Tag, You’re It! – Bobby Choy

Whoa, it’s been over a year since I wrote a “Tag, You’re It!” blog. Well, today’s a good day to write one! Featuring this guy who I really hate. J/k. Singer/songwriter Bobby Choy aka Big Phony is actually hands down one of my most favorite people in the whole wide world. Seriously. In the almost 10 years that I’ve known him, he’s just always been so awesome.

I can’t exactly remember how Bobby and I first met. But I believe a mutual friend introduced us via email or Myspace or something before Bobby moved to LA from NY. I do remember that after a bunch of my guy friends met him, they all thought that he was the nicest guy EVER. And of course, he turned out to be a jerk. J/k. I’m just playing into his whole “I hate Big Phony” thing that’s part of his self-deprecating humor. Anyway, wow, time flies. Didn’t feel like too long ago when we were kicking it in the same circles, but in reality, Bobby’s been in Korea for the last several years doing some big things. And now, he’s about to embark on his 6th full length album which you can help make happen ->

As long as I’ve known Bobby, he’s always been so willing to help others. He’s definitely been there for me many times! So I’m definitely backing this 6th album and hope that many others will support Bobby not only cuz’ he’s one of the best people ever, but because he’s also an extremely talented musician with depth and stories to express through his songs. So please, check out his Kickstarter!


When I visited Korea in 2013 and Bobby spent the day being my tour guide!

P.S. – Bobby and I used to talk about playing brother and sister on screen one day and I’m actually really hoping that it’ll happen. So dear writer friends, will someone please write these roles for us? Pretty please? 😛

Official Bio [edited]:
Bobby Choy (Big Phony) is a singer/songwriter born and raised in New York City. At the age of 14, Bobby’s family relocated to Los Angeles, leaving him in New York City so he could attend the legendary School of Performing Arts and Music and Art. Living alone at such an early age, Big Phony devoted his time to writing in his New York City apartment.

After college, he moved to Los Angeles to be closer with his family. It was in Los Angeles where Big Phony began his pursuit to be a singer/songwriter. He quickly built a devout fan base with his songs and performances. In early 2006, he returned to New York to build that same kind of following and began to split his time between both cities crashing on couches and aerobeds.

In 2011, Big Phony made the decision to relocate to the country his parents originally hailed from – South Korea. He currently resides in Seoul, where he continues his journey and commitment to be an artist.

Hate him at: bigphonymusic.com

Tag, You’re It! – Megan Lee

THIS GIRL. My 동생 (little sister)! I can’t believe I’ve known this girl since she was 12 years old! Since working together on an indie short film called “My First Crush,” I always knew she’d do big things. At such a young age, she was already so professional, super talented, and just a joy to work with. It has been such a pleasure watching Megan grow. From pursuing her love of acting to singing on YouTube as “cutiepiemeg918” all while going through puberty. Man oh man, dem pipes! And she only got better and better! So of course, opportunity came knocking and took her to Korea to compete in a Korean version of “American Idol,” which led to more opportunities that led to getting signed as a recording artist (which also meant less of me seeing her cute face in person- boo). Last year, I got to visit her very briefly while she was in the midst of training and preparing for her debut. And today, I am happy to share with you her first official music video! It’s cute, fun, and full of personality- just like Megan!


(Click for Korean version)

Anyway, I seriously look forward to seeing and hearing more. I’m a proud unni :]


When we were young[er].

Official Bio [edited]:
Megan officially began her professional career in acting, singing, and dancing at the age of 10. She has appeared in numerous U.S. national commercials (McDonald’s, Verizon, Nintendo), TV programs (“Crash,” “Kidz Bop,” Nickelodeon’s “i-Carly,” Disney’s “Get Connected”), various independent film projects, and South Korea’s popular reality musical show called “MBC Star Audition” aka “위대한 탄생” seasons 1 and 2. She is currently signed as a recording artist with Soulshop Entertainment in Seoul, Korea. Her single “8dayz” debuted on May 15, 2014.

