Official Artist
James Z. Feng
Actor , Director , Screenwriter
129,001 views| 59  Posts

Trying to Grow

     Been real hectic these last few weeks!>3 jobs (1 full, 2 PT) + studying/learning filmmaking + publicity for "Drowning" + Hiring web guy to redo my website + helping friends w/projects = busy!!! I must say that right now this journey I'm experiencing is probably what most people who want to make movies go through. I read up some books recently about famous directors and how they made their first movie. Ang Lee's story was pretty sad, he was like a hyped up director fresh out of NYU, and then 6-8 years of "development" disappointment before Taiwan organization finally funded his first film after he had won their screenwriting award for his first 2 scrīpts. Lee was a fresh NYU grad with a lot of hype and believed in his abilities for 8 years and never quit, and just stayed home doing lame jobs like translating and writing articles for magazines which he hated. He had about $12 bucks left in his bank account at one point when he went to buy diapers for his son. Lee's son acted in his first movie and wasn't very cooperative the first day of shooting, so he had this to say to his son "If this doesn't work out, we'll all be in the streets, so please help dad". His son never complained again after that day. I don't know if I'll be able to handle 6-8 years of nothing and hustling without any income and results(I don't think I can). And you can imagine the pressure for Lee since his wife was making the dough to support their family for all those years. Sometimes i ask myself "do you want to go make a lot of money right now and go buy a nice car and put a downpayment and get a house?" and sometimes my brain says "because you CAN do that! all you gotta do is just quit this film thing", but I always look down that path and realize I'll never be happy that way, and will regret it, but I won't deny these thoughts sometimes popping up in my head once in a while. Especially since most of the money I am making all goes to the filmmaking aspect of my ventures, hahaha.I realize for a lot of people filmmaking is the only thing they know, so they kind of had to stick to it even during the tough times. For me it's a little different since I have a lot to fall back on, and sometimes that's not always a good thing since you tend to think "ok, I'm going to do this if this doesn't work out". But I'm able to block that out and just focus on what i'm doing, b/c I'm the type of cat that'll get deep into something until I know for SURE whether I'll succeed or fail at what I do before finally making the decision to quit one day, and so far, I'm very optimistic with everything that's happened with my life and career thus far, but in this business, you never know what's going to happen. I'll just have to keep reminding myself that "hype is not real", and to never let anything affect the way I work and to always maintain myself and staying true no matter what comes my way. My deadline is I got two features locked away in my brain, and I want to get those made, and if those two don't work out, then I'll be doing something else. So I got all my eggs in these two baskets, and I plan to do the first film to test the waters and gain experience, so I got more eggs in the 2nd basket than the first. To really believe in something is a great feeling, and that feeling can make you endure a lot of hardships that most people wouldn't be able to take. I remember at times when I was in China and working 16 hour days and visiting hospitals inbetween down time between two sets to get my health checked out, and lying in the hotel room feeling like crap and asking myself "what are you doing? is this worth it?" and the feeling of wanting to cry because I was so alone and facing all these obstacles and pressure. In the end, being able to live through those nights and be able to convince yourself that your doing this because only if you do this can you reach the POSSIBILITY of getting a shot at your dream one day. So I took it. All the bullshit, hardship, whatever, all that couldn't really faze me because I knew the grander scale of things and why I was in it. On certain projects working for almost free of charge, but squeezing contacts and getting to know crew members and connecting with other filmmakers on set, and being hungry and observing and learning from everyone, asking myself "why are they doing this? why are they doing that?" and if I couldn't figure it out, I'd go up and ask them, that's the only film school I know.For those that have truly helped me, I sincerely hope they'll be with me one day when I'm shooting my films. I want everyone to succeed with me who have believed in me, and all this is beyond money. I get real emotional reading all these stories of people believing in something and working together on it and slaving over it, that's my dream and goal, is to accomplish that and creating something with people who have the same ideals and goals as you and all of us coming together for it. People ask me why I wanna make movies, there's your answer. It's a natural high that most people wouldn't be able to experience, and to have it manifest on screen and be part of a successful film, that's just a beautiful process and feeling that you won't ever forget. I haven't really been deterred, and am keep working and hustling, and in everything I do, I look at that grand picture in my head and knowing that I am capable of making that vision a reality is something that makes me smile all the time. Those are the reasons I do what I do despite what others may say or think. Keep my eyes on the prize.

about 11 years ago 0 likes  1 comments  0 shares
Rottendoubt a4 patrick
that's a real interesting story of ang lee. didn't know that!!!
about 11 years ago


"Passion, Hardwork, Perseverance." Http://www.JamesFeng.com Http://www.fightlife.tv

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Languages Spoken
english, mandarin, shanghainese
Location (City, Country)
San francisco, United States
Member Since
July 4, 2007