CAS Quarterly

Spring 2018

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C A S   Q U A R T E R L Y     S P R I N G 2 0 1 8     53 MEET THE WINNERS Student Award Winner Xiang (Lisa) Li by Peter Damski CAS This is the fourth year that the CAS has given its Student Recognition Award. The award this year was presented to Xiang (Lisa) Li from Chapman University in Orange, CA. I have spent the last 10 years working as an educator in the field of sound design. It had become obvious in my classrooms that there are many more women who have taken an interest the field. I have had the pleasure of working with some of these talented women and have nothing but respect for their desire to move into a field that has traditionally been served by men. Lisa is a strong example of this trend. Not only is she a woman, but she is from Beijing and has the language barrier to contend with as well. I had the pleasure of viewing Lisa's introductory video and I was entertained and informed by it while getting to know a little about her background and future goals. Lisa is currently serving an internship at a post house in Los Angeles and she was able to work with me on this interview between projects. When did you first discover your love of sound and how did that direct your life to get where you are now? I played the piano for 15 years, since I was 4. Music had such a big influence on me that, when it became time to finish high school, I knew that I had to do something in the field of music (sound). My father was the one who suggested I go into sound for film. (He was a photographer and cinematographer.) He told me I could do a great job if I know how to use my music background appropriately. The sense of rhythm and pitch would be the best tools helping me while working. That's how I decided to give it a try. During my time in college, I met so many talented young filmmakers in China and I found I was in love with what I was doing, so I chose to continue doing sound. After I graduated from college, I didn't feel I was ready to go into the professional film world in China. Besides, I always had a "Hollywood Dream" since the time I became a film student. After talking with my parents, I was lucky enough to have their support and got my US journey started with Chapman University. How did your education in China compare to your advanced degree in the US? I think four years of college study at Beijing Film Academy taught me the general knowledge of not only about sound, but everything about film. It is very necessary to have a basic understanding of sound/film before you really get in touch with the actual filmmaking process. I helped some of my Chinese friends shoot their own shorts during college, but since the film industry is different between China and the US, it still took me some time to get used to the American way of filmmaking. Chapman University gave me a lot more chances to work on short films. Based on my experience and what I've learned from college, I felt comfortable even under a high pressure. I did more than 30 films in three years (including production and post). To me, Beijing Film Academy was like the bones of the human body, and Chapman University is more like the blood and skin. Two schools together make me a sound person now. Has the language difference caused much difficulty in your time here? To be honest, working by your second/third language sometimes can be really painful, especially at the very beginning. But I'm glad I made so many American friends and they were very patient with me when we had difficulties communicating. They not only helped me with my English, they also taught me a lot about American culture, which is actually much more important than just learning the language itself. Luckily, I feel much more comfortable and confident now. Do you see yourself working in production or post now that you have completed your degree? I would say I like doing post better, this is also what I'm doing right now. How did you arrive at that decision? There's not any specific moment where I made a decision of doing post. But during the time I spent at school, I figured that I enjoyed sitting in front of the computer and listening to the sound I made. Working in post makes me feel that I have more CAS Student Award winner Xiang Li Sherry Klein CAS, Xiang Li, and Danny Maurer CAS at the 54th CAS Awards. Photo by Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

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