Campus Circle: What made you want to be a filmmaker?
Irene Young: I’m an escapist. I love stealing away for two hours and immersing myself in something that is outside of my present reality – being able to feel the emotions of other people and experience events that haven’t really happened to me. I think I’m just a really sympathetic person! Also, in high school my boyfriend worked at the local movie theater, so we would go and see every movie that was playing. I think that’s what started it all.
CC: Tell us about your latest film project.
IY: My Mother’s Jade is an independent endeavor fueled by blood and sweat. It’s based on true events that transpired between my mom and I during my teen-angst years, and is a portrait of the cultural and generational conflicts that arise when an Asian-minded parent tries to raise her child in a Western country. More specifically, it’s about white boyfriends, my mother’s favorite jade bracelet, and the night I broke her heart for the first time. I’ve made a lot of films as a student, and this is my first outside-of-USC passion project.
CC: What’s your passion outside of filmmaking?
IY: I choreograph and dance with the USC Repertory Company. This is my fifth and last semester with them and I’m so sad! I think dance and film are pretty related – they’re both visual, creative expression. Over the years I’ve found that my directing style crosses over in both mediums.
CC: What do you hope to do upon graduation?
IY: My career goal is to be an editor. I’m following a few leads right now and am hoping to work at HBO this summer.
CC: What is your advice for other aspiring filmmakers?
IY: “KEEP CALM AND PRE-PRODUCTION ON.” This was my mantra while working on My Mother’s Jade. The fact is, when you have so many different people collaborating on a project, things are going to go wrong – or at least, not the way you expect them to. The best thing you can do is do the best you can do! Don’t waste time trying to figure out why something went wrong or who’s at fault; instead, leave it behind immediately and look for a solution. Also, trusting in your crew is key. Filmmaking is about teamwork, and I always say, the film is just as much as their’s as it is your’s.
CC: What’s the best thing about USC and the Trojan family?
IY: The fact that we really are a family. My Mother’s Jade was crewed almost exclusively through USC classmates, friends and alumni, and all of our actors had worked on USC projects before as well.
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