DIRECTOR + EDITOR + VIDEOGRAPHER

 

Unifying sight and sound is something we rarely think about, but rests at the foundation of how most of us understand and are affected by concepts and stories. I’ve always admired anyone able to manipulate my senses and emotions with good film editing, and have a world of appreciation for documentary film editors. While storyboards and directors are a guide for them, there is no exact recipe. The ingredients are different every time. There is always something to when it comes to any craft, but I believe that being a good editor requires an innate skill – a connection with sound and imagery that reaches beyond what the average person is capable of understanding.
Enter: Rosanna Peng.

A little over a year ago, when The Creator Class was still an enigma, I stumbled upon their short film series “Originals” and immediately decided that whoever was editing was brilliant. This brought me to Rosanna. After about a year of doing the old familiar (silently admiring from the depths of the internet) I finally got in touch. With an overflowing mental list of questions, we met up with for a coffee and strolled through a park, and much to my satisfaction, managed to graze the surface of the deep creative ocean that is her mind.


 
 

Describe what brought you to what you're doing now.
I fell in love with editing and being able to share through video all the way back in high school. I remember being one of the few girls in video class full of jocks. We would take turns sharing our videos. When I was able to make a room full of private school "brahs" laugh at the jokes made in my video; as a shy girl I felt like I had found my voice. Knowing that video had the ability to make viewers feel something got me hooked. After University, I bought a Canon 7D and started shooting for anyone that needed work and learned more and more with each video I made.  

Describe your aesthetic/style and what went into developing that.
Aesthetically, I have an affinity for ethereal shots mixed with grime. Content-wise, I aim/hope for everything I make to have some kind of a positive attribution to the world.

Where do you typically go to find inspiration?
For visual inspiration, I’m all over Pinterest and Tumblr. This can be kind of controversial because of the nature of “borrowing” in the internet age, but I’m not so much copying what’s trendy as I am trying to reference or challenge creative trends (at least that’s what I hope to do). For contextual inspiration, I clear my head on runs or find a place where I can be alone. Being a believer in God, I value the still moments where I can re-focus on my main source of inspiration and motivation to do what I do.

Your use of sound and rhythm is phenomenal. All of your choices seem so thoughtful and precise. Tell me about your creative process and workflow.
Thank you! My workflow/creative process varies depending on the project, but in most cases, content prioritizes over aesthetic and "vibe choices" (vibe choices being music/colour-grading/shot decisions). What this looks like from a pre-production standpoint means that every detail of each scene is meant to emphasize the initial concept of the piece. From an editing standpoint, this means cutting the interview or footage first before applying b-roll, colouring, or music. Sound and rhythm usually comes last in my workflow and is used to further drive the initial idea/concept.

 
 

So fascinating. Which of your projects have been most memorable and why?
One of the most memorable projects was a feature video I shot with an actor in which I lost the recorded audio for. I had to use the audio from the camera opposed to the LAV and it sounded brutal. It was devastating - I was ready to move back home to Vancouver and change careers, but it passed and I got over it. This project marked the beginning of my extreme paranoia surrounding external audio recorders.

What is it about editing that you love the most?
I’m addicted to being able to express and convey a feeling. I don’t consider myself the most articulate person; I’ve always had a hard time expressing myself with words. Through editing, I feel like I found my voice but beyond that, being able to reconstruct something to make someone feel something is an extremely powerful medium. It’s how I plan on taking over the world one day. 

A lot of the people you've filmed with Creator Class are artists that have found a voice for themselves through social media. As someone who has been exposed firsthand, talk about the relationship between artists and social media today.
Social media platforms like Instagram have allowed creatives to build a platform for their work which leads to more opportunities for their career. This is a beautiful thing. What’s not is when creatives start to value that platform over the quality of their work. I’m not immune to getting wrapped up in this either. It’s easy to sit back and revel at all the likes and compliments and call it a day, but the validation means nothing in the end if you aren’t creatively satisfied yourself. I check myself by asking, "Is the end product executed to the absolute best approach possible? Is there room for improvement?" It’s important to constantly remind yourself of your intentions as a creative.

 
 

What are your thoughts on native advertising and the notion of brands hiring popular artists to promote their products through social media under the guise of their “lifestyle”?
I have no shade on brands hiring artists to promote their product. This is the nature of where marketing is headed and everyone’s got to eat. 

I like that. Do you feel like this form of advertising and promotion for artists is sustainable?
It’s weird; to me the average consumer probably can see through it, but it’s not unsustainable because the sponsored post still led me to that Instagram account or browse the hashtag. Marketing trends (in every field) eventually lose their novelty and become normalized and less effective until the next trend comes.

What is something you've always wanted to do but haven't done yet?
I’ve always wanted to ride a motorcycle. 

When you’re not creating or working what do you get up to?
Lounging with a book or going for a run.

Talk about the phrase "our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure". Why is that important to you?
Growing up, I feel like I've been conditioned to feel inferior as a form of humility. Be it feeling like "the other" in my private high school, a liberal art University, and sometimes in the industry that I'm in now. This quote reminds me that my insecurities not only hold me back, but are a disservice to the world.

 

CONTACT ROSANNA
rosannapeng.com
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CREDITS
Published on October 20, 2015
Interview & photography by Marlee Maclean