October 4th in the US: Linsanity arrives.
October 11th in Taiwan! Linsanity spreads.
I have been meaning to blog for many many months. Really.
No excuses, but I guess I kinda now know what it means too busy to do thing such as blogging. I've always looked at blogging as an extraneous activity. Fun. Downtime. Downloading. People who have a lot of time on their hands can do such things. The last, uh, 8,9 months? Time has been a commodity!
I finally logged on tonight as a I've been doing some cleaning up of bags, envelopes and biz cards. I found a card belonging to Frederic Ambroisine whom I met in LKF in HK in March around midnight when he did an impromptu interview with Evan Jackson Leong, the director of Linsanity, which has kept me plenty busy the last year or so...I looked up Frederic and found an AnD page on him and, voila, here I am blogging real quickly...
So. The last 10 months in a nutshell?
1) Linsanity the Movie has pretty been keeping my team and I pedal to the metal on hyperdrive. I could dedicate a semester to this, but let's just say Park City, Austin, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Honolulu, San Diego, and tomorrow LA are the cities we've been hitting since January. More to come...
2) A lotta Oahu living. Hawaii 5-0 has continued and we just wrapped S3. It was an amazing season and we'll see what's in store in the future!
3) NY/LA/Asia - I've been bouncing around still to these spots for various projects. I snuck in a little London trip for a commercial shoot last month and the rest of this year looks like some NY time, Asia, and more Europe, including Berlin(!). I'm glad I chose my field. Despite the constant hustle and insecurities it can bring, it does take me to places far and wide that I would otherwise only be saving up 2 weeks each year to see.
Okay - gotta keep it short. Hope to get on here more often...truly. If you aren't already following thing that I'm involved with, I'm gonna pause a sec here and download. Please follow or like all the following things! As we say in Hawaii --- MAHALO!
Linsanity Twitter: @LinsanityMovie
A lil indie film making the festival rounds right now:
https://www.facebook.com/someoneiusedtoknow Twitter: @Some1Used2Know
Woot! Hope 20-13 is going well for everyone.
P.S. What a boring blog. I used to be a pretty good writer. I'm losing my talents. Sigh.
Exactly a year ago, I was wrapping up a trip in Singapore and heading over to Shanghai. A couple months later, I went out to Taipei, but since then I haven't even had a sniff of being in Asia! Ugh, I don't like this feeling. I was just finding my Asia groove, but this past year, work in the US of A has been too good to leave this joint. Curse this country!
I kid of course. I'm grateful for what's been going on here in America, but damn, I miss Asia. I hope I get to go at some point in this back half of the year. Maybe it will inspire me to write more blogs!? Already, I will be missing my first Shanghai International Film Festival in the past 4 years. A bit sad, but I just simply can't get there this go around.
No way I can let this whole year go by without a trip out there. No way! It's all for good reason I guess and hopefully soon I'll get to explain more of what's been going on here, but until then, Asia, I miss you.
I didn't mean to, but last night, while driving, I got on the phone with a producer friend of mine whom I have the utmost respect in the world for. My friend is a very accomplished individual with a heart of gold. With her crazy schedule, she always still finds time to give advice to those who ask and, trust me, I have found myself asking her for much advice in the past.This week, my friend wrote a very important letter to the Producer's Guild of America that has started to generate what I think is a healthy dialogue that has long needed to be discussed. Check it out: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PGA. While the PGA's response doesn't exactly rectify the situation, the acknowledgment, and lip-service to examine the situation at least is a start.Somehow, we started talking about the topic of producing in general and, basically, by the end of our conversation, she had talked me down from the proverbial ledge. That is so KC - putting out letters to help American producers who do foreign language films and then talking to this still-aspiring producer back to sanity.I have had one of the most challenging experiences of my life this year - and yet, most rewarding. I agreed to executive produce and act in a film this year that somehow turned into me becoming the lead producer. For those who don't know, in film, an exec producer (EP) is someone who sits at a very high level on the project. He/she finds funding for the project, maybe has some say on hiring/casting, providing basic foundational resources like locations or sponsors, and perhaps down the road helps with some festival and distribution stuff as well. Usually, it's just the first thing - providing money.Without getting into specifics, somehow as the project went along, I found myself becoming the main producer. By definition, a film's "producer" (not EP) is such:I've functioned in this capacity on some short films before, and I've long thought about doing this on features, but for the most part, with our small shingle 408 Films, I've served only as an EP helping to shepherd a project