Luu Nguyen (BA 2014) – The Flash and Me: Television, Visual Effects, and Life after ASU

Luu Nguyen (BA 2014) – The Flash and Me: Television, Visual Effects, and Life after ASU


As Director of Internships, I
work with a lot of students, and I try to help them out
and give them practical experience so that they can
succeed after graduation. Luu, I didn’t even help. Luu was one
of those students who came so motivated, so prepared. She was
a freshman who already had begun doing things that it was
very easy and quite pleasurable to be able to find positions
that would help Luu succeed, that would help Luu
further her career endeavors because I knew I could count on
her, I knew that she was talented, I knew that she was quite
smart, and she became kind of a go-to person for me. If I
wanted to get something done right, if I wanted to provide
the people who provide our internships, and give them
someone who was really great so that they would want more
ASU students–those were the kinds of people that I always
look for–and Luu had that kind of talent. She’s someone
who got a job at the age of 20 at Disney, and that had to do
with a lot of internships that she had, including in public
relations at Olson, including working at Disney the summer
before, including working at Sedona Film Festival, including
working at the Phoenix Film Festival, working
at the State Press. She is someone who balanced her
schoolwork and her internship experience in extraordinary ways
that her, along with several students in the past, are able
to gain employment more than likely after they graduate. So
what she has to say is quite valuable to those who are freshmen
and those who are seniors in terms of being able to tell
your parents why it is that you want to be a Film and
Media Studies major, and how it is that you’re able to
secure a job after graduation, cause that’s every parents’ biggest worry.
So she’s going to tell you how it is that you
can do what you love, and get a job after graduation. So,
let me present Luu Nguyen. Hello, how is everyone doing?
Good? As Dr. Sandler said, my name is Luu, and I graduated
December of last year from the FMS program. I
currently live in Los Angeles, and I work on the CW show
The Flash in the Visual Effects department, so hopefully
some of you are either familiar with the show, or
know a little bit about it, because I’d love to get to show
you a little clip of our season opener that just aired in
October, so please enjoy! So, I get to work on a show in
the Visual Effects department with a show that has hundreds
of visual effects, as you can see. My official title is the
Visual Effects Post-Production Assistant. Basically, one of my
main jobs is to help assist and work with the entire Effects
team, and help coordinate the hundreds of shots that are
in each one of our episodes. This also means we help track
all the visual effects, and make sure the proper versions get into the show.
We also serve as the liaisons between our artists
as well as the producers and creative minds to make sure that
the script and what stories are being told are presented as
visually well as they can be presented. I know that’s just
a lot of talking about what I do, but, obviously, what we
just saw was what aired, so we got to see the cleancut version
of what airs officially, so I’d love to now give you the
opportunity to let you see what we see behind the scenes with
a few visual effects missing. So, as you can see, this is what we
get to see. There’s a ton of blue screens, green screens, a ton of rigs
that needed to be removed so that you don’t see a girl screaming because
she’s hanging on a rig. You see the Flash, maybe not running at his fastest
quite yet, and that’s because that’s what the Visual Effects department is for.
As you can see, there’s a ton of stuff that goes behind the scenes in
terms of putting the visual effects into the show. I noticed a couple
giggles at Firestorm’s white eyes, and his silly flame effects when he turns
into Firestorm. These are called Temporary V Effects. These Temporary V
Effects are important in our process because on set in production, when you have
to block out scenes, these Temporary V Effects help us block out all CG scenes.
We use these Temporary V Effects to help tell the story of what needs
to happen in our show. Obviously it’s definitely a rough cut, but it’s
super cool to see the front end of these blue screens turning into a giant
city, a giant singularity sucking people up into a black hole. It is such
a cool experience to see the process of how this becomes a show, and it
makes me appreciate how much work goes into television series, but also
film series as well. With that, let me tell you a little bit about my
backstory. Like I said, I did appreciate the backstory of how things are made.
