Interview Experiences

Everything in the past couple weeks have been moving targets. I was about to throw in the towel as its been 3 months and a week. Still I haven't landed a job. I'd interviewed with 4 different places at this point. Here's what happened:

Let's call this first company, Company H. After the interview, Company H was enthusiastic about starting me off with a project before I joined full-time because I asked for a probation period to test the role out. We were on an email chain, with constant back and forth about the start date. The date kept getting pushed later and later with excuses that he(the bossman) was getting swamped. He links me up with another guy on the production team to get me started. I soon learn that he couldn't start because his boss wasn't notified by mine about this project. The following week I receive an email that he has quit the company. I email my boss to be and ask what are next steps now that his co-worker quit. I get no response.

I email the former employee about his thoughts on Company H and he tells me "I only worked there for two weeks, its not a place to realize dreams but more of a place for retirees." 

With the constant delay of response in addition to insight from a former employee of two weeks, I email the boss man and tell him...I think I'm good, thanks for the meet up.

Next up is Company R. R was an ad agency that called me in for two interviews. The first one was great. The second one was someone much more senior and I'm guessing he's the one that calls the final shots on everything. He starts by saying, I saw your reel and I wasn't sure what role you did in each piece. THIS. This was a surprise to me, because I made sure that my role was clearly labeled at the bottom portion of the frame. I assumed that maybe he wasn't very attentive and I took it as a stupid remark and so I began to walk him through my work. The interview ends and he says, "Do you have whatsapp? I'll whatsapp you later."

I never got the whatsapp. I sent a follow up email. No response. Nobody forced him to say he was going to whatsapp me. If there isn't a right fit I would've just said so right then and there, but I'm beginning to get the sense that people here don't say what they mean and would like to waste time instead. 

Company G is next. G was a completely Chinese production house. My first interview in full Cantonese was nerve wracking to say the least. Their tables were littered with scripts in traditional Chinese from their meeting prior and I think I might've been in deep crap seeing as I can't read or write Chinese. But they knew that before calling me in for the interview and I think it went well overall. The next day they called me for my expected salary. They said they'd offer such and such amount and I said it'd be difficult for me seeing as rent in Hong Kong is off the roof, and said can you do- this amount. Didn't get the job. I assume someone here is always willing to do the job cheaper and also know how to read/write Chinese..

Company J. J needed someone who could edit video but also web develop. That's when a friend explained that Hong Kong is peculiar in that employers expect someone to be able to do two people's worth of abilities for one person's worth of pay.

Lady from Company D calls me in the middle of lunch and asks if I have a Hong Kong ID. I say I don't, I was born in Boston. She giggles and says, "Then how do you know Cantonese? Anyway we will call back if you end up on the shortlist." In my mind I'm thinking.. I probably left the shortlist 2 sentences ago. I never got the callback. 

Company T calls me in for interview, also conducted in complete Cantonese. At this point I think I rehearsed my interview Canto pretty well. They tell me that the youth in HK want to travel to the US and UK, and asked why in the world am I doing the opposite? I tell them that I've been in the US for 27 years, I'm looking for an incredible change. And on top of that, being Chinese, I'd love to know more about the culture here and understand the place that my parents came from. I need a change of speed. However the interview ends with one question that I could not answer. They ask, "If you're not a local, how will you know what the Hong Kong audience likes to watch? I'm just afraid that when we laugh at a joke we write, you won't know to laugh." I left the interview and later that night I had the perfect answer. If the fact of the matter is that I can't give you the benefit of understanding local culture, I can only give you something on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. The answer is that not only can I give you a western perspective, but a fresh perspective that a local cannot give you. And if what they said previously about youths wanting to immigrate to the US is true, then most HK people will love western culture. The movie Logan just came out, its a success in the states and it's also a success here in Hong Kong. Doesn't that speak volumes about the Hong Kong people's taste? I wish I had that answer 5 hours earlier. 

Back in Boston, everybody in the film industry basically knew everyone else. I never had to throw in cover letters and resumes the old fashioned way. Everything is word of mouth. I'm half way around the globe, I know no one in the industry. So I'm not sure if it's working all that well.