Monday, September 25, 2017

Filming Legal Aid's "The Knot Family"

Date: 25-27 Sept, 17

25 Sept: It's been a while since I've blogged (a couple of years so to speak) but for my journey and reflection, I shall share my insights and knowledge. I'm currently casted as "Mai Ngo" on a training video and had a fair bit of lines to chew. I must admit, I'm use to being an "action" type of actor but am proud to be able to get in the actor zone, spit out the lines and feel comfortable with the range of emotions. 

26 Sept: Great day on set and acting with Lyn Collingwood (13 years on "Home 'n' Away"). She spoke to me about the lack of diversity on screens and her experiences on acting on Australian TV. She started out acting during her university days. She loves being able to create characters and learns lines well when she's able to grasp the narrative and belief in her lines. Great actors take directions well and hits the mark first/ second time. She spoke about working with Chris Hemsworth and seeing his detail and professionalism. 

So where does that leave me? Well I'm still on my path to becoming an all rounded one day memorable actor with great skill and range. I stumbled into it in 2007; a time when acting was just pulling faces, but I'm now constantly pushing myself onscreen and behind. Time moves fast and forward and I have to keep up the momentum and energy despite opportunities (or lack of) in the film ecosystem. Onwards and upwards!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Inner Rantings....

I hate this. It's always at the back of my head to 'blog' and I keep on letting in slide and 'forget'. The last time I properly caress this space was mid last year and since then, I've been doing a bunch of things, as usual, but lately everything seems to making more sense.

So what's new? Well the biggest thing to date would have to be owning your own space. Trung Ly, my engineering prodigy of a partner of mine had taken the leap and bought up 1/10 Childs Rd, Chipping Norton. This is a fabulous hidden gem, only 12 mins from Cabramatta and a now transformed martial arts, tutoring, arts creative, film screening space where the diverse Asian communities can get together and jam their ideas till their hearts content.

Throughout the years, I've outgrown my mother's 2 bedroom unit, my father's make shift D.I.Y sun room and even an ancestral shrine at Dong Tam. Now, I get my very own kick butt multimedia space where I can conduct all my meetings, screenings and training. The great thing is, it is a shared space and I'm quite to opposite to the artist in solitude. I love people's developments and transformations and being able to view it from my window as I edit the latest project, is rewarding.

Speaking of projects, "Maximum Choppage" ABC2 6 part TV series has just finished airing. Most definitely an interesting project, one that provided great insights towards how projects are made in accordance to the Australian film industry. There were definitely great friendships and memorable moments during the behind-the-scenes and seeing it all on Australian television felt like a great achievement. However, it doesn't mean the fight for on screen diversity stops here. It's just the beginning and in fact, great fuel for my own personal fire to get my own shit up and running.

Similarly "mychonny" a.k.a John Luc have broke ground when he got "My Chonny Moves In" through RK Pix and Screen Australia. John wrote and directed the series, some one say his humour isn't their taste, but wait a minute, how many views has he generated? 200,000 views, 10,000 likes and 500 comments, now that's the spirit.

Hence, that is where the next generation of content creation is veering - where the demand is.

Anyhow, so late last year I was whiffed away back to China to make another action movie called "Death Mist" (sounds ridiculous huh?), and it was great to be reunited with the same cast and director (Antony Szeto). I'm not sure when it's hitting China theatres but one can say your craft expands when you put it into practice more and to be honest, in Australia, it's a hard slog. 95% of my showreel is made from independent projects that I either wrote/produced/ directed. The 4% of that is my overseas work and 1% is when I play the common shop owner or prostitute on mainstream TV. That's the reality of it my fellow Asian actors, there's no consistent work in this country and if there are roles, they are simply written by white people or hardcore bananas who exoticise our stories to be oh so "chopsocky". I for one, am over it, over pretending to be that nice little Asian girl who is ever so obedient and efficient. Rant. Rant. Rant.

Finally the end of the year saw me commissioned to make 37 "Foodielicious" clips for Fairfield City Council, which I found unexpectantly doing quite well on the online world. Who would know that food porn is popular? This is has now led me to today and on the road to making another 37 as well as 5 mini docos that explore Asian cultures. Neat! Then, about a month ago it hit me, what it I make a TV show hosted by Asian-Australians called "Yell-oh! TV". A phone call to Foxtel and the next thing you know, it's on its way and scheduled production in September. Gotta be a go getter and fearless to get what you want.

Then there's the other side of my work plate where I'm working on the photo collection of a 5 metre wall in Cabramatta that will hold 300 photos printed on tiles for the next 20 years, in parallel to a documentary project that I'll be directing in July called "Vietnamese Mosaic: 40 Years Settlement in Australia". And did someone say "Quest for Jackie!"? Lol...who knows when that finishes when there are other things kicking off that has the bling, bling attached.

