This blog thing has become a yearly thing. I am coming to terms with this and not gonna force myself to write. I may or may not write more in the coming year... who knows? I wanted to write earlier this year, but I held back because I never wanna write when I am not completely done reflecting on what happened. I find myself taking a much longer time processing things these days—especially my emotions. So here goes.
Over the past year, a lot has changed. One thing that changed the most was my age. I turned 30. Am I still fucked up? Maybe. Am I working through it? Hell to the fuckin yeah.
They say 30 is the best decade of your life. For me, it started out as the rockiest and hardest time I’ve ever had because this year was the year I decided to take my dreams a giant leap forward—I decided to finally get up on my ass and make that feature film I dreamed of making since I started this journey in 2012.
I got a major kick in the ass when I attended the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival this year—a festival I’ve gone to every year since 2013 (except 2015). I saw three female filmmakers front-and-center in the Opening, Centerpiece, and Closing Night film slots. Can we take and sit with this moment for a little bit? Holy fuck. One filmmaker said it took 15 years (!!!) for her to make the film. Another filmmaker took a script and made it over the summer and her whole village of friends joined her in the Philippines to make it. Damn—that’s the real friendship test. That said filmmaker also said she and her lead actor spent the last LAAPFF telling everyone they saw at the festival that they’re making a film. She said that it forced them to make it.
I sat in the audience in awe and was inspired as fuck. I kept imagining myself making the solo show into a feature film with a team of friends (just like them) and then a year-ish later showing it in front of an audience—I imagined myself as these filmmakers and I thought over and over again: there’s nothing to lose in telling a story you want to tell. It was the last day of the festival and I started telling people that I’m in the process of making a feature film. Last few hours... on the dance floor, I was telling people this. LOL! Maybe it was pure excitement, but mostly it was because of some good old gin and tonic.
I flew back to NYC right after the festival in mid-May and started looking up crowdfunding options. This shit is feeling real. Then I looked up Kickstarter and the amount of information you need to even launch the campaign. It gave me a headache, so I let it rest for two days. Then I clicked into it again to see what’s up/what I had to do. Then I got to work. I assembled a team: a Director who have seen the show in nyc in 2015 and really wanted to work together, a DP I’ve worked with before, and a few of my close friends as Producers. Boom, easy... so I thought.
If anybody out there reading have done a Kickstarter before, you know how difficult that shit is. It’s not the work that’s daunting, it’s asking everyone you know to support you (especially when you have to hit a certain goal in a short amount of time). I was mind-fucked every single day, and out of 30 days, maybe there was two days I didn’t cry lol... but seriously, I didn’t know how to feel anymore after people I thought would support me, didn’t. My team was like fuck Kickstarter and give up now—this was one week after the Kickstarter launched. Oh yeah I cried during that Skype call. I felt like there were rocks on my shoulders and there were more rocks being thrown my way. I cried and caved during the phone meeting and said maybe we can figure out some other way. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening/night thinking about what Kickstarter symbolized (resilience/persistence) and I was like fuck this shit, we ain’t givin up!!!!!! And then wrote a long ass email letting the team know that we can’t give up! And after a lot of tears, the last day was really scary and a lot of joy because we made it!!!!! A lot of my friends up’d their pledge and we were able to cross the finish line, with a few hours to spare (to those who did, thank you 🙏🏼). It was a crazy, surreal moment. Shirley and Jo was there with me during the countdown, I’ll never forget that (thank you).
Finishing Kickstarter was just the beginning. Setting up the NY State LLC, forming an Operating Agreement, and publishing was the light work (and fuckin expensive). The hardest part was writing. I started re-writing the script based off of the money we raised (no more 15 locations and a gazillion actors). I went through many, many drafts (13 or so). I probably didn’t land a good one until my director left the project in mid-August. Then about a month later, after I decided to direct, the DP left the project. I was left in a bind. But I didn’t cry this time. I cried enough and my whole perspective in life changed. What I learned the most through this whole process is: people will not support you, not believe in you, and leave you, but the only thing you can control is how you react. I was definitely not prepared in the beginning, so I cried a lot, but after so much of it, I told myself that you can only look/move forward. Yes you can, and yes you will. (Ok, why am I crying now on the train... again!) I aged emotionally at least 10 years + my age, will tell you that much.
I am currently in Pre-Production now. It’s been another long process. I cried again during this process— out of sadness, frustration, and now, finally, happiness. Thrilled to announce that Leonard Wu, Curtis Lum, Cindy Wu, Wai Ching Ho, and Joe Auyeung (voice) will be joining the cast. I’m still searching for my mother. The rest of the cast will be announced via our Kickstarter in a week or so. I feel so thankful for all of them for coming on board and I cannot wait to play with them (if you guys are reading this, I love you like a fat kid love cake).
Doing all this work, seeing friends, watching films, and working out has been my way of de-stressing. Amongst those three things, I spend the most time at the gym. I started going to the gym 3x a week regularly since August 19, 2018. Let’s say I didn’t start reeeeeally working out until Thanksgiving of 2018. Since then, I have never felt more in tune with my body. I love HIIT, Yoga, Pilates, and (sometimes) Barre (this shit is painful!!!!!). I also fell in love with lifting weights about four months ago. I don’t even care if I have a six pack, as long as I feel like my life isn’t falling apart, it’s all good.
I’d say one year ago around this time, I had major anxiety issues/depression because of something that happened in 2016. I talked about it during my second solo show 28: Still Fucked Up, and it was a lot emotionally revisiting the events I eventually tell in the show. I think sharing that story definitely helped me cope with it, but what really helped was working out, getting stronger physically and emotionally.
It hasn’t always been easy, and it takes a lot of work to get out of my head. But for now, I’m learning how to look at things differently—in a more positive way. I always give off positive energy to hide from what I’m really going through. I’m slowly learning to work through it so that the emotions of happiness I’m putting out into the world is actually how I’m really feeling inside.
All this is to say, I’m working on it. I’m just getting started and I’m really excited to share what’s to come. <3