It’s been four days since the nominees were announced for the 2015 Oscars, and the dust has yet to settle on the controversy as it has been observed that every nominated actor in the Lead and Supporting categories — 20 actors in all — is white. As an Asian American actor, I can’t help but notice this as it is yet another reminder how much more work we have to go. Continue reading An Asian American Actor’s Thoughts on #OscarsSoWhite
My my, what a year this 2014 turned out to be in the acting world. This is going to be a long and EXTREMELY detailed entry so here goes nothing: Continue reading A Cinnabontastic Look Back at the Year of 2014
These questions are directly from the most frequent actor questions that were gathered in the Facebook group page CASTING DIRECTORS FOR ACTORS, which was founded by casting director Jeremy Gordon and monitored by him and myself. Considering I have no doubt there will be more questions in the future, this is only part 1 out of many more entries to come. So without further adieu:
Continue reading Most Popular Actor Questions (Part I)
It is inevitable that in every actor who writes a blog, they write an entry about giving up. Because how could they not? The possibility that this career will never work out is all too real, especially as the actor grows older and sees their non-actor friends having stable jobs, stable relationships, and a stable life that they once mocked them for as being boring and straight-edged. “Perhaps I made the wrong choice in being an actor?” we ask ourselves. I know all of what I’m saying is dedicated for actors, but I also know that it can be extremely applicable to everyone pursuing their dreams and the struggles that comes with it.
A new experiment in my acting administration (this pertains to the commercial world primarily) I wish to share with you all:
1. First, write a specific, detailed postcard to each and every one of the creative directors in the production company for the national commercial I shot 2 weeks back. Mention at top that I worked with one of their fellow director mates. (Real live update as I write this: learning that one of the directors is behind the brilliant madness of the TURN DOWN FOR WHAT music video is making me smile like an idiot).
2. Next, to write a specific, detailed postcard to all the directors for every single production company I’ve ever worked with. Mention which director I worked with at top. So far, that makes it 11 commercials. 11 production companies. With 10-20 directors in each company. I’ll start with the latest ones and then go back to 2011. 110 – 220 postcards? Oh boy.
3. Once all that madness is done, I’ll induce more madness upon myself by writing a specific, detailed postcard to every single major production companies that I’ve never been involved with and the directors that work with them. This will probably take months.
4. Consult with a doctor about my inevitable arthritis that formed as a result from all of this.
*NOTE – This may be recommended for those who’ve worked in commercials (and/or have major TV and film credits) already, have a commercial agent, and not for those who are brand spanking new to the entertainment industry.
REASON – An actor friend who has induced similar madness upon himself inspired me to do this. “Why just reach out to casting directors when you can go one step beyond?”, he asked to my head.
POSSIBLE OUTCOME – Said acting friend has told me it has resulted in straight to callbacks with directors letting him know they got his postcard and thought his work was good. So, hey, it doesn’t hurt for me to do that too since many of these directors also work in major TV shows and films. At the very least, there will be 500+ postcards floating around in these production companies with an Asian dude staring at a floating Cinnabon.
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE - Services like Amazingmail are available for you to use and ideal for those who don’t want to suffer impending arthritis. It’s a print to send service allowing you to personalize each card. They print it and send it on your behalf so hey, that’s cool! For me though, I like the personal touch with a pen and paper to express my message. Different strokes for different folks.
Dreams. It’s the quintessential element that has gotten us to take the insane step to become an actor, without any certainty that we are going to succeed or fail miserably in the form of being dirt broke and being unable to pay for next month’s rent, car insurance, cell phone bill, and food (and that’s only the least of your worries). As we become more knowledgeable and seasoned within the entertainment industry, some of us slowly become more cynical of dreams and go along with the motion that we work hard, network hard, and eventually our career will be where we want to be.
But sometimes, it’s good to go back to the foundations and re-evaluate where you are and remember what it was like to dream again. To state your dreams out loud, no matter how impossible or far-fetched it may be. And remember that they can change constantly and by no means a rigid checkpoint that if you don’t accomplish them, you are anything less. But be proud of your dreams. Write them out. Say it out loud. It sounds simple but more often than not, it’s more difficult for folks than they realize because there may be someone in their life who told them that their dream was stupid, impractical, or impossible.