Like many of you, I’m sure, what got me into wanting to work in this
industry is that I loved movies. I’m sure, all of you can agree. That sparked
from my dad having movie nights with me on Friday nights, and I would
sit with my younger brothers, and we would just sit there, watching movies
as a family. There was that, along with I grew up in a place called Gilbert,
Arizona, and there’s not a whole lot to do in Gilbert, Arizona. Over lazy
summers, I would coerce my two younger brothers to be my actors in my, as you
can see, poorly made Luu Productions. Basically what I would do is that I
would force them to be my actors, and I would make them do all these goofy
things, and I would record them. From there, I remember racing home and
running to my Windows Movie Maker, and wanting to put this footage together
really quick. So between loving movies, and wanting to put all these
goofy videos together, I thought that it would be really cool to pursue
this as a career. What drew me into movies in general was the story behind
everything, so I was encouraged by both family and friends to pursue a
degree in English, and learn the core elements of what it takes to create a
story, and in turn, hopefully be able to create stories outside of that. With
that, I entered ASU as an English-Lit major, with a Film-Media Studies minor.
I met Dr. Sandler at an English event–it was a KPop event, I think–and
I totally just remember having him talk about all these cool internship
opportunities, and I was wondering, “How can I get involved? That sounds
super neat, and I want to get my hands on, and learn all this stuff!” After
meeting Dr. Sandler at that point, and then kind of just bugging him, saying,
“Hey, what can I do? Where can I get started?” You know like an eager, crazy
freshman who wanted to pursue this. One of my first opportunities that Dr.
Sandler helped me out with was with the Sedona International Film
Festival. So, I worked for the Sedona International Film Festival, where
these pictures are taken from. A group of students and I got to go to Sedona
and spend a couple days there, running the social media platform. What we
did was that we interviewed notable directors, notable talent, and made
recap videos after many of these press rooms, and then created these video
segments that went online so that people who couldn’t make the festival could
also know what was happening and going on at the festival. That was super
cool because from our standpoint, we were asking questions as ASU students.
We were talking to people like Susan Sarandon, and Clayton Mandela, Nelson
Mandela’s grandson. So all of these really cool people in the industry were
just there, hanging out and answering questions for eager students, and
really just enlightening us on the film festival world. So that was definitely
an opportunity that I am very thankful for. Along with the Sedona Film Festival,
I also worked for the Scottsdale International Film Festival doing a
similar thing, as well as the Phoenix Film Festival. So, there are quite
a few festivals in the valley that provide these opportunities where you
can, as a student, talk to these people in the industry doing what you probably
want to do, and they are more than kind enough to let you know what
opportunities are out there, and where they got their start. Definitely
super thankful for that opportunity. One of my next opportunities, as Dr. Sandler
mentioned, was working for State Press Magazine during my time at ASU. I served as
the videographer as well as the multimedia editor for the magazine.
What this opportunity taught me was that it honed
in my writing skills. I had to write weekly for the paper and the
magazine, and what I wrote was ultimately published to people–it
was read by people. Not only that, but I also
got to create a video segment series, so I kind of advanced a little
bit from my Luu Productions, and got to do my own series called
State Press Magazine Coffee Conversations.
So, what I would do is that I would literally
set up a fake coffee table setup in random
places over campus, and would invite people to
come talk with me, and I would ask them one
thought-provoking question, film it, edit it, and put all their answers
into one cohesive story that ultimately would end up being published
online for people to view. This was a
really cool opportunity for me cause when I was balancing my
academics, it made me not only write, like I mentioned, but it also made me edit.
