Updates & Musings
DEBUTING MILKSHAKE AT THE WRITERS GUILD
OCTOBER 22, 2016
I'm gearing up for a fun reading new week of a newer short play of mine, The Truth About a Milkshake. It was selected by the Writers Guild of America's Asian American Writers Committee for an industry night featuring six new scripts by union writers that feature Asian characters and themes.
I'm direcing the reading too, and excited to be working with two talented recent grads of the L.A. County High School for the Arts (LACHSA): Rebecca Pitchon and Kole Hoffman.
RSVP here to join us at WGA Headquarters on Thursday October 27th at 7:30PM!
AN ITALIAN SEQUEL FOR THE HAPPIEST PERSON IN AMERICA
JUNE 30, 2016
More excuses for pasta: The Happiest Person In America is returning to Italy this summer! After winning the Special Jury Prize at the Religion Today Film Festival, the film will now be screening there with the CinemAMoRe Festival. Check on their website for dates and times if you happen to be a lucky one traveling through Italy this summer!
TALKING PLAYWRITING AT THE AWP CONFERNCE
MARCH 28, 2016
Whose going to be at the Association of Writers & Writing Program's 2016 Conference this week? Because I am, thanks to Charissa Menefee, a talented writer/director and university professor who asked me to join her panel this Saturday for a session called "Her Western Drama." I'll be presenting my one-woman monologue play The After, which was first workshopped by Adaptive Arts Theatre Company in NYC last year. And by "presenting," I mean I'll be performing it myself-- sure to be a very telling enterprise!
So if you're around the L.A. Convention Center this Saturday, come join us at 4:30PM.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK FOR THE HAPPIEST PERSON IN AMERICA
JANUARY 17, 2016
ITALIAN JOURNALISTIC SHOUT OUT
NOVEMBER 1, 2015
Fun with Italian newspapers! Here is a write-up of the Religion Today Film Festival's winners, including The Happiest Person In America! See if you can find us (my name and the film's name) amongst the Italian. . ..
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE AWARDED TO THE HAPPIEST PERSON IN AMERICA
OCTOBER 20, 2015
This past Friday morning I awoke to exciting news that I was asked to keep to myself for almost 48 hours: My film The Happiest Person In America was awarded a Special Jury Prize by the 18th Annual Religion Today Film Festival. (I was also asked if I could please create and send a video-message thank you within the next few hours, and did thanks to some quick typing, a crafty iPhone, and a very kind friend.)
But back to the award! The Interfaith Jury selected and highlighted our film by stating the following:
"With lightness of touch and brilliant dialogues, this short film compares the <secular>
mode of surveys and statistics to the life of the characters absorbed in their stories and
their faith. Without denying what has been promised by the mathematics' theory, it offers
a different answer, full of traditions, religion and life, wondering if and how the man could
What a cool summary-- and emblematic so many efforts and talents of the crew and cast too.
HAPPIEST. ITALY. OCTOBER.
OCTOBER 1, 2015
Yes, those are the three key words for those of you who are or will be Continental this month. My film The Happiest Person In America will make its international debut on Saturday October 17th in Trento, Italy! as part of the 18th Annual Religion Today Film Festival. This year's theme is "Questioning God. Doubt and Faith." It's a terrific line up made up of entries from 27 countries around the world (we're one of only two U.S.A. selections).
We're screening in English-- with newly created Italian subtitles! What a fun (and unexpected) way to make an international debut. Will you be in Italy? If so, please represent!
READING OF MY NEW SHORT PLAY: ON THE EXPLANATION OF THE LUNAR ECLIPSE
SEPTEMBER 24, 2015
This Saturday September 26th a new short play of mine, On the Explanation of the Lunar Eclipse will be read at the Samuel French Bookshop in Hollywood as part of the terrific 365 Women A Year playwriting project, whose mission it is to shed light on meaningful women in history.
I chose to write about Wang Zhenyi, a scientist and poet of the Chinese Qing Dynasty. An acclaimed scholar, she upended feudal customs by educating herself in astronomy, mathematics, geography, and medicine, advocating that men and women "are all people, who have the same reason for studying." The International Astronomical Union named a crater on Venus for her.
