See Stars of Superstore, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Mary Poppins @ 2nd Comedy Comedy Fest’s Opening Musical Show, 8pm Thursday, Aug. 25 @ JACCC DTLA

Opening night of The 2nd Annual Comedy Comedy Festival kicks off with a night of musical comedy from the stars of your favorite television comedies and Broadway shows!

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Co-produced by Tess Paras, THE MUSICAL MUSICAL SHOW: A MUSICAL COMEDY SHOW is part of THE COMEDY COMEDY FESTIVAL: A COMEDY FESTIVAL produced by Disoriented Comedy and Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) and it is taking place on Thursday, August 25, 2016 from 8:00pm – 9:30pm.

LOCATION:
Aratani Theatre at the JACCC
244 S San Pedro Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

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FEATURING:
~ HOST Amy Hill (Lifetime’s UnReal, The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
~ Vincent Rodriguez III (The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
~ Nico Santos (NBC’s Superstore) – 2016 #FACactorspanel guest
~ Rodney To (NBC’s Parks & Recreation)
~ Parvesh Cheena (The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, NBC’s A to Z)
~ Tess Paras (The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, YouTube) – 2015 & 2016 #FACactorspanel guest
~ Kevin Yee (Original Broadway cast of Mary Poppins).

JUST ADDED INTO THE MIX: 
~ Haneefah Wood (BET’s Zoey Ever After, Broadway casts of Rent and Avenue Q)
~ Ayana Rechenberg
~ Cynthia Kao (staff writer for TBS’ Ground Floor)

BUY TICKETS NOW: $20 for General Admission / $15 for JACCC members:  https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/10106032

—– REFRESHMENTS —–
Beer, Wine and Soju available for purchase.

—– 7PM-8PM OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION —–
Opening Night Reception // Listening Party “Voices of Our Vote: #MyAAPIVote Album” co-presented by Traktivist.com – Asian American Music & Radio (http://www.traktivist.com/) and 18 Million Rising (http://18millionrising.org/)

Walk the red carpet, celebrate the opening night of the festival, and get a preview listen to the “Voices of Our Vote: #MyAAPIVote Album” – a mixtape of 32 tracks by Asian American musicians encouraging folks to turn out to vote on Election Day November 8th. The album will officially drop on VoicesOfOurVote.org on on Sept. 6th and including Rocky Rivera, St. Lenox, Gingee, Priska, Mandeep Sethi, Joules, Gunrolla, Connie Lim, and DANakaDAN.

Featuring:
~ DJ Richie Traktivist
~ Light refreshments and wine, beer and sake.
~ Gourmet cupcakes from Chef Dara Yu (Top 2 Finalist of Master Chef Junior, Season 1)
~ Donuts and treats from Cafe Dulce, Little Tokyo

—– SPONSOR THE FESTIVAL —–
Be a friend to comedy.
Email: sponsors@comedycomedyfest.com

—– TICKETING / BOX OFFICE —–
Got a ticketing question?
The box office is open Tuesday – Friday from 12 to 5 PM and one hour prior to a show.
Phone: (213) 680-3700
Email: boxoffice@jaccc.org

—– CONNECT WITH THE COMEDY COMEDY FESTIVAL —–
comedycomedyfest.com
facebook.com/comedycomedyfest
twitter.com/itscomedycomedy
instagram.com/itscomedycomedy
#ComedyComedyFest

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FilAm Creative (FAC) is an all volunteer community organization dedicated to the advancement of Filipino-Americans in entertainment and media.

Newsletter Subscription: filamcreative@gmail.com

Blog: filamcreative.org

Facebook Page: facebook.com/filamcreative

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/filamcreative

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Twitter: @FilAmCreative 

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Self Acceptance vs. Self Denial: This Is My Filipino American Story (Part 1)

Self Acceptance vs. Self Denial:  This Is My Filipino American Story

Written by Edwin Santos 

1st FAC Banner Blog 2016

Why are Filipino Americans still forgotten and invisible?

Filipino American professor and community activist E.J. R. David asked that question (link) after reading a piece from the New York Times series, “Conversations on Race” (link) where Asian Americans talk about how stereotypes unfairly brand them as the “model minority.”  He noticed that out of the twelve participants whose stories were featured and shared, not one name appeared to be Filipino.

 

He pointed to five key reasons why Filipino American are still forgotten and invisible, even today:
(1)  Uniqueness of Filipino American History
(2)  Huge Filipino American Population
(3)  Large Immigrant Population
(4)  Significant Contributions to “Asian American” Identity
(5)  Filipino Experience Racism at a Very High Rate

I’d like to add a sixth point:  Self Acceptance vs. Self Denial. Identity.  This is my story, a Filipino American story.

