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Student Stories

Senior Spotlight: Chris Han

"Collaboration is a practice." Whether it's through animation, music, or documentary filmmaking, it all comes down to personal connection for senior Chris Han.  Here, he shares his passion projects and the people who've pushed him forward creatively...


What project are you working on right now?

For my Garage Experience capstone project, I'm working on developing an interactive toy or tool that can be used by Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) children to support the development of their literacy. Specifically, I am targeting children between the ages of four and seven, because it’s during this time that children begin to wrap their minds around the concept and value of stories. My project is about providing avenues of self-discovery for DHH students through story at a philosophical level.

I’m also working on my animation thesis which is an animated documentary on my grandmother. I’ve never met my grandmother, but I’ve pieced together accounts from family members to weave together a picture of who she was in my mind. The idea about my grandma came naturally, as I realized the power of documentary comes from a personal connection with the subject matter. My parents have been wonderful influences in my life and I wanted to know more about the parents who influenced them. Additionally, I’m collaborating with my girlfriend, who is a composer, on a visual music piece on spring growth. I’m hoping to bring a majestic and delicate side to procedural animation, which can be very in-your-face and visually overwhelming. For this piece, I’m using the animation tool, Houdini, which has been an exciting technical and artistic challenge to work with.

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you?
I have had my fair share of wonderful professors and mentors at USC. In terms of art, I'm so inspired by Mike Patterson. He has changed the way I view animation and the concepts I try to evoke through my work. He inspires me by revealing crazy ways the medium has been used and helps make things that seem impossible feel accessible.

Tell us a bit about your journey to the Academy. What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?
There was no other program that could foster my interests across technology, art, and innovative business. I definitely didn't really understand what I was getting myself into at the time, but now I can't imagine being anywhere else.

What advice would you give to a freshman?
Look beyond your cohort. There are so many opportunities and things to learn during the first year and this leads to a strong inter-cohort community. However, the interdisciplinary nature of our program is useless without collaborating with others. Talk with other cohorts and others outside the Academy. Collaboration is a practice.

Try things that are different than what we learn in our time at the Academy and study them deeply. Embrace a liberal arts approach to education and enjoy your GEs.

Go on a Maymester.

Talk to a lot of professors. 

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you? 
I play a few instruments.

What is the one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
The Lord is with you wherever you go or whatever you undertake. So be strong and courageous.

Fun Facts

What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Computer, notebook, pens, something print form to read.

Favorite app or website?
Apple Notes.

Favorite class at USC and why?
It really is hard to choose just one. Some highlights have been: ACAD 376 Discerning & Making on the New World Project; ENGL 352 Bookpacking to Louisiana w/ Andrew Chater; EALC 333 Korean Film with Elli Kim. But as of now, CTAN 495 is my favorite class at USC of all time. It is with my favorite professor, Mike Patterson. All of the other classes I highlighted have all changed my perspective on something I'm passionate about and have provided an experience I simply will never forget. Visual Music is no different. It has changed the way I view the animation medium and the things I want to create artistically. I'm not sure whether or not I will partake in the animation industry post-graduation, but in terms of creative thinking and a desire to push a medium forward and constantly learn new things and challenge oneself, this class has pushed me forward in all aspects.

Favorite way to de-stress:
Candy + Movie Theatre + Sleep

Guilty pleasure?
I'm not sure what constitutes as a guilty pleasure but I like to watch videos of bees.