Freshpersons, Welcome to Debt!

17 10 2013

Yesterday, a student came by the Writing Centre with this article written by Barbara Ehrenreich. I gave the article a read and found myself laughing at the sheer satire, irony, and hyperbole of the piece, which I thought was very well-written and clever. The student was to talk about literary rhetoric devices but I was so interested in the article and how awesome it was that I think I was a bit scattered in what I had to say — there were so many things to talk about! Needless to say, the student wasn’t as enthralled as me, but he did seem interested in the English class he was taking. Hooray for that!

Article about me and my film!

22 08 2013

Look at me! I’m so cool.

The Coast is Queer: June may very well have been inspired by a piano playing cat

A Vancouver Queer Film Festival veteran, June is the fifth short from Aaron Chan.  A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

A silent drama, June tells the story of a ghost that tries to communicate with his still-alive lover by playing piano in the middle of the night.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Aaron Chan, and I am a musician/writer/filmmaker/creative writing student at UBC. Oh, and I’m a Sagittarius, if anyone was wondering.

Who were your early filmmaking mentors or inspirations?

I started out in film making documentary shorts as part of the Playing It Safe project, co-funded by the National Film Board. Terri Wynnyk, who was one of the organizers of the project and a filmmaker herself, first got me thinking deeply about being selective about images and how they support a story on screen.

I also love older, classic films. Billy Wilder is one of my favourite filmmakers of all time; his natural gift for dialogue and humour and telling a story is amazing. Fritz Lang, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin are also great at how they convey story and emotion with little to no words; I learned a lot of how to show, rather than tell, from silent films.

In terms of more modern filmmakers, I adore Wes Anderson’s sense of humour and the indie-feel of his films, Ang Lee’s grand visual style, and Hiyao Miyazaki because he’s just awesome and tells wonderful stories.

What inspired you to make June?

I woke up in the middle of the night one night and saw that the light on top of my piano was on. It could’ve been my cat, but I began thinking it was a ghost. When I couldn’t fall asleep again, because I was thinking about the ghost, I began constructing a story about why this ghost wanted to turn the light on and why it might want to play the piano. After that, the story came naturally to me and I when I grew attached to the script, I knew I had to try and get it made.

What challenges did you face while making June?

Oh god, what challenges didn’t we face while making this film? I think our biggest challenge was synching up everyone’s schedules to find a day that worked for everyone to film. Case in point: we had originally planned to shoot in December of 2011, but after many, many delays and difficulties, including finding someone with a piano that would let a crew mess around for a couple days we finally got to filming in July of 2012. More than half a year later, we finally filmed. Scheduling is definitely not my favourite thing to do.

What’s been the coolest experience so far with the film?

I actually finished the film only about a week [or two] ago, so it hasn’t really been anywhere. I’d say that the coolest experience with the film is having it screened at Out on Screen, for sure. Other than that, I think it’s really cool when the cast and the crew were able to relate so much to the emotion behind the film even though it’s a silent film, and it makes me, as a filmmaker and a storyteller, feel like I’m doing something right.

Are you a film festival newbie or have you had another film(s) at the Festival?

This is my fifth short film at the festival! I’m always surprised and excited every year to be a part of it.

What are you most excited to do and/or see at this year’s Queer Film Fest?

Honestly, I’m just really excited to see a lot of diverse queer films. The Lot in Sodom + Vintage Porn program is really interesting, especially since I do love older films (and vintage porn? I’m there!). I’ll also be attending the workshop with Michelle Tea (Book Your Own F**king Career) since as an artist, I need all the help I can get to ever live as one. I’m also planning to catch In the Name of and G.B.F. which looks like a lot of fun.

Responding to emails late

15 07 2013

I feel bad when I respond to emails late, but I’m busy! There was one I received a few days ago from a stranger who said he saw me working out at the gym. He recognized me from reading my article on living Zero Waste as well as my blog, and thought he’d say hi, which I thought was a very pleasant surprise. I’ve been meaning to email him but I haven’t yet, and it makes me feel bad/guilty because if I were him,I’d be thinking that he’s not interested or weirded out or just doesn’t care. But I do! And I think it’s amazing someone’s even read my article or keeps up with my blog, so i have to keep every fan I have because god knows I need them.

So if you are reading this, Aaron Cheng, I apologize. Please accept a blog post dedicated to you as my apology and expect an email sometime this week. If I remember.

I’m a published journalist!

27 12 2012

Or something.  I wrote a literary journalism piece.  I’ll just say that.

I’ve been working on this for the last week and I’m glad it’s done, and happy how it turned out.  And I am actually looking for someone to take the compost that I still have, so if you’re interested and you live in Vancouver (which I know no one in Vancouver actually reads my blog), then contact me!

Article (part 2)

13 03 2011

“Jeez, hurry up, Jeremy!  What were you doing?  Daydreaming?”  I looked at her and then at my books.


When I got home, I had to immediately go to my room.  My parents told me that I ihad to finish my homeowkr before dinner, and if I didn’t, I had to finish after.  But this time, I just lay on my bed and thought about Sean.  God, how much I loved that boy, even from the first time I ever saw him (oh yeah, I’m gay if you haven’t already noticed).  Yet, no one would ever know how much he meant to me — well, except Chelsea.  She knew about me already.  I was relieved she was okay with it and wanted to come out to everyone.  Nevertheless, there was just no way.  My parents would kick me out, my school would hate me, and not to mention Sean might hate me!  I glanced around my room and thought about how boring my life was.  Something needed to happen!  I knew just what to do.

