I’m a stage manager from Taiwan. I went to UC San Diego for my MFA in Stage Management. While I was in grad school, I didn’t expect that I would continue my career in the states, but one experience to work in Playwright Horizons and another in La Jolla Playhouse changed my mind. Now I’d like to explore the theatre arts via staying and working a couple more years in the states.
2. What are you currently working on right now?
I’m currently freelancing in San Diego area. I am also involved in the project of Threewoods Playwright’s Let’s Be Together Arts Festival.
3. What visa are you on right now?
I’m on my O-1 visa!
4. Tell me about any difficulties you may have faced while applying for the visa?
One of the difficulties that I have faced is to find a way to prove to a person that was not from Theatre background (the immigration officer) that I am outstanding in my profession. Especially due to the nature of Stage Management— Stage Manager is not like a super-star job—there is rarely found an award for a stage manager or the press interview to be one kind of the direct evidence. Therefore, I needed to dig out all kinds of supportive documents as much as I could to tell that “the productions, the venues and the people that I work on, work at and work with are extraordinary so I’m extraordinary too.” During that process, I inevitably doubted if these documents make sense to the office, if they would understand and if that would buy it? Having those thoughts was stressful. Another difficulty was that I received the RFE without specific instruction to talk about what kind of evidences that they want. It was extremely hard when I thought I had been all in with ALL my credits and production documents in the first submission, but now they want more without pointing out specific requests. Marcus and I worked on squeezing extra stuff to send in for the second time, and I would say that period of process was like being in darkness even that was daytime.
5. Do you have any advice for people who might want to apply for the same visa as you?
If you just graduated from school and might just start OPT, it’s important to consult with a lawyer NOW. An immigration lawyer could let you know what kind of jobs/productions would be a good credit in the application, so you would not waste your one-year OPT time working on the job that is not helpful for application. No one told me this idea before and neither I realize this until I had the hard time of preparing my documents and find out that a lot of my credits in OPT period were not much favorable. Another piece of advice is that being open with your lawyer! Marcus is like my fighting partner on this path; I was completely honest with him, and our conversation was transparent and straightforward— I believe that’s the best way that he could help and we could work together. Show him anything that you could think about that would benefit your application, talk to him,maybe debate a bit with him. In those ways, you would get to know more what is essential in the application.
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