Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ichibancon

Posted: January 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

Okay… it’s a new year and I want to write more. Just finishing my first con for the year, I figure writing about the cons and my adventures would be a great way to continue my writing.

So… I’m on a plane right now, just boarded, flying home from North Carolina and I just got done with my first con of the year, Ichibancon. My thoughts of the con are very pleasant. This is the third con I’ve done with this con group in the last 6 months or so, starting with Colossal Con in Ohio, to Colossal Con East on Pennsylvania and ending up in North Carolina.

Such a great group of folks that I feel really know and like each other, really makes the Con go smoothly. I have to give a big shout out to Sharon who was my handler for all three cons and she took great care of me.

My big memory of this con is getting to hang with Vic Mignona. He has a lot of fans all over the world and throughout the Con scene and we’ve done a handful of cons together, but being this was a smaller con, we were two of the headline guest you can say and we got the chance to hang together a lot. This included smoking cigars, (thanks Vic for always having one for me) and one night singing karaoke.

Now Vic is a great singer, so when he went up, just us a small group of the organizers in the middle of the night in the green room. So you must understand, this wasn’t a big performance on a panel or anything, really just a group of us hanging out, some having drinks… everyone having laughs. Vic did some Journey stuff and I rap/sang through some Sublime. But then Vic brought me back in the mic to do a duet and we did “Endless Love” together… it was classic, he did the Lional Richie part and I did the Diana Ross part. I’m sure someone has that footage.

And I got to meet some great fans. There was a lot of Homestucks out here in this particular con, and being a Homestuck myself, it’s nice see them back in full force. I had two panels and they were amazing, really. First was my poetry panel, I love getting to share my love for poetry, but I also love getting con goers onstage to share their poems and we got to talk about them a bit this time, so I had a great time with that. Then I had a long 2 hour panel. For those that never been to a con, that means, it’s basically me, on a stage for two hours, just hanging with folks answering questions. That could be hard sometimes… but the House was pretty packed and y’all hung in there with me for the whole time. I personally got hungry and ended up ordering pizza for myself and everyone. (Well I got 6 large pizzas and good amount of folks for a slice) That was pretty memorable. There’s clips of the weekend panels and signings on my twitch channel.

But yeah… the year has begun. I’ve been out here in North Carolina, it was fun and I needed it in a lot of ways, getting away from madness in LA.

One of my goals of the new year is to write more and that means more blogging…

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So I got to see an advanced screening of The Last Jedi last night at the famous El Capitan Theatre, a historical grand movie house on Hollywood Blvd. And what’s better, the audience was packed with fans that have been sitting watching Star Wars movies for the last 24 hours, as this was the grand finally to a movie marathon of starting with episode 1 the night before. This may be the perfect way to see this film.

Also, because it was a special event, there was a red carpet for fans to walk down entering the theater, they closed Hollywood Blvd for the event and the red carpet had a bunch of cars by Nissan, modded out to replicate some of the starships in the movie. My favorite thing is they had a 20 foot ATM6, thats the new kind of AT-AT in this film, at the end of the red carpet, just an awesome installation and really gets you ready to see the movie. Also, Storm troopers were walking around, taking pictures with folks. 

To introduce the film, the director Rian Johnson and producer came out after an elaborate laser light show and a special video clip from Mark Hamill… It was quite an event. 

So how was the movie you wonder? It was pretty damn good! The director, Rian Johnson, said while introducing the film, “You will be surprised!” And, I was… many times actually. I loved the tone of the movie, Star Wars has become something of institutional juggernaut and the fact that it can “not take itself too seriously” in this movie was great. There was a lot of humor throughout the movie that made me feel like the director was influenced by anime. I’m thinking about it now and I’m still thinking about some moments that I can’t believe are in the movie. 

Really great action both in space battles and light Saber battles. And great explanation of the lore of it all, great background story for Kylo Ren and Rey… as well as great story lines for the classic characters, Luke and Leia. 

Can I say how wonderful it was to see Luke Skywalker on screen again?!?! I grew up with him as one as my favorite heros and to see him on-screen again was beyond anything I can describe. Then there’s just the fact of seeing Mark up there, someone who I’ve worked with several times now and who played my father in Avatar the Last Airbender, as many of you know. Just cool to see him back up there on the big screen being the hero I’ve aspired to my whole life. 

I actually got to see him when he got back from shooting this film and of course I wanted to hear stories all about it and there wasn’t much he could reveal, but he did tell me, “You know Dante, I realized, I’m the same age now as Alec (Guinness) was when we did the first one.” I was in awe… the perfection of Star Wars, in front and behind the camera. The cycle of Luke to Obi Wan…

And the “feels” this movie offers! I mean soooo many “feels” !!!! Another thing that made me think of anime and the love triangles… no spoilers… but we have to talk about this later you guys. 

It’s such a good time, the saga continues… sometimes being in the Entertainment industry so long, you can get jaded by all this being just business and money and selling toys and franchises… but sometimes we can just drop all that and I can just be a 10 year old kid watching Star Wars. 

Enjoy you guys! 

