This is a post to let you all know that an actual post will be coming in the next few weeks that will be about two things: my decade long anniversary doing this acting thing + acting life in the Age of Coronavirus While Asian. It’s been a few years since I wrote anything in here but that will now change.
2017 was one hell of a year for many folks around the world, but especially here in the United States and in the past few months, right in Tinseltown itself what with the purge of (majority-wise) gross old pervy white men.
As for me? 2017 was a year significant in the sense that I never wavered whatsoever in my confidence to keep going in this unpredictable acting career. No agonizing self-doubts, no breakdowns if I ever wanted to continue or not, no jealousy whatsoever of my peers who have skyrocketed ahead, I was absolutely astute in my standing as an actor.
Okay that’s a complete lie, I’ve had all of those at least once this year.
Continue reading 2017 – The Year Of Being OK With Not Being OK
This is the story of how the Cinnabon Monster I came to be. It’s a long one but stick around, I assure you it’s a good tale 🙂
As far as I know, I am the only actor in LA (if not the world) who aggressively markets himself with the delicious pastry product Cinnabon and have been doing so for almost four years. Many casting directors & friends in the entertainment industry and outside of it have known me as the Cinnabon Monster for me giving out Cinnabon gift cards to casting directors who have booked me, the Cinnabon postcards I send out, and most importantly, for simply talking about it all the time on social media.
But why do I love Cinnabon so much? Where did this obsession begin? Before we continue further with this entry, I want to direct ya’ll to a write-up I did on fellow actress friend Lynn Chen‘s beautiful Thick Dumpling Skin blog. It is imperative that you read this before continuing so travel on over to:
THE BIRTH OF THE CINNABON MONSTER.
Continue reading My Journey with Cinnabon (UPDATED as of 12/28/17)
There’s been a ton of seminars and whatnot telling you how to get an agent or manager. Rather than going through the hassle of paying them a lot of money to learn this information, I’ve taken the time to create this very extensive article so that I take away all the mystery how to exactly get an agent. This can most likely applied everywhere else but the documents I attached are specifically LA-based. It’s a wee bit long but it’s everything I know how to do and it has worked for me. Hopefully it will work for you as well 🙂
**Just to let you know, although my language in this article will refer to agents, all of this applies to finding a manager as well.**
Continue reading Finding that elusive agent/manager
Casting director workshops. These three words as an actor will either make you very excited or absolutely miserable, depending on your experiences with them. Over two years ago, I wrote two different articles on this: one that favored casting director workshops, and on the other side, an article that showed the dark side of taking them. I bring this up because in the past two weeks, major shifts have happened in the LA casting world as The Hollywood Reporter wrote an article about casting workshops and from that, Scott David got relieved from his head casting director duties on Criminal Minds. About a week after that, The Vampire Diaries head casting director Greg Orson cancelled his classes in Atlanta.
It’s safe to say that at this moment, casting workshops are seen in a rather dubious light and throughout this time, I’ve had a few actors ask me what I thought of all of this. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized how extremely difficult it was to see where I truly stand.
Let the records show that I cannot deny I’ve had some success as an actor because of casting workshops. Let it also be known before I get into this that I have the utmost respect for casting directors. They are some of the most unappreciated folks in the industry and having several friends in that world, I know the long, grueling hours they commit to getting the BEST actors they need for the projects they are casting.
So to be fair to all sides of the argument, I might as well start from the beginning:
Continue reading The Death of Casting Workshops (Long Live Casting Workshops?)
The news announcement from The Guardian that Joseph Fiennes would play Michael Jackson was perhaps one of the most bizarre casting announcements I’ve heard in quite some time. Combined reactions of utter confusion, shock, and intrigue washed over with me all at once as I wondered to myself if this was white people’s way of taking the #OscarsSoWhite controversy literally to themselves. After a few moments, I found myself wondering if the casting of Fiennes playing Jackson in his latter years could ACTUALLY make sense because Jackson did have a very pale skin and thus it would make more sense to do that than trying to find the right black actor who passes for white and/or applying realistic white makeup to look like the character.
