Five Lessons Learned from the San Diego Asian Film Festival Buzzfeed Panel

Back in November, a panel featuring three members of Buzzfeed, directors Eugene Lee Yang and Abe Forman- Greenwald, and senior business analyst Mallory Wang was held at UC San Diego for the 16th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival (held annually by Pacific Arts Movement). The panel, moderated by actress and internet personality Anna Akana, explored Buzzfeed’s success in internet video over the past two years from both creative and business perspectives.

Here are five lessons that we learned from this panel:

Abe Forman- Greenwald, Mallory Wang and Eugene Lee Yang at SDAFF – Photo by Jose Bucud, Pacific Arts Movement

1. Buzzfeed is always learning

Every time you watch a Buzzfeed video or read a Buzzfeed list, they’re learning a little bit more about what kind of content people want to see. They test everything, from who’s in the video all the way to the way the titles are worded, and they iterate to test theories and patterns. While it sounds scary and big brother-like, it’s actually what led them to realize the demand for culturally diverse programming. Thanks metrics!

2. What all the colored Buzzfeed channels mean

The color titles for Buzzfeed’s many channels represent the general themes of the videos in each. Violet represents “You”, character driven videos celebrating what makes people unique, Blue represents “Science”, and the cool stuff that occurs in our world, and Yellow represents Identity (nope, it’s not yellow as in Asian people), a celebration of culture that originally began with female-focused videos.

3. “If Asians Said the Stuff White People Say” started a movement

It’d be an understatement to say that “If Asians Said the Stuff White People Say” was just a popular video from Buzzfeed. The company’s first racially-focused video was a groundbreaking achievement that set the tone for their future work. Originally inspired by a Facebook post by Jeff Yang (pioneering APA writer and father of Fresh Off the Boat star Hudson Yang), the internal Buzzfeed brainstorming thread exploded as the concept “opened a floodgate that was begging to be opened.” After the success of the viral video, Buzzfeed does what it does best and iterated on the idea to what we see today, expanding to other minority group and exposing audiences to alternative perceptions.

4. Buzzfeed will never run out of ideas

In just a few years, Buzzfeed Motion Pictures has grown from 20 to more than 200 producers! With each of their producers being encouraged to create their own content, and the quick turnaround on projects (many with only a 2 person crew and $300 budget), Buzzfeed isn’t worried about the well running dry anytime soon. In fact, Buzzfeed is expanding its production scope by developing scripted content, social media focused video, and even documentary features.

5. Advice for young creatives

The panel offered this solid advice to up-and-coming creators, “keep making stuff!” A lot of the most popular content produced at Buzzfeed occurred because opportunity collided with the drive to create. “Parents imitate their children” came to be because Eugene’s mom just happened to be in town, and led to parents of Buzzfeed staff being involved in more of their content. In addition to taking advantage of opportunities, it’s also important for creators to find unique perspectives from their own point of view. It may be harder, but the crew challenges up-and-comers to “figure out your voice and then push as hard as you can!”

The Buzzfeed Panel @ Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego – Photo by Jose Bucud, Pacific Arts Movement


Cover photo credit: Epix Productions

Conversations with Kollab: Chris Dinh talks New Media

New media, especially platforms like YouTube, WordPress, and Instagram, have redefined the entertainment industry and have allowed even the average person to create and distribute their art. Ten years ago, being a Blogger, YouTuber, Vine-famous, or even “big on Instagram” weren’t credible past-times, much less viable careers. Now in 2015, PewDiePie has earned $12 million dollars last year playing video games on YouTube, web-based sketch comedy group Smosh released a movie, and YouTube beauty guru Michelle Phan has her own book and cosmetic line.

One person who has been on the frontlines of this evolution of storytelling is actor, writer, and filmmaker Chris Dinh. Most recognizable for his work with WongFu Productions, Dinh also has done a number of independent work with friend Viet Nguyen. Most recently Dinh and Nguyen released their crowd-funded movie, Crush the Skull, a full length feature based on their shorts series with the same name.


“I’m trying to find my thing too. The thing that makes me laugh. It tends to be in that dark comedy realm. Super dark and hopefully fun. It’s just meant to be a fun ride.” Chris Dinh


While Dinh visited Boston for a Crush the Skull screening at the Boston Asian American Film Festival, Kollaboration got to sit down and talk to him about what he thought of new media and the future of storytelling.

