What I want my life to be like, 22

Picture_Goddesses on Earth Market research

I want to wake up at 6:30 AM every morning, and eat a healthy breakfast that I had prepared for myself. At 7 AM, I want to take a walk along the beach in a beautiful outfit, saying good morning sunshine :). Imaginary music runs through my ears, like lullabies on a peaceful summer morning. I am enough, I tell myself. I am whole. I feel the waters of the beach touch my skin, and in that moment, I feel cleansed and pure.

At 7:30 AM, it’s time to get work done. You want to be a movie star, don’t you? And you want to use film and dance to bring light to global poverty and hunger don’t you? Granted, you didn’t grow up in a third world country so you don’t exactly know first hand what it’s like. You hear all about hunger, war, conflict, and disparities in opportunities in the third world, compared to a developed country. You know you can’t solve the problem, but you know that you can speak up. The next step is to spend 2-3 hours working on acting. But you need an amazing script right? So you switch the order around. You’ll spend 2-3 hours working on the script to get it amazing. It’s been 7:30-10:30 AM. So you take a break for a snack. Then you proceed to spend 10:45 – 12:45 PM working on your acting. Simplify, yet be effective. You feel pleasant because you are doing exactly what you set out to do, exactly what you want in life. You’re working for the life you want, for yourself and the world. You know the world isn’t always a pretty place, but you know that it’s your mindset that matters. You continue to see the world in a beautiful light, and it radiates in everything you do, everything you say, everywhere you go. This is who you want to be. And you must focus.

You take a break for lunch. You are mindful and you are healthy. You AREN’T lazy. You eat your grains and protein, and you eat your vegetables and fruits. You take your dairy. You are mindful about keeping a good weight and being fit. You go and sit in the garden for a few minutes and meditate.

By now, it’s 1:15 PM. Don’t you feel like you have all the time in the world when you live purely and pleasantly like this? But you don’t, because each day will slip by, and before you know it, you’re 23, 24, 25. You’re an adult. But cherish everyday that you are 22. Because you were once 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. And those years went by fast, didn’t they? Now you are 22. You were born on 11/22/1993. So 22 must mean a special year. You want to be forever young. You knew that you spent your young years in mania and unfocusedness, living for the thrill of it, although you always had your ambitious goals in mind. You lived wrecklessly and dipped in here and there, trying everything. Let’s just say focus and discipline weren’t your top traits. But you were young, and now you’re older, and you learn more when you’re older. You’ll be 23 in 2 months and 22 days. If you can live everyday and make it meaningful, those days will feel like years. You can die at 22 and leave a legacy. But you know you’ll probably be living till you’re at least 30. You tell yourself to remember to smile every day. Okay, you’re 22. You were once 18, now you’re 22. And you love this age. You know that you might be expected to get married, and soon be able to support your parents so they will retire happily for their rest of their lives. But you don’t feel that way at all right now, at least in terms of marriage. All you want to do is live beautifully and memorably, and leave a lasting legacy on this world, and one day support your parents like they have for you 22 years. Ok, enough talk about age, time is slipping. Ok so after some reflection, you know it’s time to get back to work.

It’s 1:15, just 9 more hours till bedtime. What do you do? You look for a market for your film, constantly. You look into the American Film Market where there will be buyers for your film. This is your last shot this year, before your parents make you commit to an actual 9 to 5 PM job. You know that you’ve worked on your script, and you know you’ve been even paying for private acting lessons to improve your acting. I will repeat. THIS IS YOUR LAST SHOT. So the time you spend distracted in things that aren’t on path in the long run – you cut it out. You also know to invest in quality relationships now. So it’s been 1:15-4:15. Soon, it’ll be dinner time. You made it this far.

So from 4:15 – 5 PM, you know you can’t always be by yourself all the time. You take this moment to plan for the Meetup Group you created that is meant to unite people of similar interests as you. It’s called the Global Poverty and Hunger Alleviation – Art and Action group. You decide that you’ll schedule a few meetups for the next month – you’ll teach about the subject on behalf of United Nations World Food Programme at middle schools. You’ll plan to visit your local congressman to talk about the issue and get their opinions. You’ll create possibly an art show to raise awareness. You’ll continue to find ways to be a young adult story presenter for NAMI. You’ll do the training for slides presenter as well. That way, you’ll be around people at least some of the times while you’re living back home with your parents and it feel all you do is work from home all day. But this is what you signed up for, and you know that you’ll persist and that you know that every day will be pleasant, because it’s in your mindset. Remember, you continue to see the world in a beautiful light, and it radiates in everything you do, everything you say, everywhere you go.