Watch her growth: hellomeganlee.com

Tag, You’re It! – Arden Cho

E! Online revealed today that Arden will be joining the cast of MTV’s “Teen Wolf.” And so here I am to brag about my friend! ;]

HEY, I KNOW HER! :D

Arden and I first met at the San Diego Asian Film Festival in 2007. I won’t get into details, cuz’ this would be a really long blog entry, but in short, Arden and I have been through a lot. We’ve worked together, lived together, cried together, laughed together, prayed together… She’s one of my best friends who has supported me in so many ways and I am sooooo happy for her. I’ve seen her go through ups and downs, grinding and struggling, questioning this career choice, even almost giving it up… and through it all, I’ve seen her grow in strength, faith, and humility. I never had a doubt that Arden was destined for greater things and I am sure this is only just one exciting chapter ahead of many others. I’m so proud of her, so excited for her, and can’t wait to watch her in “Teen Wolf!” I guess that means I need to start watching from Season 1. Haha!


My favorite photo of us (shot by Garrick Fujii at a MY NINJA! party in 2010)

And Arden’s very outdated reel (which yours truly cut for her):

Official Bio [edited]:
Arden Cho, from the Heartland of America, is a growing artist. Her roots lay in Texas and Minnesota, but she received her B.A. from the University of Illinois. After graduation, she spent time in Kenya volunteering alongside medical missionaries. Upon returning stateside, she relocated to Los Angeles, California. With the hopes of inspiring positive change, she began her perpetually growing experience in the entertainment industry. As a model, Arden acquired the Clinique campaign for Asia, as well as Apple’s iPhone ad for South Korea. She has also worked on Reebok Korea, Nike Japan, Alexander McQueen London, Vogue, Purple Fashion and Nylon Magazine. Her current film and television credits include Olympus Has Fallen, The Baytown Outlaws, “CSI: NY,” “Rizzoli & Isles,” “Pretty Little Liars,” Walking The Halls and a national commercial for McDonalds. Arden has recently expanded her love of art with music. After building a strong following on Twitter and YouTube through singing, she reached out to fans by recording her first EP, which was released January 22, 2013. Arden continuously works to find projects that reflect her passion and develop her artistic expression.

To learn more about Arden, visit her website: ardencho.com

Tag, You’re It! – BETTER LUCK TOMORROW

Happy 10 year anniversary, BLT!!! It was through you that I met so many influential people that helped shape 1/3 of my life! If it hadn’t been for BLT, I wouldn’t have met Evan Jackson Leong who was there early on in my career as a mentor. We wouldn’t have had all the history leading up to LINSANITY. I wouldn’t have experienced Sundance the way I did this year! Through BLT, I met all the cast and crew who I got to build personal relationships with. I looked up to every single person who was involved with the film- Parry Shen was another early mentor who really inspired me to keep at it. If it weren’t for BLT, Karin Anna Cheung might not be one of my close friends like a big sis to me today. If it weren’t for BLT, I may not have become plugged in with Visual Communications and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and built the network that I have. If it weren’t for BLT, I may not have promoted all the other projects and Asian American artists like I did, I may not have met all the awesome people I met and worked on all the cool projects I worked on… If I hadn’t been so proactive with promoting BLT on my Xanga and various forums, I wouldn’t have met Michael Kang and Eric Byler who both gave me opportunities to work on their projects early in my career. If it weren’t for BLT, I would not have such a connection with David Magdael and Jack Song and be able to drop their names at cool press junkets like for Harold & Kumar, I may not have had the relationship I do with my fave professor L. S. Kim and indirect classmate Phil Yu, I may not have had such a shared passion with Daniel DPD Park and gone though everything we went through, Aiko Tanaka might not be one of my best friends! I might not have moved to LA! I wouldn’t have met God the way I did! The list goes on! My life would have been very different without this film. Thank you, BLT. Thank you to everyone who’s been part of the journey. Wow.