I knew it was important to really
understand the core basics of what made good movies good movies, and
what made good stories good stories, so I was learning that academically,
but at the same time, because I knew I
still wanted to edit, State Press was the
outlet for me to edit on a weekly basis. And that
was my time at State Press Magazine. Another internship opportunity
I had during my time at ASU was working for Olson Communications,
which is now known as Fingerpaint. I served as the
Disney Intern for this company. Basically, what this company does
is that it works directly with the studios out in Burbank, out in New York–
Disney, Dreamworks, Universal– and we would help promote the
films that had just come out. During my time at Olson was before
all that crazy Frozen stuff exploded with Disney, so I got
to run an event where they had live ice carvings, I helped promote
Thor, promoted a Star Wars series where I hung out with a
ton of storm troopers. Olson Communications was a really fun
opportunity for me because you got to talk about what you love–you
got to talk about what these movies were about, and generate
excitement and word of mouth for these movies for people to come
see these things. Olson, with my title as Disney Intern, was
ultimately what, I think, led me to my next opportunity, which was
working for the Walt Disney Studios. I worked as the Post-Production Technology
Intern with Walt Disney Studios. I picked up my things, and moved to
sunny Burbank from even sunnier Arizona last
summer, and basically, what I did there was that I worked with the
team that noted themselves as The Misfits; they are the Production
Technology team that supports all the live action films.
So, when I got there, they had
just helped finish up Maleficent, so one of my
coolest opportunities in the second week of my lot was that, I was
sitting at the Snow White Theatre, which had been there for years, and I was sitting
next to my supervisors, and we’re watching the credits roll by. As we are watching the
credits roll by, my supervisors are like, “You’re gonna meet them!
We’ve worked closely with them!” He knew all
these names on the credits, and it was just
super surreal to see that these people I got
to spend the entire summer with collaborate
and work with people whose names are on the credits.
I am cheesy where I love to stay and watch the credits,
but to have people I work with recognize the names, and actually work with these people
made it an even more surreal experience. My time at Disney was also spent shadowing
my now-mentor, where he basically let me sit at every single one of his meetings with
him. So, I would sit there, and I would take notes, and I would see what he was
talking about, and know partially what he was talking about. My favourite part of the meeting
was our walk to the office afterwards, because I would take
out my notebook and be like, “So, Mike, what
does all of this mean? Can you explain to me how this works?”
That was a huge learning opportunity for me because instead of saying that I should
probably know all of this already, he walked me through what each of
these things meant. So, literally being a shadow
and a fly-on-the-wall for his meetings totally helped me learn
more at this internship. So, I shadowed a bunch for him. During my internship there,
I got to work on a couple of film sets for Disney, like Disney-produced film sets. So, my fellow intern and
I–he was the Production Intern and I was the Post Intern–we did
behind-the-scenes stills for a short film that was made at Disney, which was super cool. I
got to be a background of some things, and I got to hang out with the entire crew, and
see what it would look like to be on a film set. Between that, shadowing
my mentor, enjoying the lot, and enjoying
Los Angeles for the first time, that internship served as more
than just a learning experience towards my career. It also showed me
that you can survive in LA, you can explore a cool city.
Walt Disney Studios was definitely a huge stepping stone in
terms of learning for me. I’ll be forever thankful for The Misfits
for showing me around, not only the industry,
but LA in general. So, now, I have just a
few tips that I learned from my experience at ASU
that hopefully may help some of you in the future.
In terms of internships, there’s a balance between
academic learning and hands-on experience,
so I encourage you to take advantage of local opportunities.
I remember being in your shoes and
thinking, “LA is where the jobs are at, New York
is where the jobs are at.” Really, there are so
many opportunities, and Dr. Sandler has helped me
realize this, that are local that you can do
that can get your hands-on experience while you’re
still in school, which I think is really fortunate.
Along with that, not only does Dr. Sandler
help, but the entire FMS, and the entire English
program offered up so much great advice and wisdom
in terms of helping where you want to go.