At 5 PM, you do your 15 minute ab workout, and then you eat dinner. Once again, you AREN’T going to slack off on health. You eat your protein and grains, and you eat your fruits and vegetables. Without health, you have nothing. You take a comfortable shower, maybe even a nice bath, and you’re ready for the rest of your evening.

It’s 6 PM. From 6-9 PM, you’re going to finish your application to the Peace Corps. If you get selected, you’ll get to spend ages 23-25 in a third world country! After being a movie star of course. Yay! The day your dream comes true, you can rest easy, but for now, it’s important to keep up consistent and good habits. You’ll anticipate that things will get boring here and there, but you’ll keep persisting because what separates the successful from the not is that the ones who succeed are able go through day in day out working, no matter how tough it can be, because they know that it takes good habits to create success.

Okay, yay! Its 9 PM. Don’t give up yet girl!! You’ll spend from 9-10 PM practicing your dancing every single day. Stretching, choreographing, creating at least one dance a month. And you’ll showcase them too.

Home stretch, 10-10:30 PM, you’ll wind down, reflect, and read, no electronics, and you’ll be ready for tomorrow.

And this is what you’ll do every single day. Some of the tasks may change here and there, but at least now you’ve planned out how you want to live your life. You know that you’ve been living with your parents for almost a year since graduating, and it’s time for a change of scenery. If you get the movie deal, you’ll get to go to Los Angeles. If you get selected for Peace Corps, you’ll get to be abroad on a new adventure for two years. Remember, you continue to see the world in a beautiful light, and it radiates in everything you do, everything you say, everywhere you go. Because you tell yourself you are worth it. You are exactly who they are looking for. Everywhere, you look for evidence that the prize is yours, and that you are beautiful, and worthwhile, and capable of creating a lasting legacy in this world.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing dreams in the Now despite “schizoaffective disorder”, updates from a 22-year old

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Hi all!

It’s been about seven months since I last blogged.

I’ve been busy living a life that is meant to be kept secret. But how does one keep a secret that has affected her for so many years that it becomes a burden to carry?

Good things first:

I completed my studies at UCLA last year! Two years goes by fast. I remember my first day as if it happened just yesterday. I’d say those years were the more happier years of my life. I felt fearless, but perhaps much of that fearlessness came from an unexpected “mental illness” doctors thought I had, which is schizoaffective disorder – or in other words schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic depression) combined. Somehow, when I was first struck with it at age 18, it made me brave. But being at UCLA itself as a transfer, I wanted to and was ready to seize all of the opportunities, so I felt more daring and bold.

During my last quarter at UCLA, I was struck with my second episode of schizoaffective disorder, but I managed to finish my studies on time for graduation. After graduation, I attended a partial hospitalization program for ten weeks before I moved back home to work full time on my feature film script “A Dance to World Peace” and Project #DanceToEndHungerNow.

“A Dance to World Peace” is a drama/call-to-action film about a schizophrenia and manic depression diagnosed girl, Daisy, who attempts to alleviate global hunger and poverty with awareness through unity of dance from all over the world to raise awareness for the cause and to create world peace.

%22A Dance to World Peace%22 film poster (tentative)

 

Sometimes, I can picture myself being like the homeless on the streets, had it not been for my family. They may not have the support system (psychiatrist, therapist, family and friends) I am fortunate to have. They wander and due to possibility of schizophrenia and/or other mental illness, they act in ways that mentally healthy people do not always understand. There is a deeper layer and root cause to the mentally ill that professional caretakers/health care professionals may not always understand, which makes it harder for them to help us. I believe that one’s life should be looked at holistically from beginning to end when it comes to treating mental illness – the experiences (both positive and negative) that one grew up with, their triggers, their hopes, dreams, wishes, and their mindset.

For me, schizoaffective disorder also gave me something I am lucky to have – a sense of creativity and pursuit of a grandiose life purpose — to alleviate global hunger and poverty with awareness through dance and film. Unfortunately, it also came with occurrences where I would try to communicate my desires and hopes, and no one would understand me because I was “manic” and “disorganized”in my speech and actions. My life feels like a movie. I see everything happening beautifully. The world is a beautiful, complex, and amazing place, but it has the potential to be a better world more suitable for all types of people. There is injustice here and there and not everyone gets represented or has their needs met.

I’m 22 now, all grown up. I never knew my life would be changed and play out this way, and I truly hope that “A Dance to World Peace” will play in theaters internationally and that Project #DanceToEndHungerNow will make a difference to people. I also hope to help  and inspire people who have gone through what I am going through right now. For my time is limited, I want to make each day count.

 

Here is a passage that my mom showed me on her iPhone (while browsing about):

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world

As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now, as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize:

If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows, I may have even changed the world. 

I’m not entirely sure of the author’s name in English, but I felt this passage really resonates with me.