with financing and some festival and/or distribution strategy. I guess I saw myself as a higher level kind of person who connected people and things, but stayed out of the way when it came to day to day stuff. Well, like it or not, here came my first feature where I would throw on the producer cap in addition to the EP cap. Not what was intended on this particular piece, but WTH, right? Life throws you lemons, you make wine from it. Whatever the saying is.In discussing what had happened here with my friend on the phone, I found myself barfing out several thoughts and asking several questions - all of which she thoughtfully answered in ways that made me feel infinitely better about what I have been going through. It's not just me who goes through these things!!! It's always good to hear other's experience and perspective and to know that you're not alone.Everything she said rang so true in my mind...- Post-Production (where we are now) is the part of a film. You think physical production is, but it's a piece of cake in comparison. It's physically the most taxing for sure, but during this period, you have everyone around you and there is a sense of camaraderie, as if you are going to war together. We definitely had that. In pre-production, there is the anticipation and everyone involved at that point is excited and chomping at the bit and really doing their share of the lifting. In post, as the producer, you are left by yourself. Often, it's just you and the filmmaker. Everyone else has gone home and is onto their next thing and just waiting for the email one day to announce a screening. It's up to you to pull everything together at this point. It's an isolating experience, but it's here where the wheat is separated from the chaff as far as who is a good producer and who may not be.- Going into a film is like an arranged marriage. You are often thrust into a position with a team of people you don't know. You might be brought in by one source you do know, but there is a host of others you've never met and, like the poor woman whose parents just force her to marry the man so not of her dreams, you have no choice at that time but to roll with it, hoping for the best. Sometimes, it works out great. Other times, it doesn't. My friend shared a story of a 60-year old accomplished producer who is still scarred from his most recent project after having worked with people he didn't know beforehand. This sort of surprised me because I'd been thinking that the further along you get in your career as a producer/director/whatever, the more you know who you want to work with and the more you will surround yourself with old hands you trust with your life. Why would Wong-Kar Wai always have Christopher Doyle as his cinematographer? Why do certain producer-director tandems work together time and again? You find people you mesh well with, and you stick with them. Simple as that. It's like any relationship in life. Branching out with new folks is risky. Sometimes you find gems and will want to always work with them again. Sometimes you find people you will never want to work with ever again. No one ever said all arranged marriages are bad, I guess, but I'll be damned if they are all good.- No matter what, as a producer, you have to keep your eye on the prize. Keep your vision for the film and keep your passion to deliver it. So long as you still believe in it, of course. All the muck that happens along the way, it's part of the process. All producers go through it, and all producers will have their moments of doubt or weakness. It's perfectly normal. It's what makes us human. Keep your nose to the ground, make your deliverables, be responsible to your fiduciary duties, and put the best film you can out there. You gotta have faith. I'm sure Serge and Larry had their doubts about certain things as they built a little company called Google.It was a bit of a wake up call I happened into last night. A check-point, if you will. I truly appreciated the discussion. And, as I mentioned earlier in this post, despite a set of challenges so high, this year has been rewarding in a very unsuspecting way: don't tell my acting agents/managers, but I am so very eager to move forward with a producer's cap on in life that it almost hurts. Literally. I feel a yearning to continue to be a producer because I feel that I'm suited for it. I want more projects and I want to keep learning. Most importantly, I want to do it with like-minded people who share the same vision and passion as me.
This has been a pretty non-stop year. Until now. I'm in LA and I'm finally getting a chance to pause as no projects are actively shooting at the moment. My docu-series picks up again this weekend, but the last couple of weeks have been relatively quiet. It feels weird. And I think I've come to realize that I don't do well with not being engaged on a project or working on something. I just wrapped a feature film, but it's now in the hands of an editor so as much as I want to move it along to help it get finished and then introduced to the world, there is nothing I can do. I must let it breathe. (I need to learn how to edit.) I think the fact that this year has been full of so many things has created a monster in me and now, every moment, I feel like I want to use my energy towards making something meaningful, in whatever capacity that may be.
