Wednesday, October 19, 2011

i am still not dead

Once again, I am still alive.

Working nights does funny things to you. For example, it compelled me to buy my first tube of lip balm in almost five years (or was that the weather that did that?). It also pushed me to start my own YouTube channel with Chie (aka usagihop & tinysnail).

YOUTUBE? You ain't no Smosh! No Fred! No Wong Fu!

For the love of god, the last thing I want to do is stoop to the level of YouTube humor just for the sake of views/recognition/wads of cash. The MAIN reason why I decided to start up a channel was to stay sharp. I have literally edited maybe two videos in the past nine months or so, and I feel like working at this sleep clinic has really hampered my drive to actually CREATE something. (I guess that's the downside of spending all my waking hours during the nighttime)

For the most part, I'm intending the channel to have simple videos (ones that I could shoot and edit in the couple days I have off from work) that Chie and I could shoot on our own. Yes, the whole "being-in-front-of-and-behind-the-camera-at-the-same-time" dealio that I talked about last year. It's tough, but I prefer it to having a whole huge crew where I order people around and tell them to get me lattes. It's just more... FUN to do it ourselves. It becomes a more personal project, and we can goof around as much as we want without pissing people off.

Am I trying to become the next Freddie Wong? Or MysteryGuitarMan?

Of course not. We have seven subscribers (all of whom are either friends or family), my style is not YouTube friendly, and I have the personality of a brick. But I love to create. I love to have people just WATCH what I've made, and if even a couple people enjoy it, then that's enough incentive to keep making them.

Okay, enough rambling. I've got work to do. I need to finish up a music video for The Bruises (awesome band my friend is in) and start work on next week's video (did I mention we're trying to do one a week?)

In the meantime I do hope everyone that reads this (both of you!) will check out our channel! It's fun! It's stupid! It's... us.

Here are our first three videos so far (and here's our channel link):






Friday, May 27, 2011

i am not dead

contrary to popular belief, i am still alive and well.

so in the middle of writing the script for my short film, i thought to myself, "hey, wouldn't it be cool to become a sleep technologist?" so i went and did that, and now the script is all but shelved until i can find time to polish up my second draft.

tragic.

thankfully, i have not forgotten about it, and will probably finish revising the draft during the summer. i hastily spewed out the first draft, so there's really nowhere to go but up. i enjoy keeping my projects' standards to an exorbitantly low level, so i may improve on them at a later time. then people will exclaim how polished the newer product is, increasing my self-esteem by incalculable amounts.

after all, isn't that what art is all about?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

the world works in unpredictable ways

you can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a matter of weeks.

one week, to be exact.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wow. (Part 2)

I guess I should conclude yesterday's epic, as some people were outraged at the sight of a cliffhanger.

After realizing we had no toothpaste in the hotel, Chie and I headed over to The Tractor Room, aka The Let's-Try-To-Kill-Our-Customers-With-The-Amount-Of-Food-We-Give-Them Room, with the rest of the people from our gala table. Seriously, if it weren't for the surprisingly small cream pourers, I would've mistaken the place for some sort of gigantism rehab clinic. With pancakes the size of a small child and eggs benedict piled as high as Nate Robinson, I was pretty sure nobody would finish any of their food. The freakin' cornbread was the size of my face and was hardly touched by a single person. Makes me wonder what the place does with all the leftover food. I'm gonna guess feed it to the wolves in the back room that are already feasting the flesh of fallen customers.

Once everyone had fallen into a nice food coma, it was onward to the festival, where we presumably were going to watch our films and fall asleep in the middle of the panel.

Upon approaching the box office, I could feel an aura surrounding the festival. Not a bad one, like someone farted or something, but a good one. It's tough to explain, but I can say with confidence that I felt very much at home. After ogling at the many asian-themed t-shirts they had for sale, everyone filed into the theater. At the front they had seven seats for us panel members to sit and answer boring questions from the audience. Before we even got to that, though, we watched some of the commissioned shorts and then OUR shorts (hurray!), then were called down to the stage .

I have to say, sitting there in front of a packed theater, all of whom had just watched my film, was pretty awesome. Whether anybody in the audience liked it or not, at least I'm able to say fuck yeah, I made that, and here I am.

The panel started off easily enough. What are your goals? What inspired you to make this? Et cetera? One question I liked, though, was about our film's budget. Both Andrew and Aldous (the other two [awesome] winners who were there) spoke about paying their actors or finding props at an Eat Pray Love garage sale. I just told everyone how I spent a dollar fifty on the bottle. And it came with a free coke. Or maybe it's the other way around. In any case, I felt compelled to lighten things up when it came time for me to speak because, well, why not? People enjoy laughing, and if they don't, then they better run. Because I'm coming after them with my screwdriver and hammer to pry off that human mask that hides their robotic insides.