Hope you enjoyed my post.

Mei Sze - ADWP shoot skies background

All we have is now, so why not make the most of it?

Cheers,

Mei Sze

 

The 21-year old Mei Sze Phung — updates; Sail with me through my life

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voyage-ship

It has been 8 to 9 months since I last blogged here. I’m sorry to leave you hanging.

It never fails to amaze me how rational, logical, consistent, and monotonous time is. tick tick tick, ticking my life away. Exactly opposite of who I am — dreamy, imaginative, creative, insane, ambitious.

Time is constant. Now I get why in high school science classes, they teach you that “time is a constant”. hahaha, I get it now, time really is constant.

And when I get distracted or carried away, it takes just a glance at the clock for me to be reminded that time is always ticking, and if I don’t go after what I want in life and take the necessary steps to get to where I want to be, I will never get there, OR I won’t get there in time.

So let’s cut to the chase..what’s happened?

Throughout the 2014 holiday season, I worked on Project #DanceToEndHungerNow, and attempted to continue writing “A Dance to World Peace”. Both of these projects are my efforts to help to alleviate poverty/global hunger with awareness through world dance and film, as vehicles for social transformation, to make the world a better place.  My memory is fuzzy. 8-9 months is a long time, but in reality, it was more like the blink of the eye. I have about 30-40 notebooks that I have filled up with my daily agendas, to-do lists, life happenings and emotions and feelings, but don’t worry, I am going to just sum up, and dwell on details a little later as it is 11:34 PM and I am getting drowsy. Upon the new year, I continued with these endeavors and created a board for Project #DanceToEndHungerNow, where I recruited a few founding board members to work with me on this ambitious project and to inspire the world to join us — Chhaya – an Indian dancer and yoga teacher, Deven Glover of World FreeStylers Hip Hop Dance Company, Richard Oxman – a father, community volunteer, and activist, and my sister Linh Phung, who had always served as moral support to me and my projects. I was really enthusiastic. I had such high hopes and expectations. This is going to the greatest milestone in history, I thought, this is going to be there greatest watershed in history, when we end global hunger/alleviate the poverty and suffering of the world that has existed for so many years. We are going to be remembered for millions and billions and trillions of years, I would imagine. So that was basically sometime around when the new year 2015 rolled around — January to March 2015. I thought I knew everything and could change the world singlehandedly with the Project #DanceToEndHungerNow board, with our global dance movement to raise awareness about global hunger/poverty.

But I realized I needed more information. I even considered discontinuing my studies at UCLA to fully focus on Project #DanceToEndHungerNow, “A Dance to World Peace”, and to find a stable job so that I could pay my bills. But luckily my sister, Linh, persuaded me to finish school and graduate. That last quarter at UCLA, Spring 2015, I took the classes: Political Economy of Development, Sociology of Mass Communication, and Art as Moral Action. I also audited Intro to Dance Studies. These classes provided me with much more information and clarity into how ginormous the problems I was trying to tackle were. There are no easy answers, one size fit all solutions, and it takes time to tackle an issue like global hunger/poverty. This problem is also closely tied to environmental degradation.

Plot twist: The third day into my last quarter at UCLA, I got sick and ended up in the hospital for about three weeks, pretty much the majority of April 2015. I was lucky though. My Professors allowed me to finish the classes even though I had missed about three weeks worth of class. I was given the opportunity to make up the missed work and still graduate on time. By May-Mid June 2015, I gathered all of my energy and determination and finished those last seven weeks of the quarter, catching up with my classmates and finishing everything in time to graduate (I had an extension for Sociology of Mass Communication makeup assignments, so I am considered a summer 2015 UCLA graduate). I walked the stage during commencement. The next two weeks consisted of finishing my Sociology of Mass Communication makeup assignments (as mentioned my Professor granted me an extension). Then I visited my home in the Bay Area for a week and celebrated July 4th with friends and family.

Now I have my normal life back. For the most part. I aspire to work for the United Nations. I am driven to collaborate with them so that global hunger/poverty as well as environmental degradation can be alleviated.

Welcome to the adult world. I feel I have lost my innocence — my innocence is lost because now I see the world as it is. As a child and young adult, I often felt that the world was a perfect place and that I was just a happy-go-lucky-girl in it, that I could do anything that I wanted to do and put my mind to. Today, my world may still be big to me, but in the real world, I am just one in 7 billion people. But that’s ok. It makes me feel empowered when I imagine that I, one girl in a world of about 7 billion people, can use her love and passion in creative dance/film to bring solutions to a social problem as big as global poverty/environmental degradation.

