We had the good fortune of connecting with Peng Wang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peng, how do you think about risk?
As a cinematographer, risk is an important factor no matter for this career or my personal life. On the one hand, it sometimes makes me feel pressured and insecure, the income of the freelance is unstable and there are always some new challenges with every project. On the other hand, the risk makes every project have some creativity and I always want to try to explore some new things. It’s important for filmmakers to take some risks to try to explore new ways of visual expression.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Honestly, it’s not that easy for me to get to where I am today. Like many other peers, until I got my first bachelor’s degree in China, I was still exploring what I really want to do for my life. I came to America alone and I spent two years in Minnesota and three years in California separately. The different environment allows me to get more freedom to choose what I really want to do. I’m very lucky to get the second chance to study a totally new field and I finish my transition in these five years. I can’t overcome those challenges without the support of my family and help from my friends. The lesson I learned most is patience and relationships. It always takes a lot of time to explore ourselves and finish some important transitions in life. Most people are not lucky enough to get what they want or even know what they want because of the loss of patience. The patience can come from themselves or come from the closest relationships between them. That’s why it’s so important to maintain relationships with the people you love and are close to. Because I can’t get where I am today if I lost patience or those people lost the patience. As a cinematographer, I enjoy the things I’m doing now. I’m looking forward to joining more great projects in the future and bringing more authentic aesthetics from my background to those visual expressions.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First, I’ll take them to visit some museums in LA, such as the Getty, the Getty Villa, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Griffith Observatory. The Getty Center museum is my favorite and the sunset on the fantastic architecture is very beautiful. Then, I’ll take them to some places nearby the sea, El Matador Beach, Malibu Beach and Santa Monica Beach are very good choices. During the night, it’s a good time to pick up some films to watch in LA. There are a lot of theaters I like very much, such as Egyptian Theater, ArcLight Cinemas, Aero Theatre, and AMC The Grove 14. Comparing the normal experiences of watching movies, it’s also fun to watch a film in a rooftop theater or drive-in theater. As for eating, Korean town, Japanese town, Monterey Park, Rowland Heights, and Irvine are good places to hang out. Of course, since there are a lot of great schools, I’ll take my friends to visit some film schools in LA.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First, it should be my girlfriend Zilai Feng. She is an animator and she gives me a lot of support and our communication plays a big role in my life. Then, I learned all my crafty in cinematography from two of my dear professors, Bill Dill, ASC, and Johnny Jensen, ASC. They taught me how to be a better cinematographer and a better filmmaker. Finally, I have a lot of communication with my graduate classmates, especially Roman Jiang, Putong Wang, Xiaojun Jian, Yifu Li, and Oliver Li, I learned a lot from them.
Jiaqi Chen, Eric Fu, Jiaen Xue