I'm going to leave it there now.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

NEW: From blog to Vlog

Life diaries can be so time consuming even though they are quite worthwhile in documenting your life for years to come. I've now taken the pleasure in vlogging my daily-weekly adventures. Life is for celebrating and there is plenty delights in mini stories of your life.

Anyhow, back to basics; only less than 3 weeks to the show I've been working on kicks off and so here's an update.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

THEATRE: "It's War!" Written/ Directed by Alex Lykos

When I first heard of this project, I was a little reluctant to get on board. There's plenty of wannabe theatre makers out there that keep on making content that just don't gel with audiences....entertainment them....or at least is thought provoking.

Also, there's just not much going around from ethnic artists that tell stories from the inside out, instead of the other way around. Then there's Alex Lykos -- a theatre maker underdoggie champion of the Greek community. His long time success is theatre-turned-movie "Alex & Eve". 

Lykos is quite a humble man. He loves his track-a-dacks but operates like clockwork and there's no airy fairiness when it comes it rehearsal scheduling. His directing style is quite similar to mine, unconventional and quite emotive and I'm in awe on how he works. 

Theatre is a relatively new craft to me. I've done a couple of play before such as facilitating "Aussie Cuoi" with Lex Marinos and a few snippety martial arts based performances. Then there's Playwriting Australia's Lotus Program that I got a chance to get the lowdown in play writing. 

But this play is exciting. I play Vietnamese import "Ngoc Bich" and this is a crazy colourful character that is a reflection of my mum and aunts in a blender.
There's a lot of "Domas" to be heard from my fiesty pocket rocket character, and her wannabe fight stances will sure be a crack up as she tries on several punch ups with her Greek counterpart; Soula. I'm not going to say much more, you have to come to the play.

A couple things I love about this play and commend it for it economics. Small cast, small staging but large stories and a whole lot of wackiness. 

Working with Lykos makes me inspired to get into theatre. Film is my thing, I know; but theatre is so exciting and lived experience. I think my acting has improved exponentially as well! I'm able to digest pages of scripting and present it's truth. No fear. Just character. 
Love it! Do book in to see the show!

Friday, August 29, 2014

TEACHING: Sutherland Christian Shire School

I love teaching. In between the diverse projects that occupy every moment of my life; my bread and butter from teaching film is a blessing. I had an opportunity to travel all the way to the Shire, work with 14 students in making 3 films: a social twerking mockumentary, a film about the personification of feelings and a futuristic world where everything is in sync.
Teaching is a breathe of fresh air. I get to give kids my tried and tested knowledge and divulge into their own creativity. It gets even more exciting when dull kids are running around and motivated to get all the shots and then plunge into a tight editing deadline.  What's more impressive is when they go out the way to get the highest production value they can get on their 5 hour shoots. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BLOGGIT: End of August, 2014

Date: Thursday, 28th of August, 2015
Time: 7.30am
Location: Sutherland Shire High School

I seriously don't know where to start. The last 3-4 months has been a crazy whirlwind; overseas trip to Hong Kong and Beijing, from entering and winning People's Choice at the Dreamgirl 2014 pageant competition, to being a main cast in Alex Lykos's theatre production "It's War!" and now just sitting in my Toyota 86 and getting ready to teach another AFTRS school filmmaking workshop all the way in the woop woop of Sutherland. Life just gets more varied and full of life.

Not to mention that in the coming months I'll be straight back into scheduled trips to Malaysia, China and possibly New York for more movie making fun! 

And yes....Hit Girls 2 is on the way for a Nov/Dec shoot! More details will be revealed.

In the meantime, I will try not to procrastinate and keep you updated on my adventures!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

FILM SHOOT: Ch 7's "Australia: The Story of Us"

1 day after the fall of Saigon commemoration, I find myself in an acting gig playing a Vietnamese mother set in the 70s and giving away her baby child in a reenactment scene for Channel 7's "The Story of Us". 

It's been quite sometime since I've sharpened my acting skills; but this gig definitely kick started it.

My directions were to run across the Tarmac with a live baby in my arms and hand it over to the Australian nurses for them to take away; knowing that, that is the final moments I will ever see my son again. Such a heartbreaking scene. 

Years of making shorts, studying psychology and directing indie project finally helped. I understood where the camera set ups were, how to prep myself up, and how create that visual image in my head that will bring the real deal water works out of me...several takes as well. 

No need for the eye droppers people! The real tears is the deal maker. I recall seeing the other cast and director well up as well. I've made an impact; not only to them, but to myself. For the first time, I feel like a legitimate actor and it's a call to action for me to work more harder and understand the mechanics of my internals. I really want to be a great actor; a versatile actor and one that is really memorable. So let this be a start to that thought.