Interview with Xin Li
“Failure is just so common, so normal, we have to be used to that. It doesn’t mean we don’t need high standards to require ourselves, just don’t be discouraged.” – Xin Li
Today we feature Xin Li, the founder at Xin Lin Productions. We hear their story in their own words, their successes, their challenges and their insights.
Let’s start by getting to know you. Can you please tell us a little bit about you and what you do?
Producer/Director, Xin Li, of Los Angeles, CA, is out to open the eyes of America. Li, whose specialty is documentaries and short realistic fiction films, wants to touch the lives of Americans through her art and break barriers seen in film and animation for both females and minorities.
Li, who has studied under Oscar winners such as Jana Memel, has made a number of films for her producer and has been nominated for many awards. Her newest film is an animated film called Uninvited Guests, Lin’s most ambitious project to date. Uninvited explores concepts about what it means to be human and humanity’s wasteful nature.
With the recent success of Asian female filmmakers such as Domee Shi (of Turning Red) Li is excited for the chance to open doors for other minority women advocating for truth, empowering Asian culture, and much more. The tri-linguist Li, who speaks English, Mandarin, and Korean, has worked with a number of directors to produce pieces worthy of film festivals and viral videos and hopes to bring that energy to Uninvited Guests.
A great introduction and start to this interview. Can you please tell us, how did you start, from what age, and what made you decide to change direction and start?
From a young age I knew I wanted to be in film. As a producer I am able to help other young filmmakers achieve their dreams of having their films reach millions.
Thank you for that insight. So can you tell us…What does your business do and where is your company based?
My company is based in LA and helps produce films in the US/China.
What’s the story behind your success? What led to your aha moment? how did you get to where you are now?
I was a big fan of Korean TV series when I was a high school student. Back to 6 years ago, 70-80% of Korean dramas on Chinese Internet platforms I have watched.
I could watch a long episode for 1.5 hours without tiring, I even learned the Korean language from watching dramas and I guess many Korean pop culture fans have similar experiences to me. Until one day I felt the actress hadn’t done well enough, and I could remember her
I felt if I could produce the TV series, I could do better! I wanted to make motion pictures and television by myself.
But compared with South Korea, the United States is the best place to make motion pictures and Television with Hollywood, Oscar, which is a fabulous environment for filmmaking. Los Angeles is the center of the world’s entertainment, so I must come to LA.
Now when I look back, this dream came true, and it has been processed for 10 years.
Thank you for sharing that. What’s been your life’s biggest lesson so far?
Well, there are a lot of interesting things. I guess I first wrongly understood this industry by the sophisticated social division of labor. I thought if I wanted to be a producer, the only thing was studying producing. Why should I learn editing or cinematography? I questioned when I was in film school.
However, filmmaking is different from other industries. Other industries may make people work in different positions and only do well in their thing, but filming is that you have to master all departments of filmmaking — like editing, camera, scriptwriting, production design, casting, and producing.
My first job after I graduated was running a social media account, which was a totally new area for me. So, after graduating, the first job in this industry might not be your main focus major. I have opened my eyes to learn all the things to make up for what I had no idea about before.
So, maintain a peaceful mind, living in a comfortable way, no
proudness, no restlessness, don’t make shortsighted shallow goals.
If you were to go back in time, what piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Yeah, filmmaking is a very difficult career. Failure is just so common, so normal, we have to be used to that. It doesn’t mean we don’t need high standards to require ourselves, just don’t be discouraged.
Today it just starts, then the whole life will be a “catastrophe”, and it takes time, don’t rush. I often doubt myself too, I also think about giving up in cycle times, but when I am at the point of giving up my mind, I truly can’t find any other better work that I want to do, so I still insist until today.
So, I maintain a peaceful mind, live in a comfortable way, with no pride, no restlessness, and don’t make shortsighted shallow goals.
We’re nearly halfway through our interview so it’s a great time to ask how does your business run. What three tools make your business run better?
My team is everything. Without their support, there would be nothing.
What do you know now that you wished you had known before?
The producing work isn’t in a suit, you have to be used to doing the work as making coffee and other low sense of fulfillment work.
In filmmaking, there isn’t separated work like producing, editing… you have to master all areas of filmmaking including scriptwriting. It’s a staying-up job, so balance well your lunch time and eat well.
What has been your greatest or proudest achievement or moment?
My documentary which is focusing on the big issue of Fokushima radioactive nuclear water. So environmental themes are important for me right now.
Because last year, my friend died due to breast cancer at only 42. During her last couple of months, we have talked a lot about what she ate daily, how to eat healthy things, and where to find organic food; how painful that her body felt… That was the first time I felt the environmental issues were so close to me. It is related to our food.
What future life goals do you want to achieve and why?
To reach more people with my films.
To finish our inspire questions…”We believe that sharing inspiring words can inspire others.” If there was one positive thing you would say to someone to inspire and empower them what would it be and why?
Filmmaking is a very difficult career. Failure is just so common, so normal, we have to be used to that. It doesn’t mean we don’t need high standards to require ourselves, just don’t be discouraged. Today it just starts, then the whole life will be a “catastrophe”, and it takes time, don’t rush.
“Thank you it has been great learning more about your founder story and Xin Lin Productions”
To learn more about Xin Lin Productions Visit https://www.xin-li.info/
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