#reflection

Tag, You’re It! – Rocky Jo

It’s been over a year since I wrote a “Tag, You’re It!” blog. And well, in honor of LOVESICK‘s premiere in Taiwan, I’m writing about Rocky Jo, extraordinary director/writer/editor who’s also one of the most positive and humble peeps I know.

Rocky, Rocky, Rocky… first of all, how many Asian guys do you know with that name? Secondly, what kind of Asian is Rocky? Well, I’m afraid I can’t reveal that or he’d kill me as he’s always been so secretive about it… But I’m sure you can take a good guess with his recent film release and how well he speaks this Asian language here. Haha~ :X

So I first met Rocky at the San Diego Asian Film Festival in 2005. My short documentary, Future Rock Stars of America, screened in a program with his short film, Bunny & Clydo. Prior to meeting him, I had actually noticed him at the festival party the night before, cuz’ 1) he was very aloof and 2) he was wearing a Japanese school uniform looking suit to match a very Japanese hairstyle which made him look like he came out of an anime. Lol.

After getting connected, Rocky reached out to me about a music video project in 2006. He’d always wanted to direct a music video for an Asian American artist and I happened to know a lot of them. With what he had in mind, I pointed him in the direction of At Last aka Tatum Jones. Next thing you know, I was getting my first real experience as a producer (“Ain’t No Sunshine”). In 2007, Rocky asked me to produce for him again. This time it was for a short film that he wrote called My First Crush where he wanted to fuse Chinese, Korean, and Japanese elements. I tell ya… Rocky likes to confuse people about what kind of Asian he is. Haha.

From my experience working with Rocky, my job was always easy because he always knew exactly what he wanted. He basically showed me the ropes of producing and was very hands on with the entire process. And at the time, I honestly had no idea what the heck I was doing with my life, so Rocky was definitely very encouraging and nurturing of my exploration with producing.


Can’t have a Rocky picture without a peace sign. Here we are with the main cast members of MY FIRST CRUSH.

Since working together on those two projects, Rocky and I have actually become better friends than colleagues. From going to the same church and grabbing lunch on Sundays, to being at each others’ baptisms to praying it up for each other, Rocky is my BRO. And well, I’m super proud of him and excited for him, cuz’ God has definitely given him lots of favor.

And Rocky doesn’t take any of that for granted. He loves what he does and he’s serious about it. He’s always wanting to do the right thing and he just wants to share his heart. I don’t have an ounce of doubt that he’ll do big things. I mean, shoot he already has and it’s only the beginning :]

Official Bio:
Rocky has directed over 100+ world class athletes including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Mia Hamm, and for clients such as Toyota, Gatorade, the US Marines, US Navy, US National Guard, Cisco Systems, and numerous NFL, NHL, and NBA teams.

Born in Texas, educated at Boston U. (dual in Finance and Film), Rocky landed in LA where he honed his highly kinetic and often anime-influenced directing style. With his deep knowledge in writing, editing, and coloring, his projects have garnered a number of awards. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, he loves just working with great people to tell amazing stories.
Read more…

See where he’s been and where he’s going: rockyjo.com

Tag, You’re It! – Far East Movement

“FM in the da house! We in da house! Right here, right now!” Anyone remember this from FM’s early days? If you dunno what I’m talking about… click here (0:19).

So this is my third “Tag, You’re It!” blog. And well, it’s appropriate to write about these guys since they are so freakin’ HOT right now. Far East Movement: truly making moves in the mainstream American music industry and beyond! I just watched the clips of them on Lopez Tonight and Entertainment Tonight… and daaang, I am super proud!

