I love Brian Regan! He is my FAVORITE comedian. I'm usually covered in sweat because he makes me laugh so hard. I was listening to his audio CD "All By Myself" and felt inspired to doodle. I usually draw in silence. These acoustically-inspired sketches contained lines and shapes that were crisper, thinner, edgier. Perhaps somehow related to the cadence of joke delivery?
Great News! I've had more success passing my script around. Thanks to a supernice contact, I got my script into the hands of a UTA agent, who read it and thought it was good! He's putting together notes for me. I also have a producer and a director reading my script. I'm so excited!
I got hired again to work with Fujifilm as a lead for their 250D demo film with cinematographer/director Gabriel Beristain (S.W.A.T., Blade: Trinity), one of the best directors I have ever worked with. He set a very ambitious vision for the creative and visual film that he wanted, and I was so honored that he involved me so much in the input process. I'm going to be doing wushu and a very emotional scene in the film, I can't wait to see the footage!
The Fujifilm Eterna Vivid projects I did last year are available on YouTube:
With DP/Director Kramer Morgenthau:
With DP/Director Dion Beebe:
I'm progressing really nicely on my second script, and with Christmas around the corner, I'm incredibly optimistic for what 2011 will bring. I was able to do some sketches during my dojo holiday party while we were playing "Name That Tune":
I'm like a giddy kid in a sandbox when I have a pen and a blank piece of paper
We also had a hula hooping contest. I rock at hula hooping. I really do. If I had to, I could jumprope and hula hoop in my sleep. Unfortunately my mobile-minded skirt was determined to scandalize, so I had to stop. Next year I will wear pants and hula my way to ultimate victory!
I'm learning a lot about the difficult process that occurs after a script is finished. The hardest part is not finding out the contact information for agents, producers, managers, but how to get access to them. I bought the Fall/Winter 2010 Literary Agency Guide for $60 only to find out that 90% of the listed contacts accept submissions by "referral only." Jeez. I can't even mail them a query letter to ask if I can send them my script because that would go against their "No Unsolicited Materials" policy. Why couldn't I have at least one relative who worked in a studio??? Hee hee...
I know that literary managers are more willing to take on unestablished writers, but I'm going to wait on them until my agency mailings come back. Out of 32 agency query letters sent out on Nov. 3:
4 Returned Unopened Envelopes - I'm guessing the contact or submission info is now outdated since the book came out in June 2010
3 Query Responses - Two agencies were nice enough to reply and say that my concept wasn't for them, another agency said they weren't accepting new materials or clients
2 Script Requests - one from my old manager and one from a seido contact who is also a writer
I'm trying to think of unconventional (but sane) methods to try and get my foot in the door because I've exhausted all of the "legit" options. It's my dream to have my script produced by Harpo Productions and Playtone Productions. I learned about Playtone after Nia Vardalos said on the screenwriting series, "The Dialogue," that her experience with them on "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" had been wonderful. I really related to Nia's interview because we were both minority actors who wrote screenplays to create opportunities for ourselves. Nia had also mentioned that she would read any script that came to her the right way, so I contacted her via Twitter and asked her if I could send her my script. Alas, no response. I tried emailing Harpo Productions asking if I could send Oprah my script. No response. I tried tweeting Rita Wilson asking if I could send Playtone a query letter. No response.
In "How to Sell Your Screenplay," Dov Simens said that if you called up an agency and said you were looking for a literary agent they would most likely hang up on you. But if you found an agent that represented a director and called saying you had a script for the director, you might have a slim chance to get them to look at your script. I thought that was a mighty interesting approach. In my spec script, I wrote the part of my mother specifically with Gong Li (my favorite actress) in mind, so I decided to call David Unger at ICM and tell him I had a script for his client. With my heart beating out of my chest, I picked up the phone...
Fun Fact: I was handpicked by Oscars producer Laura Ziskin at a go-see to wear Gong Li's
"Curse of the Golden Flower" costume for the 2007 Oscars Best Costume Design segment
I called ICM, got transferred easily to David Unger's office and said smoothly, "I have a script for Gong Li, may I send it to you for consideration?" The secretary put me on hold and then came back and asked me, "Does your script have full financing? If not, we don't accept unsolicited materials. When you get full financing and can make an offer to Gong Li, then give us a call." Tear.
In the meantime I'm just going to start writing my next spec script (I've already finished the outline) and think of other ways to somehow get my script in the hands of an agent or producer. I know it's commercial and marketable, if only they could read it! I won't give up!!
As my inkjet doled out query letters, I doodled with a Sharpie while listening to its gentle whirring hum:
I read a great quote by Marvin Phillips: The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph!
It's my birthday! My best birthday ever, really (I'm saying it a la Bridget Jones :). I copyrighted my spec script yesterday and I'm so excited about the possibilities. It's a coming-of-age dramedy. Now I'm focusing on finding literary representation, which is going to be difficult since a lot of agencies only read scripts through referrals. I just need to get the chance to send it to them, I really believe that they'll love it!
35 day aged steak for my birthday lunch
Recently I was reading AFTRA magazine when I saw a writing contest sponsored by the First Entertainment Credit Union. To enter, I had to write a original short story that had to mention "First Entertainment Credit Union." I love writing short stories, so here's my entry below:
by Chyna Chuu
For the past five minutes, Estelle, 66, had been staring at her paycheck. When once it had represented the solution to all of her problems, today she saw it for what it really was - a watermarked piece of paper that could no longer define happiness for her. Ever since she had turned 50, something happened. Perhaps it was a combination of the senior yoga class she had begun taking, her volunteer work at the library, or simply just laughing more with her fellow aged cohorts about the little things. Whatever the reasons were, her golden years were bringing her a sense of joy and peace that she had never before experienced in her youth.