If you just talk with them and say that you’re
interested in something, there’s always one person
who is able to point you in the direction to get
you there, which I think is super helpful. Another
thing that I would suggest is that, with these internships, if
you know that you want to direct, if you know that you want
to write, if you know what you want to set
out to do, I encourage you to along the way
to just keep learning, and take advantages of
opportunities that are presented, even if they are
not necessarily what you want to do. I came into
this thinking that I just want to edit, but other
opportunities have presented themselves where I got
to do some marketing, social media–and all of
these opportunities have helped me become a more
well-rounded person. Once you’ve nailed down those internships,
tips on the job search. What I forgot to mention was that, Disney,
after I came back from the summer at Walt Disney
Studios, I talked with Dr. Sandler, and he let me know that Disney
counted towards graduation, and I can graduate in December. With the help of
all these internships and Disney, I was able to graduate in two and a half years,
not four. It really just expedited my learning because I was able to balance
academics but also hands-on experiences. So, Disney definitely helped expedite that, as
well as just having dual-credit under my belt from high school. My whole last semester
of ASU once I found out that I could graduate was spent applying for hundreds and
hundreds of jobs on top of academics as well as working as the multimedia editor
of magazines. So, my encouragement to you guys, when the time comes, and it’s almost
time to graduate, just start applying. Some things that would help me out is that I
would go to studio websites, and I would watch movies, and I would pay a little bit
closer attention to the companies that also help contribute to these movies, and
after the movie was over, I would Google if they had any opportunities. Studio
recruitment sites are also helpful. Another thing is that there are temp agencies in
Los Angeles that work directly with the studios, and they are
more than helpful in terms of placing you in
temporary jobs, where I’ve heard promising stories where you’re
working as an administrative assistant, and then you’ve become a fulltime employee
at a studio with these things in LA. Another tip is to reach out and ask
questions. What’s been super helpful for me is that there are a lot of ASU alumni in
California right now. So, they are more than willing to help out and point you in the
right direction if you just tell them what you’re interested in. Dr. Sandler knows all
of those people because he’s helped all of those people, so he helped put me in
contact with all of those people when I moved out there. Last but not least,
networking is key. We are told in all of our film classes that networking is very important,
but I encourage you to genuinely get to know people, and from there, the
networking just happens in itself. Something that both professors as well as mentors
and coworkers at The Flash right now have told me that, “Even though who you know might
help get you through the door, it’s what you know that keeps you there.” So I encourage
you to also, at the same time while you’re busy balancing jobs and life and
stuff, to also take advantage of being at ASU and learning all that you can learn.
And those are my tips on the job search. Once you land that job interview,
here are some tips that have helped me out as well. I am also a super
lucky girl in the sense that one of my aunts owns her own
employment agency. So, from a young age, I was able to call her, and be
like, “Hey, I don’t know how to approach this interview! What do I do?
What do I say?” So, these are some tips that she provided me
that has helped me as I pursue my career endeavors. The first thing
that I would suggest is to prepare. I was thinking about if I should
share this story or not, but I already work for The Flash, and
they know me. Before my Flash interview, I binge-watched six
episodes of The Flash. I knew about it because my cousins had watched
it, and my brothers were familiar with it, but I had watch ed six
episodes of the Flash. While I’m sitting in my interview, one of
my now bosses was like, “So, what is your favourite episode so far?”
And i was drawing a blank. I was like, “Uhm, there’s that one episode
where he runs really fast, and he saves the day…” And they were
just cracking up because they knew I had prepared for it, but I
was thrown off guard a little bit in terms of what exact episode was
my favourite. So, I encourage you to prepare for your interviews.
Another thing that had helped me in the interview process is
also to just let your personality shine out. You are going to be working
with–in any job–you’re going to be working with these people
for any given amount of time, so why not just let your personality
shine out in your interview? Obviously, you’re being professional,
but have your personality shine out because they want someone who
will be a team player. I have had experiences with both phone, Skype,
and in person interviews during my time in LA, just some practical
tips for those things. For phone interviews, I remember my first
phone interview, I was nodding as I was on the phone, and I was
like, “Wait! They can’t see me nod!” One thing to do with phone
interviews is just to make sure that they acknowledge that you’re
there, so interject once in awhile to let them know that you’re not asleep.
For Skype interviews, my Disney interview was a Skype interview.
