Am I optimistic about the future for realistic portrayals of non-white America in Film and TV? Well, mostly… and I was more encouraged when I attended this event on May 6th, 2015. UCLA celebrated the 10 year anniversary of when Asian American Studies became an official department. So many of media’s up and comers and better-knowns among Asian American talent, both on-screen and behind the camera found their direction in the early years of UCLA’s Asian American classes when it was just called a speciality. Justin Lin (film director), Randall Park (actor of Fresh Off the Boat) , Michael Golamco (writer), Grace Borrero Moss at NBC Diversity Casting… just to name a few and there are so many others (including myself, although I started my acting career much, much later than those mentioned above.)
So, while we have seen a drop in the number of Asian faces on screen in the 2014-15 television season, we can be hopeful as many shows championing diverse casting have been renewed. Read this blog for more:
One statistic that remains with me post-event is how Asian Americans watch so little live television (no surprise there for me! LOL.) Grace Moss of NBC mentioned that in one month As/Ams watch about 82 hours, whereas Black Americans watch about 201 hours. That’s a staggering difference! … and so As/Ams cannot moan about why we aren’t on television more when we don’t support the faces on the tube.
Let’s find ways to advocate for more diverse casts that are truthful and relevant to our social and cultural realities…watch more TV, perhaps, is the simple way… one bottleneck in this effort toward a flow of a wide spectrum of cultures (and colors) represented on screen may be found in the writer’s room, as well as among the sea of showrunners, sorely lacking showrunners of mixed cultural backgrounds.create more content with a more color-ful reflection of our times and put our pocket books behind them. I do understand the frugal mentality of many Asian cultures, however, so it’s a worthwhile battle to get this affluent segment of American society to open their billfolds and take a gamble on a very viable and emerging “face” of Hollywood. It’s a calculated risk…yes, the audience is out there and so is the talent, both burgeoning and in need of a broader expanse upon which to play and take flight. How? I would love to hear your suggestions!
This article sheds more light: http://www.scpr.org/programs/the-frame/2015/04/24/42564/asian-american-youtube-celebrities-aim-to-change-p/
Thank you to my brother in the arts Lawrence Chau for sharing this last article with me.
Let’s forge onward! Making and embracing opportunities together and for one another… I look forward to continuing to contribute to honest textures in media, but understand that it is still an uphill battle to change much of established “Hollywood” practices. Perhaps this is too “asian” of me.. but I accept that means much more is required of me as an actor and a business professional to make it safe and alluring enough to make changes in favor of a still “token” face like mine.
GO BRUINS for the seminal work started so long ago just beginning to prove noticeably fruitful.