I'm actually really really itching to return to Asia at the moment. LA is ... when nothing is happening, it's a stagnant place. It lacks the energy that I feel when I'm in NYC, Shanghai, or Hong Kong. I love the beaches, I love the weather, and when minds come together in LA to create art, it can be awesome, but when minds are miles apart, there is something so vapid and dry about this place. The energy I feel in other places is literally pulsating beneath my feet. I've been thinking long and hard about relocating to base myself here and it looks like it's going to happen, but I am so fearful right now of doing that and having it be a big mistake. I have become such a city person that I feel like I need it to feel alive. The constant connection I feel to a vibrant place that is 24 hours 'round the clock feels as if it were my heartbeat. Alas, returning to LA has also always felt like it was in the cards as it's situated along the Pacific Rim which is what I think works best for me and not to mention it's not too far from my family up North who has always wanted me to come back West. In fact, the day I left LA eons ago, I always said, like Arnold does, "I'll be back."
Part of me thinks I'm just whining as once I get here and settle in, I'll feel better about it, but it is a fear nonetheless right now that to give up city living will suck the soul out of me. Yes, I can always go back and nothing is forever, but man, I'm tired of traveling around all the time too. I'd like to find a place called home. As I move on in life, I'll continue to make mistakes, but I'd also like to feel like I'm making the right decisions, especially on things that are big.
I'm going to try to keep a part-time life in NYC going, but we'll see how that works out. The timing to do this just feels right right now - and yet it doesn't. I'm a California boy at heart, but the world beckons.
Or does it...
Asia, we're wrapped! I kinda wish I had kept a daily production blog of our 16 day shoot, but it was just too grueling to do that. Hopefully one day soon I'll sit down and try to rehash on a daily basis what went down from memory, a calendar, and callsheets. I hope we are able to share this film one day across various regions, including that of Asia. It's an Asian American story, but a universal one at the same time. If you could do me the kind favor, please follow us on Facebook at our: Nightdreamblues page and on Twitter at: nightdreamblues.
More to come...but I leave you with this image that we essentially had on a daily basis. It truly was night, dream, and blues...
Personally, I'm going through an interesting transitional phase as of late. It seems I've barely been in NYC this year and that has continued. NDB has had me in LA for the past month and I have also been lucky to continue to shoot episodes of Hawaii 5-0 whenever they call me up. In fact, during production of NDB, I had to go out to Hawaii to do 2 episodes. 36 hours trips to the islands are brutal, but had to be done.
I signed with an LA manager this week and I guess this means that I'll be in LA more than I've been since I lived here in, gasp, 1997-1998. I've visited LA at least once a year since I've left so this place has always felt like home in a way, but the reality is starting to set in more that this could become my base now to jump from for work travels instead of NYC. I refuse to leave NYC entirely (me being stubborn), but I'll have to see how the next period of my life plays out. I still want to stay involved in Asia too. How? I want it all! I desperately miss Asia right now - China, Hong Kong, Taiwan. I've started to develop an itch to work in places like Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore as well. So much up in the air, but I can only take this journey one step at a time and even though much is uncertain, at the same time, career-wise, it oddly feels like things are starting to make sense and fall into place. Good, but it's never time to get comfie and rest on any laurels. Onwards and upwards, one day at time, I try to go.
On a non-career note, I am really itching to go explore some other continents as well. I feel awful as I had to cancel on some dear friends' wedding a few days before we were about to start lensing NDB due to a crisis. They've gone back to Africa, so now I definitely have to go visit them there soon to make up for it. And Europe has been heavy on the mind as of late as well. I may just have to book a trip and go sometime soon. It's been a busy year and though I've been traveling a lot, it's primarily been for work. I kinda wanna just go somewhere, clear my head, and be. I'm afraid I can't just now, but hopefully one day soon. Taking all suggestions.
We're 7 months down already?
As I write this just before midnight from Honolulu, Hawaii, I am simply amazed at how quickly time has passed this year. And if there were ever really were a Jumper out there jumping from various time zones as if it were like we were moving through the Matrix, I would dare say this year I might have been the one.
