Sketch Comedy Show Feedback

Aww man, I forgot to blog about our show experience! So, the weekend of 8/4 – 8/6, my comedy troupe had a show and we did 3 performances. Last year, we did 2 weeks with 6 performances because we usually have a show Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. This year, we decided to only do 1 weekend instead of two because I had tickets to see John Leguizamo on 8/12 and I was not going to miss that for the world. He is an incredible storyteller. If you’ve never seen his one man shows, I’m telling you: GO. It’s so good and he keeps everyone engaged, entertained and this time, educated. It’s called “Latin History For Morons.” Basically, it’s about his journey trying to help his child learn about Latin history so that he can stand up to his bullies. You know what they say: “No history, no self. Know history, know self.”

Anyway, we had our sold out show, “Bad Fruit” and the content consisted of gross humor, vegan humor, social injustice, social commentary, a bit of vulgarity(i.e. I dressed up as a dildo), menstruation, and outrageous premises. I especially enjoyed the outrageous premises we had. I ended up writing 6 of the sketches myself. My friend wrote 7, two others wrote 2, another wrote 1, and one of the sketches was split into 3 parts. Altogether, we had 20 sketches and we added 2 short films and a music video to start off the show. It ran for about 75 minutes and instead of having an intermission, we decided to just power through the entire thing in one punch.

We also passed out surveys to the audience members and upon reading the feedback, I would have to say that this was our best show yet. That made us feel like we made the right decisions to take out stand up sets and remove videos from showing in the middle of the show. People kept writing that they wanted to see more and we were happy to hear this! Some even requested our playlist of songs that we had for transitions! I also noticed that most of our audience that we thought were a repeat crowd from past shows were mostly people who had never seen our shows before! I even saw people who had never come before see the show twice! Amazing!!

Wow, what a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to have my own sketch comedy troupe and have people who enjoy our content. It was such a gratifying experience to hear so much great feedback from our audience. I am so proud of everyone. I think we will try to apply for Sketchfest next year and see how that goes. But even if we don’t get accepted, I am still confident that people love our troupe and our content and I’m so excited to get started on our next show. We haven’t edited any of the footage of our show yet but here are the three videos we put on at the top of the show. Enjoy!

You Mad, Bro?

Call Me? Maybe? (from our show last year)

“Run The World” (Parody of Beyonce’s Run The World)

1st Time in Hong Kong

Oh man, haven’t blogged in awhile. Been busy and lazy. Really quick though, made a short montage video awhile back from my trip in Hong Kong. I also went to Shanghai but I did not feel like making a video for that. Sad to say, I didn’t have as good of a time in Shanghai as I did in Hong Kong. Not sure why, maybe the language barrier. All I can say is if you’re going to go to Shanghai, you’d better bring a Mandarin-speaking and Chinese-reading friend. Hardly anyone was able to speak English with me and definitely no one was able to speak Cantonese, which is what I speak. Of course in Hong Kong, I had no problems. Here’s some of my Hong Kong experience.

And really quick though, my comedy troupe is having its next show in 2 weeks! Omg! I’m so nervous and excited at the same time. I ended up writing a lot of the material. Here is our flyer. Can’t wait! http://badfruit.bpt.me

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Going On My First Trip to Asia

A month ago, I made the decision to go on my first official trip to China…to Asia actually. Back in January, I had a near meltdown because I read that Stephen Chow was doing a 20 city road tour in China to promote Mermaid and I so wanted to go. However, the nature of my job does not allow for me to go on vacation in February so I was incredibly disappointed, not to mention depressed. I damn near quit my job! I desperately wanted to quit my job, cash out my vacation pay & my sick pay and buy a ticket to one of the cities Stephen was going to be at and just enjoy it. There’s nothing I wanted more than to see him in person. I mentioned how much I wanted to quit my job so much that people started getting concerned for me and began to message me privately asking if everything was okay. Of course at the time, I wasn’t really sure if it was my job that I hated or the fact that I really just wanted to go on vacation and was upset that I couldn’t. Eventually, some old friends came through and talked me through an otherwise senseless action and I ended up not quitting and bearing it. The good thing is that I got to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t seen since 1995 and we talked more than we did in high school, ironically.