After what felt like only a couple minutes (time sure flew by) the panel was over. I was enjoying myself so much, I had a hard time leaving the stage. Literally. People were walking all over the front and I didn't want to jump down and kill them.

Back in the lobby, while walking out the door, one guy came up to me and asked if I would be available to do an interview for (a website? magazine? iono I wasn't paying attention. i was just in awe that he asked for it in the first place). I took out the only business card that I had with me (thanks dad) and gave it to him. Well that was surprising.

As soon as I stepped and got a whiff of that nice, warm San Diego air, I was pulled over to the purple backdrop nearby for photos. Picture tiiiiiime!!! I think I spent a good 15-20 minutes doing that, finding nearly every person I met over the course of the weekend and propping my arm around their shoulder with a smile. Tiring? Yes. Awkward? Absolutely not. I'd gone from drinking Stella in the corner of the gala to someone who people are ASKING to take a picture with. Bizarre (even more bizarre than the not-Glee lady).

After all the commotion died down and we finally decided to head home, my family and I celebrated with my 10% off discount to Yogurtland. (Tip: Red velvet & Taro flavors are amazing) I ran into Andrew there (one of the other Interpretations winners) and we chatted a bit before he gave me his card, mentioning something about working on some projects and editing. Sweet.

I went to get some water from the fountain inside when the elderly couple sitting next to it decided to mention to me, "Hey, you were funny!" I assumed they were at the panel discussion, so I thanked them. It felt pretty weird getting noticed like that by complete strangers. Complete OLD strangers, too. I even shook their hand. They were just some random festival goers who happened to be craving yogurt at the same time I was, and yet it felt like I had met them before somewhere. I guess that's just what film does: Bringing people together.

I don't think I stopped smiling the entire way home.

Now, back home, as the latest patch of World of Warcraft installs on my computer, I must ask myself: Did this whole weekend really happen? Was I really rubbing shoulders with big name celebrities? Were people asking for MY card? Was all that Stella really free? As I stare at the Interpretations website, the plaque with my named engraved in it, and this enormous jug of cognac, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that yes, it really did happen. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life and I feel extremely privileged to have been a part of it.

I can't be more thankful for the people at Interpretations for basically plucking me out of the obscurity--I'd been doing nothing but dwelling in my cave for the last couple months--and dropping in the center of this cinema blitzkrieg. I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I agreed to attend the festival, but I now realize just how much it changed everything.

If anyone out there is thinking about their dreams and tossing them aside at the sight of how farfetched they are, I wouldn't give up so easily. However cliche this might sound, don't ever count yourself out. Hell, I'm a testament to how easily someone can go from sitting in their parents' basement to walking the red carpet in just a matter of weeks. All it takes is that one opportunity and a little bit of confidence. Okay, maybe some hard work, too.

In order to keep this from sounding less like a Tony Robbins best-seller and more like a Joey Yee blog post, I will say this: The whole thing, from beginning to end, has been a-fucking-mazing. Food was superb, people were incredible, and the alcohol was free. It was like a "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" book with no bad endings. It made me recognize just how much pride and confidence I have in my own work, and that I can really pursue this as my career. It was one of the most unpredictable, exhilarating, and enjoyable things I've ever done and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Wow.

This weekend was perhaps the most amazing thing to have happen to me in recent memory.

Hold on, lemme back up a bit.

This all started about two weeks ago, when the kind people over at theInterpretations Film Initiative sent me an email. I was half asleep at the time I received it, and it informed me that I was one of the five finalists for the Interpretations contest. Holy cow. I honestly had to read the email about three or four times until I was able to process what just happened. I was almost certain my entry was lost in the sea of entries (with about 150+ of them being submitted on the final day alone). How on earth could mine be one of the winners?

But it was real. I had won. They informed me that there would be a special screening and gala dinner during the San Diego Asian Film Festival, and asked if I could make it down for the event.

What.

I knew that they were going to announce the winners at the festival, but to actually go down there and attend it IN PERSON? Was I seriously going to do this?

Long story short, yes, I was.

After a short discussion and another week, Chie, my family, and I were on the road on a rainy saturday morning headed towards San Diego.

Not knowing exactly what to expect from this whole thing, I walked into one of the festival's hotels to pick up my badge. I was given the badge, along with a nice little swag bag (which included some random little souvenirs and a lot of asian snacks). I also went over to the box office to pick up tickets to the screening the next day. I walked down some stairs to the sight of a huge crowd, all gathering to get a glimpse of the next rising filmmaker. It was becoming pretty apparent that this was a big deal.

