We had the good fortune of connecting with Qian Wan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Qian, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My career started when I was in University, my major was Scenic Art. I remember since my school is a theatre school, we had a lot of performances every semester, so my friends from other majors would ask me to help them design and do scenic painting parts. Gradually I realized that this could be my business. Luckily, Year after year, more and more people asked me to do production design and scenic painting for them as a package deal. And when I’m in LA, I keep in touch with my clients in China. So that I could get double job opportunities. I think my main point is never say no to a job opportunity for you, because you would never know which will take you to success.
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.
Definitely not a smooth way to get where I am today. Every project I worked on is a challenge for me. You know film and theatre projects, each project is so different from the others, from the scripts to design. The most recent project is a theme park stage design in China, I’m in charge of concept design, production design, and also need to work with the video editing department, This is absolutely a challenge for me, this is related to managing, communicating with my crew, and also making critical decisions. Also, it’s an adventure for me, meeting with new people, learning new things from others, sometimes you will be under stress, but I enjoyed the journey. I believe the most important lesson that I learned along the way is that Always Be Nice to People, this is also the advice that my professor Mary Heilman and Ashley Cole Bruce told me when I first met them in class from Calarts. Before I studied in Calarts, I was a scenic artist for 7 years, this experience helped me to know what could or could not be done during the design process, and saved me a lot of time fingers cross. I guess this particular experience got me my first job working in Universal Studio Hollywood. Thanks to Chelle that brought me into the crew. And now with my both background in China and USA I can work internationally, this is a big plus for me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, there is so much to see in LA, First 3 days I would like to take my friend to LACMA, Calarts and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. LACMA is my favorite art center in LA, a great place to find inspiration or sightseeing. Also Little Tokyo is close by, we could have a nice meal after the exhibition, and drink really good milk tea while we are walking on the street. For the next day, I would like to take my friend to my lovely campus, which I had an unforgettable memory of during my study in Calarts. I would show my friend the character animation studio, my studio butler building BB1, and my favorite lunch spot where you could overlook the whole Santa Clarita. The third day, I would like to drive my friend to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, this is one of the most popular spots on earth, we can not miss this area, after that I believe I will take her to go shopping and get her favorite outfit for the road trip after. For the final stop I would love to take my friend to San Diego. I stayed in San Diego for 4 Month during the lockdown situation. And I fell in love with this city, La Jolla beach, sunshine, perfect weather, typical California vibes. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many kind people that I want to mention in my story. First one I want to thanks to besides my parents is Ming Li, he’s like my uncle to me, light house in my life, every time when I feel lost or confused whether about my job, relationship or even my personal life, he will always show me the direction, he is more than a mentor, he’s my family. Then I want to give special thanks to two of my professors from China, Qingshan Zhang and Hongchen Zhang. I believe without their impact I would not be who I am today. They taught me everything that I know within or without my major before I went to California, USA. Shoutout to my big sister He Zhu, she offered me a life change opportunity, I feel so lucky to have her in my life. Finally I would like to thank my current company’s CEO Fei Song, I’m working in this company for 1 month now, she really inspired me with insightful perspectives. I am so grateful getting to know these talented people. Love you all!!!