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Last month, or at least I think it was last month... Time compresses in LA since the seasons don't change. Last month... Actually February. February? Jesus... February, my old friend, Michael O'Keefe, from middle school happened to be in Hollyweird to cover the Oscars and interview some folks for his radio show in Ottawa: Movie Mondays on CKCU FM 93.1. What a gig! Anyway, while he was in town we caught a couple of 35mm movies at the New Beverly Cinema (famously owned by the man Quentin Tarantino), and later were denied access to an After Party for the Oscars. Apparently, it was overrated. But the highlight is that Mike wanted to interview me too! Being that I've been living in Los Angeles as an actor since 2011, I was honored to offer my insights on diversity, politics and show business. I say a lot of things in the interview, but I guess the most memorable was to "hone your craft in New York, and sell out in LA." Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for that check...
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After being turned away from an Oscars After Party, Mike and I found a better time at the Belmont.
This is the 8th time I've competed in the The 72 Hour Film Shootout (screened at the prestigious Asian American International Film Festival 2018) and I have nothing but love for this competition and the values for which it stands. Their mission is to promote ethnic and gender diversity in media. It's a cause that means a lot to me, so it goes without saying that I'm honored to win Second Runner Up and for Jamie Miller to win Best Actress.
The theme of this year's shootout was 'No More,' and in our film we spoof 'Get Out.' As an Asian-American actor, I touch on my own personal experiences in casting. Being told that I'm too much, or not enough -- given my mixed ethnicity. Or that I should be someone I'm not. In 'Get Out' the imagery of the sunken place shows a man trapped, watching his own life through a television screen. The casting place serves as a substitute for the sunken place, forcing the actor to be a vessel for someone else's vision. That, in some way, is how much of the entertainment industry has operated. Watching TV and movies growing up, media was mostly from the white male perspective. I would see their perspective of me, but never my own.
That being said, 'The Casting Place' is my sarcastic expression of these frustrations over the lack of diversity in media. The questions I'm asking are 'can an Asian-American actor be Asian-American? Or does Hollywood mostly write Asian roles for foreign Asian characters?' Thank you for watching, and please enjoy!
P.S. If you're wondering how we did the sunken place effect, watch our behind the scenes.
P.P.S. If you haven't seen Get Out, this is our scene reference. We were very particular about recreating it.
A little bit ago, I received a casting notice asking for sketch comedy material. What fun! I'm a huge fan of shows like Key & Peele and Saturday Night Live. I love character acting and comedy. On the other hand, I haven't focussed on sketch or comedic improvisation for awhile because my last experience at The Groundlings School left me feeling judged and vulnerable. Needless to say, writing and creating a sketch character felt like an intimidating task.
But I didn't want to give up the opportunity of a network audition. And a lot has changed since my last sketch/improv flop -- my production company is up-and-running and I have all the tools to produce a quality product -- so really, there weren't any acceptable excuses not to do it. I proceeded to write down a script outline, shot it a couple of times from different angles, improvised around the script, and edited it together. And surprise, surprise, it turned out pretty decent! Which is funny, because of my previous fears surrounding improv. What changed? Well, first, I wasn't improvising for an audience, which takes away the pressure. Second, I'm not only telling the story as a performer, but I'm also telling it as an editor. I chose the moments, the pacing, sound effects and the graphics to support my performance. I have so much more control in film versus live performance. And producing film has become one of my strengths over the past years. So it's about damn time I used it to break through my resistances!
Okay, 'nuff said. Check out my sketch character Bro D. the Gamer Dude. Who knows, maybe he deserves more episodes. Thoughts?
Just did an interview with the Asian American Film Lab in their special project to highlight new filmmakers. We talk about acting, filmmaking and the challenges ahead.
Read the article here: http://jenniferbetityen.weebly.com/ethical-is-beautiful-be-beautiful-a-blog/whats-your-story-part-8-tyler-ham-pong
The National Park Service turned 100 years old, and they've been celebrating it all year! Even allowing free entrance for a week in April, of which I dutifully took advantage. Despite this, I've only been to a handful of these parks; and about a year ago, I wrote and hosted a piece about Utah's National Parks, which won the Communicator Award's 2016 Silver Award of Distinction.
Hopefully my list will keep growing, but at the top are Yosemite National Park in California, Zion National Park in Utah, and Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii. Now, if you're not close to any of these, don't fret because the National Park Service can help you find your closest National Park.
After a horrific betrayal, two brothers become locked in a vicious argument that will forever change them both.
Tuesday marked the release of The Indie Vision Project's most recent film "Over A Girl" starring Christian T Chan and myself. Directed by Jonathan Cocco, Director of Photography Nathaniel Upshaw, Executive Producer David Neyts and special thanks to Kristina Citi Mueller.
Well, I've dropped the ball on keeping my blog up to date. I see the last few posts have all been about Brand USA, which is amazing! -- but only one of the few things that I've been working on.
I've done a few narrative projects, one of which will be released on Tuesday! It's called "Over A Girl" and stars Christian T Chan and myself as brothers caught in a love triangle. It will stream on the Indie Vision Projects Facebook and YouTube page. Stay tuned for that. On set pics below.
And I participated in the Asian American Film Lab's high-profile 72 Hour Film Shootout for my eighth year (WHAAAA!?) in a row. This year it was directed by Christina Jun who co-wrote the screenplay with me. The theme was "Lose the Labels" so we decided to make it about mixed up moving boxes, also dealing with the themes of identity as one does when given the theme "Lose the Labels." Coincidentally, it also features Christian T Chan as well as a few other familiar faces, and was shot by the very talented Sade Clacken Joseph. I'm happy to say that we made the Top Ten Selection this year, screening at the 39th Asian American International Film Festival in New York. Watch below!
Just last week I returned from one of the most epic states that I've ever been assigned with my Visit the USA Blog -- Hawaii. Now, all of the videos up to this point (including Utah and Missouri) have been targeting a Canadian audience. However, this assignment was for a broader international audience, making it a new format and interesting learning experience for me. Hopefully enough to warrant more "Host Tyler" in the future. If not, then this is it and you better drink it in!
Three of the videos were catered to the outdoors which involved zip lining, tubing, hiking, etc. Lots of early, early mornings and tons of coffee, giving me my official hashtag #starbuckswhore. We have fun... Nevertheless, crazy sights and experiences were the consistent daily itinerary. From the first video you can see my time lapse (30 mins pass by in 14 seconds) of the volcano at Kilauea Caldera, Volcanoes National Park. Into the evening you can see the lava flow burn bright orange. This time lapse shows the visible effect that day and night make with its glow. The video next to it shows me screwing around and wasting drone batteries for the sake of a Facebook video, but whatever -- it worked.
After four days of adventure on the islands of Hawaii and Kauai we started smelling a bit ripe, so we finished our trip by interviewing chefs on Oahu and Maui for our segment on Hawaii's culinary scene. All my foodie knowledge was put to the test. Luckily everyone had long answers, making me look like a pro. Also, I tried three different versions of Hawaii's loco moco and I wish to Glob it catches on in Los Angeles. Just as I wish for the poutine and the garbage plate. When you try a region's comfort food, it's like being welcomed into that region's living room. Warm and fuzzy.
As always, keep an eye out for my newest videos and watch past videos at Visit the USA.
--and they have really sticky tongues.
More videos from my hosting/writing gig across Missouri's Route 66. Check out my Visit the USA Blog for more shenanigans and whatever.
I fall somewhere between Dogme 95 and