los angeles, ca

back on the west coast this week for pick up shots.

lying on the grass all day,
pretending like we haven’t seen each other for five months.


 

donal told me his parents read my blog entry about him.
i wanted to crawl in a hole and die of embarrassment.
still, the entry was more so about the acting craft
and how it can really mess with your head, your emotions.

this sounds like a cop out.

kate & petruchio

i didn’t like donal very much when i first met him.
i thought he was arrogant and superficial.
he’s gorgeous and charming as shit, but i saw right through his act.

but then we were put through this journey where we were with each other every day,
going through these intense scenes together where we were
constantly opening ourselves up to give an honest performance for the camera.
constantly flirting, constantly holding hands,
constantly pretending we were in love with each other.
then at some point, i’m not sure when exactly, something happened.
i blurred the line between acting and actually falling for him.

but then, after the final scene, dana yells, “it’s a wrap!”
suddenly i’m left outside, alone with him, saying goodbye.
he leans in, kisses me and my whole world starts spinning and spinning.
he lets go of my lips, my hands, and walks away.

my heart sinks. and the sinking lingers and lingers because it’s ending,
and i’m left standing alone, left dangling.

thing is, did i fall for tristan, the character, or donal, the actor playing tristan?
 

“you’re such a heartbreaker.”

“takes one to know one.”

what an adventure this has been.

acting, shooting, directing…
whichever role i take on, i’m happiest when i’m making films.

adelina as ruby, my mentor.


 

donal in my character’s art studio.


 

i emailed masami some pictures of my bedroom last month
and she included some old cameras in the set design,
just like the ones i have in my bedroom. very cool. :)


 

tara blew up frame grabs of me & donal from the video shoot
and created eight amazing art pieces.


 

it’s still crazy surreal seeing your face plastered all over the walls.


 

rain said, “doesn’t look like you one bit.
looks like it came straight out of suzie wong.”


 

sunday’s art gallery shoot was the most cluttered, scattered, hectic,
but for most of the shoot, i felt like i was alone with donal tristan
in the middle of a room, swirling with bits, odds and ends.

kinda sad that it’s all over now.

love scenes

definitely not easy to do.
especially when you’ve got a director watching your every move,
a boom mic catching your every breath,
and the dp hovering over you with this beast of a camera.


 

my tristan

donal made me cry today during rehearsal.
masami whispered something in his ear before we started the scene
and like…
jerk broke my heart.

emotionally overexerted and hungry.

los angeles, ca

masami auditioned over forty actors to find eleven suitable for my leading man.
after an exhausting weekend of callbacks,
we narrowed it down to four brilliant actors.


 
tomorrow, i will have my tristan.

if you listen to your heart the whole night through

acting is one of those things i studied in high school and a little bit in college,
but after a few films, i shortly abandoned the craft to pursue the production side.

masami saw me in kieu from a few years ago
and auditioned me for the lead role in her upcoming film
while i was in san francisco over the holidays.

i was a little hesitant because, you know, acting is a scary thing.
to feel, to hurt, to spill your soul, to be scrutinized. it’s a scary thing.
but if you’re an actor,
you also know about those incredibly raw moments with the camera
that remind you what it’s like to be vulnerable, what it’s like to be human.

anyway, yours truly landed the role, accepted the challenge,
and is now in los angeles for pre-production.

also decided to stay with the family while i’m here.

isabella is the most fun.


 

currently listening to:
your sunny someday will come one day soon to you.

hang on little tomato

"cereal monogamy"

i play the sugar fruit bombs cereal girl who gives frank a toothache.

anton, directing me and james.

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[photo by warren moises]

i love anton. he’s such an imaginative writer and director.
maybe i’m lucky, but with the exception of one,
i’ve had a blast on every film set.

1am and i have to be up at 6am.

we finish shooting christine liang’s short film, the lost lovers, tomorrow.
and then i start another project.
i’m so exhausted.
all i want to do is kick it in bed all day with mr. pinkie.

i play mei.

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kissing under falling cherry blossoms is awfully romantic.

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storyboard: this is the scene where we magically transform into penguins.

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our dirty feet.

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goldie plays jin, the sunshine of my life. :)

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[photos of me and goldie by christine and adriana]

"the lost lovers"

a love story between two women set in shanghai during the 1920’s.

yay i got the part!

le weekend

although i love acting,
i’m not pursuing it as a career.
it’s just one of many hobbies, like taking pictures and playing records.
however, when a project comes along that fascinates me,
i try my best to be a part of it.

and other times, i just luck out.
i worked with felicia on the set of boxed up and superhero last month.
so when she asked me if i would be down to play a high school tomboy
for this short film she was directing, called detention, i was like, “oh hell yeah i’m down!”

carla, who plays one of my sisters.

