We had the good fortune of connecting with Lydia Tsou and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lydia, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Dropping my summer plans to fly from California to Missouri to work on a feature film. Funny because you’d think it might be the opposite way around, right? Anyway, because of that one decision, it truly got the ball rolling for me in the film industry. Before I worked on the feature, I would only work on narrative short film sets a handful of times a year – granted I was a full-time university student, my major had nothing to do with film, I had multiple part-time jobs to juggle, and I was building up my freelancing photography business. After working on the feature, I more than tripled the amount of films I worked on within a year. It was quite a wild ride to be on that set. The 4 of us who came from California drove all over Missouri, crossing half the state multiple times. We accidentally crossed into Kansas once, explored and filmed in some caves, and we even drove to Chicago to spend a few days there to shoot some scenes out on Lake Michigan. In total, we drove over 2,800 miles! Through the long hours of driving, working, eating, and living together for almost a month, I was able to form a really special bond with the director and the director of photography. To this day, we still work very closely with one another, and we’ll actually all be working on another feature film in the near future! I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
What sets my business, Evergreen Captures, apart from others is the perfect combination of having an organized structure while being adaptable enough to easily go with the flow whenever needed. Half of me is a highly detail-oriented planner, while the other half of me is spontaneous. Throughout the process, circumstances change and people change. I provide detailed, thoughtful, and clear-cut communication from the very beginning and act with swift fluidity to adapt to any unforeseen circumstances. This provides clients/artists with the best of both worlds. Maintaining flexibility to provide those I work with with an end product that exceeds their expectations and gives them full satisfaction is what I love to do. I’m currently most excited to work on a feature film that will be produced across three different continents: North America, Europe, and Africa. I’ve never worked on an international project like this before so I’m really looking forward to experiencing something new and challenging! I began my freelancing business as a photographer when I was 17 years old, in high school. It’s been over 6 years now and to say it was easy would be far from the truth. My biggest obstacle was myself. I struggled for a very, very long time to know my worth. While my clients and many around me would tell me that they loved my work, I constantly undervalued it – and in so doing, I undervalued myself as an artist. I felt inadequate and often had self-doubt that I was “good enough.” After several years, the combination of constant encouragement from my close friends and family and realizing that perfectionism was crippling my perception of self-worth and was holding me back helped me to overcome that challenge. Three important lessons that I learned along the way were: One, constantly check back in with your priorities so that you always have a clear understanding of them. Two, learn to say no so that you can have a work-life balance and take better care of your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Three, “the harder you work, the ‘luckier’ you’ll get” – so keep on putting your head down to hone your craft and to prepare for those “lucky” moments, because “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Especially as an ethnic and gender minority in the American film industry, I aim to use my skill set to empower, uplift, and advocate for underrepresented individuals and organizations because I know that representation matters and it makes a profound impact on people. My overarching goal is to capture and create meaningful moments, lessons, and stories to have a positive, everlasting impact.
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?
I’d take them to Joshua Tree National Park to go stargazing and to enjoy a night free of noise pollution. We’d drive up the mountain roads to either Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead to experience fresher, cleaner air and to see the beautiful forests and lakes. We’d also head to Laguna Beach for clean, soft sand, beautiful water, and fascinating tide pools. I’d take them to Marugame Udon for my favorite udon, Bopomofo Cafe for their taro sweet milk and Mapo tots, Wanderlust creamery for their unique ice cream flavors (I love the “Japanese Neapolitan” – matcha, black sesame, and hojicha flavors), Sidecar or Blue Star doughnuts, and Perch restaurant for great rooftop views of LA paired with good food. I’d also love to cook for them and have a nice picnic with views of DTLA, such as Elysian Park or Griffith Observatory.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Ryan Hoang. He’s the same DP/cinematographer who brought me to work on the feature film in Missouri! He’s mentored me throughout most of my film career. He’s sacrificed his own time to help me grow and improve as a cinematographer and he’s taught me much of what I know today. It was because he continually gave me opportunities to work on different sets that I am where I am today. From different features, to short films, to music videos, to commercials, I’ve learned a great deal by working with him. His care, kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, and constant support is one of the biggest factors that has encouraged me and kept me going. I really admire Ryan’s work ethic and hold him to a high regard. I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for me. I hope to one day be as good of a mentor to others as he has been for me.
Other: IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9015030/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Photo 1 by Angus Chang Photo 2 by Angel Lynne