SUMMER JOBS CAN LAST A CAREER : FORMER STUDIO STREET SWEEPER NOW CLEANS UP AS FILM EXECUTIVE.
Three decades ago, as he was about to graduate from high school, Tony Sanchez was offered a job as a street sweeper at Universal Studios Hollywood on weekdays.
``I jumped at it,'' recalls Sanchez, who was already working weeknights at a restaurant. ``We were pretty poor and my father had been hurt by a hit-and-run driver, so we needed the money. Plus, I figured I'd be able to go out on Saturday nights and party.''
His first paychecks amounted to about $25 for two weeklong shifts. Thirty years later, he's still getting paychecks from Universal, but they're considerably bigger.
Sanchez has worked at the studio ever since that summer. His resume now includes food server, fry cook, mail room clerk and film editor. Today, he's director of post-editorial special projects and supervises 23 employees involved in duties such as distributing film trailers and replacing foul language for movies shown on network television.
The 48-year-old Sunland resident, who now pulls down an annual salary in the low six figures, will be completing 30 years at Universal in a few weeks just as its theme park starts adding 2,000 summer-season employees to its core of nearly 3,000.
For its part, Six Flags California in Valencia will be boosting its employee base of between 1,500 and 2,000 to about 3,500. It will be opening an expansion of its Hurricane Harbor attraction next month, so it is recruiting lifeguards along with ride operators, merchandise clerks, game operators, ticket takers, cashiers and food servers.
That's 4,000 new hires between the two area amusement parks; jobs that are typically just summer employment but that Sanchez proves could be much more.
``I try to offer lots of encouragement to the summer hires, because these are not dead-end jobs they're doing,'' Sanchez said recently. ``Just because I now wear a coat and tie, it doesn't change who I am or where I came from.''
The original job offer to Sanchez came from a Universal executive impressed by his making the Verdugo Hills High School varsity football team despite being only 5 feet 6 inches and weighing only 125 pounds. ``With the team, I was always doing extra wind sprints, so when I arrived here, I was always hustling, willing to do a little more,'' he said. ``I treated every supervisor like a coach.''
Sanchez had expected to be sent to Vietnam and had a 1-A draft status but was never drafted. He was soon married and the father of a child, shifting his status to 1-Y and giving him incentive to start climbing the job ladder - a manager at a soda stand, a cook at Hong Kong Hatties, a manager of the Flower Drum Song food stand, a mail room clerk and a gofer for associate producers.
In 1969, while working in the mail room, producer-director Robert Wise (best known for ``West Side Story'' and ``The Sound of Music'') suggested that Sanchez start learning the intricacies of film editing by becoming an assistant. ``Wise told me I'd be exposed to dailies and learn the business inside out,'' he said. ``So Universal became my university.''
He would eventually spend 18 years as a film editor, working on hundreds of movies and programs such as ``E.T. The Extraterrestrial,'' ``The Six Million Dollar Man'' and ``Schindler's List.''
WHO TO CALL
For summer employment in the entertainment industry, here are two local job hotlines:
Universal Studios (818) 622-5627
Six Flags California (805) 255-4800.
Photo: (Color) Tony Sanchez, who started work at Universal 30 years ago with a summer job, has done editing work on major films.
David R. Crane/Daily News
Box: (Color) WHO TO CALL (See Text)
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Article Type:||Statistical Data Included|
|Date:||Apr 19, 1997|
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