A silly story from that was that I was Skyping with the
team, and I couldn’t hear them very well, so what I did was that I
leaned in closer as if we were in person, instead of turning up the
volume on my computer. For Skype interviews, they’re definitely
a little bit easier than phone interviews because you actually see
them, but there’s a whole ‘nother realm of weirdness when it comes
to Skype interviews especially because we live in Arizona, and
the hubs are not in Arizona. And last but not least, in person is the
most ideal because they can see you nod, you can hear them by leaning
closer, so I just encourage you to let your personality shine
through in in person interviews. A couple other things that have helped
me out as well were thank you cards. The snail mail, like old
school snail mail. They really go a long way, just sending a thank
you card, thanking these people for their time. I have noticed that
it makes a complete difference. I was told this example from many
career fairs. If you have two equally qualified applicants, and
one sends you a thank you card, and other does not, who do you think
might get the job? A little bit of snail mail goes a long way, as
well as just following up with emails and thanking people for their time.
Something unique about follow-up emails though is that I
actually got a rejection letter from an internship I had applied
for earlier this year. In my follow-up email, I thanked them for
their time, and for the opportunity to speak with them, but at the
same time I was super bummed, and I wanted to know why I didn’t
get the opportunity, so I pried a little bit, and I wrote in my
email, “Thank you so much for the opportunity, if there is anything
I can do to further my career, or be a better applicant for the
next time around, please let me know,” not expecting them to respond.
In turn, they responded to me, and gave me all these resources
that helped my career out in the future. Follow-up emails aren’t just,
“Hey, did I get the job?” But also still connect you to people
even if you don’t get the job. As wrapping up, life in Los Angeles.
So, life in Los Angeles is super, super fun.
Especially if you love movies to begin with, you
will just have a completely different perspective of movies because, I noticed,
when I travelled to some places, I recognized this building because it was in
one of my favourite movies. Not only is the area beautiful, but the people you get
to work with–specifically on The Flash team–all of these people have been in the
industry for decades, just even talking with them, and hearing their perspective on
the industry, their perspective on their work, has been such a valuable thing for
me, and life in LA. Another thing that I suggest if you want
to make the move to Los Angeles is to set up a
nest egg because LA is not cheap. LA is super pricey, and so from
both lecture series that I have attended, as well as just family advice, set up
many nest eggs because, especially working with TV, you’re basically working project
by project. I’m on season two of The Flash right now, but who knows what is in
store for season three? You know, when you work on films, movies, once they’re
finished being made, they’re finished being made. So you’re ultimately working project
by project, is what I have learned. So having a nest egg when you’re either
searching or on hiatus definitely helps. A few more things. Be
prepared for some long hours, especially as an assistant, and
some tough work. Especially because I work in television,
and we have a weekly air date, the hours are super,
super long, and so, the work is super tough as well,
sometimes just getting used to everything, and getting used
to different people. In the end, it is such a rewarding experience.
For me, personally, the most rewarding has
been, because I work on a show called The Flash, and
because I have younger siblings, they watch the show on
Tuesdays, and then they call me up the next day, and tell
me what they think about it. So, it’s super cool to kind
of see their perspective, and have them actually enjoy
the stuff I’m working on, while also working tirelessly
to make sure people do enjoy it. So, there are a
lot of really rewarding experiences that come from
working out in the industry. As I wrap up, I’d like to just say a
few thank yous, if that’s okay. Thank you to Dr. Sandler for providing me
with my first few opportunities, and still serving as a mentor for me
as I continue to pursue this crazy trade–I really appreciate all of this.
As well as thank you to the entire FMS and English program and faculty.
I would not be anywhere I am now without the help of my counselor
just giving me real wisdom and advice for my career pursuits, so
thank you to them. Thank you so much to The Flash team, who is probably
working really hard right now, thank you for letting me have the opportunity
to come and speak with the students about the cool stuff we’re
doing in Burbank. Thank you to my Misfits team at Disney for being kind of
the people who really just showed me what LA was like, and really just opened
the door to all these opportunities that I have right now, so thank you
to them. And lastly, thank you to my friends and family, who without their
support, prayers, and advice, I would not be able to stand up here to
tell you about all the cool things that I’ve been lucky enough to do,
so thank you all for your time! “Okay, so, first of all, pretty amazing stuff,
and very generous of Luu, so let’s make sure we give her a big hand.
So, we do have plenty of time for some
questions, so whoever has them, I will take them for Luu. So,
questions? This can be about anything: this can be about her work, this can be about LA,
this can be about what she did here at ASU.” “So, I had a question
about your experience at ASU. How closely did you
follow your major map? I know that they stress
that a lot, so how important was that in your
journey as a student?” I followed that pretty closely.