Anyway, a month ago, I came across an article that talked about a new Stephen Chow-themed restaurant that opened up in Shanghai. He doesn’t have anything to do with it but that was the tipping point for me. They were fans and I need to be among my people! I decided to go to Hong Kong & Shanghai.

I had asked two of my best friends that I usually travel with if they wanted to go but they were not able to go until possibly 2017. Alas, tomorrow is never a promise, so I decided to go on my own. After telling some people that I have decided to go possibly in May, a friend of mine told me he was going to be in Hong Kong in April as well as another mutual friend of ours who expressed interest in going. I figured it’s probably best if I could see friends at least one day out of my whole trip instead of being a solo traveler the entire time so I decided to go in April as well. I’m so excited I don’t even know where to begin with my itinerary. Luckily my mother told me about getting a visa for China. Otherwise, I would not have thought to get that in time.

I bought two Lonely Planet books, one for each city and I have to say, I am incredibly overwhelmed. So much that I don’t even know how to start figuring out my itinerary. I have so many questions but my main concerns are

A) What should I see most?
B) How do I eat vegan over there?
C) Are there really huge cockroaches flying around? Ick!!!
D) How much money do I really need?
E) How will I find my way around in Shanghai? I don’t know Mandarin.

I guess i should check out blogs and vlogs and see what others have said. I have one month left to figure everything out. Currently, I don’t even know where I’m staying at in Shanghai as I decided to do AirBNB and the owner has not given me the address. Hmm. Hopefully, I will get it before I leave for Hong Kong. As for now, the Asian adventures await…

Check Out Stephen Chow’s “The Mermaid”

If you live in North America and are lucky enough to be near one of the scant 35 theaters that is showing “The Mermaid,” make the effort to check it out. It was released over the weekend on 2/19 with some sneak preview screenings on 2/18. I spent all day today reading reviews about this wonderfully enchanting & thought-provoking movie. The overall consensus is that while there is a total lack of disregard from Sony’s marketing department for this film, critics are loving Stephen’s environmental message disguised within fantastic nonsensical storytelling & quirky slapstick gags that are infamously Stephen Chow style. Not to mention, they are giving widespread criticism towards Sony for its inactions, leaving us fans wondering what the hell is going on?

I’ve attended a couple of Chinese language films in San Francisco this year and I thought they would show a preview of The Mermaid at least before the Chinese films. Alas, there was no mention of it, not even a Coming Soon poster anywhere to be found. It seems zero dollars were spent marketing this movie in San Francisco and we have one of the biggest Chinese populations around. What gives? They promoted Kung Fu Hustle pretty hard back then but I started to think maybe it is because they are associating Chinese people with martial arts. Thus, I’ve concluded that perhaps this is a little bit racist and Sony should be ashamed of themselves if that is the case.

As a bonus, I came across some wonderful Behind The Scenes videos on YouTube. They are in Chinese but you can see how much work Stephen is putting into the film and they are still worth a watch:

Deleted fragments:

I could go on and on about this but I don’t have to. These reviewers have done it already. Pretty sad how this amazing film is being treated in the US. I don’t expect Stephen to want to work with the US much more.

TO check out some of the reviews I’ve read, see below. Thank you all for giving The Mermaid a voice.

Forbes

New York Times

RogerEbert.com

Metro

LA Times

Variety

Pajiba

Twitchfilm

Entertainment Weekly

Criticwire

Film Journal

UPDATE:2/23/16 Looks like Sony stepped up and added more screenings. Yay!

Accident in Competition

So, I submitted my little short film, “Accident” to this website called “The Audience Awards” in the “Dramatic Short Video” category. They run various contests and this category seemed to be a good fit for my film. The contest ran for 10 days beginning 2/20 and ending 2/29 at 7 PM. I shared the contest on Facebook and surprisingly, I noticed a lot of people were sharing my post and helping me ask for votes. I wasn’t sure if my film would get close to the top but I had hopes that it would warrant at least a few votes from my friends.

