Hsin "Daisy" Nan
I hated getting wet. Everyone in my family used to make fun of me. When a drop of rain plopped on my skin, I had a meltdown. Many meltdowns. Many, many meltdowns.
You’d never know that now. Rain has pelted down on me many times on shoots, I am the model of serenity, remaining focused, with not a shred of panic in my body. Being made fun of is not fun. Being calm trumps freaking out any day of the week.
At seventeen, I was the president of the pop music club in my high school. The big event was the singing competition at the end of the semester. My fellow members and I came up with the novel idea that since the song students chose came from their memory, we should show their lives. We interviewed the contestants about their story, then shot it edited each video.
The auditorium was thronged with people: 200+ people, SRO. Crowded and noisy, you couldn’t move. When the competition started, you could hear a pin drop. We saved the most moving story at the end. When one of the contestants’ mother called to check in, she gleefully told her how well she was doing. Her mother burst out crying. Through her tears, her mother blurted out: Your father passed away. The contestant, through her tears, whispered, But, he promised he would wait for me to go to college.
Lights went up. Silence in the venue. No one spoke. No one made a sound. Suddenly, a sob erupted in the middle of auditorium. Then more and more. Everybody was crying. Spotlight on the stage: the student stranded under it. She was smiling, her eyes liquid.
This was the moment I recognized the power of video to connect people, to bring people together. This was also the moment I felt I could be a part of healing people’s hearts. This was the moment I decided to change my life path to make movies.
My focus was art directing when I came to Academy of Art University. I enjoyed creating hand-made props, constructing sets, painting walls. However, I felt a sense of dissatisfaction and malaise with my singular focus in the art department. In a required class, which gave me the opportunity to take on the role of screenwriter, director, and producer, I discovered that I was great at was taking charge, organizing the shoot, ensuring the shoot prepped efficiently and the shoot made its day. The day the shoot ended was the day I knew the path my future would now lead me on.
Resourcefulness, responsibility, and organization are the traits that teachers and fellow filmmakers now attribute to me. I have become a go-to-producer, with a body of work that spans narrative films, music videos, and PSAs for professional clients. Producing a project excites me: the project is like my baby. It’s my responsibility to nurture it, to take care of it carefully, to help it out when it’s in distress, so that it doesn’t melt down like I used to once upon a time.
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