Tuesday, January 30, 2007

'Little Fish' Trailer

Here's a trailer for an indie flick called Little Fish starring Dustin Nguyen. He's sporting a British accent and menacing/seducing a nice English lady (and great actor), Cate Blanchett. Not sure if this was released yet.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Talent Worth Stealing

Came across this video and I thought it's something I could learn when I'm not doing something productive. Some day, you'll see me doing this on a commercial, I bet you...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

CSI: Miami One-Liners

Cue the sunglasses, deliver the line.

This is one of my favorite videos right now, and I don't even like David Caruso. Someone put a lot of work into this.

Dustin Nguyen

Most folks who grew up during the '80s will remember the Asian dude on "21 Jump Street." No, I'm not talking about Johnny Depp, who isn't, as far as I'm informed, Asian or French Vietnamese, despite the similarities to the name, Diep.

Dustin Nguyen (pronounced "when") has been a working actor for a long fricking time, and I've met him on at least 3 occasions. The first time was at a house party in the Hollywood hills. The other times were at events. Each time we've met, he's done this limp hand thing with his fingertips.

For some of you, that might mean he doesn't have a firm handshake. But for those who grew up in the Disco era of the '70s, that most surely means you're gay. In fact, it was a signal, much more reliable than the earring in the left or right ear (depending on which coast you're from).

So Dustin gives me this limp handshake each time, and each time I'm thinking, he certainly seems like he could be gay, especially with his skin-tight Versace leopard-skin jeans, but I think he's faking it. In fact, I know he's faking it. Why he's faking it with me, well, that's something I need to ponder further. But the absolute fact is, he's married and is happily straight. But, I suppose, gaily social.

Same thing must be said for Russell Wong, that actor of notable fame. I've met him several times and have always concluded he's faking his gayness. For one, I know he's had a few children in his lifetime with different women. He's also recently married.

So does this mean I have gaydar? I think it means it takes a straight guy to know another straight guy isn't gay. Well, something like that.

Anyway, both of those guys will be going (separately, of course) to a party in a couple weeks that I am also attending. I'll see if the act remains.

Then again, it may just be me who's noticing.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Daniel Dae Kim

If you've seen ABC's show "Lost," you're probably familiar with the Korean-speaking guy on the show. That's Daniel and I've known him for years. I'm not exactly close friends with him, but we're on a first-name basis with each other. Plus, his wife and my sister-in-law were schoolmates (in Boston, I think).

Anyway, I used to work for a Korean magazine and Daniel's wife also worked as a graphic designer there before Daniel became a constantly working actor. And, from time to time, I'd see him at a commercial or print audition, the last one being a national UPS commercial.

If you look back in the archives, I may have mentioned this UPS casting before. Daniel and I were among the top 4 called in for a callback. He was looking sharp, and I mean, as a tack. His demeanor, charm and professionalism were 100% on. I remember just thinking I was proud to be considered with this group. The other two guys, by the way, included Chris Tashima, whom I've mentioned on this blog before, and the guy (name unknown) who actually booked the job.

Before seeing the commercial air during a major broadcast of a football game, I had pretty much decided in my mind that it was Daniel who booked the job. The dude was that confident, ya know? And I most certainly shrank in his presence.

Okay, I must clarify something here. I'm no shrinking violet. I don't have a tiny presence. I can be pretty substantial when I want to be. But I just have to say that at this particular casting, I shrank like a penis in cold water as soon as I saw who I was up against. This probably explains why I haven't booked a whole lot of union commercials. To get in the major leagues, you've got to play like a major leaguer. Or at least hit one out of the ballpark when the scouts are looking.

Problem is, I haven't a clue what that feeling is like. I've never hit one when it mattered. The only major league action I've performed was when the scouts weren't looking.

But here's one little bit of action I am good at: At the afterparty for last year's Asian Excellence Awards (AXA), I was hanging out with my actor friend, Jason Scott Lee. Before leaving the function to get some food at Al's Diner on Sunset Blvd., he wanted to say hello to Daniel Dae Kim. Right then, I sensed some uncomfortable feelings on Jason's part. I mean, he's not used to being the one who has to introduce himself to someone. Even though they've met before, they just weren't too familiar with each other.

