ISSUE 18: Stage Kids
My latest writing/directing project (and the script).
THE YELLOW PAGES is a weekly newsletter recommending Asian and AAPI films, music, writing, and other inspiration — all the artsy things I wished for growing up!
I used to create short form videos for the internet that received a lot of attention. It’s strange that something which takes less than a few days to plan/film/execute (sometimes, only a few hours) will ultimately be seen by more people than something I’ve spent years working on.
It takes a long time to write/direct a narrative film, from inception to completion. Granted, I’ve only done this twice — once in 2017 with my feature film I WILL MAKE YOU MINE (2020) and more recently with my first short, STAGE KIDS (2023), which I began writing during the pandemic in 2021 as a creative exercise for a 24-hour writing contest. Despite one being 80 minutes, and the other 14, both occupied many months of my mind and heart and required the help (and funds) of many others.
I’m pleased to announce that STAGE KIDS will finally be able to be seen by the public, having its World Premiere at the DisOrient Film Festival where you can watch it virtually the week of March 13th, and then later next month in Los Angeles at the inaugural Nomadic International Film Festival screening.
Here is the synopsis.
An hour before showtime, two teenage actresses must decide if this is the life they want for themselves, or if they’re going to take their professional stress and family drama into their own hands.
Here is my director’s statement:
I grew up performing professionally in New York City, during a time when there weren’t many roles for children, let alone Asian-American ones. Even though my mother was in the Ladies’ Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera herself, I often regarded show business as a big mystery. When I saw my young colleagues’ parents pushing them to succeed, I felt invisible and frustrated by my own lack of opportunities. Now I understand: I was being protected.
STAGE KIDS is very loosely based on my own childhood experiences backstage, growing up in a very adult world that was never fully explained to me. This film explores the unrealistic expectations we place on young women. If we ask them to be a grown up before they’re ready — or just act like one — there are often consequences waiting in the sidelines, ready to step in and take center stage.
To jump from in front of the camera to behind it has been one of the most rewarding experiences, especially because the pressure of how I look is no longer a job qualification. When the opportunity to write/direct this year’s UVU Femme Project was presented to me, I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it. To be able to mentor a crew of female-identifying students, many of whom were doing this for the first time, is highly unusual. That’s why it was important for me to write a script for an entirely female cast.
I always do best in environments where we are all students, learning how to improve as storytellers, rather than merely getting by for a paycheck. I believe we created that unique experience with STAGE KIDS — and I hope our young cast and crew were able to feel inspired in ways I found lacking, back when I was brand new at all of this.
And finally, here is the script for you to read. (For paid subscribers, at the very bottom, beyond the paywall.)
Thanks for supporting me and all my various forms of creation, however long they may take.
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