Chris Dinh as Ollie, Tim Chiou as Riley, Chris Riedell as Connor, and Katie Savoy as Blair in Crush the Skull

Kollab: How do you define new media?

Chris: If I had to define it, it’s anything that is… I almost want to say anything that is digital, but not only digital, but anything that has been created organically out of a need to just express a person’s interest or passions. It can not only be YouTube, but now there’s Vine and there’s Instagram and Snapchat. Anything that you can just pick up and do yourself and tell a story that can reach an audience.

Kollab: Why did you get into new media with YouTube and all that?

Chirs: I was working at a traditional production company, it wasn’t indie, but it still worked in the traditional ways. And it’s a very slow moving system and I just felt like we would spend all this time in development, but we were never shooting anything. Then I saw how quickly people were uploading YouTube videos, and I just felt like it was exciting. I wanted to be a part of it somehow, I didn’t know how, I just wanted to be a part of it.

Kollab: How did you end up a part of it?

Chris: So I got into it because there was a film festival in New York, this really cool group of Asian Americans started it, and they started this cool thing called the 72 Hour Shoot-Out. It’s a competition, they give you perimeters, you shoot and deliver a short film within 72 hours. That was one of the first short films that we did that was digital for me, and that was my first taste of the online world. Shortly after that I met the WongFu guys and it was the right place at the right time kind of stuff. They were doing what I wanted to do, so I just wanted to hang out with them and do whatever they wanted to do.

Kollab: Crush the Skull was made entirely with new media, you started with YouTube and then you went on to Kickstarter to make the film. Was there anything about that process that surprised you?

Chris: What’s surprising about that is how hard it is. Actually, I don’t know if it was surprising, because I knew it would be really hard. Because we had just done the WongFu campaign, and then I was going out there and doing another campaign right after that. It made me feel weird to keep asking for support, I felt bad about it. But timing wise, we had no other options, we had to. But we had some amazing people come through to support us. It was both tough, and inspiring. Because you’re like, ‘Oh mygosh, we’re not going to make it,’ and then people came through for us, and then we feel super inspired by that.

 “Something that maybe Asian American who have a really negative opinion of Asian american films. Like for some they just get turned off when they hear that term, and so maybe capturing some of them like, ‘Hey it could be fun! You should support it.’ The more you support it, the more fun films like this can exist.” Chris Dinh

Kollab: Being a part of independent films like Crush the Skull, you do so many different roles. Do you prefer it that way, or do you wish you had a larger crew?

Chris: I wish I had a larger crew who wore many hats. (But) it’s really fun for me. I grew up watching Charlie Chaplin, and I was so inspired to read and learn that he was the same way. They were kind of like the YouTubers of the day. They were doing everything, producing, writing, casting, composing, how cool was that? It’s so rewarding to be able to do.

Kollab: With all these platforms, the market is almost too saturated. Do you think it’s still worth it, or should they start through the traditional route?

Chris: I think that you should try everything. Maybe you tell your stories best through Vine, or YouTube, or a novel, or poetry. There’s so many ways to express yourself, it’s so cool to see what works for you. Yes there’s a lot of saturation, but there’s communities that are being created and I think that put it out there and find your community. But it’s definitely worth it to share your story.

Kollab: Because of your presence on YouTube and social media, it’s a very different connection to fans. How would you describe your relationship with fans?

Chris: I like how easy it is, and I hope that anyone who follows our stuff can just come up and say hi. Storytelling is supposed to be a way to connect with people, and it would be weird if it was like, ‘Yeah, I want to tell stories and connect with you, but I don’t want you to feel comfortable enough to come say hi.’  (At the BAFF panel on new media) when we were talking about creating our own space, people feel like they’re just consuming it, but it’s actually participating. It’s so important, not only making that content, but just the act of clicking on it and watching. That’s all a part of creating that space together for all of us to share our stories. For me, that’s how I see the relationship (with fans). We’re all in it together, and we’re creating the space together.

Kollab: Regardless of the platform, why is storytelling and creating a shared space so important?

