My name is Frankie, and six months ago I graduated from Stuyvesant High School. I decided to take a Gap year to pursue a career. Fast forward 6 months, and I’m a on Backstage. I come across Christopher Fung’s website and his project, “SHAM’. There wasn’t a personal email so I sent one to you, his manager. If it isn’t too much to ask for, would you be able to forward this email to Christopher?
I know that I want a career in film acting. But I’m a little discouraged, a little hesitant, and confused. It doesn’t help that my parents just don’t get it. From Christopher’s bio I see that he followed a traditional path for the most part before venturing into being an entrepreneur. I’m asking for help, some advice.
You must be super busy with work, but if you could spare half an hour out of your day some time in the past coming weeks would you be available for coffee? I’d love to ask you questions about the industry, for advice, and just things in general. I know I’ll come out of it with something new. It would be an honor.
Thank you so much in advance,
Great to hear from you! It’s inspiring to see that you’re following an unconventional path based on what you know. You know you want to act, and you’ve reached that realization much earlier than I did. It may sound strange that, while I’m a big believer in reaching out to mentors, I also believe that advice can slow down those who are innately creative. Actors, by definition, are creatives. We choose to perform because we accept that every person holds in themselves infinite possibilities. So I’m a bit hesitant to give you specific advice, but I’ll try to share what I know.
You may come from a background with hardworking minority parents who are conservative in their worldview because they haven’t been able to take much risk to get to where they and you are today; however, because you have the opportunity to more broadly define what fulfills your life going forward, you should seize that with zeal. If after two candid and deep conversations with your family, they completely disregard the possibility of the career you have a passion for, you can honestly and freely leave the domain of those expectations and attend auditions at every moment you’re not working your survival job. If you decide you’re still curious to learn in the format of school, especially in the field of acting, you might try your hand at Tisch; see where the curriculum and social network bring you. If you decide on some combination of the above, have spent six months or a year auditioning for projects that pique your interest but truly don’t have the diverse role you want to play as an Asian American man, you might resolve to create your own work and assemble all the moving parts to bring it to life. That’s more or less what happened with me.
Regardless of what happens, know that you won’t starve because your mind and body have built-in instinct to keep that from happening — so you can sleep knowing that you have always had and will always have the independence to feel and do what means most to you, should the scenario arise that you lose financial and moral support from your family (which is never permanent; love needs distance to grow) — and, just as importantly, that you will only ever have dignity and happiness if you apply yourself as your heart (not your head) nags and surround yourself with people who feel the same way, love your work, and express that it inspires them to do the same.
Sorry for the diarrhea! I hope that’s helpful.
Happy New Year and brightest wishes for your exciting endeavors ahead.
C H R I S
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