We had the good fortune of connecting with Victoria Pham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Victoria, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I like to believe that there’s ALWAYS something that nudges you in the right direction. You just have to be open and perceptive to whatever that nudge may be.
I always find more satisfaction seeing something through to the end, knowing I tried my absolute hardest and learning what worked and didn’t work. I generally find the process more useful than the end goal.
For me, not finishing something frustrates me a lot more than the effort it would’ve taken to finish what I started. No one ever regrets not finishing something, it’s the knowledge that you’ve gained from that experience that’s more valuable than the time saved by giving up.
Obviously, everyone gives up at some point or another because we’re human – not everything we try will be successful. I think one of the most important things to know about oneself is when to move on. Your gut has a way of letting you know when to let go, there’s no reason to force something to work. Just because something doesn’t happen right now, doesn’t mean it won’t happen later when you’re actually ready for it; life has a way of giving you what you need when you need it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The moment I changed my major in college to film – I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. My first obstacle was my parents and unfortunately to this day, they still have no idea what I’m doing. How do you tell your parents you make an actual living cutting internet videos, interviews, vlogs or at one point clip compilations?
In the eight years I’ve been here I’ve come to terms that they’ll never fully understand given who they are – immigrants who want their kids to have everything they never had.
I’ve learned that the underlying concern behind “What are you doing in Los Angeles” is – “Are you happy/Are you taking care of yourself?” Parents come around, not as quick as I’d like, but eventually they do and all they want is happiness.
On a daily basis, I edit react videos, human interest pieces and beauty content for a company that gets millions, even billions, of views. I also freelance edit a lot of YouTube vlogs and interviews. I’d say I’m comfortable with where I am currently but that doesn’t go without saying I’ve had moments of suffering.
I’ve been spit on, yelled at, cried in the bathroom at work, made myself question my true worth – all for the sake of “paying my dues.” I don’t think you can expect things to be easy when you move to a city where everyone is equally ambitious and wanting more than what their hometowns could give them. But I also didn’t expect to be treated less than because of the toxicity of the industry.
My second biggest obstacle is being heard as an AAPI female editor. Being heard during work hours, during a post meeting that’s mostly men where “Everyone should participate,” and people just talked just to hear themselves. At the beginning of my career I would come across problems and even find solutions to present, only to be disregarded until someone else had the same problem. When that happens enough, it’s hard to find effort to speak up and not question your own abilities.
After years of being annoyed and talked over, I was finally in an environment where there were female managers who valued and encouraged everyone’s opinions. It was then that I realized I actually knew what I was talking about and started to become unapologetic. Now, I’d rather share my own knowledge and help others get better than keeping to myself for my own personal advancement.
Recently, I’ve been helping my partner with self-tapes and auditions. There’s a reason I’m an editor, because I hate being in front of the camera. Public speaking has always haunted me ever since grade school. However, helping my partner achieve their dreams is more important to me than the uneasy feeling I have speaking in front of an audience. After months of reading lines off camera, I’ve been roped into the on-camera talent life and even booked a couple commercials, thanks to our agent, Taylor Trumbo, of Evolve Artists Agency.
What I’d like people to know about my experiences is; whether you’re a female or a person of color in an industry that’s mostly not; remember to be mindful not to stray too far from your true value and worth. Know when to get out of an unnurturing situation. Know when to leave when you know you’ve learned all you can from a job. Know that opportunities are not always what you envisioned and to fully lean into them because it might surprise you. Know when to start moving on when you’ve become too complacent.
Complacency only lasts for so long until it becomes anger and resentment. Your body and stress levels will make you aware of all of it.
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 am all about a PACKED itinerary but I also leave room for much needed naps from food comas. For the sake of time, here’s a very condensed, pre-Covid, list of my go to spots for first time visitors!
Tuesday: Most of my friends that don’t live here are from Texas. So our biggest thing on the itinerary is the beach. Leo Carrillo and Malibu are my favorite since they are not as populated and dog friendly. After a day at the beach and to beat traffic we’d stop at Malibu Pier Cafe for dinner.
Wednesday: On the second day, we’d have a leisurely stroll around the LACMA. After the obvious lamp post picture, we’d mosey on over to the Grove where everyone can find a bite to eat in at the Farmer’s Market.
Thursday: On the third day, we’d hike to the top of the Hollywood sign where you start at the Hollywood reservoir. After the hike we’d stop at the Kitchen or Little Dom’s in Los Feliz/Silverlake to break even all the physical activity we just did. If parking luck was on our side, we’d drive to the top of Griffith Observatory.
Friday: The fourth day would be a lot slower in DTLA where we’d stop at a rooftop or a brewery during the day; the Broken Shaker or Arts District Brewery. After an afternoon nap, we’d get dinner at Otono in Highland Park. If people were feeling frisky, we’d try to catch the burlesque show at Highland Park Bowl.
Saturday: On the final day, I’d take everyone to the Abbey for drag brunch and spend some time in West Hollywood for a final hurrah! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My first shoutout would be to Autumn Farrell. She gave me the confidence and the opportunity to show the internet world what I was truly capable of. RoosterTeeth was my first big creative editing role and I was nervous. Autumn took me under her wing and taught me everything she knew about stylized, comedic editing. I wouldn’t have the confidence or the knowledge that I had comedic timing if Autumn didn’t mentor me and for that, I am forever grateful.
My second shoutout is to Leila Work. Leila is a producer who values hard work and efficiency – which is why we work extremely well together. She knows the value of people’s worth and will lift others even if they don’t believe in themselves. I admire her drive and determination all while treating people with respect – which I feel is super rare here in LA. She’s always looking out for me when it comes to jobs, notes or just lending an ear.
Last and most importantly is my BIGGEST supporter and hype human, my partner, Lee. We’ve been together for five years and not a day goes by that they don’t let me know I am enough. I am not blind to the media industry – there are not enough female editors, let alone Asian American Pacific Islanders editors. I’m extremely soft spoken but Lee has taught me how to let others know “Hi, I’m here and I have thoughts too.” Lee always knows what I’m capable of and challenges me to help me realize my truest capabilities.
Each person has helped me become a better person, at different times of my life. I’m fortunate to have these powerful beings in my life to learn and grow from; that a simple thank you will never be enough.
Lee Steffee Roadwork Studios James Allen McCune