I first wrote about this subject on my own blog (link), after Filipinos reached a milestone in American TV history…twice on the same week.  While every Pinoy and Filipino American publication reported on Crazy Ex-Girfriend when the musical comedy introduced the first Filipino American family on primetime broadcast mainstream television, I noted that history was also made when two different shows featured Filipino American storylines in the same week.  And, it was the lesser known NBC comedy I related to the most.
 
Truth Be Told
starred Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Vanessa Minnillo-Lachey as parents, with Sophie Mackenzie Nack as their daughter.  The episode was about self acceptance.
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Vanessa Minnillo-Lachey and the cast of the NBC comedy, “Truth Be Told”

The Thanksgiving episode of Truth Be Told (link) was a long time coming for me. The subject of denying your cultural heritage wasn’t new — I first saw it in Gene Cajayon’s 2000 film The Debut, when Dante Basco’s character rebelled against the Filipino heritage of his immigrant parents. But the experience of seeing it on television, in prime time, on a broadcast network — the power of television — it was an eye opener.  For someone who spent most of his life denying being Filipino, I saw my life speaking to me from the screen for the first time. It was like holding a mirror up to my face.

In the show, it was the first-generation, American-born Filipina mother, the parent, who rejected her culture her entire life growing up — only to embrace it later when she finds her daughter rejecting her Filipino Barbie doll, subjecting it to stereotypical and almost derogatory terms. That hit below the belt for me, hearing a child say that. I realized how ignorant I was.
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Sophie Mackenzie Nack avoiding Filipino food on Thanksgiving in “Truth Be Told”

I do not speak for those who came to the United States of America as children and decided to deny who they are.  In my opinion, it would be a difficult task because they spoke Tagalog and carried the traits that are specific to the culture.  I do not. I was born and raised in the U.S. and my parents never taught and spoke to me Tagalog. I’m English-only.  And, despite being exposed to the culture — from family gatherings in the U.S., to summer vacations in the Philippines, to being part of cultural organizations, to even living in the Philippines for one entire year — I continued to deny my ethnicity.  Even when faced with choosing my identity on a job application, rather than checking off Filipino, instead I check off Asian.  Most of the time, it was not even an effort.  In Los Angeles, I listened to KROQ music than the R&B music on KJLH or the KDAY jams Filipinos love. I enjoy baseball more than basketball.  Moreover, I told people I am American Filipino.  And so on. There was nothing in common between us.

In an interview from Yahoo Style (link), actress Shay Mitchell of Pretty Little Liars admitted she was once deeply unhappy with her half Filipino-heritage and went out of her way to look more Caucasian.  
Pretty Little Liars - Episode 7.03 - The Talented Mr. Rollins

Shay Mitchell in “Pretty Little Liars” on Freeform

“I hated being asked who I was, and all my friends had blonde hair and blue eyes,” Mitchell says, having grown up in a predominately white area of Toronto.  She dyed her hair lighter, wore colored contacts and hid from the sun to leave her skin pale.

I always believed only first-generation Filipino Americans would go through this experience of self denial, and every generation after them would proudly accept their culture.  But, every Filipino American faces the question anew, of how to identify with and accept their heritage.

As I matured, I began to embrace the Filipino culture and my early exposure to it in earlier periods of my life.  I also started having more Filipino American friends, most of them much younger than me — because they have an experience like mine:  American-born and English-only. I felt a sense of guilt of my past denial of my own culture. I finally spoke about this in 2008, at the Chicago Filipino American Film Festival, in a group discussion among other FilAm filmmakers. It was a load off after carrying it for years.

Truth Be Told was quietly cancelled at the end of last year, as NBC struck down the sets and cast lead actor Tone Bell in another series.  The final two episodes were burned off on Christmas Day.  But, the spark was already lit.  Filipino Americans are the second largest Asian ancestry group in the United States of America (link: Page 15, Column 2).  We haven’t been fully seen yet.  We haven’t been fully forgotten.  Our next breakthroughs will come from getting ourselves first, and continuing to share what we see in ourselves.

(Part 1 of 2)

#TransformationTuesday: Watch FAC’s Inaugural Hollywood Actors Panel (Part 2 – Premiere) @ Bidyo YouTube Channel

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#TransformationTuesday:

FilAm Creative presents the Part 2 – Premiere of FAC’s 1st Hollywood Actors Panel for Actors— a panel discussion and networking event featuring special guest panelists representing the craft of acting across the board.