Unless the makeup applied for the Wayan Brothers in White Chicks can actually be considered acceptable, the search to find the best actor for the job is the highest principal I believe in highly and ideally, it should not be restricted by race, gender, or sexuality. However, even when I say that, I am and always will be a fierce advocate for non-white characters to be played by actors who share the same ethnic background .
So here we are again in this rodeo, this time with a white man playing Michael Jackson and earlier this week, Charlie Hunnam being cast as Edgar Valdez Villarreal, a Mexican American drug lord.
And once again, I find myself in a bizarre position where I am not ENTIRELY offended by such casting as these actors are not black/brownfacing for the role. In the case of Hunnam, he actually looks like the real-life counterpart and played a similar role in his TV series Sons of Anarchy so it will provide comfort to the studio execs that the job can be done. And with Fiennes, the actor’s eccentricity could provide a great fit for Jackson in his later years. Like any work of art, I’ll have to see when these come out and judge for myself if the actors did a convincing job inhabiting their characters. Being in the entertainment industry for the past 5 years, I am well aware that the act of casting is a complicated mess of finding the right talent/look/voice/essence, convenience, star power/Twitter followers, accessibility with the targeted audience, established relations, and like 50 other factors.
But at the same time, I have a similar feeling with this as I do when I try to drink gluten-free beer: it COULD work but it just doesn’t taste right whatsoever.
As actors, every once in a while, we all reach the dry spells where it feels like the acting gods are against us. And as the overdramatic bunch that we are, we tend to look at these moments and cry out “This is such an awful year! Why me? Why are my less talented friends booking left and right? When will it be my turn??” There’s nothing necessarily wrong with feeling like this, even the best of us can’t help but feel concerned. And this year of 2015 certainly felt like that and so I began to post multiple inspirational examples of actor perseverance and just say to myself over and over again “I’m having such a tough year.” Around August though, with the help of a very talented and very wise acting friend named Landall Goolsby, I changed my perspective to be that of something else, something that transcended my momentary concerns. To explain what that is fully, I invite you all to take some time as I tell you this story I overheard from a customer at the Goorin hat shop I work at. Be patient, you’ll get a lot out of this. Trust me 🙂
Continue reading The Curse (Blessing) of The “Dry Acting Year”
Although 5 years being in the entertainment business as an actor is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things, I’ve had my fair share of successes, rejections, close calls (those damn avails/pins), and being dead broke twice within that time period and thus working very interesting daytime jobs that I’ll always remember fondly despite whatever experiences I had there.
I’ve seen fellow actors who started out in the same time & place as I did rise far above me, actors who barely put in any work book like a thunderstorm, and actors who I view as absolute masters struggle far more than I ever did, to the point that I question this industry we hustle so hard for and get very little results. Sometimes I wonder what the point of it all is and how long I have to work to get any form of validation that I’m even doing the right thing.
But despite these thoughts, I’m still very much in the game. And every success I achieve, whether it be referrals to be in a staged reading/short film/webseries, be the few to be specifically picked by casting for a role in a TV show, be in someone’s mind for 2 years for a role in a pilot presentation, be noted for my progress on an acting scene I worked my ass off in for class, or just be acting PERIOD…all of this, they are one step forward to continue doing what I love to do. It can be hard to see the silver linings when we are only looking for the shiniest and brightest ones when in reality, they are all around us.
Failure is totally acceptable. And necessary. And so is envy & jealousy, but only when I realize it exists within me and work to improve myself and learn to be genuinely happy for others and most importantly, for myself. But above it all, it is the journey that is most important. To truly appreciate my own path and those of my fellow travelers I see alongside me in wherever destination they go to and appreciate the people that support & love me in my greatest moments and my most pathetic ones.
So. Here’s to 5 more years and 5 more years after that and so on. Here’s to all of us who have persisted despite everything in the universe telling us to quit and still found a way to achieve success and even happiness.