Trailblazing: Forge a Path Where One Does Not Exist

Being the first woman to be named VFX Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic was a great privilege and a huge responsibility. I felt the weight of representing all women, all minority women, and the need to be not just good – but excellent. I’ve seen how implicit bias manifests – the looks of disbelief from crew and clients that I could be a supervisor, or the unknown quantity that many people find hard to accept because there are just so few of us. It is harder to get work as a female supervisor, but the obstacles have increased my resolve to do well in this business and prove them wrong. For people starting out, this environment can be discouraging, so I am committed to sharing what I’ve learned.

As an artist in a position to lead others, it’s important to stay deeply connected to your craft. It takes budgets and pipelines to make our shows run, but to feed my artistry, I need to be creating at my workstation and imagining out loud. Technology changes nonstop, and to be a good supervisor capable of selling it into a project, you must keep your hands dirty.

Do not be afraid to dare greatly and listen to your inner calling. While working at ILM, a lot of great films came out of Hong Kong, China and Asia. I felt like I had a role to play in making these movies, as well as a connection to helping the business go further technologically in my hometown, the place that shaped me. I pursued the chance to work with the best Asian filmmakers on Hero by quitting my job at ILM to follow my passion. Bold leaps are life defining moments; take them when you have the chance.

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