Watch our special industry guest panelists of our inaugural event ~ JANET TSCHA (talent agent from Arlene Thornton & Associates), BILLY DAMOTA (casting director, C.S.A.), EUGENE CORDERO (actor & improv teacher; Kong: Skull Island, Ghostbusters, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Other Space, Upright Citizens Brigade) and TESS PARAS (actress, writer & producer; Typecast, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Make Your Face Great Again Makeup Tutorial, Grimm) ~ discuss their explorations of the process and profession of acting; their reflections on personal experiences and artistic influences that informed and shaped their careers; their discussions of past and current projects and share valuable insights into the craft and the industry.

This may be the first (or one of the only) events held specifically targeting Filipino American actors. There are 4 million Filipinos in the United States yet, Filipinos are under-represented in film and television today. Why is that?

FAC ACTORS PANEL CREW:
Producer: Edwin A. Santos
Host & Moderator: Edward J. Mallillin
Camera: Walter Boholst
Lights & Tech: Rian Kountz

Recorded live at THE CLUBHOUSE IMPROV in Los Angeles, California (Saturday, September 19, 2015).  For more information about The Clubhouse, click here: http://www.clubhouseimprov.com/

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FilAm Creative (FAC) is an all volunteer community organization dedicated to the advancement of Filipino-Americans in entertainment and media.

Newsletter Subscription: filamcreative@gmail.com

Blog: filamcreative.org

Facebook Page: facebook.com/filamcreative

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/filamcreative

FB Filmmaker Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/166470930219785/

Twitter: @FilAmCreative 

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/filamcreative

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/filamcreative/

LinkedIn: FilAm Creative Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/FilAm-Creative-4324469?homeNewMember&gid=4324469&trk=eml-grp-sub&ut=0dH15FHJ–GR81

Vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/filamcreative

#MondayMotivation: Watch FAC’s Inaugural Hollywood Actors Panel (Part 1 – Premiere) @ FilAm Creative YouTube Channel

FAC actors card 1

#MondayMotivation:

FilAm Creative presents the Part 1 – Premiere of FAC’s 1st Hollywood Actors Panel for Actors — a panel discussion and networking event featuring special guest panelists representing the craft of acting across the board.

Watch our special industry guest panelists of our inaugural event ~ JANET TSCHA (talent agent from Arlene Thornton & Associates), BILLY DAMOTA (casting director, C.S.A.), EUGENE CORDERO (actor & improv teacher; Kong: Skull Island, Ghostbusters, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Other Space, Upright Citizens Brigade) and TESS PARAS (actress, writer & producer; Typecast, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Make Your Face Great Again Makeup Tutorial, Grimm) ~ discuss their explorations of the process and profession of acting; their reflections on personal experiences and artistic influences that informed and shaped their careers; their discussions of past and current projects and share valuable insights into the craft and the industry.

This may be the first (or one of the only) events held specifically targeting Filipino American actors. There are 4 million Filipinos in the United States yet, Filipinos are under-represented in film and television today. Why is that?

FAC ACTORS PANEL CREW:
Producer: Edwin A. Santos
Host & Moderator: Edward J. Mallillin
Camera: Walter Boholst
Lights & Tech: Rian Kountz

Recorded live at THE CLUBHOUSE IMPROV in Los Angeles, California (Saturday, September 19, 2015).  For more information about The Clubhouse, click here: http://www.clubhouseimprov.com/

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FilAm Creative (FAC) is an all volunteer community organization dedicated to the advancement of Filipino-Americans in entertainment and media.

Newsletter Subscription: filamcreative@gmail.com

Blog: filamcreative.org

Facebook Page: facebook.com/filamcreative

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/filamcreative

FB Filmmaker Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/166470930219785/

Twitter: @FilAmCreative 

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/filamcreative

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/filamcreative/

LinkedIn: FilAm Creative Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/FilAm-Creative-4324469?homeNewMember&gid=4324469&trk=eml-grp-sub&ut=0dH15FHJ–GR81

Vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/filamcreative

What Happened at FAC’s 7th Annual Filipino Heritage Dodgers Night?

FilAm Creative hosted their 7th Annual Filipino Heritage Dodgers Night earlier tonight at Dodger Stadium. Our annual social gathering that always sells out!  The Los Angeles Dodgers currently holds its second place position with seven games behind the first place San Francisco Giants in the National League West’s Major League Baseball standings. Tonight’s game with Milwaukee is essential after the Blue Team lost to the Brewers yesterday Thursday in this four-game series at home.

