Lin was born in capitol city of Taiwan, Taipei, in 1973 but grew up in the United States. At the age of nine, he and moved his family to Orange County, California. He attended UC San Diego and later transferred to UCLA Filkm School. It's there that he met fellow graduate student Quinten Lee and the two would later collaborate on two films together, the 1996 movie " Flow" and the 1997 movie "Shopping For Fangs". The pair shared directoral duties on the latter film which was screened and well recieved at international film festivals. Lin's solo directoral debut was the 2003 film "Better Luck Tommorow". He went on to write and direct the 2006 film "Annapolis" and followed that up with "The Fast and the: Furious Tokyo Drift". The success of that film led to him directing the sequels "Fast & Furious", "Fast Five" and "Fast Six".