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Meet Bochen Zhang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bochen Zhang.

Bochen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
About six years ago I moved to Los Angeles from Beijing to make films. It was a dream I had from the time I was really young growing up in China. I loved learning English and learning about the world. It wasn’t easy to get permission to travel outside of China, but I took every chance I could to see outside my town and outside my country.

I loved meeting people from other countries, hearing new perspectives and learning about different cultures. My family and friends wanted me to lay down some roots, but I always felt pulled to see more, to do more.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Working in production in China was an incredible start to my career, but I always felt like a fish out of water until I got to LA. The things that hurt my success in China seem to work for me here. Being a freelancer in LA has its struggles (as half of LA will tell you!), but it rarely feels like a challenge. Moving to LA felt like coming home like my energy is in sync here. The level of gratitude I feel standing on the beach on my day off is more rewarding than any paycheck.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I work in physical production for film, television and TV commercials. I usually work as a line producer, so that means I’m responsible for the budget, the schedule and managing the logistics before and during the production. One of the things I have loved doing is guest lecturing to film students and I always tell them to look outside their department. If you want your film to be extraordinary, you have to anticipate what each department might need, how your department fits into the bigger picture and how you can maximize your production quality.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in China during the 80s. It was a really different time for China. We got our first fast-food restaurant. We were starting to get films and music from outside China and it was incredible to experience that. But as a kid in China, we were expected to focus on studying about 12 hours a day. My parents were both teachers, so there were a lot of expectations for how I should spend my afternoons. But my parents weren’t home after school. I grew up with a house key on my necklace from the time I was 5 and I did not always follow instructions for where I was supposed to be. I regularly skipped out on studying to get sesame-flavored ice sticks with my friends or watch Japanese cartoons, like Saint Seiya. I did fine in school, but I always felt like I didn’t belong. I always pushed the boundaries a little more than other kids.

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Image Credit:
Michael Street, Chevy Chen

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