We had the good fortune of connecting with Sijie “Leslie” Liu and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sijie “Leslie”, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think risk is all around my life. My family all work in the financial industry. Every time when I said doing something is risky, my dad always comforts me and says “Working in VC in these years, what risk I haven’t seen? Just do it if you want!” Under my parent’s influence, although I’m an introvert, I’m bold when it comes to my career or some other important life events.

I was born and raised in China, where there are lots of restrictions in filmmaking. Choosing to work in film is inherently risky. After I completed my B.F.A degree in dramatic writing, I realized that just writing scripts is not enough for me and decided to go to US and learn more about filmmaking. I moved to Georgia without knowing anyone here. I got into Savannah College of Art and Design, where I found my passion in editing. Just when I was about to graduate, the Coronavirus broke out. Many of my friends went back to China. My parents also wanted me back, since the pandemic started to slow down and industry recovers here, while the case and death rate is increasing in US, and the on-location filming was shut down. However, I don’t want to give up my dream to work in Hollywood, I took the risk and moved to LA, where is in lockdown and had the highest case in US, and again, without knowing anyone and trying to establish my career here. I always believe the risk and benefit are directly proportional. Though taking risks doesn’t mean I always get what I want. Sometimes I have to accept the result of failure. However, the last thing I want to do is to regret in the future the things I didn’t do just because of fear, and keep thinking how would my life change if I did those at that time. I believe it’s ok to fail, the key is to accept the result of failure for what it is, and take the next step to move on.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
After graduating with a B.F.A degree in dramatic writing, I realized that just writing is not enough for me. I wanted to get involved more in the production. Thus, I moved to US and went to Savannah College of Art and Design where I found my passion in editing. I believe editing is another way for me to apply my storytelling skills, since editing is not just assembling each shot, but a more complicated process that involves strong storytelling skills. As an editor with a dramatic writing background, I strive to edit the footage together to craft story, shape character and perspective, cultivate emotions, thereby creating a comprehensive onscreen narrative. I think it is fascinating to rebuild the story in the post-production process. There are more possibilities for the film than you thought by cutting it in different ways, which makes this job exciting and attractive to me.

Of course it is not a smooth road for me. As a 2020 graduate, who had the misfortune to graduate into the depths of the brutal coronavirus recession, it is hard to find a job since I had to compete with the people who have more experience while the number of positions was decreasing. Plus, the pandemic makes networking become difficult, and as I mentioned in the previous question, I moved to a new place without knowing anyone to start a career during this time. I began with some small projects, and gradually built my reputation and trust between me and the clients. Fortunately, the people I worked with are all fantastic and kind. With their help, I gradually settled down and can keep building up my career here. I tried my best to take part in as many projects as I can, from narrative films which have won in many film festivals and also earned me the best editing award, to music video which had more than half a million views, to commercials, which were displayed on Paramount+, ION Television, HGTV, Lifetime, etc.

Now I strive t get involved in more projects as I can, and keep building up my career in LA.

Website: http://www.leslieliufilm.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_i_am_leslie_/?hl=en

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/leslieliu411

Other: email: leslieliufilm@gmail.com

Image Credits
Charlie Zhou Ziva Shi

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