I came into ASU with 30 credits under my belt because of
dual-enrollment, so I was already starting off a little bit ahead
of the game. That meant that all I did was take my core
classes, so those along with my internship credits, I stuck pretty
closely to it. So, I didn’t have as many “fun” classes, I just
took all of my English classes, and all of my Film classes,
which were fun, by the way,they were very fun. So I stuck pretty
closely to my core classes. “But, it also sounds like you had a
lot of fun at those internships.” Yeah, totally, a different kind of fun. “As far as editing, what was
something that you didn’t know that you learned
while you were in class?” Specifically with editing,
I learned a lot. I used Windows Movie Maker, which
isn’t the greatest program in the world, so from there,
I learned that there are so many different programs
that do so many different things. I remember at Disney,
I was super overwhelmed. I told my supervisor, “There
are a lot of programs out there, and I really want to edit.
Which one do I focus on?” And he
encouraged me to just know that, if I just know the
basics, and the whys on why these certain softwares do what they do,
and how certain tools on these programs work,
as long as you know the basics of that, it’s easy
enough from there to just go on and learn the actual
commands of it. So, know why you use the tools that
you use, and then the technical stuff will follow.
So, tons of technical stuff that I’ve learned from
my Luu Productions days. “Is it all Mac, or do they
have some PC in the editing rooms?” From my understanding, specifically
with The Flash, we all use Macs. We have four in house
artists who do a lot of our shots as well, so I believe that
a majority of them use Macs, and one uses a PC, and we
always give him crap for it. “And you also said you
minored in Film and Media Studies? Did that matter,
or did you just enter the industry, not even majoring
in this, and they asked about your internships,
and they said okay?” So, that’s the thing. In both
my interviews with Disney and The Flash, they obviously
saw that I was pursuing English instead of Film, but
what was more important to them was that they saw
this Arizona girl who had already had a Disney internship
under her belt without being in California. It is
important to have your degree under your belt, but at the
same time, most of what they looked at was the prior
experiences that I have. “So, how did you get into visual effects? You
said that you just enjoyed editing, but I know that visual effects
is its own other entity in editing, so how did
you get into that?” I, obviously, loved editing,
but what got me into visual effects was a love for
animation as well. This all just stems back to stories.
I loved the fact that companies like Disney and
Pixar can make you cry over toys coming to life–stuff
that can’t actually happen practically, like having
toys come to life, or fish talk, or stuff like that.
That love for animated films made me want to become
an editor in the future for those kinds of films that
can invoke all this emotion from something that someone creates.
It’s a little bit of a tie between
loving animation, but also loving visual effects. So,
working on a show like The Flash, it’s astounding to
me that we can combine really cool stories with
visually appealing shots that help better the story,
so just a love for both animation and story just
brought me to visual effects. “I think what she’s also asking is how
you also got into the door of it.” So, my supervisor at
Disney, the one that I shadowed at all the
meetings, when he found out that I moved out to LA,
he said, “Okay, we’re going to find you a
job”–like, he said “we.” He had a cousin that
worked on the show, and they had an opening for
a visual effects post production assistant. My
resume got thrown into the loop, and I got an
interview with them. From there, I worked with them.
I jumped on board mid-season, so the
end of February, and from there, worked until
the end of the first season, and was asked
back for season two. So, that was the practical
way I got the job. Out of all the hundreds of
jobs that I had applied for originally, I had yet
to get an interview, and it was my network
that helped me get it. “I know you said that there are websites
and temp agencies in LA that can help you get a job. Is there
anything like global agencies that can help
you get jobs elsewhere?” His name is Dr. Sandler! Between that and
local sites, from what I learned on people’s websites, if you go the bottom page where
it says “contacts,” if you just show them that you’re interested, I can’t imagine
a scenario where they would say, “No, we’re not interested.” I think they would be
very eager to have eager students to help with the job. Dr. Sandler will help with
that and the English department has listings of companies we worked for in the past.
