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SPNN Artist Talk: Kang Vang

April 14, 2020

When he was young, Kang Vang loved reading and the stories his mom told him and his siblings. He also enjoyed drawing, especially comic book characters. Filming was something that brought his passions together. He finds inspiration in the world around him, perhaps a line of dialogue, an image or photograph will spur an entire story.  

During last Sunday’s Artist Talk Kang Vang, who has a passion for the tech, described himself as a self-taught media maker. The classes he took at Columbia College in Chicago, MCTC, and Metro State all gave him skills, but felt the bulk of his learning came from crewing on different sets and working on his own films, which he has been doing since a young teen.  His interest in the tech side of film and understanding that growth comes from learning from your mistakes came through during the conversation, “Plan for the unexpected, but understand there will be things you just can’t plan for.”  

A film he is probably most recognized for, 1985, taught him a more about his Hmong Culture and was inspired by conversations he had with his older brother. He felt it was important to tell a story about his community, “We’re not just nobodies fleeing a country, we have heroes. These are people who risked everything for their families.” 

He talked about finding people you share the same passion as and you can get along with. “Filmmaking is very stressful, make sure you are working with people you enjoy working with.” His advice for new media makers is to start small, “How can you tell a story in 15 seconds. Go on to shoot a five shot film.” He also encouraged media makers to volunteer on film sets, be a gopher and work your way up and to keep your eyes and ears open to learn how you can better your own productions. “It’s not the resources that you have that make you successful, it’s how resourceful you can be. Apply your creativity not just to the content, but to how you are going to get the work done.” He encouraged us to use what we have like our phones, “you can shoot on them and edit on them”.  You can find tips from our student worker, Tara Mercene, on how to shoot better video on your phone here

SPNN’s Artist Talk series is made possible through an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Coming up: Maya Washington and Leya Hale.