Chris: I hope I don’t sound crazy, but someone once said that when language was created, it was when we created time travel. I always found that really fascinating because I think storytelling is very much a part of being human. You share a story because you want someone to share in that experience with you, and sometimes it’s just about sharing in that experience. Sometimes it’s I want you to know more about me, or I want to know more about you so we can become closer. We try to tell these stories so you can step into my shoes for a little bit so you can know what life is like for me or what life is like for you. I think it’s all about understanding each other a little better and stories are a great way to spread empathy.

“Empathy is how we’re going to find and settle these big huge conflicts in the world today. When we always see these other groups as “the other,” we’ll never be able to find peace or resolution. I think that’s what story is all about, in all these forms. It’s all about sharing stories so that we can relate to each other and share in these experiences.” Chris Dinh

Kollab: Now that all these new platforms are available, what do you hope to see for the future of media?

Chris: This is where I’m going to start sounding crazy. I think the future is going to be really crazy. We’re going to be able to get to a point— and it sounds like it’s really super futuristic, but it’s not because we’re super close— I’m going to be able to wear a virtual reality helmet and almost live the experience of my parents. Someone will be able to program that world so I can see what it was like growing up in Vietnam, or stepping onto the boat for the first time to escape. Language is a beautiful thing, but one day when we can totally step inside someone’s stories, literally step in through technology, then I’m going to appreciate my parent’s stories in a totally different way. I think that’s subconsciously what we’re trying to achieve in storytelling and technology. Until you can really experience it, I think that’s the future. That’s crazy talk, but at the core, that’s what story is.

Kollab: Any last general advice or words of encouragement?

Chris: For any storyteller out there who wants to start telling stories, on whatever platform that they choose, my advice would be to take it as seriously as, let’s say a doctor takes med school. All the people who are doing it at the highest levels consider any of the various ways to tell stories see it as a profession and as serious as medicine or law, or business. It’s going to be as difficult as any of those other fields, so treat it accordingly. That’ll help you have a long future in it. We see a lot of the fun outcomes, but what you don’t se is that they take it very seriously. It’s a pretty difficult journey, so be ready for that.


Cover image courtesy of Angry Asian Man

Kollaboration SF Interviews Buzzfeed’s Ashly Perez

Ashly Perez sat down with Kollaboration SF Staff Member, Layla Yu, to talk about the importance of representation for Asian-Americans in the media, working at BuzzFeed, and insecurities. Perez hosted Kollaboration San Francisco’s 6th annual Artist Showcase held at the Memorial Theater in San Francisco on October 10, 2015.

Watch all 3 parts of this exclusive interview series, and then check out Kollab SF’s excellent writeup.


See more from Kollaboration SF

Anna Akana on Conducting Interviews, Show-Biz Lessons, and Being Honest

Anna Akana is everywhere.  Well, not literally.  However, Anna figuratively has an egg in a lot of baskets.

While she’s mostly known for her hilarious and thought-provoking YouTube channel, Anna has also appeared in feature films like Ant-Man, and Hello, My Name is Doris, and has had roles on television shows like MTV’s Awkward, and ABC Family’s The Fosters.  Along with this, Anna stars in live improv shows and designs t-shirts for her fashion line, Ghost and Stars.

Even with all this on her plate, Anna was gracious enough to take the time for us and answer some questions about what she’s working on now and more:

What were you doing right before this?
Interviewing people for an assistant position.

I’ve never interviewed someone to work for me!  Is it as nerve-wracking as being the interview-ee?
It’s not nerve-wracking at all.  It’s more monotonous.  You hope that every single person who comes in will be the right person.

What was the last YouTube Video you saw?
I watched The Fine Bros most recent Last Moments that I was in.  I played a girlfriend who wanted to make up a grandiose story about how we met.  It was great!

Is it more fun to act, direct, or write on a project?
I love acting.  That’s my favorite part of filmmaking.

What is most important to you when you are working on a project?
That I give it my all.

Do quality, quantity, the number of views, etc. play a role in this?
As long as I learned something that I can apply to my next project, I am happy.

What is one of the biggest lessons you learned from this line of work?
I learned that you have to be ok with being a boss.  And when hiring friends, beware.  Relationship dynamics may be messed with.

