Tag Archives: acting

The Delusional Hunt For Social Media Followers

Earlier today I saw an actor request a plea to his FB friends that his reps told him he needed to severely boost his social media following on all platforms. I rolled my eyes at this but then thought about the frequency that I’ve been seeing this, with more actors getting concerned of their follower base and even more actors I know buying their followers (you can’t fool me, I’m aware of how the ratio science works!)

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While this has been an ongoing raging debate about the importance of followers, I’ll go ahead and offer my 2 cents on this matter, which has been backed by numerous industry folks in the casting and executive level:

* Without a doubt when it comes to low budget webseries or ULB films with no real names attached, the importance of social media followers will indeed play a factor and thus breakdowns that require actors to have at least “100k followers” is taken seriously. However, without being too entirely dismissive of those who do these types of projects, most of these times they do not go anywhere nor are they of any quality substance.

*As for projects that are on the higher scale ie. primetime TV shows and studio features, your social media following will matter less. I have seen numerous times of actors nabbing big roles with no social media presence whatsoever, more often than I have seen actors with “large” social media followings booking those types of jobs. Yes, you can probably say, “But that big time actor got that gig because he has 2 million followers!” and to that I will respond with “But that actor is already a known name so this point is moot.” And there’s also “But that YouTuber got a part in that comedy studio film!” and I respond with “But he’s been doing it for YEARS and consistently puts out product and has developed a fanbase with his materials. What have you done besides posting selfies and inserting #soblessed and #actorslife?”

*Please, please, pleeeeeeeease don’t waste money buying followers and likes. I know this acting game seems to be nothing more than a popularity game but don’t cave in. On that related note, using services that boost your IMDb starmeter is a complete waste of time and money. The only people who care about Starmeters are actors, who see how their ranking has gone up or down every Sunday night. I know this because I do this, like an addict who needs another fix.

*To bring back from my observation of that actor mentioned above, any rep who demands that you need to up your social media following is not a rep who’s properly doing their job. Like reps who request actors to do casting director workshops, talent reps who do that are not properly doing their jobs. What they SHOULD be doing is to pitch us and get us into the room via their own negotiating talent & our acting materials. I have seen my manager and other excellent reps pitch acting friends with no reel, no Union status, and no credits for big time movies and TV shows. The idea that reps can only do their jobs if you only have a sizeable social media following is idiotic.

 

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It’s okay, little guy..it’s just social media.

*Your craft, attitude, and professional consistent followups will be the key factors to continuously pursue that elusive acting career in a successful manner. Everything else is just noise, even this social media follower hublabloo.

SIDE NOTE: if you are getting a large amount of followers because you consistently put out social media content in the form of viral sketches, vblogs, or similar web content, by all means that is awesome and does not fall in the category desperate actors who demand a following when all they have selfies, pictures, and non-interactive content. Actors who have succeeded in this manner are folks like Issa Rae Presents, Anna Akana, and Flula Borg.

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Finding that elusive agent/manager

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

My Journey with Cinnabon (UPDATED)

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)

The Curse (Blessing) of The “Dry Acting Year”

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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”

When Is Colorblind Casting Appropriate?

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In the past week, there has been much controversy about ALOHA and the controversial casting of Emma Stone as Allison Ng as well as Tilda Swinton playing a Tibetan mystic. In light of these events and the many discussions (and heated arguments) I had with my peers, these are my concluding thoughts:

In an ideal world, I fully support colorblind casting. Emma Stone should have every right to play a quarter-Chinese, quarter-Hawaiian character. Same with Tilda Swinton being a Tibetan mystic. Or Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver playing Egyptians in EXODUS. Because as actors, we should be able to play whoever we want, as long as we work our butts off, do our diligent research, and play the character convincingly. Which also means that if a white actor wanted to take on the challenge of playing Martin Luther King Jr.? I say, bring it. But on that same token, I as an Asian actor (or any non-white actor) should have equal opportunity to play a white character. Or anyone we want, as long as we are the right actors for the job.

Unfortunately this is not the case.

The main issue at hand is that there are so many opportunities for white actors to play whoever they want. They can play Egyptians. They can play Asians. They can play anything and the script (and everyone involved in creating the film) will work towards their advantage. But the same generous opportunity is not given to non-white actors.  The playing field is so limited to non-white actors that when people get upset because a quarter-Chinese, quarter-Hawaiian character is given to an unquestionably white actress, it has merit because this would have been a great opportunity to cast an actor of ACTUAL mixed Asian descent. Or when Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver actually had to go out of their way and bronze themselves up to be seen as Egyptians? That would have been the perfect opportunity to cast an actual Egyptian/Middle Eastern/black actor to play the main leads. For these large studio & TV projects in America, it becomes a worrisome trend that we are constantly seeing characters of color get cast with white actors or their cultural origins wiped out completely.

On that note, people flip the conversation and ask that if people are upset when non-white characters are played by white actors, shouldn’t the same scrutiny be applied vice versa? To that, I say yes…and no. When it does happen, it happens RARELY. And when they do happen, a lot of these times, these traditionally white characters are not based on any non-white cultural origins nor are they essential to the story.  There are exceptions however. While I’m totally down with, for example, Idris Elba playing a Norse god in THOR, I would have issues if Thor himself was played by a non-white actor. Or if you were telling the origins of Captain America and he was played by an Asian dude? That wouldn’t make any sense either. The casting of the character needs to be organic with the story and origins that he or she comes from and same can be said when you are casting an ensemble for any TV show or film.

So to reiterate, colorblind casting as an idea should be an amazing and beautiful thing in an ideal world. But we don’t live in that ideal world. Instead, we live in a rather complicated world where opportunities are more available to one group of people over others, mirred with centuries of racism, ignorance, prejudice, hate crimes, and oppression. There’s nothing quite immediate we can do about that but at the very least, we can make a change in telling stories about people that we normally don’t hear about everyday and to actually cast folks that are part of that world. That if the argument is about “we need to make money”, you can take a chance and cast that actor who isn’t white (and if you’re still concerned, you can cast white bankable actors to surround the said ‘unknown’ non-white actor playing the lead). We are so influenced by what we see and hear, to the point that it reflects the decisions and opinions we make of others so if we can’t effectively change the world overnight, we can at least portray making a start.

Most Popular Actor Questions (Part I)

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)

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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Continue reading To Give Up Or Not To Give Up?

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.

Summertime Slowness and Major Changes

I took a month break from writing but hope everybody’s doing awesome since the last time I wrote on here. So how about that for 2014 network pilot season? Was it everything you hoped it to be? Yes? No? Uh, are you crying in the corner over there? (Shhh, it’s okay, you’re still an actor).

Well no matter, summertime slowness is upon us. This is usually the time when many actors (unless you’re an A-list celebrity) get very sad as they twiddle their thumbs wondering what to do next or get very anxious as they make changes in their career in terms of representation (or have their representation make changes on them by dumping them). Fear not. Let’s take this one step at a time, shall we 🙂

CRYING_ACTOR Continue reading Summertime Slowness and Major Changes