So “hello, hi, how ya doing? We’re the Far East Movement!” Haha… oh man, memories! I first met these guys back in 2004. I remember chillin’ at Kev Nish’s apartment slash their “studio”… they were in the process of recording “Audio Bio”… I remember thinking back then that Kev was really into his music, James (Prohgress) had a loud ass laugh, and J was super chill (haha, I don’t think any of that has changed). From then, I got to know the guys a bit… and I’ve seen nothing but hard work on the back end and a lot of growth through their struggles – whether it was juggling a day job, school, or whatever. They’ve come a long way.

From 2004 through 2007, FM and a buncha other Asian American musicians (Nemo aka Red Team Go, Ken Oak, Chan, Burning Tree Project, Invid, Big Phony, etc.) came together to cultivate a very homegrown LA community-based event called “Talk of da Block.” I had the privilege of being a part of the making of that. Actually, I was so inspired by what was going on with FM and these Asian American artists at the time, that I had to document it (“Future Rock Stars of America” back in 2004-2005… Present Rock Stars of America in 2010!):

Well, due to the happenings of life, “Talk of da Block” dissolved… BUT FM kept it going when they formed an alliance with Wong Fu Productions and gave birth to ISA (International Secret Agents)! And wow, after going to ISA LA this year and seeing FM live for the first time since I saw ’em headlining at the Roxy last year… I gotta say, they just keep upping their game.

For all of you who have followed FM’s career since their early days, we all know that the music has changed. “Girls on the Dance Floor” and “Like a G6” may not be “Western” or “Blue Collar Blues”… but from what I do know about these guys, I know that the mission is the same. You can’t deny that they’re doing something monumental for Asian Americans.

For me, it’s really amazing to see what has happened since 6 years ago and now! And well, as the happenings of life occur, I’m not as tight with the guys now… but all I gotta say is that I am dang proud of what these guys have accomplished and I’m truly excited to see what more is to come. Definitely praying for these guys. For them to stay true to themselves. That they continue to transform media and culture. And that they continue to inspire and influence in a positive way! Most of all that God will use them to boomshake the cities!

P.S. – Kev Nish deserves a little credit for me being “Peachies” today. I remember back in the day he had told me to stick with the name and that if I ever became a TV personality… that I should use it! (Well, I’m not quite a TV personality… but you get the point).

Official Bio:
Far East Movement (also known as FM) has bridged the gap between underground party records and mainstream hip-hop and pop. They blend elements of hip-hop, pop, electro and dance to create an original sound and lifestyle they call ‘Free Wired’. Kev Nish, Prohgress, J-Splif, and DJ Virman, always donning stylish shades, skinny ties, and shiny blazers and fresh kicks have taken the current Los Angeles club scene global, already having to their credit two world tours, numerous song placements on television and film, and a # 1 song on Los Angeles radio… Read more…

To stay up to date with all the latest, go to fareastmovement.com.

Tag, You’re It! – Eugene Lee Yang

It’s been awhile since my initial attempt at this “Tag, You’re It!” blog series. Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve really BLOGGED about anything, cuz’ well, it’s been crazy busy. Ack, my apologies.

Onto the victim! J/k. Eugene Lee Yang! I’ve blogged about him before and I’ll definitely blog about him again! So who is he? Well, he’s an amazingly young and talented visionary director friend of mine. Truly, truly gifted!

I met Eugene after an audition a little over a year ago. He was standing around the lobby taking a break from his casting session. A mutual friend of ours, producer Melissa Lee, introduced us. Next thing you know we’re joking about how cute of a couple we’d make (oh, Eugene… if only you liked me that way~ lol). And well, I didn’t book that other audition… but I ended up making a new friend AND going on to work on a few of his projects! Right place, right time!

So I’ve had the privilege of working with Eugene three times now. First time on a beautiful short called “Ma Cite, Mon Cite.” Second time on “The Art of Fame,” the LG Fame Us! Grand Prize Winner. And most recently on a Marina and the Diamonds spec video, “I Am Not A Princess”… probably the most epic fan video ever made. Gosh, Eugene… you never cease to amaze!