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FilAm Creative Staff: Meriden Villanueva, Walter Boholst, Walter Talens, Arlyn Sinsay, Edward J. Mallillin and Rex Sampaga at FAC’s 7th Annual Dodgers Filipino Heritage Night

Currently tied at 2-2 in the eigth inning, earlier this afternoon, 100 FAC members and their friends trickled in and joined up with our FAC Staff at the bleachers seconds away from the All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion!  All you can eat like the Pinoy Dog: a quarter-pound, all-beef hot dog topped with diced spam, pineapple, Sabrett’s onions, and chicharrones provided by Levy’s Restaurant.  And, you can down all that with San Miguel Beer!  Also available at the All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion are unlimited Dodger Dogs (yummy!), nachos, popcorn, peanuts, soft drinks and water!

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Pinoy Dog from Levy’s Restaurant

FilAm Creative’s Ticket Package also included group preferred ticket seating!  As you can see the photo below, there are lots of seats to choose from!

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Walter Talens and Edward J. Mallillin wait for the others.

Look at this fantastic view!  And the Black Eyed Peas’ apl.de.ap threw out the first pitch!

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More of us started to fill in the benches.

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Cecile Mallillin-Quisumbing and her friends

We received the EXCLUSIVE Dodgers’ Filipino Night T-Shirt of 2016!

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Did we say the event is sold out?

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It is now the ninth inning and the Dodgers are still tied at 2 with the Brewers!  Nail-biting moments as each play is made by both teams while the innings continue forward.  We asked ourselves… Will the boys in blue break the tie before going into extra innings?

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Photo-op!

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Meriden Villanueva and Zizi Lee

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Meriden Villanueva and Edward J. Mallillin (who noticed Justin Turner’s 2nd home run)

To break the monotony, we sang the Dodgers war song (below).

All of a sudden, in the tenth inning with the bases-loaded with one out, Justin Turner follows up his two home runs before reaching the seventh inning when he hits a single that gave the the Dodgers a 3-2 walk-off win over the Brewers (with two runs, twelve hits and one error).  The boys in blue won tonight with two games a piece in this four game series.  The Dodgers hope to win the next two games and lessen the lead with the Giants.

100+ FilAm Creative members and supporters represented at tonight’s 7th Annual Filipino Heritage Dodgers Night. THANK YOU EVERYONE for supporting FAC, our events and programs!  Now viewing the Friday Night Fireworks presented by Denny’s — also part of our Ticket Package — presented in old skool ’80s & ’90s hip hop music (below).

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~ Edwin Santos (6/17/16)

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FilAm Creative (FAC) is an all volunteer community organization dedicated to the advancement of Filipino-Americans in entertainment and media.

Newsletter Subscription: filamcreative@gmail.com

Blog: filamcreative.org

Facebook Page: facebook.com/filamcreative

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/filamcreative

FB Filmmaker Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/166470930219785/

Twitter: @FilAmCreative 

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/filamcreative

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/filamcreative/

LinkedIn: FilAm Creative Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/FilAm-Creative-4324469?homeNewMember&gid=4324469&trk=eml-grp-sub&ut=0dH15FHJ–GR81

Vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/filamcreative

What Happened at FilAm Creative 2nd Annual Hollywood Actors Panel for Actors & Networking Event?

THIS ALSO

Host Edward J. Mallillin with guests Nico Santos, Tess Paras, Dea Vise and Phil Brock

On Saturday, June 4, 2016, FilAm Creative hosted their 2nd annual industry expert panel devoted specifically towards Filipino American actors in addition to providing useful information to all.

Much useful information was presented by the diverse panel: Casting Director Dea Vise (Casting Society of America), Talent Manager & Founder Phil Brock (Studio Talent Group) and FilAm actor/standup comedian, Nico Santos (NBC’s Superstore) and returning, FilAm actress, writer, producer Tess Paras (The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend).

