We had the good fortune of connecting with Liang-Chun Lin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Liang-Chun, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
I am a bit of a control freak, even though I tried my best to be a pleasant one. I just can’t deny… micro-managing the screen makes me so happy sometimes. It’s been quite hard to balance between over-expressing and respecting the creative freedom of my crew especially with my language barrier, but it’s been working out well so far. All the crew members could clearly get my vision and the actors were mostly happy and clicked on the directions. However, there’s a price behind it. To be very precise and not confusing, it always takes me ten times more effort to prepare. I’ve been trying all different positions other than writing and directing throughout my undergrad and professional years: producing, camera, wardrobe, hair-makeup, production design, editing, Foley and ADR, color grading, graphic designing to marketing. I learned every bit I can to know what I’m talking about and how much it takes to make my own vision happen, therefore appreciate my crew’s energy and time even more. Before meeting my actors, I need to act through every scene as every character to feel their “shoes” and to know what blocks they might be hitting. This help me react fast on set to solve problems for actors and make them feel comfortable. I can normally notice what’s bothering actors before they notice themselves. Being considerate while pursuing my vision is a hard balance, but it makes me a happy director, too, when my cast and crew find the process rewarding and well understood. Knowing my crew and cast are happy at work makes me a happy director, too.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Due to the chemistry of my family. I was naturally both rational and emotional. I’m sensitive and observant on generating feelings but also maintain to be organized to make it happen. This is why I enjoy working both above-the-line and below-the-line on filmmaking (Meaning either creative or executive.) When I’m not a writer director, I serve as an assistant director and push myself to work for people AND the art at the same time. I cannot just do as people told me. I need to really get into directors’ vision before I make it happen, so I can treat others’ babies like my own babies. This is how I keep in touch with my creativity throughout many years working on others’ projects, To deliver other directors’ vision in coordinating process also helped me become a more efficient and decisive director myself.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a tough one for me… as I’m such a stay-at-home person. My favorite places in SoCal is all kinds of markets. I just love the huge variety of markets and food we have. Whenever I’m stressed I would pick a market to hang out. Chinese market, Korean market, Japanese market, Viet market, Mexican market and local farmer’s market. Then I will grab a take out of sushi or Pho on my way home. Those are the places to meet people of different community and smell the real life of SoCal. 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?
There are so many! Don’t even know where to start from! I have a long-term partner in Taiwan. Her name is Yi-Ju Chuan. She’s the most inspiring and supportive assistant director I’ve ever worked with. She’s so talented but never stops learning more. Whenever I’m holding back on what I want due to many production concerns, she always pushes me to communicate and manages to get me the best. She taught me to fully trust my team, partially because she’s so capable herself. When your AD knows exactly what you want without you saying, that’s just some magical moments you won’t forget. I also cannot ignore the impact on me from both my undergrad, Chengchi University in Taiwan, and grad school, Chapman University in California. My mentors including Yae-Wei Wang, Syou-Ling Fu, Thomas Harris, Rachel Goldberg and John Badham. Each of them has a tremendous influence on me and in fact changed my way of watching movies. If I ever consider teaching someday, that would be because I need to pass down what I have learned from them.
Suno Chen, Meng Ting Lee, Apoorva Sankar.