True Supernatural Tales From Japan

kayako1The final entry in my month-long celebration of all things Halloween

The big night is finally upon us and that means my last Halloween-themed blog. I’ve always enjoyed reading about “real-life” stories of the supernatural so I thought it’d be a fitting way to end my series with a quick sampling of a few paranormal happenings from Japan—a country that definitely loves its ghost stories. Happy Halloween! Wishing everyone a fun and safe time! Don’t forget to submit photos of your costumes. Info here.



Nensha photo plates

Nensha photo plates


She’s A Man Eater

Ever since I’ve been back from Fantastic Fest, I’ve been itching to try and tell a horror story. I can’t say I’ve written anything scary before, let alone have proper film education, but I have enjoyed some great horror flicks in my time on earth. I also can’t claim myself as a movie buff compared to my yomyomf family either but throughout my life, watching scary movies are moments that I always remember.


8 – First movie experience EVER in a real theater. I saw Dark Man with Liam Neeson. Didn’t know going in what was showing, but I liked everything I saw. Probably not the super scariest movie but messed me up for life. Revenge is always fun.

SAF Seeking…. SWM for costume piece

Now if you don’t know, I’ve been dating the white meat since the new millennium began.  As much as this may offend my fellow Offenders, it makes my mom quite happy.  However, the real reason why I date white men…as of right now…. at this very moment… is… they complete the costume.


I’m looking for the perfect “Richard Heene” to add to my “Mayumi Heene” costume.  I’ve been constructing the perfect “Balloon Boy Parents” costumes since Falcon Heene was found in a cardboard box in the attic.  Mylar balloon, 3 marionette dolls to pose as children (1 that throws up on cue), and shirts that say, “We were on Wife Swap!”  All I need now is an egotistical, self-indulgent, angry, kinda red-necky white guy with an updated bowl cut from the 1980′s.

Sometimes Being Asian In Hollywood Ain’t A Bad Thing

hollywood_signI just came back from a pitch meeting (basically this is when you meet with film executives and “pitch” your idea for a potential movie) and it was one of those times when everything seemed to go well and everyone was on the same page. Such instances are rare so when it does happen you feel heartened. I was pitching a take on a novel written by a very famous author so even if things go well, it’s likely it’ll take months of legal wrangling and negotiations before anything happens. Things could also fall apart as often happens in Hollywood even under the best of circumstances.

5 Scariest Movie Villains

Apart from a near-instant compulsion and excuse to candy-hoard (that one never goes away), Halloween — one of my favorite times of the year — for me, has always been about getting scared. More specifically, getting my fright on from a good, spine-chiller. As this favored time approaches, I fixed myself a nice cup of hot buttered cider with rum and pieced together my list of 5 characters who scared (and continue to scare) the crap out of me.

5.  The Headless Horseman (THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW)


My Week in TV Land

One of the biggest joys in life for me is trying new things. There’s nothing better than getting that butterfly in the stomach, conquering it and along the way gaining some context and a new perspective of the experience.
A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to direct an episode of COMMUNITY (it’s still mind boggling that I could be watching a show one day and then be on set shooting it the next.) In the past I’ve had opportunities to direct TV shows but my schedule was either full or it just wasn’t the right fit (sorry car themed projects) But when this came up, it was a no brainer. To me the show is hilarious, amazingly well written, and has an unbelievable cast. I love comedies. That’s all I have on my DVR. And it was truly an honor (and surreal) to get asked to be a part of my favorite show.

The Movie Business 101: Packaging


This Fall, I started teaching classes at UCLA extension as well as doing seminars on the ins an outs of the film business from studio to independent films.  I’ve been doing everything from online teaching (Phil – In case you were wondering, no I am not a using a sexy avatar to simulate the Van Halen ‘Hot for Teacher’ classroom experience) to power point presentations for student filmmakers and professionals interested in learning about different aspects of the entertainment business.  Per fellow offender Justin’s suggestion, I’ll be sharing some ideas and insights from my lectures which will hopefully serve to inform any aspiring filmmakers out there or just people curious about the inner workings of the business.  

