Archive for April, 2010

Where’s my Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson?

April 13, 2010

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last two years traveling around the country opening “Grace” up in theatres. It sucks not to be famous or more importantly, attached to someone super famous. Do I want to be famous? No. Do I need to be famous? Apparently, yes. What I know for sure is that Falling for Grace does cross over to the mainstream in appeal. Without any P&A funding, the movie has now been requested by 15 different theatres and has made over $120,000. Not too shabby. In Scottsdale, AZ, alone, we stayed for 7 weeks and grossed over $46,000 – on one screen. Am I certain that Falling for Grace is not an Academy Award worthy film – yes, I’m pretty certain. Am I also certain that “Grace” is a film that the audience loves – yes, I’m pretty darn clear about that too.

Many have compared my film to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and I accept that as a huge compliment. After all, “Greek Wedding” is, to this day, still the highest grossing romantic comedy and independent film EVER. It tops in both these categories. Some have said “Grace” may even be a bit better than Greek Wedding because it has a bit more depth, not much more, just slightly. All opinions are subjective. But once again, I am certain that “Grace” is one of the first Asian American rom coms with major cross over appeal. How do I know? 95% of all ticket buyers have been Caucasian Americans – that’s how I know – hard core stats.

Now apparently, after Greek Wedding was made, it was turned down by every studio because they didn’t think Americans would be interested in seeing a non-famous, not so attractive, Greek gal in a movie with more not so famous cast. In the eyes of studios, romantic comedies are only for famous, White, superstars because, well, they seem to shine as underdogs.

I had a very interesting meeting with a rather big time studio head who reached out to me after seeing “Falling for Grace”. His advice – go talk to Playtone and see if Hanks could help out – after all, same genre, same underdog profile. I called Playtone and spoke to one of their gatekeepers who quickly said, “Why should we help you?”. Try convincing a mid level executive to take a chance on an Asian American writer/director with a project that stars not so famous people. The conversation lasted 1 minute and 22 seconds.

Yes, it pretty much sucks to be an Asian American not famous writer/director/actress with a movie that has absolute cross over potential. Nia Vardalos had Tom & Rita, Susan Boyle had Simon, where’s my underdog Hollywood saviour? My biggest hero these days – Tyler Perry. He was his own Tom, Rita & Simon all rolled into one. Maybe when you’re a minority like Perry, you have no choice but to do it on your own. Tyler Perry, I don’t think anyone can appreciate what you’ve done more than me!

Posted on April 13th, 2010 by admin  |  227 Comments »

Wow! What A Ride!

April 7, 2010
“Would someone like him ever go out with someone like me?”

This was the underlying question that propelled my crazy ride with Falling For Grace.
The “him” was John F. Kennedy, Jr. and the me, was, well, a simple girl from New York Chinatown. In the late 1990s, while I was in search of a boy meets girl story to pen for my first screenplay, I kept randomly running into our American Prince – every where I went – the bank, crossing the street, a famous NY cafe and even on a specific tennis court in mid town NY where I hung out a lot. The inside joke with my friends was that I wasn’t sure who was stalking whom, but I took this as a sign from the writing Gods – that there had to be some kind of a classic romantic comedy plot here!

Thus the birth of Grace and Andrew, and what I had hoped as one of the very first all-American rom coms with an Asian American female protagonist. It’s been over a decade since the idea flickered in my brain, but by putting one foot ahead of the other, I somehow got it done. The result — ONE OF THE VERY FIRST ROM COMS WITH AN ASIAN AMERICAN PROTAGONIST. The journey has been spectacular – like the most thrilling roller coaster ride of a lifetime. As many have suggested, including famed P.R. guru, Kenny Sunshine – I should’ve turned the making of Grace into a reality show. Here’s just a taste of my decade long voyage: The Ride of A Lifetime!

If there is one thing I know for sure, it is this:
“You can bend the rules plenty once you get to the top, but not while you’re trying to get there. And if you’re someone like me, you can’t get there without bending the rules.” Tess McGill (Working Girl).

Stay tuned for more bending…

Fay

Posted on April 7th, 2010 by admin  |  218 Comments »