By the 2nd day of the contest, we had been thrusted to 1st place somehow! That was incredible! Of course we eventually got knocked out of 1st place throughout different moments in the contest so I spent a lot of time spamming my own Facebook feed and eventually even annoying myself. By the middle of the contest, I started to think that it was a possibility that I might actually win, but how? I needed a strategy. I started looking at my competitors because if I wanted to win, I needed to know what I was up against. There were 29 films in the competition and while only 8 of them were made by women, only 1 was made by an Asian: me. That was it. That was going to be my hook. Wouldn’t it be great that out of all 29 films, it was an Asian American who won? If I was going to go hard, I knew this meant war. So I rounded up a team of players who were willing to go to battle with me and started developing my strategy.

These were my targets:

1) Share the credit of the film with my comedy troupe
2) Hook – The only Asian in the competition
3) Take advantage of the date/time of the end of the contest
4) Make my community care about us winning
5) Create a pool of reserves for the last day of the contest

As I started going down each of my targets, I started garnering more and more votes. It was at the point where people I don’t even talk to on Facebook were sharing my post and getting excited about the possibility of our filming winning. I was absolutely floored by the strength of my community and the depths they were going to help me. It was getting so exciting. By the 8th day of the contest, I had discovered a page on the website that allowed me to see who the voters were and it really took me by surprise. I discovered a lot of people that had not responded to my contest posts had voted for me, cheering me on in silence. And being in this contest also allowed me to receive a lot of feedback from friends, extended friends, acquaintances and strangers telling me how much they enjoyed my film and loved my story. It was that feedback that inspired me to continue telling stories.

After the disappointment of only 3 acceptances in the festival run I gave my film, this was really a turnaround point for me. I realized that regardless of whether or not I wrote a good story, it still felt really good to have created this. I love every single moment in my film and I enjoyed almost every aspect in creating it (ok, color correction is a bitch and I still can’t get that right but I’ve accepted that.) Plus, after asking Jason Marsden about this stuff, he more or less told me that this was actually completely normal so I decided to forge on.

By the last day of the contest, I hit target number 5. I created my pool of reserves and we all waited until the last 5 minutes to send in our votes. I felt like a cheetah hiding in the bushes, preying on my victim to surface so that I could POUNCE! When it was down to the last 10 minutes of the contest, I noticed a lot of people starting sharing my post and rallying others to vote and at this point, I hadn’t even sent out the green light to my reserves yet! So 4 minutes before the end of the contest, we all sent in our votes so when the last second hit, we won! It was so exciting! I was on pins & needles! The prize was $500 which I have decided I would put towards the next project of my comedy troupe. It was such an incredible feeling! There were internet hi-fives going all around, I’m sure. I was so excited that I made 3 donations to 3 different parties, including one homeless man. Gotta spread the love. I can’t wait to create my next project. Whatever it is, I hope it will be as awesome of an experience as “Accident” was for my heart & soul.

You can watch “Accident” here:

No One Can Compete with Stephen Chow

For the past five weeks, I have been watching Stephen Chow’s movies/TV shows every week, hence, my lack in blog posts. Who is Stephen Chow? Only the best Chinese comedian/actor/director in Asia in my humble opinion. I still remember the very first time I learned how to use the internet back in 1995. One of the first things I remember looking up was Stephen Chow, which brought me to his IMDB page. I didn’t know about web addresses yet, only the search engine which at the time, was Yahoo as the home page at my college. I recall emailing my Chinese friends some instructions on how to get to his IMDB page and telling them which movies they should check out. What a great way to learn how to use the internet!

While watching his films, I would notice a lot of similarities such as scenes that involve eating noodles. Then I read an article that gave a biography of Stephen’s that said that his mother used to make him a bowl of noodles everyday when he came home from school. I also noticed that a lot of the stories he’s done are about the lower class of people and I read that he grew up in a single parent household after his father left when he was 7 years old and his mother held two jobs to raise their family of 4 as he had 2 older sisters. So it’s really nice to see him putting little elements of his childhood into the movies he does.

