We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelsy Lua and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelsy, how do you think about risk?
What will happen if we never take risks in life? That idea in itself actually scares me more than the idea of taking risks. I believe that if we never take any risk in life, we’ll always be stuck in our comfort zone; we will never grow or learn new things. We won’t be exposed to situations that will allow us to discover more about ourselves and our talents and potentials. We won’t have the possibility of unleashing something bigger and greater. I pursued Psychology for my bachelor’s degree and never imagined that I would pursue filmmaking as a career. It never crossed my mind because I thought it was just a pipe dream. During my undergrad studies, I wanted to minor in film but was too afraid to do it. At that time, I didn’t have the guts. I didn’t believe in my abilities and doubted myself. After I graduated, I curiously asked a friend, “If you had to choose any career in life, regardless of the money or skillset you have, what would it be?” My answer was to be a filmmaker. And he responded, “Why don’t you do it then?” I laughed, “Are you kidding? There’s no way I would do that.” He told me that there is no such thing as impossible. If I have a dream, I should chase after it. I shouldn’t let fear stop me from chasing the dream. He suggested that I could even pick up my iPhone now and shoot anything. “What’s stopping you?” He asked. I stood silent for a moment and realized that he was right. I took the words to heart and decided to take the risk. I decided to pursue film editing, which was the best decision I had ever made. I had asked myself, would I regret more if I had taken the risk or if I didn’t even try? If I didn’t try, I would regret it for the rest of my life. That risk brought me to where I am today, discovering my true passion and calling in life, and I will always be grateful for taking that risk.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a freelance editor, and I am currently collaborating with filmmakers on their films. I see myself as a collaborator and a storyteller as an editor. Every time I work on a new project, I am always very excited. I love bouncing ideas with directors and using my editing skills to make the story as strong as possible. I always try my best to shape the character and story arc of the story while supporting the director’s vision. As someone who is also very interested in psychology, I can understand the characters’ behavior and emotions and transmit that understanding to my editing. Being able to connect with the characters enables me to bring their emotions to life. I would say that even if the job seems fun and exciting, there are still many challenges I have to overcome. Trying to manage work-life balance is difficult because we spend long hours working on projects. What is seen on screen is just a tiny amount of what truly is behind the scenes of making a film. It takes a lot of commitment and time that many people outside the industry don’t truly understand. You pour all your heart and energy into perfecting a film, and you are expected to receive many criticisms and feedback that may be overwhelming at times. I’ve learned to take breaks and make sure to take care of my physical and mental health. I also learned that we all need to have hobbies on the side to take off our minds from working 24/7. As artists, our minds work non-stop because we are trying to hone our creativity and if we do not relax our minds, we may feel too burnt out. I’ve learned to take things easy sometimes and not put too much pressure on myself. It’s easy to compare yourself with others, and I realized that every person has their journey and pace. By allowing myself to relax and take breaks, I can become more energized when a new opportunity comes along.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I still need to explore more within the city! There are so many places to discover in Los Angeles. I would suggest going to the Getty Center, which has really lovely scenery and a museum to visit. Hiking to the Hollywood sign and stopping at the Griffith Observatory would be refreshing. I love the cafes here such as Nature’s Brew and brunch places like Urth Caffe and Bottega Louie. Little Tokyo is also a nice place to hang out and dine in delicious Japanese food and bars. There’s a great bookstore to check out as well called The Last Bookstore. Of course, my all-time favorite is strolling in the beaches such as Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and many more.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not be where I am right now without the unconditional support from my mom. She supported me throughout my life and pushed me to reach for my dreams and passions. When I told her I wanted to pursue filmmaking, there was no doubt in her mind that I would succeed in it. I couldn’t ask for a better mom. She really believed in me and encouraged me to do what I love in my life. I also need to thank my family and lifelong friends who have also been incredibly supportive of me and who help me see new life perspectives. And I want to thank my professors and new friends that I made in film school who inspire me every day and motivate me to do my best. Finally, I want to thank my mentors I’ve gotten to know since graduating who guide me and help me with challenging situations. I am very grateful to have a very supportive system. They deserve a lot of credit to my successes.