scripts which I think have major potential that one day I would like to sit down and complete.
6. Any words of wisdom for dads-to-be?
We never give ourselves credit for our ability to adapt. This whole world of parenthood is daunting but you will learn, you will make mistakes but more importantly, you will succeed.
Every parent is unique, every child is unique, never rate yourself and your experiences akin to those of other parents you know.
What works for them doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for you. Trust yourself to make the right decisions. Just because you didn’t have the beautifully natural experience of carrying a child for 9 months doesn’t make you less of a parent.
7. Finally, what advice would you give fellow dadbosses?
Persevere. Challenges will be thrown your way at every opportunity. If those challenges turn into failures, it is important to remember not to let yourself be defined by those outcomes. Also, remember that the conventional world is evolving, what used to be considered, ‘the norm’ no longer exists so don’t be afraid to explore the options available to you and carve out your own niche.

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