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

Layover

Posted: January 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

I’m not sure what time it was, jumping from time zones to time zones again. I find myself walking around the Denver airport, like a zombie. I’m on a layover, back on the road. I think I got about an hour sleep from Omaha, I know I got 3 and half hours of sleep in my cozy hotel suite, but on the plane, I’m less sure. Listening to one of the latest podcasts that I find terribly interesting, I fall in and out of consciousness 20,000 feet in the air, getting information piped into my brain about decisive machines and our in eminent demise. Wake up to a somewhat rough landing, always have that thought in the back of your mind… is this the way I’m going to go? But that morbid thought leaves your mind when wheels reach the ground. Now here I am, aimlessly walking around an airport I’ve been to several times. It’s eerily familiar, although I don’t know the city of Denver at all, this airport… I know, the Jamba Juice I once bought a cold buster because I wasn’t feeling good, the shop that sells outdoor jackets that I always go into, thinking, maybe I need another Northface jacket. But always leave empty handed, reminding myself, I live in LA and I hardly use the jackets I own. It’s like a dream really, I wear sunglasses, not to look cool, but more because my eyes are bloodshot. That stand with all the Colorado gear looks cool, I mean it’s a cool state flag, looks like some cool visual artist designed it for a skateboard company or something. I decide I’m hungry and I opt for and bagel… I’m not happy with my choice, I don’t know why I would choose to get salmon in an airport in Denver, none of that seems like and good idea… I can only stomach half of it, the top half, always been partial to the top of the bagel. The airport is an interesting place to be half conscious, everybody on the way to somewhere else, literally in transition… oh, looks like we’re boarding for my flight home. Time to go back to sleep.

Peace Out 2016!

Posted: December 31, 2016 in Uncategorized


It’s a gloomy in LA on this last day of the year, the overcast seems somewhat fitting as I think back at 2016. So many memes online about how atrocious this last year has been, all the legendary figures that we lost, most notably in my mind, Prince and David Bowie… and of course most recently Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and George Michael. And then there’s the madness of the last election… sometimes I like to look at the happenings of this world a thermometer of where we’re at. 
Where are we at? 

I don’t know…  Protests, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, Trump, Alt Right, Pokémon Go, Emails hacked, Allepo, Kanye, Cubs and Cavaliers… Kind of a crazy year.

Maybe an important year. I think of the turmoil that plagues us here, feeling of this divide in our United States. I try to remind myself that were a country at war, the longest war in our countries history, it’s odd, because most of us forget that, but I think the repercussions of all that is revealed in the people. Fear and anger is what I feel a lot of when I think about what’s going on… and it’s real and warranted on both sides. We’re in a time of transition, a “change” that started years ago and with a promise from Obama and will continue one way or another with the new  president. But it’s not just about them, it’s about us as a people and it’s not just the States, as I’ve been traveling around the world this last week, the feeling of which way do we go is looming over all of us. We’re all apart of this transition, change… and most of the time, change is painful… (cue the Bowie song “Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes”)

At the end of the day… or I guess, end of this year, I hope for the best, I will do my best to be a positive force in this transition. No resolutions, just continue to create and communicate. I have a lot of plans for 2017, I hope to get most of them done.

I hope you guys have a wonderful New Year’s celebration, where ever you are. Enough of my melancholy rambling, I’m raising a glass with all y’all tonight… 

Cheers! 

Talk to you next year!

I finally got to watch “Rogue One” last night, I’ve been dying to watch the latest Star  Wars installment. I grew up a fan like so many in my generation. I remember seeing all of them in the theatre and wanting to be Luke Skywalker. I remember my parents getting us light sabers, I didn’t know what a “saber” was as a kid and I called them light “savers” and they were the ones that a were basically those old red flashlights, with the rectangular white piece of plastic to slide them on and off and we’re powered by two D batteries. Attached to the flashlight was a pvc pipe of some sort that illuminated light when the flash light was turned on. We all fought for the green one to be like Luke.

All these memories flash through my mind as I sit in the theatre to watch “Rogue One”, right beside my little brother, like we’re kids again. I really loved the movie, it was so great to revisit the world, in spite of all the Star Wars films in the last decade or so, this one felt different, more gritty, more adult, definitely more violent. 

I’m not really trying to review the film, just want to talk about my thoughts and feelings while watching it. My last few reviews, I talked about how I felt as an ethnic actor watching these projects. This film was amazing, to see with multidimensional characters that are meaningful in the story, Latino, Asian, Black, Middle Eastern… even little things like female fighter pilots. This film was so progressive. I loved feeling included in this film as an audience member.

I also was tripping out a bit on the fashion. You have to remember, the original film came out in the 70’s and that fashion was current, now, doing a prequel to that, it’s kinda of funny to see. I mean we’ve all gotten used to the look. But all the guys in capes is pretty funny. Back in those days, you’d see all these guys in capes, from Bowie to Elvis to Libarace, guess it was a cool look… maybe we need to bring it back. Also, there’s a real cult thing with the empire, guys in robes, bowing to Vader and what not. Kinda weird. 

Then, all that got me to thinking about us here in the States and this Trump presidency coming up… a feeling of art and reality mixing, the idea of a rebellion, the possibility of a movie like this or Harry Potter getting us ready to rise up against the powers that be… not just this new regime coming into power, but all the government that has been governing in a questionable way over these last generations… I don’t know, it just makes you think.

Then I’m awaken this morning with an alert on my smartwatch with a blurb from CNN simply explaining Carrie Fisher best known for her role as Princess Leia passes away this morning. And it’s like my life flashes before my eyes, from a child to now, heros and heroines that have been in my mind, being more mortal than myth… a whole year of it really, most recently with Carrie Fisher and George Michael. 

I’ve always loved that in a galaxy far, far away… there is this spectacular story going on and through all the adventures of good versus even, it somehow made a lot of sense in my life. I also was so excited when I got an original character in “Star Wars Rebels” and got to have a little piece of this galaxy far, far away. 

So Princess Leia, I pray you rest in peace and know that the rebellion will fight on!