Paper Shadows

1 07 2016

In the spirit of Canada Day, here’s a Canadian writer who I admire very much! Like most people, I first read The Jade Peony and loved it instantly. I particularly loved the hint that one of the brothers was gay, in addition to it being about a Chinese family in Canada. So I expected his memoir, Paper Shadows, to be equally memorable.

Maybe my expectations were too high. I did find the secrets of the family to be fascinating and intriguing but I was disappointed that a lot of his childhood consisted of mundane activities that didn’t seem relevant to the greater family mysteries. The dog peed everywhere in the house? Well, that sucks but… Why did it need to be told? Some reviews have said that the book was in dire need of an editor and I wholeheartedly agree.

I was also surprised to learn that Choy is openly gay, a fact that is not touched on in the book (though there is a hint of it). It made me think about my own book and how our upbringings were so different despite both of us being first generation Chinese Canadians. In my query I’ve been sending to publishers and literary agents, I say something along the lines of how many memoirs by Chinese Canadian writers are immigration stories and that they are valuable and worthwhile — but they shouldn’t necessarily be the only stories we read. A lot of people tend to believe that growing up in Canada in modern times is easy and carefree, but that’s a naïve thought. My memoir shows otherwise. And I am passionate to do so.


Difference between Canadian and American Customs Agents

21 09 2014


American Agent: Where are you going?

Me: Austin, Texas.

American Agent: What’s in Austin?

Me: I made a short film that will be screening at a film festival there.

American Agent: What are you going to do in Austin?

Me: (thinking this is a trick question) …. attend the film festival?

American Agent: (snappish) Well, how am I supposed to know that?

Me: (thinking) Maybe if you had actually been listening to my responses instead of mechanically asking me what you’ve been programmed to ask.

American Agent hands back my passport without another word and dismisses me.


Canadian Agent: Where are you coming from?

Me: Austin, Texas.

Canadian Agent: Oh yeah? What did you do there?

Me: I made a short film that screened at the gay and lesbian film festival there.

Canadian Agent: Oh great!

Me: Yeah. I made someone cry.

Canadian Agent: Well, there you go. (hands back my passport) Welcome home.

Movies movies movies

12 10 2011

Yesterday I watched Animal Kingdom, which was quite tense at times.

Today it was Everything & Everyone  at the Vancouver International Film Fest, and though I’m biased because I was (briefly) part of the film, it was quite good, especially for a Canadian film.  Some great writing, but I already knew that.

Tomorrow it’s going to be The Help, which I’ve been meaning to see for a while.

Time to get some sleep and what little hope sleep and dreams can bring.

Cure(d) is finally done!

8 08 2011

My latest short film, Cure(d), was finished a while back but there were some slight synching problems with the video and audio so I had to fix it quickly for the upcoming world premiere of it at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival.

Now, I don’t consider myself to be a professional editor by any means, but I have worked with Final Cut many times and I know my way around the program.  That being said, it can take friggin’ forever to render clips sometimes, and it doesn’t help that staring wide-eyed at the screen to make sure words are matching with the actors’ lips can make you go crazy too (“Looks like it’s synched… wait… yes… wait, maybe not… Fuck.”).  At the same time though, I’m glad I got to edit this film, as I can very particular about what I want which I think can be difficult to work with.

Anyhoo, it’s done.  Thank god.  I had exporting problems, which is, I think, one of the worst problems one can encounter while editing because 1. it takes about 30 – 40 minutes on average for it to export and 2. you can only tell if something’s wrong after it’s done and you play back the file.  Otherwise, you’re stuck waiting for a long time, believing what you’re exporting is going to be fabulous, only to find out there’s no audio on your film (which happened).  Argh.  I may have to go back to Langara and export the damn file again because it doesn’t seem to be playing back on my computer, despite the fact that I was able to burn it on the Mac once the export was done (and the DVD worked fine too).

Good thing I had my book there with me to read (Dan Savage’s The Kid, which I recommend).  In the meantime, Cure(d) will be screening on Saturday August 20th at 9:30pm at the Granville 7 Theatres.  You can buy tickets to the Coast is Queer Program that my short film is in at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival website here:

Hope to see you there!  Since I don’t really have a website (does anyone want to help design a website for me?), I’ll be posting updates about the film and anything related on either here or my myspace film page:

That’s all.  And here’s a still from the film, as a sneak peek.

from Cure(d)