What do you do when you have a creative block/when you’re stuck?
Reading helps.  I enjoy Steven King.

Your vlogs are very genuine, funny, and personal.  Is it scary to share so much of yourself with your audience? 
I used to be a pathological liar, so honesty is always the best policy for me.  It can be scary, yes, but ultimately I’m happy that I was at least honest.

What’s next up for Anna?  While we are keeping our fingers crossed for another Marvel movie (she is too!), check out her most recent short film, “Loose Ends,” on YouTube.

Aziz Ansari Covers Drake, Kimora Lee Reads Sherman Alexie, Eugene Lee Yang with Silver Hair: Asian-American Instagram

Selfies, food, sceneries, pets, and other life tidbits. What do you know, our favourite Asian-American celebrities are just like the rest of us. Take a look at our weekly round-up for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their fascinating lives. Continue reading “Aziz Ansari Covers Drake, Kimora Lee Reads Sherman Alexie, Eugene Lee Yang with Silver Hair: Asian-American Instagram”

How BuzzFeed’s Eugene Lee Yang Became One of the Most Recognizable Faces on the Internet

Look, we’re just going to say it: Eugene Lee Yang is freaking awesome. On a recent trip to BuzzFeed’s LA headquarters, Kollaboration got to spend an hour with the one and only Eugene. During that time, we were able to learn that this self-proclaimed workaholic is a) a serious filmmaker, b) a staunch supporter of all things Asian American, c) absolutely not a fan of racist jokes, d) unfiltered about his views toward issues of diversity, and e) intensely eloquent.

Born and raised in Texas, Eugene grew up in a community where he and his family were the only Asian faces among a sea of whites, Blacks, and Latinos. To see any Asians he had to go to the Korean church, 45 minutes away by car.

As a child, Eugene was sensitive and introspective, and often expressed himself through artistic outlets: from visual arts and illustration, to theater, choir, and dance. Pursuing film wasn’t on Eugene’s radar. “I kind of considered it as a rich white person thing because that’s all that was on screen,” he says. In seventh grade, a teacher recommended that he consider film as a serious profession. He took the advice, and even at a young age, had his sights set on the University of Southern California’s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts.

He graduated from USC with a production degree in 2008, and then spent 5 years mostly working freelance and making commercials and music videos. (Check out some of his other work on the website of his production company, The Menagerie.) In 2013, Eugene joined BuzzFeed Video after being referred by a colleague who believed in his talent for creating engaging short-form videos. And the rest, well, we’ll let him tell you himself. Here are 23 things Eugene had to say about his life, his insights on media, his work with BuzzFeed, and Asian American representation:

1. Getting in front of the camera was never a thing I actively volunteered for. It wasn’t because I was a good actor, or that I was funny on screen. It came down to a simple decision that we need more diversity on screen. And that’s all it takes, is to say, “There’s an Asian guy here, throw the Asian on camera.”

2. People think my ego has inflated so much more since I’ve been on screen, but it’s not true. It’s been completely compacted into this small, determined, straight-forward, objective-driven mission, which is to be part of something that is much larger than myself.

3. I never seriously considered myself as an actor. I wanted to impart change through my perspective, in my writing and my director’s voice.

4. I realized there was more impact with my face in the scene, than strictly being a director. Which was a hard pill to swallow for someone who was very serious about filmmaking for very long time. But now I get to control the voice of the piece, while being the face of the piece.

5. I’m not quite aware of this success people talk about until people recognize me on the street. I get that a lot. Some people just yell “Asian BuzzFeed guy!” and I turn around and distinctly yell back “Eugene!”

6. I was always the ugly kid. Always. So when people said they liked me, I was like “oh do you like…my brain?” Because I was always made to believe that I’m just like white people, only I looked different, which disqualified me for a lot of things, like being in the spotlight and in front of the camera.

7. These days, you don’t produce things to just creatively masturbate. You want to create something that people can share for a very long time. And that’s the challenge for any online video producer to understand, is that we are part of a much larger conversation.

8. Here’s the difference between traditional film and internet viral videos: The conversation sort of stops for filmmakers once the product is out. You devise a project as a statement, and it’s there for the public to digest and discuss. With an internet video, you instead conceive them to be part of an ongoing conversation. With my recent video about women’s ideal body types throughout history, for example, what we could do was create something that added a different perspective to the subject, so that people can respond and discuss the issue in an intelligent manner.

