noun || yəNG ˈhefā
Jaimie Sanchez is a Producer and Director.
YJ: How did you get into video production and direction?
JS: Funny story! I went to school for biology, and after college I decided being a doctor wasn’t the path I wanted to take. I come from a traditional family, and working in a creative field wasn’t an option. Despite the facts, I felt something was calling me and I moved to NYC. My first entry point into the “creative industry” was becoming the assistant for Damon Dash. At the time, he was starting a magazine. I wanted to be a writer, and joining his team made sense. Becoming his assistant manifested opportunities such as working at the forefront of a digital media company called Creative Control.
After that experience, I began working alongside Coodie and Chike. They’re film directors, cinematographers, screenwriters and producers. They both guided me through the process of cultivating my voice in storytelling and content curation. Soon after, I began working at ESPN where I had the opportunity to perfect my documentary and film making skills. The best part about working at ESPN was working on 30-For-30 and brining in black talent.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work at VICE for a total of four years, and I’m working now for Wav App. I’ve had a beautiful career journey and I’ve worked hard.
YJ: What are key components you look for when deciding to work on project (or not)?
JS: That no one got hurt and/or died in the making! Other than that, I would say trusting “your gut feeling” is a key component in deciding to work on a project. And during said project, there’s (hopefully) a moment for every filmmaker when you’re in the field and you can say, “I got it” and, “I got more than I need.”
YJ: What do you think is different about your creative process?
JS: It’s a few things:
I’m visually driven, so I think about “How has this been shot before? How is this typical? How can I do it differently?“ I move with emotion. I don’t just work on documentaries; my ideas are humanizing. Humanization of any and all characters is essential. And when working on a documentary, it’s not my job to show a bias…it’s my job to show truth. It’s very easy to manipulate the audience and the edit. I treat those things delicately.
A lot of times when interviewing people, I’m expected to ask typical questions. Instead I’ll ask, “What’s the last failure you experienced and how has that shaped your career?” For instance, when I interviewed A$AP Ferg about his father dying—the room went silent and you could instantly feel heaviness in the room. That’s my job: to create those moments! It’s also my job to exude trust. I move very much in that space. I’m not there to incriminate anyone, I’m there to get to know them.
I think that’s my strongest attribute. I’m a people person, and I think it’s because I’m a woman!
YJ: What was the last failure you experienced and how has that shaped your career?
JS: Two things:
I’ve experience a lot of failures. One of them was when I started my own production company. For example, I underestimated how hard it was (is) to manage finances for others within the company (taxes, invoices, etc.). I thought, “I’ll do this and do what I want.” It was the opposite, being business minded is essential—a production company is a BUSINESS not just a creative agency.
I tended to invest very heavily in other people’s projects or dreams. And my investments were all relationship based. I say this as a woman: our maternal instincts are very strong. If you’re in my personal space—in matters of the heart—I’m the first in line say, “I can help you do this.” Because of that, I automatically started to amplify someone else’s dream instead of my own. And I’ve fallen victim to that twice. After awhile, I had to realize that I should take that energy and focus it inward. Ultimately, don’t feed someone else’s dream and let yours starve. Our maternal instincts are VERY REAL THINGS. That experience wasn't a 100% failure, but that learning period was essential! Don’t forget to stand up for yourself and say, “I built those decks.” “I did that with you!”
YJ: If you could tell your younger self one thing about life, what would it be?
JS: I would say, stop being so scared. And I repeatedly tell myself that everyday. I’d also tell myself “you’re far more talented than you think.” And I would just tell myself to write. As an avid reader, I read people’s writing and I think, “this is genius.” I love brilliant writers. I’ve failed, fu*ked up, and missed opportunities, and I should have been putting more art into the world when I was younger.
Basically — Just fu*king do it!