Can you tell our readers what a normal day looks like for Adrian Yeung?
The Story Symphony is yet another passion project of mine, on top of other creative pursuits (not to mention working full-time and trying to have a social life too). But fortunately it’s a tonne of fun, which makes it absolutely not a chore even if I’m working on it until all hours of the night!
As an independent producer, I essentially wear all the hats: script writing and editing, audio recording and production, marketing and promotion, and of course all of the admin. The tasks that this involves are endless, and each one different to the last – reading over the writer’s scripts, scheduling time to record with actors, sourcing sound effects, graphic design work, promoting The Story Symphony… the list goes on and on!
As has been the case for pretty much everyone around the world, the pandemic has added an extremely difficult layer of complexity to getting stuff done. With Melbourne being in and out of lockdown for the past two years, it’s been a challenge trying to produce a collaborative fiction podcast entirely remotely. But with passion, patience and a multitude of Zoom calls, nothing is impossible.
How important is diversity to you and in the work that you do?
While diversity and inclusion aren’t explicitly themes of The Story Symphony, the nature of having a story that’s created by multiple people makes it an inherent part of The Story Symphony’s DNA. The writers that came together to create the story are incredibly talented people that I’ve connected with across my professional, academic and social lives. They all have very different writing styles, which is made very obvious with all of the unpredictable twists and turns throughout the story.
While diversity and inclusion in terms of who’s creating art still has a long way to go in Australia, I think it’s really important to recognise how far we’ve come. There are now noticeably more writers, actors, celebrities and public figures in Australia from culturally diverse backgrounds than in the past, who are helping to shine a light on issues that may otherwise go unnoticed by the mainstream – such as the lack of diversity in the media.
I fully identify as an Asian Australian writer, yet there is little about The Story Symphony to suggest that it’s an Asian Australian production – it’s just something that happens to be produced by an Asian Australian. I think having more representation in Australian media will ultimately normalise the idea of anybody being able to create art that is popular and universally embraced, no matter what their heritage may be.
Have you ever faced challenges in your professional career from others because of your identity and if so, how were you able to overcome that?
I’ve always tried my best not to let my cultural heritage dictate my approach to creativity, or wanting to achieve the things that I want to achieve. Having said that, there’s no escaping the fact that it is a fundamental part of who I am, and growing up Asian in Australia certainly presents a unique set of circumstances to when it comes to forging a presence in the creative scene.
When it comes to those from diverse cultural backgrounds trying to break into the creative arts, I think one of the greatest challenges is having few role models to compare to. But with enough courage, that also just presents more opportunities to break through barriers and do something truly unique – and to show others in the community that if you can do it, anyone can.
ADVICE FOR THE YOUTH
Building your networks is the most important factor of success. Whether you’re talking to someone doing something similar to you or in a completely different field, you never know what you might learn from hearing about their experiences and how they overcame challenges in their lives to get to where they are now.
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About the diversity champion:
Meet Adrian, producer of The Story Symphony – the fiction podcast with each chapter written by an entirely different author. The listeners don’t have any idea what to expect – and neither do the writers!
Eight writers and six actors worked tirelessly to create season one, which launched on May 2020 and has since attracted over 24,000 listens. And season two is just around the corner…
Image description: Adrian is smiling at the camera wearing a suit