Dea Vise: https://filamcreative.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/hollywood-actors-panel-june-4-2016-meet-casting-director-dea-vise-csa/

Phil Brock:  https://filamcreative.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/hollywood-actors-panel-june-4-2016-meet-talent-manager-phil-brock-studio-talent-group/

Nico Santos:  https://filamcreative.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/hollywood-actors-panel-june-4-2016-meet-actor-stand-up-comedian-nico-santos-of-nbcs-superstore/

Tess Paras:  https://filamcreative.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/hollywood-actors-panel-june-4-2016-meet-actresswriterproducer-tess-paras-of-the-cws-crazy-ex-girlfriend/

After the introductions were made by our special guest panelists, Edward J. Mallillin (co-founder of FilAm Creative and a Board of Director) begins the panel.  Throughout the afternoon, the panelists engaged on such topics as how they got started in the business and what do they enjoy most about their careers.  But, five hot topics were brought up that Saturday afternoon and are essential for any actor.

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FAC’s 2nd Annual Hollywood Actors Panel for Actors & Networking Event

Edward J. Mallillin:  What is the hardest part of your career?

Phil Brock:  When an agent or manager is submitting talent, you lose thousands of other actors.  Every time you submit, someone else may not get that audition.  So, you learn how to take those morsels when you get that audition for somebody and treasure that.  Because in the end of each day…you may have submitted your actors to hundreds of times between TV, commercials and film and theatre…and you find out you get back a little stack of auditions, but you submitted this huge stack. That’s distressing.

Dea Vise:  The thing I guess that frustrates me the most is that when actors are given that rare opportunity for an audition, they are not off book.  And, it’s amazing to me why even do it? Waste everybody’s time?

Tess Paras:  The toughest thing, but it’s also a job requirement is keeping at it.  And, a lot of it is, at a certain point, you do what you do whatever your strengths are and you kind of have to let it go and realize that the project sometimes isn’t for you.  Or, you could do the best you can do, but they want somebody who is taller or who’s older, etc.  So, the biggest challenge there is to know that you did the best you could do, you did the work, you came prepared…and then realizing that — walk away, that’s all you can do.  As long as you brought your “A Game,” that’s all you could do.  Because it doesn’t really do any service to be hung up on stuff you didn’t get.  You got to keep looking forward, and keep creating and doing your thing.

Nico Santos:  I came to a point where I had to accept and realize that the “Big Dream” may never happen.  You just have to resign yourself to the fact that you have to enjoy the process of being here (Los Angeles) and going for it.  But, you know, for a lot of people, I’m sure we all know this, I have friends who’ve been here 15 to 20 years who haven’t book or went further for that guest star role.  That rejection you face everyday is so just brutal.

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Casting Director Dea Vise, C.S.A.

Edward J. Mallillin:  What motivates you?  What keeps you motivated?

Tess Paras:  I love something somebody made that’s great. Like a “happy envy” or a “positive stress,” anytime I see a new show or something, I’m like “That’s brilliant. Why didn’t I do that?  Okay, back to work.”

Phil Brock:  I’m motivated to do better everyday.  I look at each day as something fresh and beat the day before in all areas of my life.  I stress to my actors they’re supposed to do better.  I stress the people that I teach that they’re supposed to do better everyday.  And, personally I do other things outside my job.  But, my best thing is being a coach to others and myself, too.

Dea Vise: I died…twice.  But, God motivated me to change everything.  After casting for a long time, I went and got my Masters in Clinical Psychology just because I want to help people with PTSD.  And, I finished my Doctoral Studies and I’m working on my dissertation.  So, I’m a casting director everyday and I treat clients two nights a week.

Nico Santos:  I let my, “your haters be your motivators.”  I love proving people wrong.

This topic about motivation segued towards the topic about stereotypes – with Tess having faced such discrimination early in her career.

Tess Paras:  I think that’s the struggle for a lot of people, it’s like, “Oh, we don’t know how to place you because you don’t have a stereotype in our head. So, therefore, you can’t breakthrough because there is no stereotype.”  Well, you need to break thru what you think “normal” is.  And, you need to break thru what you think representation is, and what stories can be told.  I think that is the larger conversation about the industry as well as our vehicle for storytelling and what we consider everyman is not everybody’s everyman.

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Talent Manager Phil Brock (Founder of Studio Talent Group)

Phil Brock:  That’s even more absurd because if you live in Los Angeles, we are Jesse Jackson’s rainbow every single day.  And, the frustration has always been is that we weren’t seeing what we would see when we walk down the street on TV and film.  And, we’re just now starting, and we’re still at the infant stages, of seeing real true racial diversity on screen.  I used to say 10 to 15 years ago…did writers ever actually go out in the sunshine in L.A. and see what was walking down the street?  Go down Vermont Avenue.  That is L.A. and that is America.  And, that’s incredible if someone is saying they can’t place.  Then create it.

