Interviewed by Derrick (Durruck) Wong Over Soju
Last Wednesday night, I met up with actor, writer, director, and artist, Derrick Wong, to catch-up and chit-chat about our mutual filmmaking projects over Korean food and soju at Tonight Soju in San Francisco. Unbeknownst to me, Derrick asked to interview me for his “Walk-in Wednesdays” projects for his Facebook fan page.
I apologize, as it was done impromptu, I should stop doing interviews while a little intoxicated. I’d often appear smiling too much, and sometimes have an odd habit of clasping my hands as if I’m seemingly confessing something… super fail on my part at attempting an image of professionalism. Also, as you can tell, it was dark, and shot off Derrick’s phone. But, hopefully, that isn’t too much of a distraction, and you can sift through my ramblings (or just listen to the audio). Without further ado, here is the interview for Derrick’s “Walk-In Wednesday” segment of this week on his YouTube channel.
I never knew why Derrick wanted to use the “food theme” to convey the metaphor of my thoughts during the interview. But, it was a unique approach ’cause even though I do like food, I’m not much of a foodie person. But, in this Age of Selfies with Food, I guess it makes sense.
Over chowing down some fried chicken wings, fries, and chicken gizzards w/roasted garlic, as we conversed, I was somewhat surprised how well-read Derrick is. I’m in no way meaning any insult, as he’s only about 27 of age and we’re chatting about how’s he been reading Ernest Hemingway and catching up on Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers”. or that he knew what “Taxi Driver” was (which is one of my fav films of all times) when he had commented on my Instagram of an over-sized Taschen Taxi Driver book. Maybe it’s my age difference, and anxiety about what I could be talking about with other generations… I should have suspected it when the last conversation we had was on FB messaging about 2Pac’s death and influences, ’cause 2Pac was definitely well-read. (Today is 2Pac’s bday. What a co-in-see-dink. It’s the Killuminati.)
We talked a lot about the state of Asian American films… about how way too specific some of the cultural themes and topics of films that are labeled “Asian-American” are. I enjoy a good number of ’em but I don’t think the vast majority of film audiences in America understand ’em unless they have lived being a specific type of Asian-American (’cause “Asian Americans are a diverse conglomeration of very different ethnic groups – each with their own linguistic, cultural, religious, and political histories/traditions.“). For example, as a Chinese-American, I have a lot of stories to tell about growing up Chinese in America, which I have fond memories of. But, because of cultural habits, influences from the “old country”, and nuances and mannerisms that may be vastly different from mainstream America, a lot of Americans (non-Chinese, or otherwise) may not get what I’m talking about. And, I’m clearly Americanized by my language and westernized attitude about stuff, which goes beyond my Chinese-ness, which is probably the area of middle-ground that I need to find my stories to tell.
And, in which, I believe that in order to keep most people’s attention span, Asian-American stories should focus on more universal human themes that the larger (White, Black, and Asians!) world – American, or otherwise – can relate to. This lead us to talk about the possibility of an “Asian-American James Bond” movie some day, as an example. Who would be a good actor to promote a charming Asian spy agent? I’m thinking Daniel Henney or Korean actor Byung-hun Lee are the ones that have displayed the attitude and confidence… or even maybe, played by an Asian-American female. I might start by saying sexy Nikita‘s Maggie Q…
And, in reference to my comment in the interview with Derrick about Silicon Valley being the next Hollywood… This is what I mean, I don’t believe there will ever be another film like “The Godfather“… or filmmakers like Kubrick. Not in the traditional sense, at least. Since the advent of the Internet and social media, times have changed in how we consume content, as well as produce them, at an alarming rate. (Most of it’s crap, most of us can agree.) The time it takes to sift through to them all and get to the good stuff in an age where self-marketing and branding is the key to survival, the competition is way more intense than filmmaking was 30 or 50 years ago. Democracy, yes!
Barring the status quo, I tend to have conversations like these with folks younger than me (ages ranging from the mid-30s from the Millennials) or older, ambitious women. I’m sure there are people around my age who have cultured tastes but it’s rare for me, therefore, I’ve been seeing a pattern. Maybe it’s the abuse of social medial trends where everyone’s content are all about posting pics of everything they eat, and tagging where they are. And, If I could write down a word for every one of these people I know who said that they don’t read much, I would probably have published a novelette (maybe not a good one, tho). A lot of these good folks are my close friends, so I live and let live (to produce more crap).
You can follow Derrick on his Facebook fan page. Maybe converse with him about 2Pac’s death. Or better yet, ask him why 2Pac name changed to Mackavelli after death. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had an answer now.
In the interview video, I mention my moderate gaming habits. I’m a third-person, open sandbox world kinda player. (First-person shooters make me nauseas.) So, I’m into stuff like GTA5 and Sleeping Dogs. Not much into mobile gaming like Candy Crush, as I experience a sense of emptiness playing stuff like that. There’s no end goal with ’em… anyways, I recently done finished hacking Chicago with Ubisoft’s watch_dogs on the PS4. It is some good stuff that integrates stealth ability into GTA-style gameplay. Other than some un-revolutionary graphics and dry personality with its cast of characters, I still enjoyed its theme of hacking and the vulnerability of the social media culture that consumes and connects most of us these days. There’s already a sequel in digital ebook form titled “//n/Dark Clouds” by John Shirley, a popular cyberpunk science fiction author, that I had already purchased on Amazon. The rise in the transmedia form of entertainment is quite the new exciting frontier of human adaptability.
Ooh… If you’re on the PS Network, find me under “rayhom,” and add me. You can also go to the Twitch Online to see if I’m online broadcasting. But, that usually happens late into the night, when all my fellow family-oriented friends who have put their kids to sleep are online. Yes, I’m part of the oldest generation bracket that grew up within the gaming subculture of arcades and console machines.
With all this talk of consuming so much content, I’ve been asked the state of my physical activity. I hit the gym after work on an average of about 2 to 3 times a day, doing the defaulted boring elliptical machine and upper-body concentrated weight training, to keep some semblance of being “fit”. I haven’t hiked in ages, or have done any kind of strenuous workout activity since Tough Mudder in Sept 2012. No, boxing or “stop hitting me!” type of workout. This would normally be blogged about on Bench Monkeys United, but that has been an “ape-in-a-coma” state. My plans are still to learn scuba diving, and get back into hiking Pacifica Mt. and Lyons street steps in San Francisco. Despite experiencing a bit of health anxiety sometimes during my age (I still get carded, woo-hoo!), my doc says I’m in good health, just gotta watch my diet and exercise to keep my blood pressure in check. I hope you folks are doing the same. Live long, everybody!
Books I’ve read since I last blogged: Kingpin, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, Indiana Jones Omnibus, Olivia Munn’s Suck It, Wonder Woman!, George R.R. Martin’s Doorways, Alien vs. Predator vs. the Terminator, Inside Larry and Sergey’s Brain… currently reading William Gibson’s Burning Chrome
Besides Game of Thrones… I’m currently watching “Penny Dreadful” and “Orphan Black“… “Silicon Valley” and “Vice” had recently ended, and I highly recommend them… and “Californication” (in its final season) is my guilty pleasure…