Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Archive for August 2011

Something New

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Almost two weeks ago, I interviewed with CBS Interactive for a production internship in their business and technology sector. Unfortunately, I walked out of the meeting feeling less like, “I nailed it!” and more like, “Wow, that did not go as well as I’d anticipated.” It was not a familiar (nor welcome) feeling for me, but I can always benefit from being humbled.

Granted the responsibilities of this internship would have been heavy on post-production (perhaps spending majority of the time in an editing suite), I would have loved to have had the opportunity to work in the field and meet and learn from some of the Bay’s newest crop of entrepreneurs and change-makers in the industry. Although, at times, I tend to dwell on experiences within my control (those that result in negative outcomes), I know I didn’t get the job because the candidate who did can do it better than I can or at least will require less training and mentoring for the role. I just wasn’t ready (in terms of having the right skill set and previous experience). I’m okay with that. Confidence in being able to do something well comes with time, as I keep learning every day.

A few days later when I met with my school’s department director and another instructor for my midpoint review, one of them mentioned a paid internship opportunity at a start-up called Joyus.

Since starting the Masters program at AAU last fall, it’s presumable that most of my classmates and instructors know exactly what I want to do after graduation. I ramble about making documentaries and working as a correspondent on something like Current’s Vanguard series almost daily. They’re probably sick of hearing it. So, of course, when my instructor told me that Joyus is a very small, new company that aims to produce engaging, creative video content for online shoppers, I was hesitant, but definitely curious. Why not? I thought. I could use some color on my résumé, having solely produced videos for and interned with non-profits over the last year. This could give me the skills I need to improve my portfolio and the chance to connect with some amazing people in the area.

So, I emailed the Director of Productions my most current resume, along with a quick introduction. We set up a time to meet on Friday morning. What further peaked my interest was the question she asked me prior to setting the date of our meeting. She asked what I love about producing.

I took a moment to think about every time I’ve been on a set and in charge of a shoot. I reflected on working as a Team Lead managing two teams at a technology services sales company a few years ago. What I love about both producing and managing is being able to assess what people’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs are. As a producer, you must be aware of who has the ability to do what on a set and who is going to be your best bet proficiently completing that task. It’s not so different from managing people in a corporate environment. As a manager, you must not expect people to adapt to your managing style, work ethic, and personality. You have to recognize how and why people will respond to you and what makes them want to work in their best interest, as well as keeping yours and the company’s in mind.

I’ve found major trait and personality differences in the direct reports that I myself have had and have discovered that the best managers are those who keep calm during a storm and are able to leverage each individuals contributions to benefit the larger whole. Nevertheless, I’m guilty of having been stressed and showing it on a set, as well as in a conference room. Most of us make mistakes, most of us allow ourselves to lose it once in a while. It’s those who keep in mind that if it’s not a matter of life or death, it’s actually going to be okay – at some point.

On Friday, after an hour of chatting, getting to know each other a bit, and learning what it is that we need from each other, I was hired on the spot. I start tomorrow at Joyus working part-time as a production intern doing everything from assisting on shoots to media management to anything else that needs to be done in the office and out. I know this is fairly entry-level, but I’m willing and excited to start somewhere. Not only that, I’ll be working with people who seem to have had very rich, rewarding careers in the production world – especially my direct report, Shirin Etessam. After reading more about the founder and Chairman of Joyus, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, I also couldn’t be more excited to meet and learn from a woman who seems to have done so much in her life already.

With a new semester of school and a job to look forward, I’m ready to dive right in. Goodbye summer, hello fall.


Written by winniewongsf

August 21, 2011 at 10:35 am


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After a much needed phone call with my sister earlier, I came back to my apartment and watched this (for the 30th time). It validates all of the feelings I’ve been struggling with lately.

Just like learning to work in Dreamweaver these last few weeks took time and patience and sweat and blood, getting to be good at what you do is going to take all of that, if not more.

Written by winniewongsf

August 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm

The Hours After You Die

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A little after 4am yesterday morning, I woke up with an awful feeling – I hadn’t been given enough time to say goodbye.

I had woken up from a vivid dream in which I had died. In the dream, I’m not sure the method in which I had been killed (maybe a car accident), but it had left me displaced from my body and my ghost free to find and approach my parents, requesting an hour to spend with each of them individually.

With my Mom, I sat her down on a sidewalk and let all of the thoughts in my head roll out of my mouth. I told her that no one could have asked for a better mother. No one could have been as lucky to have someone who is so caring, selfless, loving, considerate, kind, gentle, and sweet in their lives. No one has made sacrifices like she has and still look at my sister and I so deeply with love and affection. She cried as I told her this and wanted to know why I was saying these thing. It seemed as if she couldn’t grasp the fact that I was gone and was visiting her post-humously.

With my Dad, something strange happened. I was suddenly the four year-old version of myself. (My Dad was a lot less stern and much more approachable when I was a child. He was one of my best friends up until I became a teenager.) I put my left hand in his right, and we went for a walk. He clutched my hand tightly, and in a broken voice, said: “Why do you have to leave, you just got here?”

Throughout the dream, I remember feeling a deep sense of guilt and urgency. Guilt for not having spent a lot of time with my parents this past year. Guilt for not often expressing myself and my feelings towards them, with the exception of when I’m annoyed or frustrated. Urgency knowing that anything could happen tomorrow, to any one of us.

I think I had this dream due to a number of reasons. That night, my family had met for dinner because my aunt from Hong Kong was visiting. We sat there talking for about an hour after everyone was done with their meal, and the topic of death came up. My cousin Nick mentioned that he believes older people who say, “Oh, I don’t care if I die tomorrow,” or “I’m ready to go,” often, and without fear, actually live longer lives. We were trying to figure out why that would be the case. On the other hand, while I was at my parents’ house this past weekend, my mom informed me that my grandmother in Hong Kong had discovered a growth near her ovaries. We’re not sure how serious it is and whether it could be a tumor, but this had been on my mind, as well.

When I woke up from the dream, I sat up in bed and wept. It was too early to call my parents to make sure they were okay, but I had the urge to talk to them. I finally fell asleep thinking of all the changes I’d like to make regarding how I spend my time with family and how often I should visit seeing how close they live to San Francisco. I thought about how frequently I pull out my Flip to record funny moments with friends, but I rarely use it to record my mom cooking dinner when I’m home or my dad playing pool with his friends. While we have drawers upon drawers of photographs from the past, we have very few moving images of each other. This needs to change.

The Next Day

The next afternoon, I had my Evolution of Media class. My instructor, John Scott, started the lesson with a clip from a Ted Talk featuring Adam Ostrow. It was called After Your Final Status Update.

John then showed us a website called This site allows you to write notes that will be delivered only in the event of your death. Here’s how it works.

I have to admit, it was a little creepy that John had decided to start the lecture with a topic I had just lost sleep over some hours ago. When I told him and the class about my dream, he shared this note he had posted on his blog more than a year ago.

These dreams are reminders of what we already know. Don’t take today for granted. Get rid of any petty grudges you’re holding. Tell the people whom you care about what they mean to you. Tell your parents, if you can, that you love them and how much you appreciate them for all that they have done and would do. Tell your siblings that there are no others in the world like them, because only you and they know what it’s like to be in your crazy, embarrassing, they-are-going-to-drive-you-mad family.

Most of all, do everything you want to do. You’re only here once (unless you believe in reincarnation). You might as well have some fun.

Written by winniewongsf

August 2, 2011 at 9:28 am

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