Hey, guys! Long time, no blog. Things have been crazy hectic on my end. Lots of moving, job changes, and general ‘adulting’. However, I’m back with another interview. An American blog called Oneul asked me to interview a great talent, and as someone that loves to get into minds of artists, I couldn’t say no. So unfortunately, this isn’t original and so the interview can also be found on the site. But sometimes I like to reshare the work I do on to my blog too, just to expand the reach. Read the feature below, enjoy!
Christina Xing has created an alternate world that everybody wants to be a part of. Saturated with youthful yet nostalgic imagery along with surreal dreamscapes, she has made it impossible to look away. Seeking inspiration from watching classic Americana and the French New Wave movement, the Asian-American director looks everywhere in hopes to find herself.
The director’s catalogue ranges from the most influential brands and companies, collaborating with Crayola, Snapchat, Tinder, on top of dabbling on the music side too, with Sony, Warner and Atlantic records. Having also produced music videos for established artists such as Kenzie, Frances Forever, Victor Internet and many more.
But her creative reach doesn’t end there. She directed her first musical feature, ‘How the Moon Fell From the Sky and No One Even Noticed’ at only 17. The former garnered national attention on Twitter in Thailand, and it all snowballed from there. At 19, she was selected to be a ’Semi-Finalist’ for MACRO (the studio behind Oscar-nominated ‘Fences’) and The Black List’s episodic lab.
With nothing short of a bright future ahead, we caught up with her to discuss wanting to collaborate with Apple, coping with imposter syndrome and the value of friendship.
First of all, how have you been lately? Do you work according to how you feel?
It’s been really strange for me lately. There’s a lot of horrible things happening to my fellow AAPI community so I’ve been trying to navigate my emotions towards that. I’m also taking some time off of work to finish my vaccination rounds and also to write my newest short. It’s the first break I’ve had in over three years. It’s been so strange. I usually make a checklist of all the things I need to have done and organise my week that way. So often, my emotions don’t impact what I need to do.
When did you know you wanted to become a director?
I was always making little films around my house and telling stories ever since I was in 4th grade. I was always sure I wanted to be a screenwriter, but then I went to film school and completely realised I was a terrible writer and that the parts I was good at and felt the most at home doing, was working with actors and the more intuitive parts that come with making a movie. I dabbled in a bit of everything before that realisation sunk in because I always felt like the world didn’t need more directors (haha). But I think the moment I really knew was when I’d find myself reading screenplays and thinking about the ways I would execute them, rather than reading screenplays and learning the craft of how I’d write them, if that makes sense!
How do you best come up with creative concepts?
My real life plays such a huge part in my creative concepts. I’ve written so many music video treatments for people from afar. I’ve used the emotions of being hurt and my dumb fantasy sequences as fuel to make creative things. As corny as it sounds, I would say real life experiences mixed with my love of old films and movies. I try to watch a film a day to expand that vocabulary.
What has been your favourite project to work on so far? And why?
“Space Girl” by Frances Forever was truly a passion project. I’ve loved the song for a long time and when I first heard the song I had a slight idea for a creative but never thought it’d be possible. But by some crazy miracle I got to work with Frances and their incredible team and amazing partner. It was such a blast.
That sure sounds like a blast! How did you come about working with Frances Forever on the music video of ‘Space Girl’ and how do you feel about it?
It was so much fun. It was really difficult because the idea was very ambitious for the budget we were working on along with a lot of my core crew being from LA having to go to Boston for the video. It’s def the first video I’ve made where I’m like, wow, that was 100% the treatment and came out better than what I saw in my head.
If you could collaborate with anybody or any particular brand, who would you work with?
Apple! I love the risks they take in their commercials and I love how they value story in a lot of their work.
How have you kept inspired during these times?
My friends are everything. They keep me going through their work, advice and friendship.
You have a signature style of nostalgic, surreal yet dreamy landscapes and saturated visuals. How did you come to this creative conclusion? Will you ever evolve even further?
I think in my personal work a lot of my work has become quite the opposite of that, strangely enough. I think there is so much room for me to explore and discover more about my creative voice as I mature as a storyteller. I’m so young right now there’s so much more I haven’t tried yet. I came to that style of dreamy and saturated through my love of classic musicals and classic films. I loved how those movies made me feel and really provided a spectacle for me. I always hoped to do the same in my work.
How do you cope with imposter syndrome – if you have ever felt it?
I feel it every day. I think the best way to cope is to not look too much into your work and just focus on moving forwards. I find myself spiralling and hating everything I’ve made when I let myself think too much about it all. When I get in those mindsets I always try to push it to being productive and focusing on the next thing.
Your bio says that you strive to eat vegetables and always keep your nose clean. Is there anything else you aim to always be in life? What are your ultimate goals for the future? Where do you hope to be?
I’d love to make a feature in the next two years or start directing TV. That’s the real dream. But overall, I value my friendships and family above all. I hope to spend more time with them in the next few years.
Lastly, do you have any advice for young creatives who are interested in the film industry?
Watch as many movies as you can! The movies have taught me everything I know in film and in my life.
KEEP UP WITH CHRISTINA XING:
Website : https://christinaxing.com/