I'm thrilled to have the gorgeously talented actor corps of Ewan Chung, Julia Cho, Ann Hu, and Jennifer Weaver bring the script into early life. Please join us!
THE HAPPIEST PERSON IN AMERICA GOES ITALIANO
My film The Happiest Person In America will soon be making its international debut-- in Trento, Italy! That's where the 18th Annual Religion Today Film Festival will be taking place this October. More details to come. . . including the adventure of preparing the film for Italian subtitles!
AUGUST 15, 2015
THE SIXTH RETURNS TO CHICAGO FOR ONE-NIGHT ONLY
AUGUST 10, 2015
An award-winning production of my play The Sixth is returning to Chicago for one night only, courtesty of Indie Boots and the Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Theatre Festival XXVII, a three-day non-stop theater festival. Same cast and same director as the first award-winning performance. The Sixth goes up in prime time: Saturday August 15th at 10:25PM. Please join them if you can!
AUGUST 7TH FOR TASTES LIKE TEEN SPIRIT! AT SAMUEL FRENCH
All the logisitcs squared away: Tastes Like Teen Spirit! will be performed at the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival on Fri. August 7th at 8PM at the East 13th Street Theater (home to Classic Stage Company).
And I'm thrilled and honored to report that Michael Hyland, Dana Peterson, Elly Silberstein, and Amy Weaver-- the original cast from our 2013 production of The Sense Plays (the thematic collection of plays that Tastes Like Teen Spirit!)-- will be reprising their roles. And I'll be making my NYC directing debut!
Hope you can join us then and there. Tickets are $20 and on sale here.
JULY 2, 2015
TASTES LIKE TEEN SPIRIT! SELECTED FOR SAMUEL FRENCH
MAY 28, 2015
I'm excited to announce that my 10-minute play Tastes Like Teen Spirit! was selected for the upcoming Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. It's known to be an awesome and fun festival, and it's an honor to have been chosen. They selected 30 plays from 1,500 submissions-- and I know how many terrific, terrific short plays are out there.
Details on the production, which I'll also be directing, are to come. But if you'll be in NYC August 4 - 9th, please mark your calendars!
THE SIXTH IS A WINNER
Fun news: Last week my 10-minute play The Sixth won the one-and-only award dispensed by the Indie Boots Theatre Festival: Audience Award Winner. The play was produced by in Chicago under the name Ella's Sixth Sense (in honor of the festival's throughline).
Indie Boots focuses on "celebrating independent theatre with different perspectives about whose stories are worth telling, what's funny, and how the world works." I'm honored that the festival and its audience felt The Sixth celebrates this mission. Special thanks and congratulations to this production's director, Ashely Bagot, and its cast, Don Baiocchi and Amy Geist.
Ashely Bagot, Amy Geist and
Don Baiocchi celebrating the play's win.
MAY 4, 2015
THE AFTER IN NYC'S THEATRE DISTRICT
MARCH 18, 2015
My brand new one-woman short play, The After, will be making its workshop public debut on Sat. April 11th courtesy of Adaptive Arts Theater Company. Their program, called "I Don't Belong Here," will feature an evening of monolouges and short pieces that highlight an "outsider" voice. The After is very audience immsersive (including the distribution of chocolate!) so I especially hope some NYCers will go and let me now about their experience. It's all going down at 8PM at Shleter Studios (54th between 8th and Broadway). Here's more info and the chance to make reservations.
THE SIXTH HITS THE WINDY CITY
My short play The Sixth will soon be making its way to Chicago as part of the Indie Boots Theatre Festival. It will be produced there April 27-29 under the title Ella's Sixth Sense (in order to accommodate their festival's throughline of all play titles having the word "Ella" in them). If you're on the third coast (how many more slangs can I come up with for Chicago?) please check it out!l
FEBRUARY 13, 2015
A SONG ABOUT RELIGION & BASEBALL
JANUARY 12, 2015
What better way to start a new year than a charming song about religion and baseball? The following video is a snippet from a longer musical theater project a few of us are hoping to develop some day. It's a scene/song called "A Miracle." I wrote the book for it (which is musical theater lingo for the script). Daniel Israel wrote the music. Robert Yarnall wrote the lyrics, and below he performs it (with Amy Zelcer) at a recent event in New York. Please enjoy and feel free to share!
