Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

This last weekend, as we continue on this adventure of this Bangarang short film, we went into “casting.” That means, we had a whole weekend of meeting kids, searching for the new Rufio and crew. It really brought back memories, I remember all the days of running around town with my mom and my brothers, going to auditions, meeting other kid actors and dancers and getting prepared in the lobby, being a little nervous, then getting your chance to go into the room and show them what you got!

Being on the other side for this one, loved seeing the kids come in and was so impressed how talented they we’re… fearless, really. They all wanted to do their best and some we’re trained well from acting classes, some were just raw and going for it. I loved seeing the dancers, after they read, I would ask them if they could bust a move, being a former dancer myself, I love to see the new kids get down. Our producer went into some beatboxing (shout out to Rawn, he was killin it too) and the kids just went in to some freestylin.

One of the best things about becoming a writer/producer is the ability to create opportunities for others, especially the next generation.

Doing this Rufio origin project, I get to revisit, not only the character and friends from those days, I also get to revisit the great times I had as a kid actor and being able to give some kids from this generation chance to make some great memories of their own and maybe give them a launch pad to make some noise in the industry.

Can’t wait to introduce you all to the new crew!

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So yesterday we dropped this kickstarter to fund this short film called, Bangarang, which will tell the story of the character I’m know for, Rufio. It’s been crazy with all the attention it’s been getting online. I mean, I know it’s he a beloved character, but it’s cool how it’s captured the imagination of so many.

People are asking me a lot of questions about the project… and really, it pretty simple. This young, promising director, Jonah Feingold approached me about the project. He loved Hook, matter a fact, I met him at an LA bar called, Delilah, not too long ago, he tapped me on the shoulder and showed me his iPhone and the screensaver is the Hook poster. I kinda of chuckled and proceeded to walk towards my table. He exclaimed, “No! I have to talk to you, let me buy you a drink!” Anyhow, we ended up having a few drinks… tequila, I think it was and told me about him going to USC film school, being a big Spielberg fan and about another film he’s setting up called, Wendy. From there we became friends and awhile later he drops on me this short he wrote about the origin story of the rebel rousing kid we all love, Rufio.

Being it’s the 25th anniversary of the film and the character, I figure, now’s a great time to revisit Neverland, but this time, let’s see how this new generation does it. I simply signed on to produce, talked some other partners of mine into joining me, Rawn Ericson, and dropped the Kickstarter… I simply thought, we’ll see what happens.

To everyone one’s surprise, people are loving the idea. I love bringing Rufio to a new generation, not just because he’s a character I played in the past, also bringing a Filipino hero to today’s kids is important to me.  It’s essentially a fanfic, crazy because I’m involved. Can’t wait the cast the kid actors to play the new and of Lost Boys & Girls.

You can support on Kickstarter and follow my social media be apart of the adveture… Bangarang!!!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bangarangthemovie/bangarang-a-short-film-about-rufio-before-hook?ref=nav_search

Comic Con has been a buzz word for years now, a place where it looks like comic books, super hero movies and Halloween collide in a weekend for grown up to get back to the kid in themselves… I’ve been fortunate to fall into this world due to the popularity of some of the characters I’ve played in my career and here is the behind the scene looks of one of my latest outings in Seattle!

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I grew up as part of the Hip Hop generation, meaning I came up in a time when we didn’t look up to rock gods on electric guitars but rather, our anti-establishment movement came in the form of M.C.’s rockin elevated lyrics on microphones. Like the generation before us worshiped groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, we worship groups like A Tribe Called Quest. I’m just writing today to mark the passing of a legend, Phife Dawg (Malik Taylor), member of this amazing rap group, they’ve always been my favorite, a perfect blend of Jazz and clean New York beats with the poetic verses of the perfect duo Phife and Q-tip, giving an articulate and thought provoking depiction of our generation. They transcended the neighborhood and their music transcended race and classism and when I think about people and places and moments in my past, often, one of their songs accompanies it in my memory. They will forever be apart of the soundtrack of my life, rest in peace, Phife.

Farewell, Mrs. Neita

Posted: February 18, 2016 in Blog

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I’m writing tonight because I today attended the funeral of the women of picture you see above, her name  is Mrs. Neita. You don’t know who she is, she is a women who I think of as a surrogate grandma of sorts. This part of my life is hard to explain, it’s not known by many, even those that knew at this time of my life. The short of it all is she was the mother of my then acting teacher and I knew this women for most of my life… In my 20’s,  my brothers and I, ended up, due to a series of unlikely events, becoming care takers for this woman. When I say care takers, I mean we watched over her, 24 hours a day for nearly 2 years. Now, me and my brothers are all actors, not qualified to be care takers, but for those who you consider family, when asked, you may be surprised at the things you are capable of doing. It wasn’t the easiest things to do, as a matter a fact, it was some of the darkest times in my life. Coupled with doing one of the hardest jobs I can think of, (that we weren’t qualified to do), we also were in a dark time with our family, in that we weren’t speaking to our parents. You can imagine how hard that can be for most families, especially ours being such a close knit one. Ironically, in taking care of this woman, Mrs. Neita,  I felt that this is something my mother would do in a heart beat, I mean, my mother, you see, is one of the most saintly women in the world. Anyone who knows my mom would tell you the same. So even in a time of disconnection with my mother, I somehow felt connected with her in helping out Mrs. Nieta.

Now, Mrs. Neita, well, this woman… Yeah, the mold was broken with her. Although some days it felt as if it was a burden to feed her, bath her, sleep over and just be there to help as she was going through health and mental issues that many folks go through in elder age… it’s funny, in thinking about those crazy days, I also remember laughter… many times of laughter and conversations that we’re enlightening and sometimes just downright hysterical. Maybe I’ll write about it all in a script one day.

