Yes, We’re Blogging

2011 brings more blessings!

I was cast in a feature film called “YES, WE’RE OPEN” written by HP Mendoza, directed by Rich Wong with San Francisco as the backdrop. The audition for the project was exhilarating. I don’t know if it was because I immediately felt at ease stepping into the room full of mellow auditioners, or the wide variety of directions and scenarios Rich directed me to act out–nay, not act, PLAY, or how hydrated I kept myself all day. In reality it was probably the fact that I was actually running 10 mins late. And if you know anything about me, it’s that I REALLY dislike being late. I mentioned play because it’s been a vital state of mind that I’ve adopted this when participating in auditions. I’ve been making an effort to find my center–and lately I’ve been hitting it on the head and really juicing it.

But I digress. I was elated to share this news for, well, many reasons but for the sake of priority blogging, I’ve selected two:

YWO (Yes, We’re Open) marks my first FEATURE FILM, and what boon, cast as supporting playing SCOTT, the main character’s best-friend. Therein lies another dimension of my elation. The main character, Luke, was what I originally was asked to read for–little did I know that they had already cast the part to another actor. An actor who, when I first began my acting adventure some six years ago in Hawai’i, I followed consistently through a blog he maintained on Xanga. His name is Parry Shen.

When the Producer called to offer me the role, she probably didn’t realize how profound that moment was for me learning that Parry was cast in the production. How could she know? How could she know that six years ago I left a comment on Parry’s blog offering thanks and a bit of praise for sharing this bit of industry insight and quips about the actual work.

Dated 2005. Was I gushing?! --anyway, I'm still a dork and geek out about this.

That comment brings me a lot of embarrassment, but at the same time, it also serves as sort of an indicator. An indicator of how much ground I’ve been able to cover in absorbing myself in the craft and passion of acting.

Around the time I was reading his blog, I often joked that I’d one day get to act with him. Oh, if you haven’t already seen the film he starred in that got me started, check out BETTER LUCK TOMORROW, it’s wonderfully nuanced and a great story. Then to have the words, “Luke (the main character) will be played by Parry Shen, do you know Parry Shen?” — !!!

The cast of BETTER LUCK TOMORROW: Karin Anna Cheung, Roger Fan, Sung Kang, Parry Shen, Jason Tobin

Yeah, so that’s how it went down the night I found out I was cast. I’m fairly certain Parry would playfully shy away from all my gushing, but hey, it’s like meeting someone that greatly inspired you to find a direction in life. I’ll always hold him in high regard.

I’d hate for this to sound like a Parry-centric (if you’re reading this buddy, last one raving about you, I promise–haha!) so I want to tell you about the other cast members who will be braving the chill of San Francisco for 16 shooting days.

Also cast in the project is Lynn Chen, who plays Parry’s character’s girlfriend. I was beating myself up for not knowing more about Lynn –how talented, brave and deep she is as a person and an actor.

Lynn Chen and Sandwich!

The night before the rehearsal I couldn’t help myself and had to give Google a chance to inform me of who I’ll be working with. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about her talents and that added another layer of enthusiasm for me towards the project. More on her genuine awesomeness in upcoming blogs. She maintains a wonderful blog called The Actor’s Diet. It’s on my blogroll. Definitely take a minute to check it out.

Rounding out the main cast is Sheetal Sheth, who, like Lynn, I knew nothing about. Enter Google. What did I learn? She has a solid body of work, a busy body all around and, she’s stunning! I also learned that Parry had been wanting to work with her for some time—haha, well hey, this project is already offering all of us something to be enthusiastic about!

But hey, film is a collaborative process and where would I be if I didn’t tell you about the other cast members who will have a piece of this movie? I’ve already named three actors who I’ve never worked with, let me name a couple who I have!

As luck would have it my good friend, and talented actor Elizabeth Nishea auditioned and was cast, alongside another friend, Lowell Abellon. It came as a huge surprise to all of us that we were all in the same project.

Elizabeth Nishea
Lowell Abellon as Hassan in the World Premiere of The Kite Runner. (Photo courtesy of Tim Fuller/Arizona Theatre Company)

A surprise because it rarely ever happens that you’d end up in the same project you auditioned for—but hey, who are we to say otherwise, right?

Finally there was Kerry McCrohan—he plays, and to much effect, Sheetal’s character’s “beau”. On top of that, Kerry doubles as an Assistant Director. Multiple hats is this fellas’ game, hah. He was a lot of fun on set and one of the best, if not the best A.D. I’ve seen in action.

Kerry, a snapshot taken with my phone.

The entire cast, minus Sheetal, had an opportunity to finally meet and have a table read of the script. It was…magical! To finally meet everyone and share dinner and a passion for the same movie. I was a klutz and was not thinking ahead and the potential blog entry for the rehearsal so I’ll have to defer you to Lynn’s entry of that evening. Complete with food porn!

Tally Ho! (Photo courtesy of Lynn Chen)

And so the adventure of “Yes, We’re Open” starts…

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