I really love this guy. The more I read about him, the more I appreciate his work as an actor, a writer, and a director; especially as a director. I find that if you read interviews where they have asked him about his history, you’ll find quite a genuine soul who believes that the “true heroes are the workers.” So in a lot of the movies he’s done, you will find that hero to be someone you wouldn’t normally envision as a hero. The hero in his films are usually the underdogs of society; the poor, the seemingly weak, the ones who are not universally considered attractive, desirable or smart. The heroes in his films are the ordinary people like you and me. In addition, he created a whole new genre of films called “Mo Lei Tau” which basically means “nonsense.” His movies came out at a time when the young people of Hong Kong had no voice and he gave them a voice to speak with. They became inspired by him and everyone fell in love with his films. At one point, Hong Kong’s top five movies that were out in the theaters all had Stephen Chow in them! Who can do that?!! Astonishing.

Anyway, I am excited to watch his new movie, “The Mermaid” come out this year. It is being released in Asia on the first day o Lunar New Year, 2/8/16. I was thiiiiiiiisss close to quitting my job and cashing out my vacation pay/sick pay and flying off to Hong Kong just to watch the movie in case it doesn’t come here on the same day. I eventually came to my senses and realized that a movie ticket costing over $1000 is never worth it…unless Stephen Chow is sitting there right beside you.

My favorite movie of his is “All’s Well, Ends Well” but it’s not online unfortunately except for the trailer.  However, if anyone is going to check out a Stephen Chow movie for the 1st time, I would start with “All For The Winner” which was a comedic parody movie of a Chinese drama movie called “God Of Gamblers.” Only problem is, Stephen has such an outstanding command of Cantonese that his improv involves a lot of Cantonese wordplay. So while his comedy is funny, there is actually another level of comedy that most of us can’t comprehend unless we were familiar with Cantonese! For example, at around 1:25 of All For The Winner below, the english subtitle says he is calling the vending machine, “Mr. Machine.” In Cantonese, the phonetic words he is using is gei lou. In Cantonese, the word “gei” (机) also sounds like the word “gei” (基) which when put together with lou (佬) is the words they use to call someone gay. It’s actually a rather vulgar term and used only in Cantonese. However, reading the English subtitles, that joke would have gone right past you. Anutha level, bruh. Anutha level.

If you’re interested, here are some comedic scenes Stephen has done in the past. Enjoy.

King Of Comedy (1999)

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Magnificent Scoundrels (1991)

Compilation –
All For The Winner (1990)
God Of Cookery (1996)
Magnificent Scoundrels (1991)

Thankful For You

Blogging to this song on repeat…

This Thanksgiving, my mom, my grandmother and my aunt, the three matriarchs of the family have again left before the holidays to go to Hong Kong like they did last year. I understand the tickets are cheaper, but I just wish they would at least prepare me instead of letting me know an hour before they are leaving for the airport through a random voicemail. The holidays have always been difficult for me because I haven’t yet been able to let go of the past. Feeling disappointed by both parents has brought me to the conclusion that holidays, family time, and love are for suckers. I really miss the big parties my parents used to throw when they were together. I think I took it for granted. I used to complain about the loud karaoke all the adults were singing in a language I didn’t quite comprehend at a reasonable level. I’m more conversational Cantonese. Every year around the holidays, I yearn for those days when we were together as a family. In my fantasy world, my father never cheated on my mother, he never left our family, and my mother never took the guy’s side when I was violated. Of course fantasies only belong in movies and books. In real life, my fantasies turn themselves inside out and claim their stake in my heart in the form of a hard truth. And so every year around the holidays, I try to find some kind of distraction that will keep me smiling.

This year, I got the chance to see my favorite guy in the whole wide world, Will Friedle. Fortunately, the chance came before the holidays began so I was happy to have him as my distraction. I really needed him and he has no idea how much our interaction truly means to me. Whenever my mind begins to wander into the past, I can feel the tears start to fall and I have to remind myself all the wonderful experiences I’ve had this year. I am very thankful for many things that have happened this year and of course, the most recent, seeing Will was the cherry on top. Now I can have a pleasant experience to think back on to make me smile. I would have to say out of the three experiences I have had with Will, this one was the best. I mean, well, of course the first one was superb since it was a moment I had waited so long for. And the second one was amazing because I didn’t think he would recognize me but he did. But this time, I actually got to talk to him without someone else rushing me out of a line. I wasn’t on a time limit and that was my favorite part, talking to him like a regular human being. I was a bit nervous at first but I eventually got over it and began to be myself and enjoy being there with him. My friend captured the whole thing on video. I love being able to look back on it and relive the experience. If you see this Will, I just wanted to say thank you. You are one of my favorite people too and I am extremely thankful for you. No words can express how much I absolutely adore you.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 9.59.56 PM