I got here to Hawaii to start filming for season 2 of 5-0 (very grateful they called C Fong back!) from Taipei where I was in production for our NBA player docu-series. I had to jump from Taiwan a little early to make it here for my shoot date which put a little crimp in my plans, but really who am I to complain? I love Taipei - and my week out there was incredible in terms of production, exploration of partnerships, and just life in general. It's definitely my favorite place on Earth. Can I just put a plug in for anything Taiwanese director Shen Ko-Shang does? I met him in New York back in May and then had a chance to meet up with him in his hometown. He was ever so helpful in pointing me in the right direction with Taiwanese distribution companies, TV networks, and other potential allies. I'm not sure many established directors would do that sort of thing for a relative stranger. I was personally impressed by his piece in Juliets (茱麗葉) - an omnibus of 3 different director's takes on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet and I really look forward to watching his documentary that was shot in a narrative feature fashion, Baseball Boys, that he personally gave me a copy of. (Director, any interest in working on a baseball movie together?)
With this docu-series, we have graciously generated the interest of some talented and well known Eastern artists who expressed an interest in going on camera to talk about the story of our subject. I'm ever so grateful, and I hope that we will be able to actually coordinate with some of these folks to make it happen in the near future - folks such as Daniel Wu, VanNess, Leehom Wang, and even Taiwanese actor Ethan Ruan ( 阮經天). Ethan was especially enthusiastic after I met him on the set of Love, Doze Niu's latest, after a scene he filmed with Shu Qi! (I really wanted to ask her if she'd be up for it, but in retrospect, I woulda been too tongue tied, as she's one of my favorites. .)
I also got the chance to mingle with some of Taiwan's better known basketball personalities. One in particular was very interesting. He goes by ' Blackie' and he opened up his Taiwan Beer basketball court for us to shoot and play in and then gave us each a copy of his documentary that followed his team's 2008 season, Attitude (態度). Can't wait to watch that as well!
It was all too short as I left unfinished business on the table there that I'll have to revisit to scoot on over to Hawaii. Taipei one day, Oahu the next. Actually, the same, as I left there on a Sunday to get here on Sunday, earlier than I left there. Weird. Something about the international date line and crossing it. All I know is that it's actually easier to fly to Hawaii from Asia than it is NYC. Interesting. Hmm...I'll have to keep this in mind as I figure out where I want to base myself out of down the road.
Monday, it was back to 5-0 base camp to shoot something with Mr. DDK, who I have to say is one of the most down to earth, chillest TV stars on the planet. It was an incredible pleasure playing with him. Happy to be "Cast" next to him anytime.
I'm getting a moment to breathe as I'm staying on the island for a couple of weeks until I shoot the next episode. I'm a little antsy as I could be in LA or NYC doing something, or even back to Taipei for unfinished business, but I gotta trust it'll be okay and I can make this my base for a bit and pump out work from here. Internet cafes around the island will be my friend (till they get wifi going on the beaches.) I'll be in LA soon enough to start production on Nightdreamblues (see my last post about dropping your coin into its bucket .) Some pretty exciting things are developing on that end that I can't wait to see through and then it looks like at least a couple more 5-0 eps are on their way again!
That'll get me through September (there's a wedding in Baltimore and a trip to Vegas scheduled in there somewhere.)
October, November, December, no idea what you'll bring exactly, but 2012, I already smell you.
Hi AnD World! I'm currently working away on a passion project that is very near and dear to me to be shot in Los Angeles this fall. I can't tell you how excited I am about it and how talented a director and team I'm working with. We're in need of a bit more funding to reach our finish line and I'm hoping that some of you out there will be willing to drop a coin, dollar, or whatever into the bucket to help us reach our goal! We're already off to a good start, but we need all the help we can get to get us there! We already have a nice info page set up on Kickstarter, so I'll spare all the details here, but click on over to the NIGHTDREAMBLUES KICKSTARTER PAGE to see how you can get involved. We'll seriously take as little as $5.00 or as much as you'd like to put in. Aside from your in-kind donation (but see what kind of rewards you can get as well on the info page!), it'd be very much appreciated if you could help spread word on this effort by "liking" our Facebook fan page, following the project on Twitter, and turning those around by announcing it to your friends on your different social networks! Thank you for taking your time to read this note and thank you in advance for helping this project lift off the ground. Remember to always stay Alive, Not Dead from Nadine Truong on Vimeo.
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