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  • Writer's pictureMaria Tran

Living Between Two Worlds: Sydney, Australia and Las Vegas, Nevada

Living between two countries has been an exhilarating and at times challenging experience. The constant travel, cultural adjustments, and jetlag can be overwhelming. But as an artist and independent filmmaker, dividing my time between Sydney, Australia, and Las Vegas, Nevada has opened up a world of opportunities and expanded my horizons in unimaginable ways.

Just this year, I've already planned four flights between these vibrant cities. Each trip brings a mix of excitement and exhaustion, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Being transnational has allowed me to acquire valuable skills, knowledge, and networking opportunities that benefit both sides.

Sydney, with its thriving arts and film scene, has been my creative hub for the past 15 years. It's a city that breathes creativity, and I consider myself fortunate to be a part of its independent screen sector.

From my early days as an aspiring filmmaker to my recent success as an actor in the Paramount TV series "Last King of the Cross" and my very own action movie "Echo 8," Sydney has nurtured my artistic spirit and provided a supportive community of fellow artists and filmmakers. The opportunities for collaboration and artistic growth have been boundless.

On the other hand, Las Vegas, known for its glitz and glamour, offers a different kind of energy. It's a melting pot of diverse talents and creative industries. Immersing myself in the Las Vegas film scene, I discovered a thriving community of artists, actors, and filmmakers who are eager to push boundaries and tell unique stories. The city's enthusiasm for entertainment and openness to new ideas have fueled my passion for creating innovative and thought-provoking projects.

I appreciate the can-do attitude prevalent here, which sometimes contrasts with the tall poppy syndrome I've encountered in Australia when standing out. In the United States, hustle and confidence are encouraged, and with a credible track record, one can thrive. When I'm in the US, my persistent determination is met with opportunities to collaborate and demonstrate my capabilities.

Living between these dynamic cities has allowed me to bridge cultures and infuse diverse perspectives into my work. The contrasting experiences and influences from Sydney and Las Vegas have shaped my artistic vision, propelling me to explore new narratives and challenge existing norms. In the United States, I'm seen as driven and community-focused, whereas in Australia, there can be skepticism. When I'm in the US, I find that my tenacity opens doors for collaboration and proves my worth.

Certainly, navigating time zones and managing jetlag can be exhausting. Yet, for me, the sacrifices are worth it. The opportunity to work on projects that span continents and collaborate with talented individuals from different backgrounds has enriched my creative process. It has broadened my understanding of global audiences and empowered me to craft stories that resonate with diverse viewers.

I've learned the importance of resilience, adaptability, and building a strong support system. Balancing work commitments, personal relationships, and self-care while staying connected to both communities requires effort. It's about embracing the challenges and finding beauty in the duality of existence.

As an artist and independent filmmaker, being transnational has transformed my journey. It has allowed me to immerse myself in different cultures, learn from various artistic traditions, and forge connections that transcend borders. The synergy between Sydney and Las Vegas has shaped my creative voice and emboldened me to push boundaries and explore uncharted territories.

Living between two worlds comes with its complexities, but the rewards are immeasurable. It serves as a constant reminder of the vastness of our world and the multitude of stories waiting to be told. As I continue my journey as a transnational artist, I'm grateful for the experiences, opportunities, and growth that come with straddling two countries. Navigating between Sydney and Las Vegas is a privilege, and I eagerly anticipate the next chapter of this adventure.

I'm thrilled to be returning to Sydney on July 25. Exciting things await as I showcase "Ritual," a live martial arts performance featuring talented artists Kimberley Vo, Therese Chen, and our newest collaborator Haruka Kuni, who will mesmerize with their Taiko drumming at the Art Gallery of NSW. Additionally, I'll be premiering the documentary I directed, "Warrioress," and conducting an acting workshop at Cabramatta Whitlam Library, among other thrilling ventures.

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