One of my most memorable classes during college at The University of Texas was Jazz Appreciation. My professor, a working bassist who had played with Ella Fitzgerald among others (a great storyteller in his own right), always had the music playing as we walked into class. On one particular day, Bill Evan's rendition of “Alice in Wonderland” from his legendary album, Sunday at the Village Vanguard, filled the room. It was at that moment that I had found my favorite song.
Bill's sentiments on Jazz being a feeling rather than some theorem always struck a chord in my identification in creating things or editing. Whatever you call it, that “it” factor, innate sensibility, or as Ira Glass talks about, your taste that's killer, the pursuit of this feeling is something that I hope to discover in each of the projects that I'm a part of, whatever peculiar hours the discovery may come at.
As a recipient of several AICP Post Awards and recognition as a National Finalist for Best Campaign for Editing, finding that mysterious, yet unmistakable feeling in telling a story, with talented people, is a great moment. Whether we'll like one another afterwards can be a different story, but I've yet to have anyone throw anything at me yet, so I've got that going for me.
Life started in a remote refugee camp on a small island in Indonesia. My parents, who fled the Vietnam War, had me while there and found new beginnings in Houston, TX. I grew up loving all of the Houston sports teams and the Texas Longhorns.
During my time at UT-Austin, Ellen Spiro and Karen Bernstein, both accomplished filmmakers, encouraged me to pursue a career as an editor while I applied to med school. So that's how it all started. That career in medicine will have to wait.
My commercial work has spanned over seventeen years with time at places such as VT2, Mad River Post, Willow Street Editorial, Radium, Reel FX, 3008 and now independently.
I've completed projects for brands such as Gatorade, Nestle, Dodge, GM, Genesis, Hyundai, Ram, Patron, Key Bank, Cardinal Health, Hershey's, Western Union, Coors Light, Hasbro, Pepsi, Lays, The Home Depot, Shinola, GMC, ONE Campaign, MD Anderson, Lowe's, Polaris, Volunteers of America, and Zaxby's among others.
In the world of VR, my work for Shinola and Andrew and Luke Wilson received a Lumiere Award from the Advanced Imaging Society and was mentioned by VR Scout that, “There's no doubt that filmmakers will be using this particular video as a template for their 360 projects for years to come.”
Recently, I edited 3 episodes for the fourth season of No Activity by creators Trent O'Donnell and Patrick Brammall, which is playing on Paramount+. Short films I have edited have screened at SXSW, Locarno Film Festival, CDP: Dox, Dok Leipzig, Dallas International Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, Oculus House at Sundance, and others.
When not working, I enjoy traveling, reading, attending sporting events, photography, running (11 halves and counting), and learning French (B1/B2). It's always a pleasure to meet people, catch a glimpse of where they're from, or possibly learn from them where the next adventure lies.
In addition to that, I volunteered for seven years as a child abuse advocate for Dallas CASA. Later on I worked with them in creating a short film about trafficking within the foster care system through T. Ortiz, a trafficking survivor. I also serve on the Advisory Board for Baal Dan charities, founded by Tanya Pinto, furthering their mission to help street children around the world through various local grants. Both are fantastic charities.
And since you now know what my favorite song is, I'll let you know what my favorite film is as well. It is Tokyo Story by Yasujro Ozu (you can read Roger Ebert's sublime review here, but fair warning, spoiler alert). Simple, yet timeless, I highly recommend it. If you happen to watch it let me know what you think.
- Quan CM Tran
Projects Completed For
“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.
It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
- Ira Glass
My father is a constant gardener. Growing up, he planted persimmon trees in our backyard. The color used on the site is Pantone 16-1356 TCX, aka, Persimmon Orange.