HAPPIEST CONFERENCES IN CHICAGO
OCTOBER 21, 2014
The Happiest Person In America will be in the Windy City on November 14th as part of the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference hosted by DePaul University. I'm thrilled that our 15-minute film can be shown in this type of setting. If you have your own academic enclave of folks you'd like to share it with, hit me up here!
SURF REPORT: HAPPIEST IN LONG BEACH
My visit to Temple Israel Long Beach for a screening and conversation about The Happiest Person In America was so wonderful. What a terrific congregation, with really insightful thoughts about both the film and the issues/questions it raises. Special thanks to Rabbi Steven Moscowitz (pictured here with me in our Talkback) and the synagogue's Educator, Sharon Amster Brown, for organizing a special evening-- capped off with a dessert reception featuring my favorite kosher deli cookies!
OCTOBER 15, 2014
HAPPIEST HITTING LONG BEACH
The Happiest Person In America will be hitting the O.C. for a special Sukkot screening at Temple Israel in Long Beach, CA. (They've timed this very cleverly since the film takes place during Sukkot.) All are welcome on Saturday October 11th at 7PM for our screening, followed by a Q&A with me, and a dessert reception (to sweeten the deal!). Click here for more scoop.
SEPTEMBER 22, 2014
HAPPIEST KNOXVILLE REPORT
SEPTEMBER 19, 2014
I had a great time at the Knoxville Film Festival, where The Happiest Person In America screened last week. The rumors are true: Tennesseans are really nice, and their moonshine is really good. In addition to our screening, our actress Dale Dickey gave a special hour-long workshop, where she spoke to her journey as an actress-- revealing, intelligent, and inspirational. Honestly no surprises there, because Dale is just a phenomenal human being. She and I also were honored to participate in a Women in Film panel. A photo of that is to your left; for more photos from our shenanigans, please visit our film's update page or our Facebook page (and "like" us while you're there, please!).
Next up for The Happiest Person In America: The Knoxville Film Festival on September 13th at 2:30PM, with a Q&A to follow. Please join us in getting your Tenneessee on!
AUGUST 20, 2014
SUMMER IN UPSTATE NY
AUGUST 7, 2014
Screening The Happiest Person In America in a park at night with the Ballston Spa Film Festival was emblematic of everything that's great about summers in Upstate NY. Here's our film floating in the summer night sky. . .
The Ballston Spa Film Festival made this commerical ("this" meaning look to your right). If you watch the scrolling film strip that appears on the left-hand side of the screen, you'll see a brief piece of a scene from The Happiest Person In America play out between Lara (Liza Lapira) and Ken (Michael Paul Chan). But a small taste of the whole film, which will screen on Saturday August 2nd. There will be a whole gang there, so please join us!
JULY 25, 2014
HAPPIEST'S SPA RETREAT
JULY 25, 2014
The Happiest Person In America will headline the Ballston Spa Film Festival in Ballston Spa, NY on Saturday August 2nd at 9PM. It'll play outdoors in Old Iron Spring Park-- such an upstate NY summer activity! Bring your lawnchairs and your blankets, but no need to bring cash, because admission is free!
HOMETOWN VISITS FOR HAPPIEST
JULY 23, 2014
On August 2nd, The Happiest Person In America will make its east coast debut at the Ballston Spa Film Festival in Ballston Spa, NY. It's not quite where I grew up, but it might be the closest the film can get (about 20 miles up the Northway for those in the upstate NY-know).
Then in September, we hit the Knoxville Film Festival in Knoxville, TN-- the hometown of the wonderful Dale Dickey, who stars in the film and is revered everywhere, but even more so in those parts!
Details on both to come. . .
