Today we’d like to introduce you to Elaine Chu.
Elaine, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up making short videos on a miniDV camera. Everything from stop-action sequences with my stuffed animals to full-blown science-fiction fantasies using my friends as actors and the woods of Wisconsin as our backdrop. When I moved to Los Angeles, I started off as a production assistant so I could learn more about how a successful set is run. I was fortunate enough to work under some great AD’s (assistant directors) who helped me climb the ranks to eventually become an AD myself. I love the intensity of keeping a shoot on schedule and leading a crew. Plus it gives me the chance to watch seasoned filmmakers work on a variety of projects. I get to see firsthand how a cast and crew respond to a director. It’s a stressful day job, but it’s definitely made me a better director.
We’d love to hear more about your work. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I write and direct films that tend to explore the darker side of life. I’m most comfortable writing stories where the characters end up in awkward situations. This is probably because my background is in comedy – I regularly perform improv at the Westside Comedy Theater. The funny thing about comedy is that people don’t laugh if you’re a success. There’s humor in failure. We feel better about ourselves when we see that other people are also having a hard time with life.
The stereotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
I didn’t go to film school, and I had no industry connections when I first came to Los Angeles. Starting out I do admit that sometimes I got jealous of directors that had access to larger budgets. It’s no secret that having influential friends or family can unlock doors for you in Hollywood. The way I see it, if you’re starting from the bottom, you can still surround yourself with creative people. If you can’t hire someone to film or edit your project, learn how to do it yourself. Other than the time investment, writing a screenplay is extremely low budget. Keep making your own films even if it feels like the universe is telling you no. And don’t be ashamed of being frugal. Los Angeles is an extremely expensive city and it can be easy to get caught up in the rampant consumerism. I own two forks and I’m fine with that.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My feature horror film The Purgation is on VOD, Amazon, iTunes, and Vudu. I can be reached at www.helloelainechu.com.
John Hale, Great Hair Productions, Daud Sani, Osiris Entertainment