Nico Santos:  Specifically for the Filipino thing, we’ve always been a little bit under the radar.  It’s 2016 and Tess, me and Vincent Rodriguez on your show [Crazy Ex-Girlfriend] as well, like we’re the only Filipino characters on network television.  We’re the second largest community in the United States, the largest Asian community in California but we are hardly represented in media at all.

Dea Vise:  What’s interesting to me about that is I always put out breakdowns all the time and I always do “all ethnicities” breakdowns, but I put one out the other day and I didn’t write “all ethnicities” on it and only white people submitted.  I have to put “please submit all ethnicities” because people will assume it’s a white role by default.  If it doesn’t say a specific ethnicity, submit.

Tess Paras:  And, demand it of your shows, too.  I feel like, Filipinos, we need to say what we are. Like you brought up that statistic. We are the second largest Asian American population in the United States (http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-11.pdf, Page 15, Column 2).  We need to demand that and demand that of our characters and demand that on-screen.  We need to be part of that conversation and be angry about it and say we need people who look like us.  I think that’s why I was so compelled to write and demand it and say I’m going to represent my stories and keep pushing it the other way.  Because as an actor…the first time I ever saw a Filipino in a breakdown was for Grimm.  They had an episode a couple of years back about the Aswang folktale, and that was the first time I ever saw that. I called up my manager to get me this, demanded it and I ended up playing the role. But, that was the first time that I’ve ever seen a guest star specifically Filipino American woman for this role. (https://youtu.be/SdtZocgm7xE)

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Tess Paras plays ‘Jayma Epstein’ in The CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girfriend” moving Fridays at 9pm.

Phil Brock:  We do make progress.  I was with the cast of Fresh Off The Boat yesterday and just to see them on stage is incredible.  And realizing they were going to be the first Asian show in twenty years since Margaret Cho [All American Girl].  And, they’re proud in the way that they feel are helping change culture.

Tess Paras:  And, how great is their writing room. Nahnatchka Khan is running that writers room.

Phil Brock:  They were real proud of the fact last night that they felt they were integrating their Asian experience in the terms that other ethnicities could understand and now they were talking about how they could bring more people of other ethnicities into the show to enlarge their experiences as well.  And, the purpose, I think, in twenty years from now, you don’t see Blackish or Fresh Off The Boat. You just see TV or whatever TV becomes at that point.

Tess Paras:  Hear that, America?

Nico Santos:  That’s what I love about Superstore is that four out of the seven series regulars are people of color.  And, actually there’s like, including two of their recurring characters, four people are Asian.  I mean  Nichole Bloom and I are Asian and the guy who plays Bret and the lady who plays Sandra (Kaliko Kauahi).  So, I was really surprised and so thankful for the people behind Superstore that created the show.   And, the show isn’t really about any immigrant or ethnic spirits. We’re just like a store in St. Louis with different backgrounds.

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Nico Santos plays ‘Mateo’ in NBC’s “Superstore” Thursday nights at 8pm.

Dea Vise:  When I used to cast commercials when I started seventeen years ago, we’d check marked, you know, we had to have one Asian, one African American, when there are a million types of Asians and African Americans, what are you talking about?  So, we would always cast the extras as mixed and the principals as white people.  I mean, that made me crazy.  It was like, I don’t understand.  I mean, it was like, you’re talking half the country that isn’t white or more, at this point, probably 75%.  And, now we see all these commercials with multi-racial marriages and children…

Phil Brock:  …yeah, but you know what? Donald Trump is gonna solve all that.

Laughter howls out!

Phil mentioned an old casting company called The Monkey Brothers, and one time his talent management company submitted his client, a Persian actor to breakdowns for commercials looking for white-middle class characters.  And, the Monkey Brothers one day bit.  They brought him in and he also gets a call back.  That submission changed the stereotype of the breakdowns the commercial agency wanted.  The same also occurred on the other side of the camera with his experience with a name brand cereal commercial when his client, a child actress was in a commercial two years ago that had a mixed-race couple talking about heart health.  The furor and backlash from the Kentucky-based parent company of their cereal product as well as the agency were receiving from consumers, they wanted to pull the commercial.  But, Phil advised not to, not just about changing stereotypes in America, but also the commercial had a clear medical message that African American fathers can take home to their families because the African American population has a higher risk with heart disease than Caucasians.  In these two cases, in my opinion, the actor really have no control what is going on behind-the-scenes.

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Hot topic sizzling conversations happening here!

Edward J. Mallillin (to Tess and Nico):  How has your prominence or your positions as Filipinos in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Superstore, have been with Filipinos and Asian Americans?