Yup, ELY’s gonna blow up FOR SURE. He’s freakin’ amazing. He can do EVERYTHING. For example, for “The Art of Fame,” he didn’t even have a crew. He produced, shot, directed, edited, and even choreographed it by himself! Freakin’ ridiculous. I really can’t wait to see what’s in store for him!

Official Bio:
Eugene Lee Yang is a narrative filmmaker who received his BA in Cinematic Arts Production from the University of Southern California in 2008. During his studies he wrote and directed six short films focusing on stories that explored a vast array of social and political issues, including mental health care, gay marriage, and school shootings. He is currently directing independent music videos and writing his first feature length screenplay. Yang was born in Pflugerville, Texas, and considers Paris, France a second home. He is endlessly inspired by the remarkable diversity of Los Angeles. More than anything, he is excited to embark upon his career in film and looks forward to the unique projects and people he hopes to work with.

To see more of ELY’s work, go to youtube.com/profeugenius

Tag, You’re It! – Evan Jackson Leong

Because it’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I feel it’s appropriate to start up this series… and well, I actually came up with this idea over a year ago, but never got around to launching it, cuz’ originally, I was going to include a mini interview with these spotlights. However, the first person I wanted to spotlight never got back to me with the list of questions I gave him (*ahem* Evan). Haha. ALL GOOD (we were busy with 1040). So, here’s what I wrote up a year ago:

***Tonight (3/16/09), I had the random inspiration to spotlight one of my friends once a week and share a bit of our history. I thought it’d be cool to call this series, “Tag, You’re It!” since I’ll be tagging the friend I spotlight in the note on Facebook.

For my first spotlight, it is appropriate that it’s Evan Jackson Leong as he was my first connection to the Asian American independent filmmaking scene. It all started with the grassroots movement behind BETTER LUCK TOMORROW in 2003 when Evan came to my college campus to promote the film with his behind-the-scenes documentary, BLT: GENESIS.

In late 2004, Evan encouraged me to apply for Visual Communications‘ Armed With a Camera Fellowship. I got into the program and it is partly because of this, that I took time off from UCSC to be in LA and it was during this time that I was certain I’d end up pursuing a career in LA.

In the next few years, I worked on a handful of projects directed by Evan. From set dressing his music video for FM’s “Round Round” to being an extra in a handful of other music videos to more recently, collaborating on “Kim Jong Il Eharmony” and “Girls on the Dance Floor ft. Kim Jong Il.”

Evan is one of the dopest, most talented, young filmmakers I know. His crew, Arowana Films, is probably the most “MacGyver” peeps out there. I’m talking about this crazy house they live in with a bunch of homemade production gear and a homemade entertainment system!***

Anyway, it’s now been over a year since I wrote all the above and a lot of things have happened. Since then, we’ve worked on a feature-length documentary together, 1040, as well as some other random web projects like “Manivore.” I’m sure there will be more collabs in the future, but literally the day after I came back to LA from my 3-month long Asia trip, Evan took off for the other coast. So, I’m excited for him and what’s in store for him over there ;]

Here’s something he put together recently which I think is dope:

Official Bio:
Evan Jackson Leong is a 6th generation Chinese American native of San Francisco, California. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s Degree in Asian American studies. As a short form filmmaker he has directed numerous music videos, commercials, shorts that have played on MTV in the domestic and international markets. As a long form documentary filmmaker, he has directed two half hour nationally broadcast projects: Him Mark Lai: The People’s Historian and Forging a Feature: The Journey of Better Luck Tomorrow. In his growth as a young filmmaker he has been mentored by Justin Lin, with credits in Better Luck Tomorrow, Fast & Furious and Finishing the Game as a co-producer. He currently completed his first feature length documentary, 1040, which explores the happenings of Christianity in Asia.

To see more of Evan’s work, go to arowanafilms.com.