So, that helps a lot, rather than just applying cold turkey, and saying, “Hey,
this is who I am.” The English and Film department have people
they can also call up and say, “Hey, we have
very eager students!” “While we’re on the time you
were on the State Press, it got you contact with different
media companies, correct?” That is true. “What was the most difficult situation,
and how did you overcome it?” Well, personally for me, at
Disney, I remember shadowing my supervisor at all these meetings,
and it would seriously sound like they were talking
in another language; they kept using these acronyms,
as if they were talking in another language. I remember
being super encouraged by the fact that I can sit in
on these meetings, but super overwhelmed because I didn’t
know half of what they’re saying, and I wanted to be an editor.
That was super challenging for me at first
because I just felt very unprepared at the time. What was
cool about that opportunity is that it just made me ask
more questions. Instead of just asking questions and
being like, “Oh, yeah, I get that,” I would just as Mike
over and over again, “Sorry, what exactly does that mean,
and how does that correlate with this and this?” So, it
made me braver in terms of asking questions when I really
needed to understand things. “So, I know you’re mostly involved with
visual production, [indistinguishable].” We actually shoot not in
Burbank, but in Canada, so I don’t get to talk directly
with set designers, but I learned in my set
experience at Disney that, you know, learning why sets
are set up the way that they are, and why we use
a blue screen instead of a green screen–those kinds
of things definitely have helped me out. I do
think that every role that is involved in preproduction
and postproduction they all work hand in hand.
The more you know about preproduction, the better
you’ll be at post. Vice versa as well,
especially coming from the post standpoint, if we are
working on some visual effects shots, the way
that they shoot it on set totally affects how we
approach the shot. It makes you a better editor, and
it makes you a better set designer once you know
what the pipeline is. “From a financial standpoint,
I know you mentioned the nest egg when you move out,
or if you choose to move out to LA. When you have the
internship, would you recommend getting a day job if it’s
not a paid internship?” Totally. Nest egg for
me is to make sure that you’re financially able
to withstand pursuing your creative endeavors. LA is expensive
in general, so just being smart on how you spend your finances.
I’ve talked to a few people out there who do
work day jobs, and they talk about how tough it
is to be working those day jobs, while also
trying to job search. That advice was just
stemming from, you know, if you really want to be
pursuing these creative jobs, in the end, you should really try to
focus on that as much as you can. Having a nest egg lets you build
in on that time to just pursue those while you can.
Obviously, do whatever is practical,
and what will keep you fed and clothed, but
be financially smart. “During your internships,
would you say that there was something specific
that got you noticed, or directly or indirectly
got you employment works somewhere else after
those internships?” Do you mean specifically for
The Flash, or in general? “The Flash and for any other
job that you’ve had.” Yeah, totally. It definitely
helped in the sense that I could talk about how I’m going
to school, and learning about what makes a good movie
a good movie, and what makes a good story a good
story, but at the same time, I’m learning how to
practically do these things. So, having these internships
helped highlight that I wasn’t just interested
because I thought it would be fun, I was genuinely
interested on using these skills from past opportunities
that I’ve had, and be able to apply it to a job.
It definitely showed that I was eager to learn. So,
even if the opportunities that I had in the past
didn’t correspond directly with what I was applying for,
I was able to show that I am interested, and even if
I wasn’t directly editing quite yet, I still got my
hands on editing systems, and I was passionate on
what I wanted to pursue. “I know people talk about how
it’s a lot harder to be a woman in Hollywood than a man, and I
just wanted to know if you had any personal experience where you
were treated differently than a guy in your position, or if
you faced any discrimination.” “To put this into perspective
for you, I am one of three women in the entire
postproduction office, so I’m a little outnumbered
in that sense. From my experience so far,
I haven’t experienced any discrimination as of yet.