9. I have a lot of videos I haven’t released because I realized with where I am now, as this sort of media figure, what I potentially represent for young Asian Americans is much more important than me creating my own art that could possibly be very divisive.

10. I did a video: Awkward Moments Only Asians Understand. And I realized it did so well because the comedic tropes for the Asian community haven’t changed for over 30 years. It dawned on me that this was an issue for the Asian community at large. Being the invisible middle is like you’re open hunting season for jokes.

11. A lot of well-known Asian comedians, a lot of their routines play into the Asian stereotypes because it’s what the audience laughs at, because it’s always been okay to laugh at. You say “ching chong” and you get a huge laugh out of it. A mission of mine is to start yelling at people who laugh at those things. You just need someone to tell people that it’s still very harmful for young people to see these stereotypes.

12. It’s tired. It’s boring, and I get really unimpressed. A lot of times I go to a comedy show, I sit there and wait for the comedian to run out of ideas and look at me and make an Asian joke. I tell my friends still, constantly, to shut up when they make Asian jokes. No. Shut up. I don’t care. Don’t do that around me.

13. Now you get people who have this colorblind perspective, which is equally harmful. We can’t have people saying that we are all the same, because we’re not.

14. We tend to forget that our parents came here with nothing and worked hard for their success. Other people think we’re upwardly mobile, that we’re just like white people. And it’s like, no we’re not. Most of us are children of immigrants. We didn’t come here with bags of money.

15. The assumption that it’s just okay to make fun of a community that they think is doing fine is bulls–t.

16. When people say, “I was a slacker in high school, I smoked a lot of pot, so it makes me a cool Asian.” I’m just like, “I don’t care.” Sure, that’s great, you do you, but don’t think yourself as less Asian because of it. There are a s–t ton of Asians who smoke pot. You can’t be an Asian American and be proud of your non-Asian-ness.

17. People think that everything comes down to old rich white men. They’re not the common denominator anymore. The future is changing every single second, so you’re either going to ride that wave and be on top of the game, or still be scratching some white guy’s door in ten years and be behind the curve.

18. We need more people who push for not only equality but diversification within diversity. People bring up that we have supporting characters on television now, like, “It’s not just the sassy Black receptionist, but there’s like an Asian friend who works there, too.” But no. We need Asian male romantic leads. We need Asian girls who are comedy leads.

19. Right now is the first time in history where there is a rebuttal to a one-sided argument, and BuzzFeed is at the forefront of this wave, of young creatives being able to represent themselves in the way without fear of repercussion that could be violent.

20. I’m always shocked at how little we are represented on film and TV. It’s as if our stories are not controversial, or staggeringly painful enough for the older white audience to pat themselves on the back to say, “Oh, I learned something; I feel bad for what we did in history.” Even though we were on the railroads and in the internment camps. But we’re not white-looking enough to be the leads. That’s always been the issue.

21. It’s supply and demand. Most Asian Americans, like myself, as a child, did not see either supply or demand of Asians on television. Now casting directors are using the bulls–t excuse of there not being enough demand, because they’re making less demand for it, so then we don’t see opportunities for ourselves, and we don’t try. I would never have supplied myself as an actor if I didn’t join BuzzFeed.

22. The great thing about the proliferation of K-pop is that it puts Asian faces out there. Adjusted, but still Asian faces. If it’s even one small town girl who is now obsessed with supporting Asian culture, then more power to them!

23. We have the right to be angry about our representation in the media. It’s just not a reflection of how we live our daily lives. It’s not even a reflection of the general audience and how they live their daily lives. Teenagers these days have very diverse groups of friends. There’s a reason we all cried when Gina Rodriguez won that Golden Globe. It didn’t matter if we’re Latina. We get it. We’re just like, “Thank you! Finally, a more accurate reflection of diversity!”


