Dalila Ali Rajah and Shelli Boone in “Secrets & Toys”
It was about a year ago when Dalila Ali Rajah, a young charismatic African American actress, approached me outside the Fusion Lab in East LA. We started chatting, each with a drink in our hands. We had met over the years at Outfest and Fusion and had been talking about doing something together.
“I’m serious. I really want you to make my short. Let’s do it this year,” said Dalila.
“Sure,” I said. “And let’s just make it with whatever budget you have and not wait for that ten thousand dollars.”
I previously wrote about ex-campus-shooter Wayne Lo who dedicated a piece of art to Jason Tobin, lead actor of Chink, the movie that I produced. Little did I know, I already befriended Wayne on Facebook after seeing his art when we were shooting at Hyena Gallery. I became fascinated with Wayne’s story after Wayne dedicated his art piece to Jason Tobin, and we became friends and started chatting weekly on the phone.
It took me a couple of weeks to figure out how the system worked. They make you jump through hoops to connect with an inmate in America. I wanted to do a documentary on Wayne, but I realized that it would be impossible as Wayne told me flat out that his facility has banned all recording equipment after Columbine. The best I could do was to talk to him on the phone and visit him at his facility in Massachusetts. Read more...
Hey YOMYOMF readers, you may notice that our site looks different. This is actually a temporary layout that we’ll be using for the next two weeks or so, as we work on some maintenance under the hood.
And although we are not ready to announce yet, but we’re going to launch “phase two” of our site, which means basically, a revamped site with some new fangled thing-a-ma-bobs, bells and whistles, and some hootin’ and hollerin.’ We’re still in the final stages of planning but 2014 is definitely going to be a year of recharge, a redirection… a Regeneration for YOMYOMF.
First off for new changes, will be a new layout in a couple of weeks! Stay tuned and mahalo (thank you) for sticking with us!
For the holidays last month, I decided to head back to the motherland, Vietnam, to rejuvenate my creative juices (writing, eating amazing food, visiting friends and family) and also, work on my friend’s horror film. Like many Asian Americans working today, many are returning to their homeland to seek opportunity. In fact, there’s a great CNBC article about this trend of Asian Americans shunning the American dream for opportunities back in Asia. I even wrote a blog about this trend when I interviewed Bay Area born Arvin Chen, who currently works in Taipei, making movies. With the burgeoning entertainment industry in Vietnam, millions of investment in major cities and a rapidly growing middle class, many Overseas Vietnamese (or Viet Kieu) are working in the entertainment and creative industries, making movies, shooting TV shows, in other fields like fashion, graphic design, advertising and even high tech. Read more...
When I first got to Beijing, I was sweating and stressed everyday for an hour before going to a meeting because I had such a fear of the Chinese language. I grew up in a Chinese environment, learned Chinese till Grade 10 and (being a Cantonese speaker) failed Mandarin consecutively for two years in high school. My agency was kind enough to send a wonderful assistant to accompany me but I still got very stressed and self-conscious.
When I first arrived in Beijing, I was walking in Sanlitun with my good friend K who said she was going to get married.
“Married? You mean marrying Mabel?” I asked.
“No, I mean I need to marry a guy,” K said. “My parents knew about Mabel and I for years but they are still forcing me to marry a man. So I need to find a gay male friend to get married with. And then we’ll get divorced in a few years. My parents just won’t get off my back otherwise.”
I was immediately struck by K’s plight. K is a 25-year-old lesbian friend who lives in Beijing and, like many people LGBT or not, she still faces so much parental pressure to get married.
K’s story was stuck in my mind when, a few days later, I was brainstorming with my friend Xiaogang who runs an LGBT non-profit organization called Queer Comrades distributing LGBT short films on-line. Xiaogang also told me that he had an acting background and sort of left the stage to be in the non-profit industry.
“Would you be interested in acting in a short film? I have an idea to do a short viral film in China,” I asked Xiaogang. Read more...
As I’ve written in past blogs, the main plot of my film Sunset Stories involves a nurse who loses a bone marrow specimen that she is transporting cross-country. It was inspired by my sister, who works in a pediatric oncological hospital as a CHOC Children’s BMT (blood and marrow transplant) Coordinator. I’ve always been worried about talking explicitly about both simultaneously because I feared coming off as an opportunist from the whole film promoting aspect of it all. But after talking to a lot of people, I just decided that it is what it is and while on one hand it could be seen in a negative light, I also don’t want to miss an opportunity to use it as a positive tool. Read more...
As most of you know, Fast & Furious 6 is my farewell to the franchise. As a way to say farewell and have closure, I did one final twitter Q&A earlier this week and wanted to share the questions and responses below.
On the opening day of White Frog, just when I thought I could relax and have a meal with Jason Tobin and Chink’s production team to celebrate Jason’s winning “Best Actor” or “Breakout Performance for an Actor” award at the 2013 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, I got a call from my producer Ellie Wen who said that the TCL Chinese Theater needed a new DCP because the movie was not in sync when they played back the DCP.
Flabbergasted, I drove to Pasadena to pick up the Laemmle’s DCP while on the phone in the car in a conference call with Garrett at Simple DCP, Ellie and the projectionist at TCL. We all agreed the solution was to test out the DCP Laemmle had and also deliver a Bluray.
“We can also cancel today’s screenings,” said the theater manager casually.
“No, we can’t. People have bought tickets and the cast is coming for the 7:40pm show,” said Ellie.
“I will be there by 4pm, and we’ll have it up and running even though we missed the 2pm show and may miss the 5pm show,” I said. Read more...
This past Wednesday, two days before White Frog’s theatrical opening in Los Angeles, when I was helping my DP Yasu Tanida shop for a blazer in the Beverly Center, I got a call from producer Ellie Wen who told me that they were having problems with the DCP of White Frog at the Laemmle’s Pasadena Playhouse.
That sent me into a panic so I called the manager of the Playhouse who indeed said that they couldn’t read the drive the DCP was on.
What is a DCP? It’s short for “Digital Cinema Package” and it has replaced the use of 35mm film prints in the exhibition world. Apparently over 80% of the world’s cinema screens now project on DCP. Read more...
Ten years ago tomorrow on April 11, 2003, MTV Films released a low budget indie film made by an unknown Asian American director and a lot of credit cards and the rest as they say is YOMYOMF history. The film was, of course, Better Luck Tomorrow, directed by our fellow Offender Justin Lin and its success is the reason why you are currently reading this blog.
Many of the current Offenders, including actors Sung Kang and Roger Fan, first came together because of the shared BLT experience and the soon-to-be YOMYOMF family was born.
And so on this milestone occasion, we’d like to take a moment to look back, remember and just say, “Shit, it’s been ten years already!”
Thanks to everyone reading for your continued support and we hope to be here in another ten years. In the meantime, check out some of our past blogs about BLT: Read more...