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saturday, cat, tom and i ran around the embarcadero singing and dancing
to the whole sound of music soundtrack.

we came up with this ingenious idea of gathering all of our friends
to remake that one scene where maria and the von trapp kids are running around town,
riding bikes, climbing trees, singing and dancing,
“do a deer a female deer. ray a drop of golden sun!”
how awesome would that be?!
a bunch of us in costumes made of flowery curtain fabric,
running around san francisco singing and dancing exactly like how they did in the movie!

muni bus whooshing by.

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the little kid in front of me kept looking back at me, so i snapped a pic of him.

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saturday night, josh’s birthday at the sold out kid koala show.
kid koala looks like. well. a kid.

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mike relm. suffused in pink lighting.

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[note infamous puppet sex scene from team america in the background]
 

i was trashed by the time i made it to club whisper for the evilbreaks/spacecowboy party.

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brandon was so excited to see me that he grabbed my hand
and took me all around the club to introduce me to everyone as his girlfriend.
i thought it was incredibly cute.
 

currently listening to:
i’ve been listening to mike relm’s radio fryer all day. great, fun track selection.
everything from falco’s rock me amadeus to fur elise rmxed.
you all need to go to his site and get a copy. for real.

here’s a sample.

relm & josie

kieu premiere

yesterday, i went to the san jose premiere of kieu
at the san francisco international asian american film festival with a bunch of my friends and family.

i play the awkward new girl at the brothel/massage parlor who speaks choppy vietnamese/english.

jeremy said seeing my face on the cinema screen was the most surreal experience.
“it’s like.. actor. actor. actor.. veanne?”

for me, it was uncomfortable.
since this was my first movie,
i did not realize that acting for the camera required a whole new set of skills
different from acting on the theatre stage.

i was unaware that every single expression on my face would be magnified that intensely.
my nostrils were like one feet wide on the movie screen!
i know now not to make that face when on camera.
i just looked.. weird.

my aunt said, “oh you were so beautiful, but only when they showed your profile.”
thanks auntie. :)

at the san francisco premiere: christopher, me, kathy, thu ha and debbie.

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[photo by nomies.com]

about kieu:
kieu is a modern film adaptation of truyen kieu,
an epic poem written by the 18th century writer nguyen du.
in the poem, the character kieu was a beautiful, lyrical archetype who sells herself into prostitution
in order to save her father and brother from political imprisonment.
her duties as a caretaker were deemed heroic
and in turn her character was well loved by the vietnamese community.

the modern day kieu, however, is an amalgamation of real life sex workers
living in the san francisco tenderloin district.
despite being ubiquitous in the vietnamese communities throughout the united states,
vietnamese sex workers have a stigma attached to them and are rarely spoken of.
inspired by her outreach program with sex workers,
debbie nguyen (the producer and one of the writers) felt it was her responsibility
to give these sex workers voices and identities beyond their stereotypes.

the movie was not produced to entertain,
but rather to trigger discourse in the vietnamese community
and for them to ultimately reshape their opinions about vietnamese sex workers.

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kieu will also be premiering at the chicago asian american film festival on april 2nd,
and at the los angeles asian pacific film festival in early may.

spring break adventure

with the guerilla wanderers.

sean mccarthy’s production crew really lives up to their name.
we were climbing up muddy hills, trespassing into construction sites..
shooting TWO films, one comedy and one drama, simultaneously.
the cast and crew’s energy was.. nonstop.

after four days of being on the set,
i’m a little sad to say goodbye.
kinda like how it was after 6th grade camp.

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i fell in love on the set. cutest boy evar.

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me and michelle being directed by sean’s big ol’ blurry head. [pic by krobar]

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i love this picture cause it totally looks like one of those psa pamphlet covers for teen depression.
“ever feel like you just don’t fit in?”

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soccer mom.

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michelle.

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syra and krobar, playing around between takes. :)

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my “boss.”

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i took over one hundred photos,
but i promised sean i wouldn’t give away the movies.
so that’s all i’m posting. :p

check out the “boxed up” trailer,
one of their two movies that will be coming out this summer.

kieu

is premiering at the san francisco international asian american film festival.
i was watching the trailer and noticed my little blurred head peeping in from the background.

