To Give Up Or Not To Give Up?

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.

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Ferguson Solidarity

War-Zone-Ferguson

This has nothing to do with acting but everything that has to do with the insanity that is going on with Ferguson. Please read below to see how you can help:

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Ferguson Solidarity: Ways to Support the Fight

All eyes are on the fight for justice for Michael Brown and the growing movement against the systematic targeting of black and brown communities across the country. The use of excessive force by law enforcement on  black and brown youth is a product of racism, hyper criminalization, and mass incarceration in cities across the country.  We all stand in solidarity as we demand for justice for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, and countless others black and brown people killed by law enforcement.  

The loud call coming out of Ferguson, Missouri has become a national rally to action. There is a growing energy around the country to engage and support the fight in Ferguson and to build it out nationally.  Below are ways that people can support the local struggle on the ground and help build the nation-wide call to action.  

HELP THROUGH DONATIONS

These are different ways you can support monetarily:

Support to the Family: Justice For Mike Brown

If you want to donate online to support Michael’s family please donate to Michael Brown’s Memorial Fund - http://www.gofundme.com/justiceformikebrown. I have confirmed this as the official donation portal with the family’s attorneys. These funds will assist his family with costs that they will acquire as they seek justice on Michael’s behalf.  All funds will be given to the Michael Brown family.  

If you would prefer to support the family with a donation via check, the Brown family has established a memorial fund at Fifth Third Bank. You can make a donation at any branch (https://www.53.com/site) or you can mail a donation with “Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund” in the memo line and send it to:

Fifth Third Bank  
8013 West Florissant Ave.
Jennings, MO 63136

You can call the branch at 314-685-3200 with any questions.

Bail and Legal Fund

A bail and legal fund has been established to support the people who are being arrested in Ferguson, MO for exercising their constitutionally protected right to assemble and protest against systematic use of excessive force against black and brown communities.  More information about the bail and legal fund and ways to donate below.  http://bit.ly/1AfAE2l

Long-Term Organizing: Organization for Black Struggle

Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) is on the ground in Ferguson, MO. They are calling for help in raising the money necessary to hire an organizer dedicated to organizing youth in Ferguson and manage the movement building happening on the ground.

From almost the moment that Michael Brown was viciously killed by Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson OBS has been on the ground. OBS is a black led organization that has been doing anti-police violence work for nearly 35 years.  We invite people to donate to support long-term organizing infrastructure. Direct people to our website where a PayPal account has been set up separate from our regular donations.  You can donate directly at  http://obs-onthemove.org/support-obs/

Resources to Sustain Protests and Local Movement Building

Young black and brown people are self-organizing daily in Ferguson in a fight for justice for Michael Brown. Local organizations and leaders have been going out nightly to provide crowd control, medical support, document violent actions of the police against protesters, coordinating national support coming into Ferguson, and building relationships with the young people that are out leading the fight every day.  Donations will be used  support purchase of medical supplies, local meeting space, communication support, and other infrastructure resources. If you would like to donate to this fund click here.


DIRECTLY HELPING FERGUSON

We need you now in Ferguson if you have any of the following skills or expertise:

- Medics (Doctors, Nurses, EMT)
- Attorneys
- Photographers & Videographers (not press affiliated )
- Organizers of color with experience working with youth, especially those with experience in Street Theater & Civil Disobedience  
- Spiritual Healers/Counselors
- Tech folks ( Data, Coders, CRM, Graphic Designers)

As you can imagine, there are a lot of moving parts that local organizers  need to manage, so if you

DO NOT have these skills there are ways that you can show solidarity and provide support from your home geography.  

To be properly oriented and connected with local organizing infrastructure and make the best use of your skills we ask that you fill out this link  BEFORE coming to Ferguson. Once you have filled out this link, someone will contact you to discuss the details and ensure you are properly integrated into the local infrastructure.  In order, to ensure we leverage our resources and capacity effectively it is really important that you NOT come to Ferguson without filling out the link and being properly connected with local leaders.


BUILDING THE MOVEMENT LOCALLY FROM WHERE YOU ARE

If you are unable to come to Ferguson or you do not have the skills or experience local organizers need on the ground now, there are still ways you can show solidarity and support the movement.  

- National Call in Days
- New Media/Social Media
- Tech folks ( Data, Coders, CRM, Graphic Designers)
- Local Solidarity Demonstrations
- Participate in Rapid Response Mobilizations
- Collect stories of police brutality in your community and share in our story bank
- Create art for this moment

So that local organizers can stay in touch with you and understand how to best utilize your skills from where you are please fill out this link.

Reaching Out To Commercial Directors

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.

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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

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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?

The Little Things

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Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one’ – C.S. Lewis

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.

One Year Older, Potentially The Wiser

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.

Photography credit: Matt Molloy

Photography credit: Matt Molloy

So I have a few things to say, most of these feelings prompted by the UCSB shooting which took place on May 25th, 2014:
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The Value Of Getting Regional Agents (If you’re an LA actor)

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 :)
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