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Spotlight on Sonny Yng: From Intern to Maker

In the heart of Cabramatta, Sonny Yng, a budding filmmaker with roots in the rich tapestry of Chinese & Cambodian cultures, embarked on a transformative internship with Phoenix Eye. As a student at Macquarie University pursuing a Bachelor of Media and Communications, with a focus on Screen Practice and Production, Sonny's internship became a pivotal chapter in his filmmaking journey.

Q1: What motivated you to pursue an internship with Phoenix Eye film production company, and how has the experience aligned with your career goals?

Everyone who lives in the area of Western Sydney would have come across Maria Tran and Phoenix Eye at some point. They are artist-led and not your typical filmmakers; they are edgy, cool, and proud to be from the area, embracing their own identities and cultural roots while working on local projects with international appeal. Working in a diverse team environment with incredibly diverse people felt like fighting the system and addressing unconscious biases as a person of color. Phoenix Eye's commitment to showcasing the achievements of people of color motivated me to explore the industry beyond projects of my scale. This experience aligned perfectly with my career goals in the martial arts and action film realm, providing invaluable connections and insights into the industry.

Phoenix Eye's commitment to showcasing the achievements of people of color motivated me to explore the industry beyond projects of my scale.

Q2: Over the course of more than 70 hours, what specific tasks or projects have you been involved in, and how have they contributed to your professional development in the film industry?

A: From capturing large-scale events & shows as a photographer to being a camera operator for Maria Tran's Art Gallery of NSW 'Warrioress' documentary, shooting promo videos for the Powerhouse Museum, and capturing behind-the-scenes moments of Maria Tran's Ritual performance—I've been exposed to so many diverse projects and have had such invaluable hands-on experience. These experiences pushed me out of my comfort zone, taught me the value of hustling for opportunities, and made me adept at handling different cameras and equipment, boosting my confidence.

Onset and collaborating with other filmmakers

Q3: Can you share a particular project or moment during your internship that stands out to you as a significant learning experience or achievement?

The pageant show was a mind-blowing experience where individuals not officially part of the 'media team' infiltrated seamlessly, teaching me the importance of hustling to make connections. This eye-opener revealed that looking the part and confidently executing tasks can open doors in unexpected ways, a valuable lesson in the art of networking.

Q4: How has the internship at Phoenix Eye shaped your understanding of the film production process, and what aspects of the industry have you found most intriguing or challenging?

Phoenix Eye significantly shaped my understanding of the film production process by exposing me to different department heads and instilling the importance of set etiquette. Efficiency, especially in the lighting department, became intriguing as it highlighted the meticulous planning needed to stay on schedule. The most challenging aspect has been gaining hands-on experience and the confidence to actively contribute to various tasks on set.

Phoenix Eye and the NSW Minister for the Arts John Graham

Q5: In what ways has the team at Phoenix Eye supported your growth as an intern, and what advice would you give to someone considering an internship in film production based on your own experiences?

Phoenix Eye has supported my growth by providing valuable connections and setting high standards for professionalism on set. My advice to potential interns is to prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually. Embrace a positive mindset, focus on genuine communication, and be ready to learn without letting your ego get in the way. Additionally, prioritize life skills alongside creative vision, ensuring a holistic approach to both personal and professional development.

Q5: Is there anything else you are looking forward to?

Being a part of the Phoenix Eye family and developing my skills through other people's projects as well as in the future, working towards my own. I'm also looking forward to taking part in Phoenix Eye slate, particularly the action movie 'Echo 8 Trilogy' when it shoots in 2025.


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