We had the good fortune of connecting with Weiting Liu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Weiting, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my success as a freelance writer is: I try my best not to take rejections personally while still keeping my ego in check. I write film reviews and features for various reputable publications and websites. Working as a freelancer in the publishing and media industry, I have to go through a challenging pitching process every time I try to find the right outlet to publish my article. When my pitch gets rejected by publications, sometimes it can feel like an attack on my own character – especially if the pitch is about a personal piece. There is much gatekeeping and randomness in the world of freelance journalism, but I convince myself that there are also plenty of opportunities if I persevere through trials and errors. When I encounter rejections, I grow a thicker skin, take constructive criticism, and keep trying with another publication until the pitch is accepted somewhere else. I have managed to build a successful writing portfolio by now, because I believe in the value of my ideas, take pride in my willingness to improve, and never develop any self-doubt from things that are beyond my control.
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.
I focus on writing film articles about Chinese language films, and films related to the Chinese American community and diaspora within a transnational context. My hope is that my readers will come away with a firmer grasp of the value systems and sociopolitical representations that exist within Chinese and Chinese diaspora cinema. As a female writer of color, I also write about issues that deeply affect me – of race, gender and intersectionality in American film and television. My works can be accessed on publications and websites including Little White Lies, One Room With A View, InSession Film, Screen Queens and Vague Visages. Among them, Little White Lies and One Room With A View are “Rotten-Tomatoes-approved”. The film reviews I write for them are counted towards the critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes, America’s largest review-aggregation website.
I am also a writer and curator at CineCina Film Festival, a New-York-based Chinese film organization dedicated to bringing Chinese language films to North American audiences. I write film news articles to report on CineCina’s festival events and curations that promote cultural exchanges and understandings between America and China through cinema. My writing and curatorial works are fundamentally connected with my identity, and the humanistic and public function of my works endows me with a convicted sense of meaning and purpose in life.
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.
Exploring different neighborhoods in L.A. has been my favorite weekend activity for the past decade: upscale shopping and dining in West Hollywood; luxury spa hotels in Beverly Hills; early afternoon coffee and never-ending nightlife in Silver Lake; art museums/galleries and hip restaurants/bars in downtown; vintage movie theaters in Westwood… The list is endless! However, my favorite neighborhood is Culver City, where I have currently lived for half a year. I am in my late 20s where I learn to appreciate more the wholesome residential life, which the pedestrian-friendly Culver City certainly has to offer. I enjoy taking a stroll around my neighborhood, and stops by Harajuku Taproom, which has the best Japanese small plates and shochu selections. On the other hand, the art, food and shopping scenes in Culver City are also more thriving than ever. I recommend visiting Platform and indulging in a fancy dinner at Margot with an amazing city view.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give my first shoutout to Chapman University, where I attended its Film Studies M.A. program. I also need to dedicate a huge shoutout to Katie Walsh, an established film critic with whom I took an important class about the writing of film criticism. Before attending Chapman’s film school, I was predominantly academia-oriented and uninterested in working in the industry. I had always set a career path for myself to get a Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies, and then acquire teaching and research positions at universities. But I also always felt that there is something amiss in the ivory tower. Compared to other orthodox film schools, Chapman offers a more practical and up-to-date curriculum that cultivated my passion for creative and critical writing. Particularly, Katie’s class got down to the nuts and bolts of the film criticism industry, and I really appreciate her mentorship in getting me started on my freelance writing career.