3 SHORT PLAYS LIVE IN L.A. & ON THE INTERWEBS
May 12, 2014
On May 18th, I have the honor of directing the readings for three lovely, insightful, and damn funny short plays as part of the Planting The Seed Festival of New Work presented by Little Black Dress Ink.
With three ferociously talented actresses (June Carryl, Reena Dutt, and Tracy Eliott) making me look extra-good, I'm spearheading:
OFEM by Anne Hamilton
Happy Returns by Jessica Abrams
Rebecca on the Bus by Jennie Webb
You can join us at 12PM Pacific time at Los Angeles Theatre Center for this free (free!) reading. Or you can watch it streaming live (live!) from anywhere you want via:
(a website for theater geeks!)
On their homepage, look to the bottom-right corner and click on our event for the live stream.
Whether you're joining us in your Sunday noon finest, or hanging at home in your pj's, hope you can enjoy the readings!
PAC NW PART II: THE RETURN
February 21, 2014
I'm really pleased to share that The Happiest Person In America will soon be returning to the Pac NW-- this time for the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival in Eugene, Oregon. We're tentatively set to screen on Sunday, April 13th. More details to come. . .
THE AWESOMENESS OF THE SEATTLE ASIAN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL
February 13, 2014
Go Seattle Asian American Film Festival-- what a fantastic group of people who care about what they're showing and organize it so well! We had a blast screening The Happiest Person In America to a very big, rowdy crowd (who clapped their hands and stomped their feet, as our closing credits song "mandates"). There was also a really thoughtful Q&A afterwards, plus even more follow-up questions and thoughts in lobby post Q&A. We were also the recipient of some super fun marketing (the images you see here). Do anything you can to support this terrific festival!
TICKETS ON SALE FOR SEATTLE
January 28, 2014
So no, it's not the Superbowl, but it's definitely the Superbowl of Asian American Film Festivals in Seattle (sure!). The Happiest Person In America will screen at the Seattle Asian American Film Festival on Sunday February 9th at 2PM. You can buy your tickets here-- $11 for the one showing, or $75 for the entire festival line-up (which looks to be fantastic). Please join us!
THE HAPPIEST PERSON IN AMERICA RETURNS TO L.A.
More fun news for The Happiest Person In America and its February docket. This short film (that I wrote and directed) is returning to Southern California for the Asians On Film Festival on Feburary 15th. Details to come!
January 9, 2014
TASTES LIKE TEEN SPIRIT! IN MINNEAPOLIS
January 8, 2014
Hey there Mid-Westerners. My 10-minute play Tastes Like Teen Spirit! is currently up and running in Minneapolis, MN through January 23rd. So if you're looking to get out and about in your -20 degree weather (of course you are!) please check it as part of Box Wine Theatre's Raucus Caucus Festival-- an evening of short political plays "presenting both right and left leaning views relevant to today's political climate."
Personally, I'm curious where audience members think Tastes Like Teen Spirit! falls on that spectrum. (I'm the playwright and even I don't know the answer.) So maybe it's a bit of a political Rorschach test. . .
HOORAY FOR THE "INTERWEBS!"
January 2, 2014
Happy 2014 everybody!
To wrap up 2013, I'm excited to report that more than 1,110 viewers checked out The Happiest Person In America while it was the December feature of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. I love that it allowed people who otherwise would never get to see this short film to get to see it. But if you missed it-- or are aiming to see it on a big screen-- 2014 might be the year it's coming to a theater near you.
What's Up With Gefilte Fish?, aka My Interview with San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
December 11, 2013
The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is currently featuring an interview of me as the writer/director of The Happiest Person In America-- their honored online short film for the month of December. They asked about my inspirations and challenges in making the film. And also how I feel about ground fish parts.
The Happiest Person In America: Exclusively Online in its Entirety--December Only!
December 4, 2013
The Happiest Person In America is currently viewable online in its entirety! That's because it's being honored as the online selection of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival for the month of December. That's right-- for December only, all 15 minutes, 21 seconds are streaming exclusively through the world's oldest Jewish film festival. Click Here to go directly to their screening room, and please enjoy!