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Got to take the eyebrow pic with him, something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile!
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Discussions & Concussions

In the last 4 weeks I:

A) really enjoyed Girl Meets Texas

B) somehow managed to make a vegan version of honey walnut shrimp (sorry for the shitty pic, I ate most of it already)

veganhoneyshrimp

C) got to see Finish Ticket finally play a big stage (they totally belong there)

D) witnessed my friend’s wedding proposal

E) slammed my head into the sharp corner of a wooden crate onstage and ended up in the emergency room (around 9:28…although, you’d never know I had gotten a concussion. The show must go on!)

F) spoke my peace at City Hall (I’m around 5:05:00)

And this Saturday, I’m headed to Reno. Can ya guess why? :0)

Gimme Five Minutes

So today is the last day to vote in my city. I planned on mailing my ballot so I put everything into my envelope and sealed it. This morning, I saw it and think, “Don’t forget to bring this with you to work so you can put it in the mailroom!” But of course I forgot it. Then I decide, I’ll just come home, grab it, and take it to the post office. Oh! The one by the airport closes late at 8! Yay! But, work gets crazy at around 3:30 PM. Next thing I knew, it was 6:52 PM! I thought, “OMG! I have to vote! I gotta go!”

So I leave work and as I’m driving home on the streets, I realize I can’t get on the freeway with this spare tire because it can’t go past 50 mph! (I got a flat tire yesterday. :0/ ) So I called my brother who is my landlord.
“I NEED TO BORROW YOUR CAR! OMG!”
“Okay, sure. Where you going?”
“I NEED TO GO TO THE POST OFFICE BY THE AIRPORT! IT’S THE LAST DAY TO VOTE AND I HAVE TO BE A PART OF THE CHANGE! EVERY VOTE COUNTS! WE NEED A NEW MAYOR! WE NEED TO PASS THESE PROPOSITIONS! IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT!! THAT’S THE ONLY POST OFFICE THAT CLOSES LATE! I CAN’T GET ON THE FREEWAY WITH THIS SPARE TIRE CUZ THEY SAID I CAN’T GO PAST 50 MPH!”
“Why don’t you just drop it off at the polling place at the end of our street?”
“Oh.”

That was a true 5 minutes.

Two Cool Weekends

It was such a great experience last weekend to have my first short film, “Accident,” showcased at APAture 2015! APAture is a multidisciplinary arts festival that focuses on Asian artists in film, comics, music, literary arts, This was actually the first event that I submitted to last year but I didn’t get in back then. My friend encouraged me to resubmit for this year and I’m really glad it got in this year. I’ve been submitting it since July 2014 and even up until now. It has been accepted into three festivals so far, including APAture. At first I was kind of bummed out that a lot of festivals did not accept it. However, I sent a message to Jason Marsden during the whole process and he reassured me that there is nothing wrong with that and to let it be a learning experience. I’ve really taken that to heart and I’m actually really happy now that it was accepted into APAture 2015. I feel like I’ve come full circle. I started with this festival so maybe I can end with this festival. No more submissions. They are costly and I’d really rather move on to my next project. Eventually, I will post my short film online and let the world judge it all they want. I love it and my opinion is the only one that really matters, right?