Nico Santos:  They’re super excited!  I also didn’t realize how big a deal it was until I started getting a lot of messages on social media.  Not only Filipino but like also seeing like a queer Filipino on television.  When I was getting into the business, all I knew was Alec Mapa, the only ever queer Filipino I ever saw on television.  When I saw him, I was like, “Oh! My God! Yes, there’s hope!”  It actually just made me think, wow there really isn’t a whole lot of us if we’re getting this type of response from everybody.

Tess Paras:   Yes, as for the feedback people are getting…I have nothing to do with it.  I just want to say big ups to our writers and producers of our show.  Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna…they really did stay true to what the demographics of West Covina are.  And, I think that it’s important and that they were really pioneers to push story and story rules and you’re not going to have a story takes place in Southern California that doesn’t feature Filipinos and they were really big advocates of that.  And, I’m just so thankful I get to be a part of it.  So, I feel like story needs to rule and the stories are going to be about people and Filipinos exist and include them.

Nico Santos:  I’m really grateful to the creators of Superstore that they were so open-minded enough to change the role of Mateo for me because none of the characters of Superstore were written for any specific ethnicity. Like Amy (America Ferrera) was not written to be Latina, Garrett (Colton Dunn) was not written to be black, Nichole’s character Cheyenne was not Asian at all.  Actually, the only part that had a specific ethnicity was Mateo and he was supposed to be a Latino thug. A butch gangster.  He was supposed to be this huge tough guy, which I’m clearly am…

Laughter!

Nico Santos (continues):  But, you know, they were open-minded enough to see me in the role and so I did it as a version of me.  And they ended up really liking it and changing it to a Filipino gay guy. (https://youtu.be/Xg5q7onyaoE)

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Filipino American actors, Nico Santos (“Superstore”) and Tess Paras (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”)

Edward J. Mallillin:  What are your thoughts on self-producing?

Tess Paras:  I can speak to that immediately.  I have a career because of YouTube. I mean, I can’t speak to it enough. I’m quite vocal talking about diversity in Hollywood and my first video I put up went viral because I was keying into the conversation and exploit my thoughts on that thru comedy (https://youtu.be/FSwhRZwFjfY).  Most recently, I did a video on my thoughts about Donald Trump and that had three million views within a week (https://youtu.be/xDgy37kPOZ4). And, I feel even from that, I got a lot of calls and have been working to be a writer / actor since I have started self-producing. And, I have booked acting jobs I did with Seeso. They found me because of my videos. So, yeah, I can’t say enough about self producing. Get out there immediately. If you something to say, say it.  If you have a story to tell, tell it. Write it down, refine it and get it out there immediately. This is the time and place to do it in this day in age with the resources you have and the town you are in, get out there and self-produce for sure.

Nico Santos:  You can’t wait for Hollywood to write those stories for you.

Dea Vise:  But, don’t forget about your acting training when you’re making your YouTube videos because without training, you’re not going to book when you come into the room. And, being a personality, there’s reality shows for that absolutely, but you’re not going to compete with the ones with twenty years of training.  I think stand-up, improv and self-producing are all great, but get real training, too.

Phil Brock:  Yes, be trained.  From social media to producing your web series to doing your work as well, for those of you who don’t have their SAG card, that’s a quick way to get your SAG card by doing a New Media series.  And, be accessible.  Steven Spielberg is not walking around a house in Van Nuys knocking on doors. “Sir? Are you an actor? I’d like to cast you.”  It’s not going to happen.  You’re on Facebook, you’re on Twitter, you’re on Instagram, you’re on SnapChat, it’s part of your work as an actor to be on social media and be active, and it’s also part of your work to find ways to create. That’s your workout.  And, you find things to do, outside what you do, whatever your specialty is.  It’s a way to keep yourself visible and a way for you to stay creative.  If you’re behind the camera, you need to get out and film.  If you’re in front of the camera, you need to be filmed.  As these things are important, do not let any of that substitute the real work from understanding that this is a craft. You have to be prepared. You have to be someone who walks into an audition and in that three minutes and deliver.

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FilAm Creative Moderator Edward J. Mallillin and Nico Santos (“Superstore”)

Dea Vise: On the YouTube stuff, please write it.  Don’t talk about the butterfly on the plant. Come up with something creative and interesting. And, if you can’t write, go on to Casting Directors For Actors on Facebook and ask for writers.  There are thousands out there.