So she sat in her car in the First Entertainment Credit Union parking lot, knowing she drove here to deposit the money, but not knowing why she wasn't getting out of her car. ìI just don't need it,î she admitted. Ever since her husband Sam died, it was just her and faithful dog Hugo in their two-bedroom house. She really had more than enough to sustain her and Hugo indefinitely. Sam had invested smartly in telecommunications ventures, so the extra income from her successful painting career was just sweet icing on the cake.
Oh my. The car clock showed she had been in her car for twenty minutes. She stared into her rearview mirror at the security guard sitting by the ATM. I hope he doesn't think I'm casing the joint because I've been sitting here so long. The thought made her chuckle. The burly security guard was in his 30s, chubby, and clean-shaven. His plump, sausage-like fingers were gripping a book and he was reading it intensely. Estelle squinted to try and read the title. The Secret to Fulfillment.
Estelle unbuckled her seat belt and got out of the car. She shuffled towards the security guard, observing that he had four other books stashed under his chair. As approached him, she noticed his eyes were closed and he was chanting, ìUnleash your energies to the world. He took a deep, deliberate breath and a slow, meaningful exhale. He looked so relaxed she realized she might startle him if he were to open his eyes and suddenly see her standing in front of him.
"Excuse me," Estelle said tenderly. She glanced at his name tag. "Peter, is it?" She decided the safest bet was to preempt even though she felt intrusive disrupting his personal moment. Peter snapped to attention and upon seeing her, quickly tossed his book underneath his chair with the others, where it fell next to a giant cookbook entitled Decadent Desserts.
"Yes, yes, is there a problem, ma'am?" Peter stammered.
"I can't help but notice the book that you're reading. Would you mind please telling me what the secret to fulfillment is?"
Peter coughed, clearly embarrassed. "I think it's about doing what you love, ma'am."
"And what do you love to do, Peter?" He was really growing on her, ruddy cheeks and all.
"I love to bake, ma'am. I'm trying to save up for my own bakery." He was positively scarlet now.
"Oh, that's wonderful. Peter, will you do me a favor? I'm going to write down my address on a piece of paper and when you open up your bakery you deliver me some of your goodies." Estelle took out a pen and a piece of paper from her purse and began writing. "Banana nut muffins are my favorite."
"Unfortunately, I'm still a bit aways from my shop, ma'am," Peter confessed, fighting back tears.
"You'll get there soon, don't you fret, Peter. Take care now." Estelle handed him the paper.
Estelle smiled and began walking back to her car. Peter looked down at the piece of paper and realized he was holding Estelle's paycheck. On the back, Estelle had endorsed it and inscribed, Peter, in life the things that make us happy are the things that are most worthwhile. Best wishes. Peter turned it back over and couldn't believe his eyes. The check was for $200,000.
Check out the new promo video for my karate dojo:
The past two months were tough for me as I got sidelined by a knee injury suffered during wushu class. It was an awakening situation for me though - learning how to walk again, redefining how to exercise, reconnecting with each muscle. I'm fully healed now but I feel much more in tune with my body. I also worked a lot on my screenplay which is about 2/3 done :)
I tried sketching with a new weapon of choice - Sharpie Extra Fine Point. I normally like being able to shade and have more precise control over line thicknesses but the Sharpie forced me my designs to take shape on a certain way. It was fun :)
I've posted them on my Sketches page:
< BR> 5.15.10
I took my wushu Level 10 test and passed! Go me!! I am now Level 11 (out of 16) and really loving how it's so challenging physically and mentally.
One of the AFI films I did screened at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival recently, and now it's availably on HBO On Demand! It's called "Lucky Lotus" and the character I play is named Thuy. If you are an HBO digital subscriber, no extra equipment or installation is required. You can select the film from on-screen menus with the remote control. How cool is that?!
My sister-in-law recently saw me on the Yahoo main portal and took a screenshot:
That makes four different ad campaigns that I know of so far from that one stock shoot - Costco Car, American Express, Torrance car dealership, and now Yahoo editorial :)
I haven't updated in a while, but a lot of things have happened: I won 1st place Kata at the Interdojo Johshin Honzan Karate Tournament, shot a principal role with Gus Hansen for a Full Tilt poker commercial, totally revamped this website (I had hardcoded the old one in HTML back in college but this time I learned css for a more layered look), am currently on avail for a print job, and was on avail for two other projects but released. I am learning to do crazy things in wushu that really challenge me physically like aerials and butterfly kicks. I will feel so cool when I finally do my first real butterfly!!
Some of my sketches below were inspired by movies I've seen recently (dancing queen - "This is It" with Michael Jackson, sacrificial sickle - "We Feed The World", leapfrog - "Cane Toads", king corn - "King Corn"). Click to see their full-sized versions:
My ex-coworker from Apple recently asked me if I'm on the American Express website. He says the picture sometimes pops up before the login page, so he took a screenshot for me:
LOL! Another picture from a stock shoot I did that has been bought and used! ^_^
A couple of days after he told me I was eating soba in Torrance and reading Lighthouse magazine when I couldn't believe what was on the last page. The same picture being used by a car dealership for their advertisement:
2009 was an slower year compared to others, but it did peak with me as a lead with the biggest names I've worked with yet (cinematographers Phedon Papamichael, Dion Beebe, and Kramer Morgenthau). I really do believe that everything happens for a reason, and the challenging year has fueled me to focus on new, self-produced endeavors. I began writing poems and short stories that I hope to publish as an anthology. I am also penning my own screenplay with myself as the lead and a certain actress to play my mother. I also know who I want to produce it and suffices to say I have corresponding pictures on my vision board. 2010 will be a year of great happenings! Happy New Year everyone! (^_^)
Copyright (c) 2010 Chyna Chuu