Sometimes, I feel like a loser to time. Time is playing games with me. Who will win? 21 year old ambitious, crazy, dreamer, determined Mei Sze Phung or time, the constant, the rational, the serious, the always right? What if we could just work together, with a bit more effort on both our ends? Time isn’t really something we can control. We just accept it. There was one day where I did stay in the bathroom the whole day and I believe I time-traveled… More on this story/experience and other incredible, surreal ones.

It’s hard to believe that I have lived on this earth for 21  years, and eventually 22, 23, 24, 25… 40..60,70, 80. I can see my whole life before my eyes. But a part of me does not want to grow up. If I could stay 21 forever. This concept of wanting to freeze time, yet it keeps moving, and everything is always changing. It’s intriguing. I want my life and life purpose to create the next greatest milestone in history by solving global hunger/alleviating global poverty to be looked back on forever as a moment captured in time — to influence the millions of billions of generations that will come after me.

They say “Youth is wasted on the young”, but not me, I say.

To be braver, stronger, healthier — mentally, physically, emotionally; mind body and soul. I am still in the healing process of my body.

When I am strong again, I will take on the world, you best believe 🙂

With my utmost sincerity,

Mei Sze Phung

At 21 years old, I have the energy, passion, and sharp mind and wit to achieve everything I dream of doing. With all of my hope, may the stars align and miracles happen, but not without diligence, handwork, passion, confidence, perseverance, tenacity, grit etc. etc. etc.

Thanks for sailing along with me on this journey. The currents may be rough, but no matter what, we power through.

How I feel at the moment October 19, 2014 11:18 PM

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DSC_0167 Here I am sitting in the corner of my dorm floor hallway. I am at the very end of the long hallway and I’m all the way up on the eighth floor and there is a window that goes from the ceiling to the floor of this 8th floor I am on, allowing me to overlook the a portion of the campus. I feel, above the world, you know that feeling? I live on the Visual and Performing Arts themed floor. The last year, my first year at UCLA as a transfer, I would consider myself hyperactive, running around the hallways, constantly talking to people and socializing, jumping and dancing around, always smiling and making small talk with my floormates. I WAS FREE AT LAST! My first taste of independence away from home! IT WAS THE TIME OF MY LIFE. I WAS EXPERIMENTING. I was performing dance and guitar for my floor, and even telling jokes. This year has been different. I found myself becoming more introverted and enjoying time that I have alone, feeling the most whole and complete when I can be by myself and think by myself and make art on my own – using dance in film for social action – a good cause. For the first time in my life, I feel so in touch with myself. It can be liberating. I would be listening to music all by myself doing some work, and feel, this is the life. I enjoy being around people, I always do, but afterwards, I go and be alone again, to feel that moment of transcendence and spiritual lightness again. Don’t get me wrong, I can change from extrovert to introvert anytime, or introvert to extrovert, but it is now, at this moment, when I feel introverted, that I feel so at peace with the world and with myself.

I realize it’s been FOUR months since I last wrote a blog post on June 19, 2014. I am sorry to abandon you all for so long. What have I been doing? Summer school (increasing my knowledge/experience in filmmaking and acting), a trip to Asia (talk about traveling to the other side of the world!), and then working on my project “A Dance to World Peace”. I never abandoned my dream. Somedays I can feel a little out of it. Some days I need a break to think and reflect some more. But at the end of the day, what I know that’s true to me is that, that dream and vision stays true to me — to some people it might be stupid or a waste of time. I have a hard time explaining what I do to people because I don’t know how to say it without sounding like I am trying to do something that seems impossible.

My dream is to help solve world hunger through dance and film. I realize that now I am 20 years old. In a month and two days, I turn 21. Everyday I grow a little older and I will never be as young as I am now. Today I am 20 years and 10 months 28 ish days old. I always am aware that each passing day is a day that I should take advantage of to do what I want to do to change the world, to leave my mark, to make an impact. I’d say that for the most part, I am on track with my life goals and am pretty happy with where I am and with what I have accomplished thus far. About two years down the road, I can see myself having made and starred in my first feature film, “A Dance to World Peace”, a film with one sole mission: to encourage and inspire people to join in on the mission to solve hunger – to lead a movement to help solve world hunger through the arts – through the unity and amalgamation of dance of all types from all over the world.

I want to invite others to join in on using the rich traditions of dance from all over the world, be it contemporary or traditional, as an artistic medium for social transformation to alleviate global hunger.

To complement this endeavor in real time, I am working on a community based arts project, also called “A Dance to World Peace”, a series of three youtube videos in which dancers from all over the world dance to raise awareness about global hunger, and it will have a call to action – mainly in support of World Food Program USA (a branch of the United Nations World Food Programme), Oxfam America, and Action Against Hunger, hunger/poverty alleviation-based organizations and the likes. I hope that they will build up and give momentum to the bigger feature film that I am working on that will be released in theaters come 2015/2016. I am getting sleepy but I won’t sleep until I finish my work. Wish me luck! 😀 ❤ And of course, I wholeheartedly wish you luck with what you are trying to accomplish as well!

