Sound Editor Jingjue Zhou named 2019 AACYF CAL C America Chinese 30 under 30
Jingjue Zhou was recently featured on the AACYF California Chinese 30 under 30, a prestigious honor for the in-demand sound editor. It is a dream come true for Zhou, who knew she was somehow going to be an artist since she was only a child.
“I hated the idea of being trapped in a cubicle office but didn’t really know what I should do until one day, I read a biographical book about director Ang Lee. His experience opened the filmmaking world to me. I went to watch every movie he’s ever made and dug into the creating process behind the scenes. I think filmmaking is more than just a regular job but rather a lifestyle that can keep me observant and creative. Great filmmaking artists are generally genuine and open-minded. I wanted to be part of it,” she says.
Sound editing is a subtle art form, often under-appreciated by movie goers. It is easy to be taken away by a film while forgetting about those who made it possible to have that experience, and Zhou loves that through sound editing she can apply her creativity, and show her taste, ideas, mood and understanding towards the story underneath the movie.
“I always get a great sense of achievement after all the sound work is done because only after that, the movie starts to really feel like a movie,” said Zhou.
Zhou’s selection to be honored on the AACYF California Chinese 30 under 30 comes after she has worked on dozens of highly successful projects. These include award-winning films like Spring Flower, To Pimp a Butterfly, Pier Las Vegas, and Road to Olympia-Wulong 2018 Documentary, as well as the new and already iconic interactives for SeaWorld Orlando’s “Sesame Street Land” which hosts an estimated 4 million guests annually.
“My job is to make the audience believe what they hear in the theatre is exactly how it recorded on set. The audience is smart. They know lots of sound is post made, just like they know about the existence of visual effects - even if they look or sound so real. A good sound editor makes the audience suspend their disbelief and be fully immersed in the story world,” she said.
Zhou is thrilled to be included in the All-America Chinese Youth Federation’s newest list, which is hosted by the organization as well as LA Post and the Chinese American Institute for Public Diplomacy in Los Angeles, aiming to recognize the most important young entrepreneurs, creative leaders and brightest stars for Chinese communities’ future.
The 28-year-old was born in Guangzhou, one of the biggest cities in South China. About an hour from Hong Kong, Guangzhou is famous for genuine Cantonese food and evergreen trees. Zhou lived in Guangzhou for 18 years before going to Fudan University in Shanghai. Fudan is very competitive, one of the top three universities in China. Zhou held scholarships for several years, studying communications, before pursuing her career in filmmaking.
During her undergrad, Zhou spent half a year in Beijing. She had an internship in Beijing at China Central Television, working as a director’s assistant, helping the team develop, produce and film a TV show called You Deserve It. Zhou then moved to Los Angeles to truly pursue her career in sound editing, and although she has never looked back, she does still feel homesick from time to time.
“I’ve lived in Los Angeles for four years now and I always miss the food and ever-changing weather throughout the year in Guangzhou. I go back once a year but I haven’t heard the heavy rain, stormy wind and wild thunder in Guangzhou for quite a while. The black clouds there can turn the day into night then back to day again after the rainstorm. If you want, you can easily feel the change of emotion along with the weather from gloomy to relieved and finally delightful,” said Zhou.
Undoubtedly, Zhou has already had a career many can only dream of. At only 28, she has many plans to continue forging her own path in the industry, continuing to be a leader that many can look up to. For those looking to follow in her illustrious footsteps, she offers some final wise words.
“Lots of people enter filmmaking out of passion. But just like almost everything, if you want to take it seriously as a career, it requires more than passion. There might be difficulties, failure and tons of time you feel wasted. The good thing about film is that, when it’s completed, you will feel very rewarded. So just be more patient and try to do the best you can,” she advised.
By Annabelle Lee
Sept. 14th, 2019