Once, my brother Dion and I, had to fly out to Nebraska because she disappeared and when we found her, she was in Nebraska! Yes, somehow, she got on a plane and then a train and every one was scared as to where she could be… well, she was in Nebraska. We flew out, rounded her up and had an adventure of a lifetime driving her back to Los Angeles. I’m telling you, this woman, one of a kind… I’m smiling writing this now. She lived to be 96, I just wanted to write a little about her, life is an adventure, you never know who you’ll meet along the way… Farewell, Mrs. Neita! love you, darlin.

 

What Movies Mean To Me 

Posted: August 13, 2015 in Blog

I’m sitting in my bed, in my hotel room again in the middle of the night, thinking about my day and thinking about what I want to talk to you guys about. I had a long day of walking around Disney World, took a bunch of silly pics on my snapchat and rode a bunch of rides. I was pretty taken with Hollywood side of the park, walking through the gates and seeing my town, Los Angeles on display for the whole world to see. Familiar sites, replicas of buildings and restaurants. Sometimes you don’t see the beauty of the things in your backyard. On a last minute decision, we raced across the park to catch The Great Movie Ride, actually they we’re closing that area for some reason, I think due to end of the evening, we kind of jumped the roped off area and went to catch the ride anyway. We ended up being the last folks to do the ride. I was sucked into the movies again.

I just loved seeing the films that I grew up on, not because I’m as old as most of those films, but because I grew up an actor and a big part of my training was watching all those films, watching and studying what is literally the history of our industry and craft. I went through my head the names of all the films that were being showed in the clips… Public Enemy, Maltese Falcon, Tootsie, Bonnie and Clyde, Grease, Doctor Zhivago, True Grit, Singing In the Rain, Casablanca… some films I haven’t seen in awhile and feeling that urge to go back and watch the classics. The excitement of seeing the opening of films and the music of the lights of 20th Century Fox or the Universal globe, knowing I’m in some way apart of all that.

The ride takes place in a replica of the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and I was thinking of being in the original theater for my own movie premieres, one being “Biker Boyz,” which I was ironically recognized for later in the park, shooting in front of the theater in a pilot called “Hitman,” where I was stealing a Corvette. It’s cool to see your town being recreated somewhere on the other side of the country and people enjoying it, to feel like you’re apart of it all, even if it’s just a little bit.

Upon returning to my hotel, I remembered I couldn’t play my favorite video game, League of Legends, due to a restriction on the internet and I went back to Netflix and found myself watching this amazing documentary on Roger Ebert, called, “Life Itself.” I must say, I’ve never really been keen on movie critics, I mean what actor really is? I always felt we do the work, we’re filmmakers, let them decided if what we did was good or bad, they can talk about it all they want later… But, I was really touched by the film and felt a kinship with the man, he loved film as much as I do and was incredibly articulate about it all. He lived a fascinating life, a great life. Through the film, I definitely have more respect for the role of the critic… They help raise the bar.

I do remember him not liking the movie “Hook,” and of course, I know the film was flawed and didn’t really open to critical acclaim only became a cult classic later… but I also remember him really appreciating a smaller film I did  called, “The Debut,” an indie movie about a Filipino American kid coming of age played by myself.

I guess I feel like, in the Hollywood movie making fraternity, with this guy and all us who’ve been around this industry for years, Ebert is one of the people who help make these movies we make for entertainment, fluff to some, have weight and importance, puts it in the context of great literature and fine art.

Movies just mean the world to me, I’m lucky to have been apart of some classics, big films, indie films… I look forward to telling more stories.

3am. Orlando. Nina Simone.

Posted: August 13, 2015 in Blog

I’ve been traveling all day and now I lay wide awake after an early evening nap in my hotel room in Orlando. I’m in town to make an appearance at the Anime Fest Orlando. After finishing up the Daredevil series on Netflix, I wandered on to the documentary, “What Happened, Nina Simone?” about the life and times of this amazing musician. Honestly, I can’t tell you I knew much of her life, I know some of her music, because I love music and some of her songs have been anchors in my memory to my family and special times. Her voice is instantly recognizable and incredibly powerful.

Parallels that I’ve always made in my mind to Nina Simone, has been Lauren Hill and Amy Winehouse. Artist that are supremely talented and impactful in my life, yet somewhat tortured, you can hear it in their music, maybe it’s why I love there songs so much.

With Nina Simone and this film, I got to see her true craftsmanship as an artist, she was a world class classic pianist and she became an activist in a time when America was in great disorder and was in need of change… She was apart of that.

As an artist watching this film, I am deeply moved. One can only wish to be in a class of artistry that Nina displayed, fame and everything else aside, I want to be that good. You know, sure we all want to be rich and famous, but to be really, really good, is most important… to me at least.

And then there is the life beyond the art, the activism and just living… being happy, in the end, artist or not, we want to be happy. Exactly what will bring that happiness can be elusive.

As the years go by, I checkin with myself and how happy I am, as an artist and a human being. What have I accomplish professionally, what have I accomplished personally. There’s still a lot of work to be done on both sides of that coin.  The humanizations of those we put on pedestals, is always interesting to me, the singers and actors and politicians. Sometimes they’re like gods in our minds and then you see their flaws, not unlike our own, there is something comforting in that, hell it even makes the art that much more great.

Now I’m just rambling in the middle of the night, taking stock of what I’ve done, being happy with that, but not content, knowing you can still hang with with the best of them. But it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, in Orlando and I’m alone in a hotel room, I’m just going to fall asleep listening to Nina Simone songs.

So I’ll leave you with on of my favorites: Angel of the Morning