“What is now proved was once only imagined.”

― William Blake

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

-Harriet Tubman

Reflections of a UCLA Transfer Student; My Continued Focus on Film/Dance/Hunger Activism Goals

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My dearest friends,

I’ve missed you all so. It’s been two months and six days since I last wrote a post (you may have noticed that I tend to post about once every two months). Guess how old I am? I am 20 years 6 months and 27 days old. So it will be another 5 months and 4 days before I turn 21. I know. Crazy right? I do try to do my best to make the most of my time though. Rather than seeing it as something that I have no control over, I see it as my catalyst to productivity and success. So, a lot has happened since my last post to you all! In my post on April 13, 2014, I revealed my ten 2014 New Year’s Resolutions, joined the Berkeley Film Friends Screenwriting Group towards late February, watched the watched the Oscars, the 86th Academy Awards ceremony, on March 2, 2014, created “Mei Sze Phung’s Plan for the last 2/3 of her year 20 AND beyond for the next few years” document on March 23, 2014, and participated in the Online Hollywood Pitch Festival and was met with support and encouragement.

So, what’s new? Here are the main things that have happened so far since my last post:

1. I finished my first year at UCLA as a transfer student.

UCLA has brought me great joy and opportunity to grow and mature. It has been a very aesthetic and spiritual experience as well. I loved breathing the cool night air. I loved running with the wind. I loved the independence. I laugh at how I often fell asleep on the couches of my dorm lounge with not a care in the world, but to relax and let the negatives flow out of my body. I loved coming back to the dorms, my home away from home, after class and daily activities because I felt safe and at peace, knowing that I hard a great support system of my RA’s, my roommates, floormates, and all of the Rieber Hall staff, and knowing that for the first time, I could do what I wanted to when I wanted to – I wanted to use this freedom to really focus on my film/dance dream. But not everything was rainbows and unicorns. Since I was on on my own for the first time, I had to learn to embrace solitude and not see it as loneliness, but as a time for reflection, peace, and thinking.

The meals were delicious. Being at a big university and living in the dorms is an experience that made me feel spoiled and lucky. Not everyone has the opportunity to get to eat such delicious food from highly-rated dining halls and cafes every day at any time the wanted within the generous dining hours. Not everyone gets a soft, comfortable bed of just the right height and plush (I loved my bed). Not everyone has amazing RA’s, professors, and counselors to guide them throughout their first year at a big college. UCLA has a strong system and structure that really works well because of the effort of everyone combined – there are tons of staff at UCLA and people whose sole purpose at UCLA is to make the student’s experience at UCLA wonderful, valuable, and bearable. It was like heaven compared to community college – like I’d ascended into the skies after enduring the hardships of community college to get to where I wanted to get to, which was UCLA. Yes, community college was a massively difficult battle that trained me to become a hard-core enough warrior for a top university like UCLA. Because at UCLA, I was shooting rainbows and unicorns, acing everything! Just kidding, but I was doing fairly well because of the tough training I got from community college, so I highly recommend transferring to UCLA from a community college – it is a rewarding path.

But just because I am at UCLA doesn’t mean I’m everything. It doesn’t mean that I’ve achieved everything that I ever wanted to. It means that I’ve laid down my foundation and blueprint, and now I have mountains to climb, and there’s no other place that I would want to climb these mountains than at UCLA. And lucky for me, I love these mountains, because they are the film, dance, and hunger activism mountains, everything that I am passionate about. Thus, I know it will be an enjoyable climb and journey.

2. I wrote my 115-page script entitled “A Dance to World Peace” in about 9 days, starting from May 19 to May 27, 2014.

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As you can see, I was very public about it on Facebook, as I wanted to hold myself accountable. I submitted my script to the contests that I said I was going to submit to. The next step is to continue to edit it and polish it so that it is the sharpest it can be. I also submitted my idea to the Script Pipeline Great Movie Idea Contest. Fingers crossed!

3. I planned my multi-video dance based intervention (a community based arts project).

The plan was submitted to my WL ARTS 103 Arts in Communities course instructor as my final project, so now I am just waiting for her feedback so that I can put the plan into action! She is an amazing professor!

4. I got the pink-red iPhone 5c. 

Yes, this is random! I feel really tech-savvy. It’s a little distracting at times, but I’m amazed at what technology these days can do. We’ve come a long way as an advanced society. Also, do you want to know why I chose pink-red? Originally, I wanted red, as it is my favorite color. But since there was no red iPhone 5c, I chose the next closest color that would complement red – pink red. Pink red is symbolic for “outrageous, imaginative, innovative” as well as “unconditional love and nurturing”.

