We had the good fortune of connecting with Yimin Zhang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yimin, why did you pursue a creative career?
I wanted to go into the entertainment industry as a visual artist from a very young age. My social studies teacher from Middle School Mr. Schaffer ran a news program that aired weekly in the school Cafeteria. He recruited me to help him with all the motion graphics needed for the show, such as intro animation, lower thirds segment openers etc. At the time, I only knew how to use Sony Vegas from Youtube, so I was basically using an editing software to cobble together free stock footage online to make motion graphics. I remember witnessing my friends cheering after the animation was displayed on the screen for the whole grade to see. It was an exhilarating feeling to have my work elicit emotional response from my peers. This experience would later be mirrored by screenings in High School and College, or dailies in the professional world. I feel my desire for validation from others pushed myself to develop my talent in animation further, which in turn got me more validation, and I also got to learn tons of new things on my own in the process. This reciprocal cycle of effort and reward has always been steering me into a creative career, and has pushed me to develop new visual ideas and learn new techniques everyday.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think what sets me as an artist apart is my love for automation and proceduralism. I have a desire to create art in the most efficient and non-laborious manner, which can be contradictory because usually the most interesting art takes a lot of time for planning and execution. It wasn’t easy for me to enter the professional world because I am very introverted, and as a student I dreaded the saying “It’s about who you know” in the creative industry. In hindsight, this saying was true but not in the way I had imagined it. I had interpreted that saying as developing close ties with a recruiter is a mandatory precursor of landing a job offer. In reality, anyone you have experienced working in school can vouch for who you are as a person and help you land a job if you have the right qualifications.
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?
My favorite spot in the city is the Little Tokyo Historic District, which offers a glimpse of Japanese culture in a western city. I always love walking in the busy plaza and there is always an ongoing performance that creates an exciting ambience. The neighborhood houses several dozens of museums and tons of eateries, not to mention the Marukai market provides all the snacks you can hope to find.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my friend Dalton, who has been keeping me on my toes in my creative endeavors. He is always ready to offer a second opinion and has made navigating adulthood with more laughter and ease. I also want to shout out to John who was my Professor at USC, for exposing me to new frontiers in the entertainment industry and always being nurturing about my creative pursuits.