Aspect goes to great lengths to keep its employees happy, providing them with taquitos and guacamole twice a week, regular Thursday happy hours, the occasional wine-tasting lesson, and a schedule of special events ranging from family beach days in Malibu to a simulated summer camp in its North Hollywood office, complete with campfires and artificial trees.
Of course, making the effort to foster a low-stress work environment is the right thing to do, but there’s also pragmatism behind Aspect’s policy.
“We get the jobs by doing good work and supporting our clients through thick and thin, but also by treating our people well so they’re not losing their minds when they have to stay until 2 in the morning,” says Lisa Feldman, who serves as co-president and creative director of Aspect alongside Nati Braunstein. “We want to keep them creative, and happy people are creative people.”
One way Aspect does it is by giving its editors a hard out at 6 p.m. every six days. That can be a lifesaver when you’re working into the next day and night after night doing endless recuts on a trailer. “I’ve had people who come from other shops say, ‘I hear you do this. That’s where I want to work,’” says Feldman.
For the real fun stuff, Aspect relies on its events office manager Kate Thomas. She holds a B.A. in production design from USC, which she puts to good use for Aspect’s annual themed spring break celebrations. This year, she turned the offices into Camp Aspect. In 2017, she gave them a circus-themed makeover with a red-and-white striped tent, cotton candy machines, hot dog carts and carnival games.
“For Pi Day in March, we actually pie’d some of our editors,” says Thomas, referring to the act of throwing a pie in their faces. “We’re thinking about making that a bigger deal next year, and have people pay to pie their producer for charity.”
In the meantime, Thomas is staging regular 6 o’clock competitions using the HQ trivia app and trying to find ways to include those too busy to come to happy hour. Sometimes, it can be as simple as doing a coffee run for everyone stuck at a desk.
“We all know that, no matter how crazy the day gets, everybody has to show up the next day, so why not make it a place where you want to come to work?” says Thomas.
Lisa Feldman, Co-president and creative director
At UCLA, Feldman majored in English but after graduation she followed her biz dreams and joined Fries Entertainment. Four years later, she joined the accounting department at Aspect. “I wanted to be a producer, so I started working nights and weekends with our PAs,” she says. “I would come up with scripts and ideas and have them cut it.” She became a producer and worked her way up to her current position in July 2013.
Nati Braunstein, Co-president and creative director
When Braunstein joined the Israeli military at age 18, he was ineligible for combat due to asthma, so instead he served his country as a film editor. “It was mostly instructional videos and things like that,” he says. After leaving the service, he moved to New York, where he cut promos for various networks. Eventually, he made his way to California, where he did stints at the Cimarron Group and Buddha Jones as an editor and producer before Feldman recruited him to join to Aspect in August 2013.
Aspect’s reel can be seen here: https://wdrv.it/07dba9029