Photo courtesy of Eugene Lee Yang

Interview with Photographer Johnny Nguyen on his Viral Ferguson Rally Hug Photo

By now, many people have seen it. On November 25th, the city of Portland, Oregon held a rally following the announcement of no charges being pressed against former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown back in August. From that particular rally emerged a photo that has since gone viral; a photo of 12-year-old Devonte Hart tearfully sharing an embrace with Portland Sergeant Bret Barnum. The photo has emerged as a light in darkness during this time of riots and protests and has since been featured on TIME, Fox News, CNN, ABC News, and NBC.

Kollaboration recently had the privilege to interview Johnny Nguyen; the man responsible for capturing this moment on camera. In the following interview, Nguyen talks about how he got started in photography, how he went about with taking this particular photograph, and his thoughts about the issue surrounding Ferguson.


Can tell us a little bit about yourself?  Who are you, where do you come from, and how did you first get into photography?

My name is Johnny Nguyen, a 20 year old Vietnamese-American and free-lance photographer based in Portland, Oregon. I’ve always been into the arts growing up. Either it being music, poetry, acting, I was always involved in the art programs at my high school, David Douglas High School. I’ve been interested in photography since I was a kid, but I didn’t take it seriously until I bought my first camera in 2011. From there, I read multiple books, and applied what I learned in the streets. That’s how I really got into street photography. Everyday I would go downtown and shoot anything and everything, messing with my camera, learning the way it functions, the way light works in an image. At this point, my camera is no longer just a tool, but it’s become my voice. Something every artist yearns for. I consider myself lucky. I shoot what I want to convey. I shoot things and people that inspire me or fire me up. I shoot because every image teaches me something either about myself or about the world around me.

Many people are probably more familiar with your work now after that photograph you took at the Ferguson rally in Portland of a 12-year-old boy tearfully embracing a police officer went viral.  Can you describe how you approached taking this particular photograph and can you explain the story behind it for those who don’t know?

I found out about the protest through Facebook. I arrived at the Justice Center in Downtown Portland, Oregon around 3:30-ish, and when I arrived at the scene, there was already a huge crowd of people. Naturally, I went and started snapping photos. I got inside the crowd and got close ups of people. I climbed a tall wall to capture a photo that displayed the amount of people. And basically whatever my gut was telling me to shoot, I shot. I walked down the steps on the side of the Justice Center, and walked across the street to which I saw Devonte holding a “Free Hugs” sign around his neck, tears running down his face. Right there and then, I knew something was special about Devonte. He was a subject I wanted to capture because in the midst of the signs protesting, his sign was the only one I thought was the most positive. I took some pictures of him without him noticing. My mind was telling me there were more photo-opportunities in the crowd, but my gut was telling me to stay with Devonte for a little longer. So, I stood on the side of the road, about 10-15 feet away. I was taking more pictures of people holding up their signs. Then, I turned back around to Devonte, and I saw him speaking to Sgt. Barnum. At that moment, I knew something special was going on. There was something powerful about the scene – a White American police officer speaking to a young Black American boy. A stark juxtaposition that had to be captured. So, I started shooting. Before I knew it, they were hugging it out. As fast as I could adjust my settings, I got as close as I could and shot about seven pictures, but I knew I had something by the third time the shutter opened and closed.


What are your thoughts on the attention this one photograph has been getting?

I am very happy that the photo has gone viral. Not because I’m getting recognition for my work as a photographer, but the fact that the photo has impacted people all over the country. I’ve even gotten emails from people across the world – France, Norway, Netherlands. All of the feedback I’ve gotten has been positive. People tell me how my photo has helped them feel more hopeful, that it’s restored their faith in humanity, that it brought them to tears, that this photo is what the country needed, especially in the troubled times we’re living in now. I’m just glad so many people have seen this photo because it has sparked a positive wave, and I feel like that’s the best way to go about our struggles. To be positive. To love. To be compassionate. I feel like that’s what my photo displays, and I feel like people see that too. I feel like people needed and wanted to see something like this, and that’s why it got so popular.

I don’t know how familiar you are with this, but some people in the Asian American community think we shouldn’t worry too much about this issue [surrounding Ferguson] because it involves the death of a black man.  However, there are others who say we should focus on this issue and take action, not only because of it affecting the country we live in as a whole, but also because it shows that there’s still a lack of equality amongst people of color.  What are your thoughts on that aspect of the issue and what direction do you think it’s going to go in?