Ways of Seeing


And if a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up. I know that the accident of my being a photographer has made my life possible. 

 Richard Avedon (1970)

Recently, I went to the SF Moma to see the Avedon exhibit and happily got my photography fix.  It’s amazing how in our daily lives we’re mostly scanning, glancing, gawking, judging, zoning out…but not taking much in.  So I’m particularly fond of portraiture and street photography for capturing those micro moments, gestures, and expressions that we often miss in everyday life.  I love to be able to sit with these images and look without feeling the kind of self consciousness that happens when observing people in real life.  To be completely absorbed by a photograph and transported to another place and moment in time is an uncanny sensation that for me, can be stimulating, meditative, disturbing, even enlightening.  

mojo moment?


Back from filming. It was an ambitious, if not crazy schedule of 15 production days for a feature film. I have to say, had huge reservations. Been witness to over ambitious, under funded, under seasoned film makers damage good peoples spirits. The one thing on the table that felt safe was that an old friend was leading the charge as director. Went, learned, healed. Got my Mojo filled up. I feel changed. Healed, and just plain better. So, that is the “around the horn”, topic. What filled your Mojo? Changed your life? Made you better? Deep question, but deep is good in between the

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fart jokes.

The ‘Go to” Challenge Winner

After weeks of deliberation, hours of lost sleep, and…
Actually I found out first hand you cannot send Spam via mail to Canada, which is where the winner of the ‘go to’ challenge resides. I sent out the prized meat weeks ago but it disappeared without a trace. I guess even Canada considers Spam food, which is surprising to me. I thought customs would’ve simply let it slide as sodium sculpture or something. Well, without further ado, here’s the winner (posing with a stand-in can of Spam):
Captain “Tiberius” Sean and his beautiful communications officer Julia. By the way, the photo also automatically submits them into the Halloween Challenge (I actually wasn’t sure if they had Halloween in Canada.)
And the new ‘Go to’ actor is…
Ricky Gervais.

Survival Guide: Dimmers

One of my favorite events when I go and visit home (the bay area) is just indulging non stop on some dim sum, or what I refer to as dimmers. It’s one of many cuisines found in the Chinese culture.  If you really want to know about the history about it, you can wiki here. This blog will only be the SURVIVAL GUIDE of how to join the satisfying experience of dimmers to the fullest.
24 First off, picking the right restaurant is very crucial. Sometimes the amount of people waiting could seem like the obvious choice but in reality the food and service deserves a D (luckily in Frisco, you don’t have to display it on the window). The true reason for the huge lines are either super cheap dishes or some holiday special on free tea.  If you’ve picked out your “spot” with the right balance and wanna avoid the traffic, you can either be old school Chinese and be there at 9am right when it opens or the lazy hung over people that go super late at about 1pm.
Next, always designate either the best Chinese speaking person or most veteran dimmers eater on the edge of the table.  That way you’ll get the best stuff and you’ll have someone to yell at the old ladies that try and force you to eat something random. By tradition, tea pouring etiquette is usually designated to the youngest male at the table but shit, we in America and its 2009.  POUR ME SOME TEA!
The noise level in the restaurant is normal. You don’t exactly have to yell like the rest of the people, but enjoying your experience is encouraged with random outbursts. Don’t worry about using a fork or stabbing with the chopsticks. It takes some crafty skills to pick up a pork dumpling. When the teas out, simply make the top of the kettle exposed displaying to the waiter, more hot water!!!
Now on to the must eats! Names and descriptions please…

Original Offenders: Charles Gemora

gemora03Another entry in my month-long celebration of all things Halloween

Charles Gemora was known as Hollywood’s “King of Gorillas.” This may sound like a silly or trivial title to us now, but it was a title given to him with the utmost respect. It meant he was the best at what he did. And what he did, among many other things, was play gorillas. Gemora was a Filipino American who somehow made his way to Hollywood in the 1920s and found work as a make-up artist and mask maker. But he found his true calling donning ape suits in a number of popular films.