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Discussions About A Career In Cinema: Rafael “Raffi” Sanchez, Gaffer

Over 25 years, gaffer Rafael Sanchez has worked with Phedon Papamichael on more than 20 projects, as well as on dozens of other huge Hollywood productions. In this conversation, from the set of Nebraska, Sanchez distills his decades of experience, talking about the attitudes and strategies that have led him to the very top of his field, and which qualities he looks for in prospective crewmembers.

0:00 – Getting started in the business

0:52 – It’s OK to not know; ears are the best tools

1:25 – the relationship with PP

1:49 – Maintaining a balance between work and home life

2:52 – Managing the money aspect of the filmmaking life; be ready

3:48 – Dealing with on-set politics; staying positive

4:40 – People skills versus artistic and tech skills – both are necessary

5:44 – Changing technology and the impact of digital

7:24 – Collaborating on a perfect frame; we are all filmmakers

8:21 – What has experience taught you? “Everything.”

9:30 – Adapting to – and learning from – different DPs and directors

10:37 – The union – why it’s important and how to get in

11:23 – Equipment – owning it and learning to use it

12:46 – Advice for aspiring filmmakers – pay attention and work hard

13:03 – Assembling a team that works and lasts – What do you look for when hiring?

14:40 – Sharing info with other gaffers