Now for some more detailed updates that have occurred since my last post:

Around mid-April 2014 (after April 13, 2014)

1. On April 11, 2014, I watched “Tangled”(2010).

2. On April 14, 2014, I watched “Hercules”(1997). Disney movies have a common element: They make me feel good and happy and they’re addicting.

3. On April 15, I watched the film “Gandhi” (1982). It was quite inspirational, yet realistic. I aspire to have the courage like people like Gandhi.

4.  On April 16, 2014, I finished my last of six meetings with film studio representatives through the Online Hollywood Pitch Festival (in most meetings, I got to Skype with one representative from each studio; One of them, the one with Eclectic Ent., I skyped with two representatives)

5. On April 17, 2014, it was confirmed that I would be living at the Visual and Performing Arts themed floor (UCLA’s newest themed floor) of UCLA’s dorm for the 2014-15 school year. I was ecstatic!

6. On April 19, 2014, I attended a teleconference class entitled “How to Get an Agent”. SO USEFUL!!!!

7. On April 22, 2014, I met with Dan Froot, a staff in the World Arts and Cultures Department at UCLA, who introduced me to Hunger Action Los Angeles, the grassroots organization I would be researching for my WL ARTS 124 Introduction to Field-Based Research Methods class.

8. On April 24, 2014, I attended the Berkeley Film Friend’s Writing Group, where I got to share my “A Dance to World Peace” treatment draft #3 and receive constructive feedback.

May 2014

1. On May 2, 2014, I visited Hunger Action Los Angeles for the first time. It was a great and useful learning experience.

2. On Saturday, May 3, 2014, I performed for the Spring 2014 World Music and Movement Festival at UCLA! Basically, I represented China through performing traditional and contemporary Chinese dance. For my first act, I had about a ten minute solo dance (three parts: 1) About a three minute Chinese fusion dance consisting of three parts a) Umbrella dance b) Cheerful Chinese ocean blue fan dance c) contemporary motivational hip-hop dance with red and gold ribbons 2) Enlightenment dance with yellow fans 3) Hong Kong Oriental Hip Hip dance with smaller size sparkly dark blue fans.) For my second act, I collaborated with the Music of China Ensemble and danced while they played the song “Return to Dreams”. For this act, I used the flowy red Chinese dance fans and transitioned into using long white Chinese sleeves. 10258997_10152378288383048_3014848587453692530_o ensemble

3. On May 17, 2014, I rewatched “Mulan”(1998). Staying true to my culture no? Mulan is a brave soul.

4. On May 18, 2014, I watched “Pocahontas”(1995) and “Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World”(1998). I watched the first. It and me hooked. So I watched the sequel!

5. Monday, May 19, 2014, was the day I proposed to embark on what seemed like a crazy impossible feat – to write 115 pages for my screenplay “A Dance to World Peace”. I stayed up all night and into the next morning and got pretty much my first 10 pages done (basically the part about where we meet the film’s hero and the world that she lives in). Logline for your reference again: “A Dance to World Peace” is a drama film about a daring teenage girl who attempts to use dance from around the world as a tool to alleviate global hunger, but causes a turmoil that she must fix herself in order to bring world peace.

6. On May 20-21, 2014, I participated in Hunger Action Day in Sacramento, where I lobbied for anti-hunger legislation with hundreds of people at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. It is an experience that I have no regrets going taking part in, as it really opened my eyes to let me see that the real world is harsh, as is trying to accomplish anything through politics because things can get complicated.

7. On May 27, 2014, I finished writing 115 pages for “A Dance to World Peace”, in time to submit it to the screenwriting competitions that I had planned to submit to. I was able to accomplish this by publicly telling my friends on Facebook that I would do it and having them hold me accountable. If you look at my pictures above, you will see that I promised that I would do something embarrassing in public if I failed to achieve this goal – (see picture for what I would have had to do had I not accomplished my goal (there’s one of them); the second one was that my sister, Linh, told me that I could not talk for a week if I failed) – of course I had to reach my goal!

June 2014

1. On June 6, 2014, I watched “Rebel Without a Cause”(1955), a film where an actor, James Dean, spoke for an entire generation, bringing “his explosive presence to the screen in Nicholas Ray’s ‘tense, exciting melodrama'”. Here’s more info: The landmark teen film that solidified Dean’s image with the public follows the story of rebellious middle-class teens, disenfranchised with their parents, and given to a life of thuggery and deadly dangerous drag racing to win over women. (I googled all of this) I also think it’s a powerful coming-of-age story. 

