We had the good fortune of connecting with Yuanhua Wang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yuanhua, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I don’t really have a lot of tips on how I balance my work and life, but more of how I love my work and life. For me, balancing is all about finding the way to enjoy it . I believe everyone who went through the pandemic somehow slightly changed their work life balance.
I was a MFA Filmmaking student and graduated during the pandemic. It was so unreal that after an online graduation ceremony I am no longer a student. I was working that day and didn’t even. Life before that was mostly school and little time like weekends spent on some set learning by doing. It was really hard in the very beginning but so glad after a year’s working I feel like I do find my work life balance.
I’m currently a LA based freelance sound designer/ mixer, working on both production and post production. First balance is about my work. Production sound is more of monitoring and recording audio on set. It’s a very unique job since everytime will be facing different stories, different crew members, and different locations. Everything is so fresh. I can always meet a lot of new friends by doing this. While I work on post production it is very opposite, I will need to mostly sit by myself in front of my work station, focusing on the details and polishing the audio. I can really spend the whole day by myself and no one bothers me. For me, I do about ⅔ of my working time outside as a location sound mixer for narratives like feature/ short films. And another ⅓ work from home as sound designer for documentaries/ reality tv shows/ short films. This way gives me a chance to explore and gives me some time to consolidate.
As a freelancer, you can schedule your work and life. I have to admit being a filmmaker is not easy. A lot of time we work 12h a day and sometimes overtime for multiple days. A little break between projects is really important. As a freelancer, yes, no one can give you the salary if you’re not getting projects but it also means I can decide how I spend my time, can be the one giving myself the break whenever I feel like it’s needed. In fact I just scheduled myself a one week vacation after working on a long project. Yes I still needed to have a few meetings talking about the next project, but it feels awesome I can do it in a park while enjoying the beautiful view.
Balancing for me is figuring out which way can make me enjoy my work and life. Only when I enjoy them can I put all of my effort into creating work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a freelance sound designer/mixer working on both production and post-production sound. My interest in sound was built since I was a kid. I started to learn piano when I was 6. Learning to play an instrument makes me good at listening. When I was in high school, I was interested in podcasts and even made some with my friends. That’s my first time know the power of sound in storytelling. Lucky enough I got into a film school for my bachelor’s and later got focused on sound. I could stop there as a lot of people said for this industry you don’t really need a master’s degree. But I still choose to chase my master’s degree here in Los Angeles.
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.
There’s a Bar in Burbank called Joe’s. It has live nightly music shows with an awesome dance floor. You can enjoy your cocktails, amazing music and the dance at the same time. Unfortunately this place is temporarily closed due to the covid. Can’t wait the day it reopen again.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First of all, I need to thanks my family support. They always hold my back. Also need to thanks the Academy and their Academy Gold program, I meet my mentors and a lot of talented young filmmakers there.