In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, a number of groups coordinated picketing meet-ups to support the WGA Writers Strike. The strike is supporting by all film industry unions as a way of pushing back against the increased exploitation of writers and other creatives and crew. As Vice-Chair of the WGA West Asian American Writers Committee, I’m honored to be collaborating with so many advocates for writers.
I’m excited to announce that I’ve been elected to serve as the Vice-Chair of the Writers Guild of American West Asian American Writers Committee! As a multi-racial Chinese/Eastern European American writer, I’ve been extremely active in this committee since joining the Guild. The AAWC represents the professional and creative interests of Asian American writers in Hollywood. Asian American screenwriters are making great strides, but we still only make up 4.3% of screenwriters compared to 5.7% Asian Americans who live in the United States. It’s an honor to pursue this work with our new Chair, Kristina Woo.
Last week, the Hollywood Climate Summit convened for the first time in person, and I’m delighted to share that I was a Finalist for the NBC Universal “Writing Climate: Pitchfest for TV and Film” to promote my coming-of-age musical feature Science Fair the Musical.
We’re already a third of the way into the Writers Boot Camp where I’m drafting a new TV pilot on spec with the working title, “The Gold West.” By September, I will have a second revision of this one-hour pilot and will be excited to start shopping it around town. The fellowships provide a fast-paced series of courses and exercises to quickly but thoroughly bound through initial drafts of new written material, and I’m already falling in love with my characters and their unfortunate conflicts.
I’m especially delighted to be embarking on this adventure with friend and collaborator Alison Minami.
I am honored to be listed as a semi-finalist for the inaugural Mu Tang Clan playwrights incubator. Theater Mu is doing a lot for Asian American playwrights across the country and I could tell this was an extremely competitive process. Congratulations to Marlina Gonzalez (Minneapolis, MN), Keiko Green (La Jolla, CA), Kathy Haddad (Minneapolis, MN), Alex Lin (Saddle River, NJ), and Susan Xu (San Francisco, CA) for making it into the program!
Periodically, I get to participate in fun networking events through Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (LAFPI). Recently, I got to share a short piece called, “What We Owe,” and directed another piece, “Being Richard Green,” by Lynne Jassem.
Had a great time hanging out with David Ngo for his podcast Best Story I Never Told where I shared the 7 Weirdest Things People Accused Me of Lying About (plus one thing I actually DID lie about!). Check out this podcast your favorite platform.
As a member of the Writers Guild of America West Asian American Writers Committee, it was an honor to collaborate in the writing of our official statement about anti-Asian sentiment and what we can do in the film industry to make things better. Anti-Asian and anti-immigrant narratives are not new, but they proliferate with the support of negative and stereotypical depictions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. This statement was featured in Deadline and Variety.
In addition to providing creative representation by being a Chinese American writer telling stories, I also incorporate Chinese history and inclusive characters and worlds in the stories I tell. My play “Intertwined” portrays a fictional story of a Chinese immigrant who falls in love with a white woman during a time when a union like that is illegal. In California, anti-miscegenation laws were active until 1948, when it was the first state in the union to end them.
I am also working on a film documentary featuring an important Chinese American entrepreneur and an action comedy TV pilot centered around a fictional Chinese American family in San Francisco.
Despite the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, there are many ways to promote this community, including shopping at Asian American businesses, reading literature written by members of these communities, and choosing to watch stories written by and portrayed by Asian American artists. And, of course, every underrepresented community benefits from the same efforts.
In recent months, I have been leveraging my membership in the Writers Guild of America West Asian American Writers Committee (AAWC) to advocate for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to help organize events that elevate the voices of writers in our communities, and to address bias and provide solutions from within the film industry.
On Thursday, May 6, at 4pm PDT, the Writers Guild Foundation will be hosting a free virtual panel titled, “Subverting Stereotypes: Re-Writing Asian American Narratives in Film and TV” in partnership with the AAWC, CAPE – Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, and the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity to produce this important panel moderated by Tawal Panyacosit Jr. featuring Liz Hsiao Lan Alper, Teresa Hsiao, Adele Lim, Shireen Razack, and Alexander Woo.
On Wednesday, April 14, the AAWC, along with the support of the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity, hosted an inspiring and raw discussion with influential Asian American writers about their experiences in Hollywood along with actionable strategies for supporting our colleagues and portraying authentic characters and stories. This panel was moderated by Jenny Yang (Last Man Standing) with panelists Soo Hugh (Pachinko), Tze Chun (Gremlins), Nancy Kiu (Batwoman), Danny Chun (Speechless), Sunil Nayar (4400), and Veena Sud (Seven Seconds).
Honored that Trinity Street Players will be producing a virtual reading of my full length drama “Plastic Nest” on Thursday, April 22! To watch the livestream, visit the Trinity Street Players YouTube channel.