2. One June 7, 2014, I finally got to watch “Frozen”(2013), a film that a few people have told me was really good. I found the songs to be quite catchy and the theme of female leads seizing the day to be very motivational.

3. On Sunday June 8, 2014, I attended the teleconference class “21 Powerful Rewrite Strategies”. It was incredibly useful. Unfortunately, since I woke up late, I missed a portion of the class. Thus, I will be asking around to see if anyone has notes that they can let me borrow to catch up on what I missed!

4. On Friday, June 13, 2014, I finished planning my multi-video dance based intervention (a community based arts project). As stated earlier, the plan was submitted to my WL ARTS 103 Arts in Communities course instructor as my final project, so now I am just waiting for her feedback so that I can put the plan into action! She is an amazing professor! That’s all the updates I have so far!  

NEXT STEPS:

1. Research more on issues of hunger, both through scholarly sources and through interviewing victims.

2. Refine and sharpen “A Dance to World Peace” script. 3. Put multi-video dance based intervention into action.

My remaining 5 months and 4 days of being twenty years old will consist of:

1. Polishing my “A Dance to World Peace” script until it is at a level where it can be sold to a major film studio.

2. Executing the multi-video dance based intervention to gather support and a following as the film becomes produced.

My year 21 will consist of…

Hopefully, pre-production, production, post-production, and marketing of “A Dance to World Peace ”!

 

That’s it!

Thank you for following me on my journey.

Namaste,

Mei Sze Phung

 

May your dreams come true and may peace and happiness accompany you as you progress through your journey

Hello friends, I’m feeling really good and I thought I should update you on my film journey!

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Hello my dear friends,

SO MUCH has happened since my last blog post on February 24, 2014 titled “Update on my dance/filmmaking journey!” If I didn’t write it all down, I don’t know how I would keep track of everything that happened. Time continues to pass and I continue to work step by step, one at a time towards my film dream. Of course, I want to share it with you all because it makes it all the more meaningful to me if I can share my experiences, both good and bad, because either way, we all learn from our experiences!

Soooooooo, I’m now 20 years 4 months and 21 days old, barely starting my twenties, the best decade of my life, yet it feels like so much has happened! I feel excited and happy inside when I think of the potential of making a film to change the world.

During my last post “update on my dance/filmmaking journey” from February 24, 2014, we left off with me talking about how I started to abide by a series of new year’s resolutions and about what I did since I turned 20 on November 22, 2013. December passed, January passed, and february was nearly over, and I spent those three months (my first three months of being 20) on four SMART goals, on participating in Entertainment Networking Night (on 1.29.14), Non-profit Networking night (on 2.19.14), and on embarking on a visit to the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television (on 2.20.14).

I guess by now, I should tell you what my new year’s resolutions are, because now you can hold me accountable, and also because I hope they can help you in your journeys too!

My 2014 New Year’s Resolutions are:

0. Be on time to class and all appointments.

1. Work on being mentally strong.

2. Try to make a reputation for myself and establish myself before or by age 21.

3. Be nicer to everyone, even people who dislike me. Treat everyone equally.

4. Try not to fall for temporary gratification

5. Keep busy everyday, leave no open hours.

6. Read daily.

7. Find some mentors who are older and wise than I.

8. Take care of myself and my body. Love myself unconditionally.

9. Review life hack for the twenty year old (I have a binder devoted to life hack). Review my tumblr posts and yellow notebook agenda (also consisting of tips and goals personal to me) often.

P.S. #6, 7, and 9 have been hard to do consistently, but I promise I’ll work on them harder!

 

Great, now that I’ve revealed to you my 2014 new year’s resolutions, I will continue telling you what’s been happening with me since we last left off on February 24, 2013!

FROM HERE ON OUT (as it has been since my 20th birthday and since the new year 2014), my primary focus in life is constructing my film, “World Peace Dance” (title has been changed to be shorter and more appealing) — from writing the script to gathering a following through youtube videos and teasers to actual dance performances/shows, and to selling the script and getting the film produced and shown in theaters internationally. Sounds like a lot of work right? But to me it’s actually very simple because all of the work boils down to this — getting “World Peace Dance” released in theaters (both domestically and internationally) to create an impact on the world.

 

End of February 2014

1. On February 24, 2014 (in midst of winter quarter 2014 at UCLA), I went to audit a class at the UCLA school of Theatre, Film, and Television in order to learn more about screenwriting so that I could better know how to construct the script for my film. The name of the class was Film TV C132 Screenwriting Fundamentals.

2. On February 25, 2014, I was invited by my friend Nate Boyd, MFA screenwriting student at UCLA, to audit one of the classes he was in, Film TV 298A Special Studies in Film and Television. There, at the beginning of their class, I asked the professor if I could make a short pitch to recruit screenwriting collaborators for “World Peace Dance” (named “A Dance to World Peace” at that time). I had little luck in this feat, but told myself I was going to be okay and that I would keep searching.