I did a Q&A afterwards…ok, I admit it. I HATE public speaking. Not that I don’t want to talk to people who saw my film. I’d LOVE to hear what they thought of it but being asked all these questions and being among my peers, I felt inferior, like I didn’t really belong there. People laughed at my answers. Maybe because of my delivery but I can’t help it. I hear it in my head and it comes out of my mouth differently than how I would have liked. It’s fine, I’m not mad. I don’t know how celebrities, teachers, politicians, etc. do it. Aren’t they afraid of saying something wrong? Or sounding like an idiot? Or being asked a question they don’t want to answer? I remember for the time before the screening and after I found out I had to do a Q&A, I told myself I wasn’t going to reveal the true inspiration for my film because I didn’t want people to think I was crazy or angry. Then I thought, well what are the chances they would ask that question anyway? It’s played out. Sure enough, the first question was “What was your inspiration for your respective film?” Oh man. In my head, I reached for everything I could think of to make up. I wanted to scroll through my phone and find my director’s statement so I could remind myself what I wrote. Then I thought of something I say instead of the truth, that I was inspired by my peers because they have been so supportive of my creative work. So when it was my turn to speak, the truth just rolled off my tongue. “I had an angry conversation with my dad on the phone one day and well, if you can’t do it in real life, you do it on film.” Please don’t think I’m crazy. Here’s a picture.

12091370_10153804113401802_8025315725157345474_o

I just realized I’m not crazy. Just angry. Like Taylor Swift, writing about her ex-boyfriends and telling the world how she really feels. I guess the truth isn’t so bad. Ok, I’m rambling. Other eventful occurrences yesterday: Girl Meets Texas was a 3 part series this weekend. Damn, that’s good marketing! You know people like to binge on this kind of stuff. This love triangle thing is really suspenseful. I have to say I’m pretty blown away by how the producers have handled this situation. I know social media has given some insight as to which direction the GMW fans want it to go. It’s basically Rucas vs Lucaya. For anyone who doesn’t know, “Rucas” is the moniker for the highly anticipated Riley & Lucas union while “Lucaya” is the moniker for those who are team Maya & Lucas. The writers have been giving hints as to what might happen. They said the biggest clue was in the pilot. So, I went to Netflix and watched the pilot. Well, I started to anyway. Then I thought, maybe the clue is in the first conversation Maya had with Lucas where she compressed their whole faux relationship/breakup into 9 sentences. She said “You don’t pay enough attention to me” as one of those sentences. Well, from what I gather in Girl Meets Texas, I feel like while Lucas does pay attention to Maya, he pays more attention to Riley overall. So maybe everything is being played out in this arc, expanding on those 9 sentences throughout the season. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. For now. :0)

If you’re wondering which pair I’m in favor of(I refuse to use the word “ship”), I would have to say Lucas and Riley. After watching this 3-part melodrama, I feel like Riley and Lucas have been taking things slow. So slow, in fact, that no one even realized they were doing this. It’s like a silent “I like you, you like me but let’s be great friends first” kind of thing. I know some fans think Maya has more chemistry with Lucas but it just doesn’t seem like Lucas feels that way about Maya. I mean, he stopped himself from kissing Maya. If you had that chance with someone you liked, you go for it. If it doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t lead someone on. And if they did kiss, that would be horrible. Maya and Riley’s friendship could change forever. Just because Maya thinks Riley loves Lucas like a brother doesn’t mean it’s actually true. Riley is obviously stepping back because she wants Maya to be happy and always puts others before herself. And judging from the dumbfounded & confused way Lucas reacted when Riley told him he was like a brother to her, he obviously thought they had a mutual crush thing going! I mean, come on…ok, I am way too invested in this. What’s going on?? I’m 38! Moving on…

Oh my gosh, I got to see my favorite band perform last night when they opened for Twenty One Pilots! They killed it!! I had such a great time watching them jam out on this big stage. They have always been meant for the bigger stages. I love it! And I especially enjoyed watching them perform their new songs! I’m just adding to my playlist. I guess i could have stayed to watch the other opening act, Echosmith and the headliner but I was starving and needed to feed so I bounced.

When I got home, I started uploading my videos to YouTube when lo and behold, my favorite guy in the whole wide world, Will Friedle, tweeted a picture of the shirt I gave him! Oh my gosh, I nearly fell off my stool because my legs turned into spaghetti, haha! That was so random. I had always wondered if it fit though. I have two of those shirts, one in white and one in purple. I love it. You can wash it and the artwork will last for awhile as long as you are washing it properly.

Ok, it’s time to go to sleep. Lots to do. Shows to produce, scripts to write, and videos to edit. Happy Halloweeny, Mr. Feeny!

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