Back at our hotel, Chie and I readied ourselves for the gala while watching the Giants/Phillies game. With Chie looking lovely (as usual) and me putting on my best vest & tie, we prepared ourselves for something way bigger than we could imagine. Also, I don't know where the hotel was putting the cameras, but it was obvious that they didn't want me watching the Giants score, as every time I entered the bathroom, they DID SOMETHING GOOD. Oh well.

Upon arriving at the gala, we were pretty taken aback by the sheer fanciness of the event. Suits everywhere, dresses donned by every female in sight, red carpet interviews, and photographers snapping away literally every other second. This was a big deal. We met up with Philip, who had contacted me earlier about the Interpretations contest, and introduced us to some of the people at our table. (Including the other Interpretations winners and also Danny Pudi!)

We also almost saw the lady from Glee (also known as "the Glee lady" by me and Chie), but then it turned out to be the "not-Glee lady" after all. Fifteen minutes later, however, the "not-Glee lady" comes up to me and asks me where I got my shoes, because her husband loves them. Bizarre.

After finding out there were free Stella Artois and Remy cocktails, we headed into the dining room, which was freaking huge. We were seated right at the front of the stage, and I literally could not see all the way to the other end. Cue the jitters.

On the program for the night, there were some big names (John Cho, Daniel Dae Kim & Ellen Wong, among others), some amazing musical acts, and a lot of liquor. Seriously, they were handing out big jugs of Remy Martin XO to each of the winners. And speaking of alcohol, I was also carded while being served the wine. I guess that's what I get for cutting my hair and shaving the night before.

After a couple of speakers, there was a short break, which was PERFECT, since by then it was the 9th inning of the Giants game, so I (along with like, half the people in the gala) headed over to the bar to watch the Giants WIN THE PENNANT and head to the World Series. Wow, this night's just getting better and better.

When it came to presenting our award, we were presented with a plaque with our names engraved in them (along with the Remy) and had a chance to say our thank yous as well. I found myself completely calm behind the microphone, something that kind of eluded me in every other public speaking situation I've ever been in. Interesting...

When it end of dinner came, it was time to partyyyy. Sort of. I took some pics with the other winners of the Interpretations contest who were there (Aldous and Andrew), then it was off to the after party! Nonstop Stella and Remy cocktails! We roasted some marshmallows and relaxed for a bit. Just sitting there, amid all the celebrities, filmmakers, and important-looking people, it was almost like a dream. I hate to quote youtube videos, but was this real life? If the heat of the fire was any indication, it was indeed real life. Because I would hate for the marshmallows to be that delicious and fake at the same time.

After Chie was drunk enough to ask Ellen Wong to take a picture with her, we decided to head back to the hotel. We slept. Well.

You figure, with the whole San Diego Asian Film Festival gala, the free alcohol, and the Giants winning the pennant, it couldn't get much better, right?

Well, that was just day one...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

i sure do have a lot on my plate right now

and i'm not just talking about this delicious homemade pizza.

writing a new movie, thinking about entering that goddamn "epic" youtube contest, and... well, something secret. trust me, though, if it's good enough to keep under wraps from my diminutive online audience, then it has to be good.

Monday, September 20, 2010

sup gaiz. i have a new phone. it's pretty bomb. i say that because the gps on it tends to implode every so often.

also, everyone should take note that as of yesterday, i am officially an artist. (i bought my first ever ruled moleskine)

finished editing sunset, post-production sound will take over from here. look for it in the very near future!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

sunset photos

we shot gairo's short film "sunset" on sunday.

the film itself looks to be awesome (not only because i'm editing it...) here're some photos from the shoot:










there's plenty more where that came from over on my facebook album

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

COLOR! MOAR COLOR!

well here it is. finished editing the disneyland footage into something watchable. hope you like.

A World of Color from Joey Yee on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

disneylaaaaand

the happiest place on earth, eh?

the second day we were there (SATURDAY THE 14TH!), lots of things happened.

1. rode space mountain for like 2 minutes before they turned the lights on and stopped the ride. stuck there for like 10 mins before we were escorted out.

2. decided to use the free passes they gave us from space mountain on splash mountain. we get there. it's broked.

3. decided to walk next door to the winnie the pooh ride. also broked.

4. rode california screamin'. 20 minutes after getting off, i see the coaster stuck on the lift hill.

5. rode soarin' over california. sat in the seat for a minute before they told us it was also broked. went to the other theater and rode it.

6. took a crap in the fantasyland bathroom.


oh, so exciting vacation, i must say, despite all the aforementioned crap(s).

if you would like to see my documentation of the trip, it'll be on vimeo in the following weeks (after i edit all the footage). the first episode is already up!

The Adventures of Joey & Chie - Episode 1: Quest for Carl's from Joey Yee on Vimeo.