It is definitely different though, just
working with a majority of men who know comic books
like the back of their hand. As of now, I’ve
been lucky enough to not experience such discrimination,
and I am lucky enough to work with a team
that totally just drives you all together because
we work so closely and so much together. I have
been told in the past that it is a boy’s club–the
industry is a little bit of a boy’s club–that’s
just a little bit more fuel to the fire to
just keep doing what I’m doing, and not letting
those things outdo me. “Do you think it’s changing
generationally, like do you think there’s more of a balance?
Can you tell?” I can’t tell at the moment;
it’s different for me too, because for the team that
I work on, I am part of the younger spectrum of things,
but I think slowly, but surely, it is definitely
moving in that direction. “When you were in an
internship with the magazine company, and you edited, what
programs were you using?” I was using Final Cut Pro
as well as Adobe Premiere. “Since you said that you always
wanted to do editing, is there a reason you chose to major in Lit
and minor in Film, rather than the other way around? I know
you said you wanted to learn storytelling and stuff like that,
but is there a reason for this?” To be honest, I declared my English
major earlier on, and the Film minor afterwards. After talking to both my
counselors, I was double-majoring at the time, I made the conscious decision
to drop the Film to a minor, instead of finishing up as a double major.
So, that’s the story behind that. “Do you feel like the Lit
helped run you as a person?” Totally, I would not do it over again.
I loved the program, and it really challenged me
to read beyond what I enjoyed reading, and watch beyond
what I enjoyed watching. It really helped expand my horizons
to know why things are. “For moving in Los Angeles, was that
process really difficult? Not just culturally, but everything–having to try
and live there. What were your steps?” Totally. That was the thing: I
didn’t move with a job. I had just graduated, and I had a big nest egg
that would keep me alive until I had a job. Basically, I walked, I packed
up all of my stuff, said goodbye to all of my family and friends,
hopped into my little Corolla, and drove across to LA. I am currently
staying with a family friend, who lets me rent a room in her
house, which is very helpful. I had that already set up for me, but it
was just a literal move, and it was definitely super tough. You learn
to be appreciative of onramps, freeways; as silly as that sounds,
you learn to appreciate no traffic, and people who can actually drive.
It was definitely tough, and it was a little bit of culture shock
just going from Arizona, and picking up and moving to this giant city.
I wouldn’t change it for the world because it taught me so much.
It definitely takes a couple months to feel kinda settled in;
you start calling freeways certain names, and you know all the hip and
happening places in LA. Even though it was super tough logistically,
for some things, it’s worth it. “And you did that for two months, right?” Yeah, a lot of planning
went into the apartment search. I’m very grateful
for the opportunity I have now, but there
were lots and lots months of pre-planning.
I know people who use Craigslist and just use
the internet to search for apartments! It is a
little bit harder to just pick up and
move–there are practical things that you do need
to plan ahead of time. “How many hours do you
work a week, and how many of those hours are
you actually working?” I am contracted to work 55 hours
a week, so I work from 9:30 to 9, the earliest is when I leave.
I am paid for all of them. “12 hour days.” 12 hour days! Be prepared for no sleep
and lots of coffee is what I learned. “If you teach college,
it’ll only be a 23 hour day, but we don’t make
as much in the long run.” “Since you started with
editing, and I see you’re on The Flash, what are
the other things you want to achieve, what are
the things you want to do, what are the heights
you want to take on?” I love what I do at
the moment, but what originally got me into
this industry is editing, so one day, I want to
be able to have the three letters behind my
name, ACE–it stands for America’s Cinema Editor–so, I want to
be able to see those three credits after my name on either a film,
a tv show–anything. That’s still the goal as
of now, so who knows? “As far as your internships go, was
the application process competitive?” I think so, they’re a
little bit competitive. For the local things from
Arizona, because I talked to my counselor and Kevin
Sandler, they kind of already knew me, and those
recommendations definitely helped a ton. Like, even
though it was competitive, having those people back
up my work definitely helped. In terms of Disney,
that one was very competitive, I think, but I only found
out after the fact. “Do you know the numbers?” The numbers were… My supervisor let
me know that for the next round of summer interns, they had over 8000
applicants apply for two positions–super competitive. But at the same time, think
about it, if you don’t apply, then the answer will always be no. That’s just
my approach to everything–yes and no!

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