Save The Date, Pac NW Edition
November 19, 2013
Sunday February 9th at 2PM. That's the date/time to save to screen The Happiest Person In America at the Seattle Asian American Film Festival. It's screening in front of a feature film called The Haumana-- an inspired all-Hawaii line-up for what's sure to be a (romantically!) rainy, damp day in Seattle.
November 1, 2013
I'm really pleased to announce that The Happiest Person In America will make its Pacific Northwest debut in the terrific city of Seattle, at the Seattle Asian American Film Festival. The festival takes place February 6 - 9, 2014-- the first gig on tap for the film for next year. Details to follow. . .
The Happiest Person In America: The World Premiere
Members of our Cast & Crew! L to R: Brandon Kjar, Sara Israel, Andrea Kaufman,
Dale Dickey, Michael Paul Chan, Debra Weinstein, Ann Marie Donahue
We had a terrific turnout and a terrific time debuting The Happiest Person In America at the LA International Shorts Festival. Here's to many more fun festival screenings!
September 12, 2013
Video Interview for LA Shorts Fest (you'll laugh; you'll cry; it's better than "Cats.")
September 9, 2013
I had the honor of being interviewed by LA Shorts Fest in anticipation of the world premiere of The Happiest Person In America-- at their festival, tonight! Some takeaway "lessons":
4) If you have dark brown hair, wear your hair down when you're being interviewed in front of a black backdrop. Even if it's over 100 degrees outside. Historcial video record won't note the temperture; only that it looks like you're wearing a bald cap.
That enumerated, I completely stand by my words, and LA Shorts Fest did an honest, accurate job with their edit-- and I'm very grateful for that, and for the shout-out in the first place!
1) I seriously need to enlist my camera acting friends to teach me about my "angles."
2) I know I talk (and direct) with my hands, but never is it more self-apparent then when you see them fly up into frame time and again.
3) When you politely ask the interviewing video crew where they would like you to look, and they point to a location significantly camera-right, don't believe them.
Tickets Now on Sale for The Happiest Person In America!
September 1, 2013
Tickets can now be purchased here for The Happiest Person In America ("here" being a click on the hot pinked word). The film will make its world premiere on Monday, September 9th at 5:45PM at the Laemmle Noho 7 (North Hollywood, CA) as an Official Selection of the L.A. Shorts Festival.
If you get to meandering around the sales website, you can always come back to us by selecting Program 25-- that's us.
Hope to see you at the movies!
For the Boobs
Snapshots 2013: The entire cast & crew!
August 25, 2013
Snapshots is a much-celebrated Hollywood theatrical benefit in support of breast cancer research. This year's production raised $12,600-- their best year yet!
Today, Nicki Georgi, Snapshots' founder and fearless leader, completed her 9th Breast Cancer Walk. In very related news, Nicki Georgi is awesome.
The Happiest Person In America World Premiere Details
August 21, 2013
The Happiest Person In America will make its world premiere on Monday, September 9th at the Laemmle Noho 7 (North Hollywood, CA) as an Official Selection of the L.A. Shorts Festival.
Tickets don't go on sale until August 29th, but in the meantime, check out our
Festival Listing to see the interesting line-up playing with us.
The Happiest Person In America to World Premiere at L.A. Shorts Festival
August 15, 2013
The Happiest Person In America will make its world premiere in just a few weeks at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival (aka the L.A. Shorts Fest).
This is an exciting one. The festival is amongst a very select group of festivals that can "qualify" a short film to be Oscar-eligible. So lots of terrific films will be playing September 5th - 12th in North Hollywood, CA.
Details to come. . .
Welcome to 2003.
August 12, 2013
So I'm hearing through the grapevine that these things called "websites" on the "Internet" are all the rage.
Look, I know I'm about 10 years late to the party, but enough smart and enthusiastic people (rightfully) got on my case that I needed to have a centralized and de-militarized zone where at least a good chunk of my work could be accessed. So here it is. Please enjoy it. Or at the very least, please be kind.