Interviews with crew of the indie
feature film Gabriela.
Pablo Santiago-Brandwein- Key Grip/ Best Boy/ Loader
I was originally hired as a PA. Then a began to work as a grip,
best boy, boom operator, camera loader, camera assistant, extra.
So I was the all around handy man. My favorite lines [as an extra]
were: Dos margaritas para los enamorados. Ive worked
mostly in small films for my friends in college and in some places
in high school. This is my first movie. Miki [the second Camera
Assistant] did most of the loading but I probably loaded between
35-50 magazines. Yes, it is quite a responsibility, you dont
want to fuck it up. It doesnt make me nervous to load because
Ive done it for a long time. I was more nervous about [light]
metering; you dont want to give a wrong reading to Adrian
and then have the film totally over-exposed. Individually, it
wasnt difficult because even though I had never worked on
a feature, Ive worked on a lot of shorts and my own projects.
But it was difficult at times to be at two places at the same
time. Sometimes when wed have breaks for camera crew that
would be the time the grips are working. Or when the grips were
resting, that when Id have to do something else. I had very
little rest time and after two weeks of that, then I started to
wear down. I managed with lots of coffee.
I was born in Mexico City and grew up in the south, in Chiapas.
Then about ten years ago I moved up to San Diego and went to high
school there. Then I went to the University of San Diego. I was
originally going to study literature and become a writer, but
then I ended up doing film. Then two months ago I moved up here.
Why did I want to work on it? Well, the fact that they wanted
me [attracted me to this project]. Mostly, I wanted to learn more.
I wanted to see the dynamics of a bigger film crew. The projects
Ive worked on, its 3-4 people and we do everything.
I learned more about different positions. Like I said, before
we did everything, so I learned more about the different duties
for each person. Besides that, I learned a lot about lighting,
especially about the different equipment they use. Its a
lot easier to come up with different lighting schemes. Well, I
would like to be a DP at one point, but like everybody else, I
want to make my own films. I dont have a project or anything,
but I do want to make films. Ive already made five shorts,
but I havent made a feature.
I think it was a great learning experience. I think one of the
important things for me, is that I had the freedom to do whatever
I wanted, in many ways. Well, I had the freedom to move around,
if I wanted to help camera, and little by little they trusted
me more. Then Id help the grips. If it was a more structured
shoot, then I probably wouldnt have been able to [change
positions like] that. Also one of the interesting things about
the film was we had so many people from different parts of the
world, from different cultures. To interact and understand everybodys
accent, well mine included, I thought was great. I thought everybody
worked really hard. It was a very positive experience for me.
Yeah, Im getting use to the city of Los Angeles
Interview by permission from the producers of Gabriela.