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(cinematography by carla roley)

check out the trailer here.

i know now

not to judge something until i’ve understood its context and seen it as a whole.
the vagina monologues is not emotionally manipulative.
the words are real words said by real women.

i am very glad i took on the role
and i am so very grateful for being able to be a part of such a strong cast.

jesse in the dressing room.

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christina in memory of her face.

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“then t. then sharp certain tangy t!” charlie in reclaiming cunt.

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“women would be coming on the subway. uuhhh!”
elizabeth gets me everytime with this line.

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my performance-wise, friday night felt awkward.
brandon said, “it had the potential, it but wasn’t quite there.”
i felt like the weakest link.

saturday night felt good. really good.
i was still shaking from the monologue when i got back in my seat.
the old lady next to me with this huge, white afro said, “very good job.”

saturday night, i had the cast party at my house.
it’s so weird to see actors i admire and respect,
transform into crazy drunk college girls.

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(christina and elizabeth)

i’m not one to gossip, so yeah, very fun night dancing around
in the kitchen and the chill room to old school madonna and beastie boys.

sunday, i felt partially responsible for the girls slipping on their lines.
i mean, i did feed them alcohol until 4am the previous night. :(

i didn’t do so well. distracted.
but this play has re-sparked my love for theatre.

currently listening to:
the girls went NUTS when i dropped

this record
at the cast party.

fifteen hour days suck.

the poster (i didn’t design this):

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rehearsals. “what does your vagina smell like?” “cheese.”

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p.s. i’m the total downer of the show.
they talk about orgasms, moaning, hot lesbian sex and reclaiming the word “cunt”,
and i get to talk about rape and vaginal mutilation.

currently listening to:
mikey (megatron) told me to check her out,
that she was blowing up the grime scene.
i like her quirky style and mad skills.

adidas hoodie

pussy power

while leaving the media lab last tuesday,
i came across a flyer for “the vagina monologues” auditions.
i needed a good distraction from all the studying i’d been doing for finals
so i decided to stop by the theatre on my way home.

for one reason: i haven’t been on stage for years and i really miss that feeling of being, breathing on stage.
i read the coochi snorcher monologue because it was the most difficult of the four provided.
i mean, seriously, try saying, “he stuck his big hard penis in my coochi snorcher” without laughing.

anyway, i didn’t bother showing up to the call-backs
because prior to the auditions,
i wasn’t familiar with the “play” except for that it had stirred up some feminist controversy,
but after reading the four monologues,
i came to the conclusion that it was tacky, abrasive and purposely, emotionally manipulative.
i did not want to be a part of that.

last night, the producer left me a voicemail saying she was disappointed
that i didn’t show up to the call-backs and wanted to offer me the role of “my vagina was my village”,
which is essentially about a kosovo woman who was raped and tortured by soldiers.
it’s a challenging part. if not done well, i’d look like a fool on stage.

now i’m wondering..
should i decline the offer because i dislike the context of the play?
or should i take the role?
and rock it. hard.

no, i'm not japanese

but i play one on film.

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day 1:
i was giddy when rob marshall called me darling.
“veanne darling, how are you doing over there? good? good.”

but then i realized he called everyone darling
and then i didn’t feel so special.

can you spot me in the line-up?

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“look more fobby!”

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the costume designers were always concerned about everyone looking authentic.
what’s funny is that rather than just having us rub our feet in the mud,
they used brown paint to make them look dirty.

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day 2:
being an extra in the background is like getting paid for hanging out.
today, my butt got the most screen time.

recognize who this is?

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day lighting in the evening.

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the kids.

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since i’m drifting about in the background for a few of the scenes,
when the film comes out, i think i’ll gather a bunch of my friends together to watch it
so we can play “where’s waldo”.. except it’ll be “where’s veanne.” :)

kieu weekend film shoot.

three hours for hair and make-up.
three hours to set up and shoot each three minute scene.
thirteen hour day.
three hours of sleep.

7am hair and make-up call.
do it all over again.

i haven’t felt this exhausted in a very long time.
i also haven’t felt this good in a very long time.

that clicker dingus. kathy and olive. monitor. ly and carla (behind the camera)

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currently listening to:
my friends all drive porsches, i must make amends.

mercedes benz

oh hell yes!

i was just offered the role of jessica.

the film [kieu] looks like it’ll be quite an interesting collaboration
among several talented, intelligent women.
i’m ecstatic!!!

currently listening to:
i absolutely, absolutely love finding original versions of well-loved songs,
like

sukiyaki