We had the good fortune of connecting with Cali Wang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cali, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Of no doubt, Hollywood is an industry that values high-risk takers who know their worth and are not afraid of choosing the more challenging path in their career in order to improve their crafts and up their game. Through out the last three years in LA building my own relationships and network, I have learned that no matter how much you try to plan ahead, opportunities almost always come when you are not prepared for it. When I was offered to score my first feature film about two years ago, I was in a very early stage in my career and was working for multiple composers. I knew that my workflow was not mature enough to take the gig, and the scheduling will be very tight with all my other tasks going on. Yet I said yes to the project. The process was very challenging and there were quite a few times when I questioned my decision, but in the end, I found that I’ve not only learned so much about scoring, workflow, communication, but also got myself through the open doors of other collaborations because of this project. Had I got worried and said no in the beginning, none of these would’ve happened. Taking risks is always terrifying, but as long as you are dedicated to the challenge and work hard to overcome the difficulties, It will make you grow and lead you to connections and opportunities that you would’ve never imagined in the first place.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been very fortunate to have received many mentoring, supports and great advice throughout my career. One thing that I’ve learned the most from the pioneers in the industry, is attention to details. When we are on a tight schedule, it is easy to overlook small mistakes or imperfections as we get under the pressure of trying to deliver on time. However, the details, either a couple of missing notes from the arrangements or slightly unbalanced mixing, are the deciding factors that tell apart a great work of art and a average craftsmanship. Paying attention to details and devotion to do my best on every aspect is definitely a very valuable lesson that helped me learn and got me to where I am today. Another thing that I find very important, is curiosity to new things. We are in a industry that changes everyday and it is very important to keep up with what are upcoming, what are in trend, and what are the latest technologies to achieve them. On top of that, being curious about other people and their music and be interested in other people’s stories is a personality that I’m proud to have and have brought me to friendships and talents to collaborate with. We all draw inspiration from our daily lives and all we need to do is keep our eyes wide open for them. These are the lessons I learned and are the characters that I find best describe who I aim to be as a successful working professional.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Before Covid, whenever my friends visited the city, I’d love to take them to Pine and Crane for authentic and chic Taiwanese food, Sawtelle for a little stroll and Crepe, Fritto Misto which is my favorite Italian Bistro in Santa Monica, drive in movie experience at Cinelounge in hollywood, and finally, Jeni’s for Ice Cream!! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Although I am still in the early stage of my career, I would like to dedicate my thanks to my partner Jackson, for he is always there whenever I encountered rejections and failures, and talks me through my doubts and depression. He also encourages me to take opportunities and do my best in every pitches, even though some of them could be very long shots. I would also like to thank my mom for being a great supporter of my career, even though she lives far away back in Taiwan. She offers me guidance on building relationships with others, as well as great suggestions when I feel lost or unsure of what to do. I have been very lucky to be accompanied by my loved ones throughout my journey in LA, and it is definitely the most important thing that helps me to keep up with the challenges.