Today we’d like to introduce you to Ali Sayago.
Ali, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was raised in Venice, CA and grew up with a camera in my hand. My childhood had its ups and downs, and I captured the world as I saw it. My inspiration came from the many stories I’ve lived through. From an early age, I dove deep into my photography career. After years surrounded by the quiet yet chaotic world of the fashion industry and all of its eccentricities, I found myself addicted to the chase.
I woke up one day and realized something was missing. I wasn’t happy anymore and needed to take a break. During that time, I helped a friend of mine on a thesis project and he put me to work in the grip department. I instantly fell in love with the craft, the people and the lifestyle. That’s when I found my new home.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There’s absolutely nothing smooth about the film world, it’s a constant uphill battle. School does not prepare you for the endless challenges you’re confronted with on set. You have to move fast, safely and always keep a good attitude. The trick is to be “smooth while you move,” and when you have no idea what you’re doing, watch—that’s how you learn. You’ll bump into all kinds of people from all walks of life. Most of them will be kind and they’ll teach you what they know, while occasionally you run into the people that will shame you and put you down for not knowing.
My biggest obstacle has been developing the physical and mental strength that it takes to endure the long hours and heavy lifting. Breaking into a male-dominated industry definitely held its own world of challenges…the constant doubt that I can’t handle the job, being overlooked, fighting misogamy and learning to work more efficiently for my height and body size. I’ve learned how to work amongst large groups of men and has improved my confidence to stand amongst them and feel totally comfortable.
Please tell us about Grip.
A grip is focused on the management and control of the light, safely rigging lights into all kinds of places and supporting the camera department. We safely move and set the camera into any desired places, which could be from the outside of a moving car, an airplane and even dropping down a building. Safety is always our top concern.
I started my career as a grip a little over two years ago. After learning how to be a strong grip, I quickly moved up the ladder to lead teams(keying) on smaller shows and then transitioned to commercials and tier 1 (2 million+ budget) feature films.
Last year, my most common clients were Disney, Facebook, Netflix, Adidas, CBS and I started playing in large union TV shows. Given the opportunity, I can lead or be part of any film crew. I love helping the Director of Photography achieve her/his vision, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with incredible groups of talented people, each mastering their craft. Together, we make films.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Nothing, my life has been a rollercoaster of events with a lot of tragedy and exuberance.
- Website: alisayago.com
- Phone: 3104937859
- Instagram: @alisayago_