Christy Yang: Editing with an Eye for Reality

Christy Yang
Editor Christy yang

An editor does a lot of the heavy lifting for the audience and the production. They help the creators of a story realize the full potential that the footage offers and they may even help a director see the better story potential which is possible. Editor Xiaodan (Christy) Yang has received great praise and recognition for her work on films like Kayla and Sunflower but she’s equally well-known and respected in the industry for her work on unscripted shows and documentaries.

The Happy Days of Gary Marshall (airing on ABC), The Real Housewives of New York City, People’s Choice Award Nominee Supernanny; these have all benefitted from the talent and skill of Christy Yang with each displaying a different emotional tone. While Yang continues her work on Siesta Key, the reality TV series created by three-time Primetime Emmy nominated producer/writer/director Mark Ford, she also finds herself working on productions with greater gravitas.

While so much of the world has been locked down or at the least leading a much more restrictive lifestyle, Christy Yang has been working remotely on an upcoming documentary which illuminates the history and the course of Covid-19. Wuhan Wuhan presents the lives of vastly different characters in Wuhan where the coronavirus first took hold. Yang rounded out a trio of celebrated filmmakers on this production which included award-winning Director Yung Chang (known for the films Up the Yangtze and China Heavyweight) and Producer Diane Moy Quon.

Set for release in November, Wuhan Wuhan seeks to show how the people of this city have dealt with such a cataclysmic event. Explaining how this experience compares to most editing of documentaries, Christy informs, “Editing most documentaries means watching and sifting through what seems like endless footage. This can be mundane at times but it’s necessary to find what is most important to telling the story. You can’t throw everything on the timeline; it needs to fit into that 100-minute format.

What was so challenging about this documentary is that the footage of Wuhan is so precious. It was incredibly hard to make decisions about what to use. I see courage, love, desperation, fear, and hope in this film. The characters in this film are so strong, positive, and real. Although they all had some desperate moments, they still never stopped fighting for life. For me, this documentary is more than a job. I feel so honored that I’m part of the team that got to tell a story of this history. It was such a special experience.”

An indicator of just how disparate the subject matter she is presented with can be is seen in the fact that Christy is a part of the editorial team for the upcoming series Get Real. Executive produced by Brian Graden and Dave Mace for Brian Graden Media and David Collins (Producer of the 4-time Primetime Emmy Winner Queer Eye), Get Real is a documentary series that considers the thirty year stars of Reality TV and the genre’s effect on the public.

In the same way that social media has altered our communication with each other, reality television has altered our perspective on how we should conduct ourselves and think of ourselves. Yang will collaborate with two-time Primetime Emmy Award Winning Editor Joe DeShano on Get Real. Christy Yang revels in the opportunities her skills as an editor afford her.

She muses, “I’ve been interested in the News, TV, and Film industries since I was little.When I was in middle school, my career goal was to be a journalist as I found it fascinating to figure out the truth of an incident and help people who needed it. As I grew older I realized that being a filmmaker, especially as an editor is another way to express my thoughts, whether it’s a narrative or a documentary. I find filmmaking and editing very charming. I never tire of it and the fun of the creative process.”

Writer: Patrick Cooper