So here's where I stepped in, without missing a beat. "Hey, Daniel, you remember Jason, right?" I said to Daniel.

"Oh, sure, hey Jason. How you doing?" he said. And then I stepped away and let them talk.

Well, at least I have good social skills.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Turn of Events

I just got early word from my inside sources at the office that I am to get a pink slip tomorrow. Well, me and about a dozen others, apparently.

Today, I spent most of the afternoon cleaning out my personal files from the computer I use, dumping all the passwords and cookies I have stored in web browsers, and beginning the process of cleaning out my shelves.

At the lobby to the elevator, I ran into the CEO, who doesn't know I know. He asked what was in my two plastic grocery bags. I told him, "groceries."

I have a commercial audition tomorrow for a hardware chain. Last Thursday, I had one for TGIFridays. Pretty amazing I'm getting commercial auditions at all.

And that print job I booked last week? It went pretty smoothly. Spent a few hours taking pictures inside the Disney Concert Hall in Downtown L.A. Just your run-of-the-mill photo shoot.

Anyway, I'll be walking out of that office tomorrow just like I walked in 11 months ago: a professional. It was good while it lasted.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

First S**t Dream of 2007

The other night, I had another one of my famous shit dreams. As usual, I woke up not really certain it was a shit dream. But sure enough, later that day, I got a call that I had booked a print job for some investment services company.

But here's the interesting thing: Shit dreams are usually symbolic of royal payoffs. This particular print job doesn't pay more than my usual day rate. It's hardly worth dreaming about. But there's a reason for the discrepancy. Before being confirmed for the job, I was told by my agent that there may be an "exclusivity" clause added to the rate. And this exclusivity rate would make this particular print job my biggest-paying one ever!

Let me put it this way. The day rate I mentioned? Well, the commission I'd pay to my agent for the exclusivity rate would be almost double my entire day rate.

That's a shit dream payoff, my friends.


There's this guy I used to run into named Da-Ming. He's Chinese from China or Hong Kong but he spoke English pretty well. Handsome guy, and as such, it turned out he was an actor and stuntman as well. When he introduced himself to people, he would say his name firmly and proudly, "I'm Da-Ming."

This was about 14 years ago, when the industry was a different beast, especially for Asians and Asian Americans. As mentioned before, I was a journalist and magazine editor before, and so I met most of the Asian celebrities when I first arrived in L.A. During the same time, I also met a lot of actor/actress wannabes, most of whom had no screen or stage presence, and very few of them were what you'd consider handsome or pretty.

I learned that most Asian celebrities weren't much different than me. And I learned that most actor/actress wannabes were different from me in one way: They were all trying to do what most people didn't have the guts to attempt.

But back to Da-Ming. Da-Ming had a certain kind of air to him. I think he truly believed he was meant for greatness and his path to it would be a short one. And so every step he took, every gesture he made looked like a grand performance meant for a camera somewhere.

I should also mention that Da-Ming would occasionally display a different sort of air. A get-in-your-face-and-challenge-you- to-a-pissing-contest kind of air. I never had to confront that challenge with him since I was typically cool with him. And whenever I'd bump into him, he always remembered my name.

One of his claims to fame was that he had done the Mandarin voiceover for Russell Wong in The Joy Luck Club. But other than that, I don't think he did a whole lot of work. And so he headed back to HK. Hadn't seen nor heard from him in years. Until one day, when I was watching the DVD for Kill Bill. On one of the behind-the-scenes shorts, there was Daming, working as one of the crew members.

And soon after seeing that, I ran into him at a film festival in L.A. "Hey, man! I saw you in the Kill Bill DVD," I told him.

He said, "Yeah? I worked on that in Hong Kong."

"As an actor?"

"No, just crew."

"Oh." And that was pretty much the extent of the conversation. Sorry, folks, there's no big ending to it. Did he remember my name? Doubt it. But he remembered my face, and either he was trying to recall my name or how he knew me during our conversation, or he was embarrassed to be talking about the DVD. As actors headed for greatness tend to be, they don't like to talk about being the Hong Kong crew member on a DVD behind-the-scenes feature.

Then again, maybe he thought I was challenging him to a pissing contest.