Shark Week is upon us, as it has been for 28 years. While we marvel at the awesomeness of the predators of our nightmares, you have to wonder about the folks who actually get in the water with them to get the footage. Andy Brandy Casagrande IV, in addition to having the world’s most awesome name, is a shark cinematographer. He’s the one who gets a great white shark to say "cheese" for the camera. He shares some tidbits about his job with us.
The shark-proof cage so often seen in TV specials serves a real purpose. Casagrande is well-known for diving without one, but there are times when even he prefers the security a cage can provide. “The cage protects you from sharks that might be a little more bitey than usual,” Casagrande says. “It can keep you safe from sharks that might sneak up on you, or if visibility is bad, or in the dark.”
Sharks have unique personalities just like people, according to Casagrande. “If you’re at a party or a bar and you see some dude that has bloody knuckles or a black eye, and he looks angry, that’s not the kind of guy you walk up to and stick your GoPro in his face," he says. "Often if a shark is all chewed up and looks like a brawler, that shark is not afraid to engage in conflict.” But many sharks are ambush predators, and so you may not see that brawler coming—hence the cage.