Nico Santos:  Tess and I met at the CBS Diversity Showcase and we wrote for each other and we met so many people there and we’re all working together. There are a lot of people here in Los Angeles you can collaborate with.

Next up were questions from the audience.  They ranged from how important is it to have a SAG card to what groups are they actively part of to how do go about collaborations to what resources does it take to get seen to training studios, scene study and improv & sketch writing schools to survival jobs, etc.

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Dea Vise:  If you can do anything else for a living, just go ahead and do it.  Because this is really hard. It’s an amazing process to get thru it from booking to working a lot.

Tess Paras:  And, good luck to having those conversations with your Filipino parents…

Uneasy laughter!

Nico Santos:  Don’t have a Plan B because if you do, you’ll end up doing that.

Dea Vise:  And, always remember, we’re all in this together.  Everyone in the industry are all in the same team.  And, everyone is on the same level whether she (Tess) is in a series or you’re brand new, you’re both actors and you resonate with each other.  And, as the artist in yourself just never forget, always remember that little baby part of you that was five years old and got up on stage and made your parents’ laugh and you got that feeling and that bug and never ever let that go because that will get you thru this.

As the panel ends, raffle prizes donated by Johneric at The Park’s Finest were announced…

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Event producer Edwin Santos reads the first raffle ticket holder…

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…and Kyle Klein wins the first raffle, a $25 gift card from The Park’s Finest

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Phil Brock reads the second raffle ticket winning number and…

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…and this guy wins their official shirt!

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Riki Yvette Westmoreland wins The Park’s Finest shirt!

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Next, winners for The Park’s Finest BBQ sauce!

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…and now the networking begins!

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Abe Pagtama, Tess Paras and Nico Santos

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Virgil Mayor Apostol, Riki Yvette Westmoreland and Walter Boholst

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Tess Paras, Meriden Villanueva and Nico Santos

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Walter Boholst, Mary Gracie Llan Walker and Abe Pagtama

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Tess Paras, Nico Santos and Dea Vise

THE ONE

2016 Panelists: Nico Santos, Dea Vise, Tess Paras, Phil Brock (top) with FilAm Creative Staff: Walter Boholst, Edwin A. Santos, Edward J. Mallillin and Meriden Villanueva (bottom)

Tremendous thanks to our Special Industry Guest Panelists for taking the time to be with us at our 2nd Annual FilAm Creative Hollywood Actors Panel for Actors & Networking Event:

Follow Nico Santos on Twitter @nicosantoscomic and Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/nicosantoscomic/ Also, support Nico’s show Superstore when it returns for its second season when it makes its season premiere on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 8pm on NBC.

Follow Tess Paras on Twitter: @TessParas and Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TessParas/ Also, support Tess’s show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend when it returns for its second season on The CW moving to Friday nights starting October 21, 2016 at 9pm.

Follow Dea Vise on Twitter: @deavise

Follow Phil Brock on Twitter: @stgactor

Tremendous thanks to them as well as the event producer Edwin Santos and the FilAm Creative staff. Special thanks to Rian Kountz, Rebecca Drysdale and The Clubhouse for having us again, Johneric from The Park’s Finest for their donations for our raffle, Tyrone Tann and Stauros Entertainment for providing media coverage, our volunteers Brandi and Kahlie for hosting the front table and Edwin’s mother for making and donating her fresh turon.

Until next year for the 3rd Annual FAC Hollywood Actors Panel for Actors event in 2017!

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Panel discussion transcribed and tweeked for this blog entry by Edwin Santos.  Video panel by Walter Boholst. Tech board by Edwin Santos.  Photos by Walter Boholst, Edwin Santos and Gabe Pagtama.

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Stauros Entertainment’s Media Coverage of FAC’s 2nd Annual Actors Panel at The Clubhouse, June 4, 2016

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Tess Paras (The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Tyrone Tann and Nico Santos (NBC’s Superstore)

Stauros Entertainment covers FilAm Creative’s 2nd Annual Hollywood Actors Panel for Actors at The Clubhouse in Los Angeles, California; Saturday, June 4, 2016.

Tyrone Tann interviews FAC’s special industry guest panelists at the #FACactorspanel:

Nico Santos, Actor & Comedian; (Superstore, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Chelsea Lately)
Dea Vise, Casting Director with the Casting Society of America
Tess Paras, Actress, Writer & Producer; (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Grimm, Make Your Face Great Again Makeup Tutorial, Typecast, What If Catcalls Were Cheeseburgers?)
Phil Brock, Talent Manager & Founder of Studio Talent Group