“I want to tell stories.”
That is the goal of Jinming Zhao. She isn’t looking for fame or fortune. She wants to connect to audiences. She wants to share experiences and display emotions. That is what makes her a successful producer. She is a storyteller.
The 24-year old producer was born in China, but relocated to Burbank, California for school. Since graduating she has gone on to be recognized internationally as a producer. Most recently she was a co-producer on the film Plaything, which has already won Best Short at the Around International Film Festival, and the Award of Merit: Film Short at the IndieFest Film Awards. It also has been officially selected by the Women’s Only Entertainment Film Festival, the Korea International Expat Film Festival, and the Los Angeles CineFest.
“Working on Plaything was an interesting experience because it’s the first musical I have ever produced. And it’s nice to add Chinese culture to a period European film,” said Zhao.
Plaything is about a woman who is trapped in a dangerous polygamous relationship. She is desperate to fight for her love by playing the Mahjong game against other women, until she finds out what is really hidden.
“Jinming’s career is decorated with a slew of achievements, demonstrative of a truly elite and one-of-a-kind producer. Her outstanding ability as a producer is an invaluable presence on any production, and cements her as an elite creative in her field,” said Yufei Qiao, the director Plaything. “I do not doubt that Jinming’s leading roles as a producer have established her as an internationally renowned filmmaker.”
Working on a musical presented challenges for Zhao she was not used to. Musicals require the songs to be ready before production. During filming, there was an unplanned musician change. Right when it seemed like things may not work out, Zhao found the perfect musician.
“It came out very nicely,” she said. “I learned to be flexible and not afraid to change plans. Things happen on every production, and I know I will be find a way to overcome them.”
Zhao is naturally talented when it comes to producing. She always wanted to be a producer, from the time she was a child.
“I was a super quiet person when I was very young, and I was afraid to talk with people although I had a lot stories and experiences that I wanted to share,” she said. “Since then, I always wanted to be a producer who can use film as a tool to share experience and tell stories.”
Zhao has worked on many award-winning films, such as Stand Up, From Now On, Nothing But Her, and Emily. Now, she wants to make films that present Chinese culture to the United States. She recently produced a video for Buzzfeed about the challenges that Chinese Immigrants face daily. It had more than 600,000 views in its first three days of being live.
“I like producing because I can have the control of what kind of stories to tell, and how to tell the stories. I like it because making film involves teamwork. I like to collaborate with other talented people and share great stories with audience,” said Zhao. “I want to be a creative producer, who finds great scripts and follows through for the whole process.”
Zhao has had many great moments throughout her career. From working on her first film, to holding up her first trophy at a film festival, she had achieved quite a lot. She still remembers seeing her name roll past her eyes on the big screen for the first time.
“I was going to cry. It was at a screening theatre in Warner Brothers. When my name showed up on the screen, when the audience applauded for me, I was super excited and moved,” she said. “Because I knew I made a film people liked, and also because as a foreigner and a woman, I made more efforts to achieve that.”
And she will be doing just that, with an upcoming film and web series in the works, she has no plans of slowing down.