Tag Archives: acting

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”

life--endure the hardships in life
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

Persistence, Part II

This is a continuation from my post about persistence last Sunday, but this time it’s more specific to the audition world through your theatrical reps (thus having nothing to do with works you create on your own or collaborate with):

As of March 23rd, I’ve been blessed with the auditions my reps has gotten me so far this year, even though I have yet to book anything. Persistence is the key word, I valiantly tell myself. And followups for every single audition to the casting office and occasionally to the exec producers/showrunners (for now, just doing that with all the theatrical auditions).

THEATRICAL with Sovereign Talent Group + Stein Entertainment Group
– 21 theatrical auditions (out of those, 4 series regular auditions)
– 1 pin for a co-star

THEATRICAL with Houghton Talent (Atlanta agency)
– 9 theatrical auditions
– 1 callback for guest star

COMMERCIALS with AKA Talent Agency
– 21 commercial auditions
– 1 callback
Continue reading Persistence, Part II