The next week, when issues of Teenink were distributed throughout our schooo, I waited anxiously at everyone’s reaction.  I looked for and found Chelsea.

“Have you read my new article?” I jumped up and down like a 12-year old schoolgirl.

“No, but I will now.”  She grabbed an issue her from locker and found the correct page.  I gave her a few minutes to read my article.  When she finished, she gave me a hug, which was surprising to say the least.

“I’m so proud of you, Jeremy.”  I took a breath and let it out.

“So am I.”

That scene right there was actually the only good thing to happen to me that day.  The rest of the student body all stared at me and uttered hate words to me, though most of them I didn’t even know.  Somebody spray-painted my locked with the word “fag”.  Hmm… perhaps coming out was not such a good idea after all.

I returned home after getting beaten up, robbed, and yelled at with hate words.  I expeccted some opposition but like this.  My nose bled as I walked into my house.  Immedialy, my dad asked me what happened.

“Oh nothing.  Just got the crap beat out of me!”  My mother, who was in the next room, came, took one look at me, and ran for the first-aid kit.  I sat down on the couch in the living room.  I asked my dad if he loved me.

“Yes, of course I do.  What happened?”  At that moment, my mom came downstairs and started cleaning me up.  I asked her the same question, and she replied the same.  They both stared at me strangely, but concerningly.  I took out a copy of Teenik and showed them my article.

After they read it, they looked at one another.  Again, I asked the same question.

“Do you love me?”  I was surprised how well they kept their anger in control.  My parents got up.  My mother started crying while my father answered.

“I think you know the answer.”  I couldn’t tell if he did or didn’t by the tone of his voice.

“So yes?”  My voice came out weak.  Without answering, my father lead my mom out of the room.

In the bathroom, I was so angry and depressed at the same time.  My parents didn’t understand.  I could hear them saying how they didn’t want me around.  My dad said something like kicking me out.  The phone began to ring.  My parents ignored it, and I did too.  I took out a razor from the cabinet and cried.

Eventually, the answering machine picked up.

“Jeremy?  Are you there?  Well, I guess not.  I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry for what you’re going through.  What I’m actually getting at is… I really like you.  I want to get to know you better… well, I hope you’re alright.  Oh!  And about what you said about me in the article… I love you, too.”

Click.  Sean hung up after I slashed myself.

[That’s the end of the story.  Typing this up, there are a lot of corrections I want to make but I decided to leave it in the original form.  Maybe I’ll edit this for later.  Oh, and I got 5 out of 6 on it.  :)]

Article (part 1)

12 03 2011

Wrote this in Grade 11, I think to show the teacher during the first week our level of English/grammar/spelling/all that stuff.


It’s funny how your life can change so quickly with just saying a few words.  of course your life could change for the better or for the worse.  I learned this lesson the hard way.

Well, I guess I should start by saying who I am.  My parents are both Christian, and of course them being Christians, they named me Jeremiah.  However, everyone at school calls me Jeremy.  It’s quite demanding to live with my parents; they’re quite strict and devoted to our religion.  Actually, they call themselves Mormons and all, but i don’t really care.  But what I did care about, i would never tell anyone.  So anyways, here’s my story about everything.

School sucks.  Everyone knows that.  We students feel like we’re in jail, and those damn teachers are the security guards.  People don’t seem to understand how difficult life is when you’re a teenager, even if they were some millions of years ago.

So anyhoo, I was at school with my friend, Chelsea.  We were best friends for so long and we told each other our deepest secrets (or at least I think she did).  She was reading our city’s high school newspaper, Teenink.

“Oh my god!  Your article is in here!” she exclaimed.

“Really now?  I thought it was my evil twin.” She stared at me without smiling.

“You know, you never have any pride in your work, even if other people are happy for you.”  This time, I was staring at her.  I blinked a few times and she sighed.

“Let’s just go to class,” she said.

We started walking to our Spanish class when i dropped my books in my arm.  They landed on the ground, but the noise of other students talking and yelling made it impossible to be audible.

“Chelsea!  Wait!  I dropped my books!” I yelled to the figure that was walking away from me.  Maybe she was still upset about me or she didn’t hear my pleas at all.  Whatever, she didn’t turn around.  I groaned and rolled my eyes at no one in particular.  I bent down to pick up my books when suddenly a hand reached out and scopped them up before I had a chance.  I slowly looked up and wished who that hand was connected to.  When my eyes finally fixed, my wish had come true after all.  It was Sean, the hot-jock-guy-that-wasn’t-really-a-jock-but-was-really-sweet.  I stared into his eyes and gazed dreamily at him.  He smiled back and handed me my books.

“I think you dropped these,” he said.  I think he could tell I was into him but really didn’t know what to do about it.  But then again, not all moments last forever; the last bell rang again, signaling the end of our encounter.  He quickly ran off as I was left with the still-fresh-Kodak-moment with his eyes.  Just then, i felt someone pull my shirt.  I turned and saw Chelsea, waiting impatiently….


Hello, July

1 07 2010

One of my monthly goals last month was to write a lot, which I didn’t really accomplish. And since this blog has gotten a whole bunch of views which I attribute to my last entry, I’m going to force myself to write more. I’ve come up with some ideas for blog entries that actually excite me to think about writing. In addition to writing, I’m going to try and do a lot of re-writing/editing on scripts/stories and once that’s done, looking at places to send them.

In the meantime, have a funky Canada Day, y’all.

Oh, and if you have an idea for a topic or subject that might be fun for me to write about, I’d love to hear your suggestions since I’m kind of getting tired of talking about my lack of love life and why it lacks love and substance.