Benito Sanchez Camera production assistant for Alexander Payne’s film, Nebraska

, 2013

During his senior year at UNL, Benito Sanchez had the opportunity to work on Alexander Payne’s latest film, Nebraska, as a camera production assistant and as the personal assistant to Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael.

In addition to Sanchez, recent Carson School alums Jacob Heger (B.F.A. 2010, M.F.A. 2012), Jake Denney (B.A. 2012) and Rudy Jansen (B.F.A. 2012) also worked on the Payne film. Assistant Professor of Film Sandy Veneziano served as Art Director for the film and said the experience was invaluable for Sanchez and the other Carson School alums.

“They’re actually in the real deal, on a real film set getting hands-on experience with seasoned professionals,” Veneziano said. “This is a real job, and you’re tested every day and hopefully mentored. I know Benito learned a lot.”

Sanchez said that environment was challenging to work in.

“We pretty much shot everything on location, so that meant we had to compete for space everywhere,” he said. “And you had to make sure you didn't mess up the locations. You had to work efficiently and fast because there was very little room for error, as far as scheduling.”

They also worked as a team.

“We weren’t individuals,” Sanchez said. “We were part of a team. And I got to know those guys really well, too, just being so close to the entire crew for 30-40 days. It really did feel like a family.”

Sanchez said Payne’s movies have a reputation for feeling like a family.

“He always remembered your name, which I thought was really impressive,” Sanchez said. “He would greet you in the morning. I’d see the tone that he brought to set, and it just kind of infected everybody else. Everyone kept telling me that I was spoiled that this was my first feature film because I'm not going to get it as nice as this probably again ever.”

Benito Sanchez working on the Nebraska Film
Benito Sanchez