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Meet Tannie Xin Tang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tannie Xin Tang.

Tannie Xin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Did not have many thoughts about future back in my teenage days, I watched a lot of TV shows and films while parents were away at work. It is no exaggeration to say that I learned, as many if not more, lessons, values, common senses from the screen at home than from adults in my life. After realizing the power of influencing others through stories, visuals, and the voice from the other side of the screen, I made up my mind of pursuing storytelling as my career. I came to the States seven years ago by myself attending Brandeis University studying film appreciation. Desperately needing more hands-on experience, I later came to New York Film Academy earning an MFA degree in cinematography. I must admit, in a cheesy way, I fall in love with this amazing craft and will only focus on becoming a cinematographer from then on.

I have worked in New York for two years mainly in the grip and electric department on narrative films, commercials, and music videos. Afterwards, I came to Los Angeles continuing my education while working mainly in the camera department for a wide range of productions. With robust craft in both camera and lighting, I strive to continue telling distinctive stories with a sturdy technical proficiency, a personal sensitivity, and a collaborative spirit.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been the smoothest road, especially when I was working in lighting department where there are rarely any girls. Often being the only female on the team, I always have to “man up” to prove my eligibility working as an electric or grip, even though I am more than qualified for the job, and hides my femininity to better fit in the workflow, the conversation and the general dynamics. I had a brief identity crisis where I did not feel confidant being an Asian female working in this business, especially in the physically demanding lighting department where male electrics and grips dominate. Gradually, I have noticed there has been more attention paid to the diversity of film workers. Luckily, I have met amazing people supporting me along the way and it makes me feel comfortable doing my job and just focus on the craft.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Master craft of cinematography, create to impact others, maintain good mental health, and a splash of material comfort.

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