Sophronia Ma is an alum of the Fall 2017 - Spring 2018 program:
Prior to my completion of the first semester at Nanjing University's Chinese Flagship Program, I sought out media companies willing to take in a foreigner as an intern. I scoured through multiple Chinese and American job hunting platforms and apps to look for positions that would provide me with an experience I could learn the most from. Two weeks prior to the internship confirmation deadline, I received an interview invitation I had only ever dreamed of - working with the Creative Department at Oriental DreamWorks. I hopped on a train to Shanghai for an interview and tour of the office, and instantly fell in love with the city, the company environment, and the work. I was more than excited to begin my career in the movie industry and looked forward to my start date.
Fast forward to the end of the internship and I couldn't believe an entire semester had gone by so fast. During my short time at the company, I had met Academy Award winning directors and writers in production meetings, brainstormed with animation geniuses, assisted in creative decisions on character developments and story arches, read countless script submissions, prepared brain summits and artist events, and provided feedback on multiple in-production projects. And all in Chinese - a feat I considered a massive achievement. I was proud of myself for advancing my Chinese skill set to a degree where locals in the office accepted me as a part of "us" versus "them," and worked hard to prove to my bosses that despite being a foreigner, I too could keep up with the work in the office.
A couple months later, I found myself on my first ever full time job as a production assistant on one of NBC's top ranked dramas. During an on-location film day, I gave directions to a Chinese mother on how to get to Chinatown from midtown. She was frazzled and worried when she approached me, but at ease when she left. Unbeknownst to me, one of the production bosses had witnessed my exchange and approached me about a job promotion, specifically for being able to reach, relate, and respond to the Chinese community. Because filming in New York's Chinatown happens quite often, and not many people in the entertainment industry have a Chinese skill set, I felt honored to be bestowed a title that would allow me to liaise between the movie world and the Chinese community.
As I advance forward in my career, I plan to continue drawing from everything I learned in school, abroad in China, as well my homegrown experiences, to help launch me towards my dreams of one day becoming a top Hollywood producer. Please also see the link pasted below for the Q&A youtube video I made for capstone applicants: https://youtu.be/4n2OMuk1uGU