What we should learn from this, and especially children like Devonte, is that we aren’t as different from each other than we think. Children know no color. Children just want to play, they just want to love and be loved. I think we have a lot to learn from our youth. As for me, I absolutely support all people of all races. We’re all human beings. We all have blood rushing through our veins. We all dream under the same sky.  What makes us so different is the way that we think. We need to find a way to educate ourselves. We need to understand that we’re all in this together, so why not help and work together? I think that if we continue to think like this, we’ll see progress.

Where can people find you or your works?

People can find my work on my website at and on Instagram and Twitter: @chambersvisuals.

-Interview conducted by Lauren Lola on November 29, 2014. Photos published with Johnny Nguyen’s permission.

The Fu Launches New Puppet Web Series ‘The FuZees’

Kollaboration Atlanta alums Jacob and Josh Fu, also known as The Fu, are no rookies when it comes to creating original songs and sketches for YouTube. However, the brothers are entering uncharted territory with their newly launched kids web series, The FuZees.

Similar to Sesame Streets, The FuZees is a weekly puppet web series that teaches children, ages 3-5, about social and behavioral issues through music, art and dance. Each episode is about 10 minutes long and features puppet avatars of the Fu brothers, who tackle the episode’s highlighted issue or theme with the help of a YouTube guest.

The pilot, which aired last Saturday, Nov. 8, featured Jen (From Head to Toe) as its first guest and focused on the issue of identity.

According to The Fu, the idea for the show stemmed from the brothers’ 2011 cover of “Man or Muppet,” an Academy Award-winning song from the musical film The Muppets. The Fu had built homemade puppets for the cover music video and since then had a kids puppet show on the back of their minds. But, they had no idea where to start.

“We had a desire and love for puppets in general but we had no background in what it would take to actually control and make the puppets,” Josh told New Media Rockstars (NMR). “We basically learned from scratch what we needed to do.”

It wasn’t until earlier this year that the brothers were able to find the right production team and puppeteers to help them bring their vision to life. They were also able to film the entire series at the YouTube Space L.A. for free, thanks to their 100,000 plus subscribers on their main channel, The Fu Music.

“We chose YouTube to be the place to put the show because we’ve been on it for a while,” said Josh. “We love the community aspect and the interactive aspect and we really wanted to take advantage of that.”

The Fu also said they decided to release The FuZees exclusively on YouTube because they wanted to create a show that was classy and solid in terms of music, set design, scripts and guests since there’s very few high-quality children’s content tailored for YouTube that is not taken from television.

“We’re really open to seeing what’s going to work with kids and we’ll definitely test stuff out,” Jacob told NMR. “We want to be able to introduce them to what the world of YouTube will look like as they get older.”

You can learn more about the making of The FuZees by watching the behind-the-scenes videos below!

The first season of The FuZees will have 16 episodes and will air every week on Saturday mornings. Follow the show on Facebook and twitter

Morgan Lynzi to Explore East and West Pop Culture Crossover in “East Meets Morgan”

ISAtv announced yesterday that it has picked up web series East Meets Morgan, an experiential pop culture show hosted by blogger and internet personality Morgan Lynzi exploring the bridge between East and West pop cultures through music, style, food, and beyond. Continue reading “Morgan Lynzi to Explore East and West Pop Culture Crossover in “East Meets Morgan””

15 Asian-American Celebrities Without Eyebrows

Since it’s Thursday, let’s #TBT all the way back to 2011, when photoshops of celebrities without eyebrows were making the rounds on social media, particularly Reddit and Tumblr. The one thing I found mesmerizing about them was that on a lot of celebrities, you can barely tell that their eyebrows are missing; whereas for others, removing their eyebrows completely destroyed their beauty, turning them into what I imagine David Icke’s reptilian humanoids must look like. Well, during the process of photoshopping away eyebrows of Asian-American celebrities, I came to one conclusion: we Asians NEED our eyebrows!

Steven Yeun

Jamie Chung

Bruno Mars

Brenda Song

Bobby Lee

Arden Cho

Ryan Higa

Sung Kang

Margaret Cho

George Takei

Harry Shum Jr.

Jay Park

John Cho

Nicole Scherzinger

Lucy Liu

(I’m sorry, Lucy!)