“You can’t ever be the main lead in a TV series, you’re not even that good looking..just being honest.”
“It’s hard to believe that an Asian guy can be believable as a romantic lead, no offense.”
“You, an actor? You’re just..plain looking”.
Because of such negative forces, our dreams more often than not become suppressed. This not only affects aspiring actors but veterans who start to become jaded after putting their years in. New or old, it’s time to shake that fear off and remember that ethereal feeling.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
- Harriet Tubman
But dreams are only truly useful as blueprints to change when one turns these dreams into action.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
- Walt Disney
So with that being said, let me state my dream out loud. It may change by next year but right now, I know this burns true to me because I actually got emotional while sharing this out loud with my acting administration group”:
I want to be the main lead in a challenging hit TV show (that runs for at least 5 years) and keep doing such projects on film & TV till I die (OF OLD AGE). I want to win an Emmy for Best Actor in a TV series, comedy or drama. I want to create and produce projects that inspire people to be the best they can possibly be, to have no shame in their flaws, their vulnerabilities, and believe it and themselves to be beautiful. I want to live in a gorgeous, comfortable house with a grand landscape view overseeing a rolling grassy field, away from Los Angeles. Through my arts, I want to be paid to a great point that I can do all of this and more. While all that’s going on, I want to be a wonderful friend, husband, and father to the people that will become the center of my world, my rock, my anchor.
I have a good feeling this dream will stay with me for a while and I will work my ass off to make this all possible. Maybe some of them will be attained within 5 years. Others 10 years. And some even 20-30 years. But by writing this dream out loud, I remember where my journey wants to go and understand that it can change.
So what are your dreams? Please share your beautiful dreams with me and remember, nothing is too impossible to state out loud to the Universe. After that, how will you accomplish this dream? What are you doing to be the best actor and human being you can be to make this happen?
Not too long after I came back to Los Angeles after my 3+ weeks in Austin shooting HOT AIR, I immediately proceeded to have an epic 3-day belated birthday eating festival with the people that makes my world go round. They are the reasons that life is truly more than one’s acting career. Without them, anything I do here is meaningless. It is for that reason that I am the most grateful with having such beautiful people in my life that they have more weight than any auditions, bookings, or acting related stuff that while it’s great to have, they do not make up a large portion of the infinite beauty that is Life.
So today’s my birthday.
By this point, it’s been over 4 years since I’ve moved to Los Angeles in order to pursue my dream of being a
unicorn actor and with each passing year, I’m beginning to slowly but surely understand this maddening journey of what it takes to be a working actor in Los Angeles. But more importantly, I see myself evolving as a person and that is what this post is all about. Because while I value my career significantly, I cannot forgot about life, its simple things, and the fellow travelers that are with me as I go through this journey.
So I have a few things to say, most of these feelings prompted by the UCSB shooting which took place on May 25th, 2014:
Continue reading One Year Older, Potentially The Wiser
Good day, my Cinnaminions! I’ll start this post off with a narcissistic announcement that I booked a supporting lead for an indie film called HOT AIR, which stars Jere Burns, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Schulyer Fisk (you can read more about it in this THR article). I’ll be playing Agent Xu, a rookie FBI agent who chases Jere Burns throughout the film with my partner. From May 19th to June 10th, I’ll be in Austin to shoot this film as well as having a vacation away from LA.
Okay, with said narcissistic announcement out of the way, I got this awesome part (which has about 8-9 days of work under a SAG modified low budget contract) through my New Orleans agent at Del Corral & Associates.
“New Orleans? Huh? Edward, aren’t you based in LA?”
Why yes I am. So for today, ladies and gentlemen, let’s talking about the value of getting regional agents if you’re an LA actor :)
Continue reading The Value Of Getting Regional Agents (If you’re an LA actor)
Throughout this year, I’ve had a lot of thoughts when it came to casting workshops (you can read the pro side and the con side) and while I believe still there is a usefulness to doing them, a recent thing has come up with my conversations that I had with fellow actor friends that has compelled me to write what I’m about to say. It’s going to be a bit testy and controversial so if you disagree heavily, I am always down to see your comments and have a discussion.
Agents and managers who demand/request their actors to take casting workshops are utterly useless.