COALITION OF ASIAN PACIFICS IN ENTERTAINMENT (CAPE) PANEL: WHY STORIES MATTER 3/14/17
Featuring Adele Lim, David Henry Hwang, and Kelly Hu; moderated by Jeff Yang. Snippets, some paraphrased snippets. Happy (AA)PI Day!
- •DHH: "I got my start because of affirmative action. It is in my professional legacy to be an activist, and I think it's partially my responsibility to speak when I can."
- •AL: "Honestly, I have a lot of rage, and I'm just trying to keep it professional."
- •KH: "When a role like Ghost in the Shell comes up, I don't even get a call. I don't even get a chance to say, 'I know martial arts, I love this concept, let me show you what I can do."
- •DHH: "TV is the new theatre, because you don't need a huge following to be deemed a success. There are 300 scripted shows on the air, and next year there will be 400. That means you will find someone to listen to you."
- •AL: "When you are the token woman or person of color or whatever, people ask all sorts of offensive questions. Like, REALLY offensive questions. But it's so important to keep engaging, whether you give them hell, or politely educate them. The worst thing to do is to be offended, and then leave. That takes you out of the conversation completely."
- •DHH: "Don't let perfection be the enemy of the good."
- •KH: "You know what I would love to see? Asian men in romantic leads. Not just a fantasy thing, but because society needs to see that."
- •AL: "Do your best work for the level that you are at. Don't worry so much about being the whiny minority, and worry more about telling a compelling story that will set the world on fire."
- •DHH: "Something that has been difficult for me is learning how to be angry. But it's important to have that weapon, to use sparingly but to use when necessary."
- •KH: "I never learned to apologize for being Asian, because I didn't know I was supposed to. I didn't know I was supposed to be afraid."
- •AL: "The thing with Crazy Rich Asians is that I really don't want to screw it up. The last movie they gave us was the Joy Luck Club, and that was so long ago. I don't want to wait that long for another Asian movie."
- •JY: "China invests because white executives are directing the money to certain places. But Moonlight was not an expensive film to make, and it's soaring at the box office. Same with Get Out. Same with Hidden Figures. I would love to bring black executives to Shanghai so that they can get the money."
- •AL: "Focus on a telling a really great story. It's not your job to make it palatable. That's someone else's job. They can fluff it up for the audience. Worry about the story."
- •DHH: "It's not just about Asian Americans supporting Asian American TV shows. It's never going to work if everyone just watches their group, and white people. We need to support black characters, Latino characters, LGBTQ characters, etc."
- •KH: "The Internet is a great place. There isn't some guy holding the budget for the Internet. It's more diverse in that way. And Hollywood is looking at the Internet too, because they want people with built-in followers."
- •AL: "Making something specific makes it more interesting and universal. If you spend a lot of time building a world for someone, showing them the details, it will make them interesting. So much of whitewashing is just making stories bland, but being original and specific is hard and compelling."DHH: "We always said the universal is in the specific. Someone can watch a world in which everyone speaks differently, dresses differently, eats different food, and one character could remind you of your Uncle Fred. That's how people can see the differences and the similarities at the same time."