3. On February 26, 2014, I embarked on the mission of starting SMART goal #5, which consisted of revising my treatment based on Feedback Group #1 (Linh, Ziying, and Cynthia) and testing it on a new feedback group, which happened to be a screenwriting group in LA (see #4).

4. On February 27, 2014, I attended the very first meeting of a screenwriting group hosted by Meera Peermohamed, a member of the facebook group Berkeley Film Friends (BFF which I am part of). This was a great opportunity because it allowed me to test my treatment draft #2 (that had been revised based on the feedback I received from Linh, Ziying,and Cynthia) to the writer’s group so that I could begin to draft treatment draft #3. The writer’s group was a fantastic experience because I got to meet new people and receive quality feedback on my treatment draft #2. Thank you Meera for hosting the very first meeting of this screenwriting group!.

5. On February 28, 2014, I attended the event “Entertainment That Matters: A Conversation with OSCAR-nominee Steve McQueen” at UCLA. I was super stoked because Steve McQueen was at that time, nominated for Academy Awards for his film “12 Years a Slave”. The thing that I remember most remotely about this event was when an African American told Steve McQueen during the question and answer period of the event that sometimes he felt as if he were the only black in the room and asked Steve McQueen how he dealt with being an African American filmmaker. Steve McQueen responded that he didn’t let it bother him. No matter who was around, he would do HIS job no matter what and stay focused to finish his job. It didn’t matter if he were the only black in the room or not, he did HIS job. At that moment, the crowd cheered and clapped.

6. During the evening of February 28, 2014, I attended “II”, a dance show featuring Laurel Jenkins Tentindo and Kevin Williamson, MFA students in the department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA. This show was really inspiring and beautiful because it showed me the power of creating exquisite, meaningful, and moving dances from personal stories near and dear to oneself! After the show ended, the performers received a standing ovation!

 

March 2014

1. On March 2, 2014, I watched the Oscars, the 86th Academy Awards ceremony. How could I not?

2. This was crunch time for me! I was at weeks 9 and 10 in my winter quarter at UCLA. I found it hard to balance both school work and film work. I felt like there was not enough time in a day. I was tired from being sleep deprived, which led me to have a sleep schedule of abnormal hours. It was like I was staying up during the night trying to finish all of my work, and then spending my days napping for long hours. Thus, I was advised to focus on schoolwork for the rest of the quarter, and then when the whole winter quarter is over, work on my film.

4. So on March 19, 2014, the winter quarter finally ended for me and it was time to go home. Unfortunately, that day I had a packed schedule and didn’t have enough time to pack before I went on my bus ride home to the Bay Area, so my bus ride home was delayed for a day, and I went home on the morning of March 20, 2014, just in time to see my sister during her last day in the United States before she embarked on a journey to Japan on the morning of March 21, 2014. It was clearly an incident of bad time management on my part, but I learned my lesson to always devote substantial time to packing before leaving to anywhere.

5. I spent the first few days of Spring Break sleeping for long long hours. I didn’t know why my body felt so tired all the time. It was probably because I had an irregular sleep schedule during winter quarter 2014 finals week at UCLA. This made it hard for me to be productive, but I found time to work on my collecting and organizing files for my acting/dance/film reel (to show film producers), as suggested by Sunny Tripathy, a UCLA alumni whom I had met at Entertainment Networking Night in January 2014 (for more info about my experience at Entertainment Networking Night, see blog post from February 24, 2014 “Update on my dance/filmmaking journey!”).

6. On Saturday, March 22, 2014, I revisited all of my SMART goals and even came up with my 6th SMART goal: to revise my treatment draft #2 based on Meera Peermohamed’s BFF screenwriting group and come up with treatment draft #3, which I would then test on a new feedback group. SMART goal #6 is my most recent SMART goal, which I am working on to this day :).

7. Guess what happened on Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 9:00 PM? I created “Mei Sze Phung’s Plan for the last 2/3 of her year 20 AND beyond for the next few years”. This crucial document has my plan for the progress of my film as it runs from pre-production to post-production and marketing (as of today, this document is taped on my closet door in my dorm at UCLA for me to see and review on a consistent basis) :).

8. On March 25, 2014, I watched “The Pianist”(2003). Loved this movie! I had also watched “A Beautiful Mind”(2001) on March 10, 2014, and “12 Years a Slave”(2013) on March 12, 2014.

9. On March 26, 2014, I heard back from Ken Rudnick, a fellow UCLA student who had expressed interest in collaborating on writing “World Peace Dance” (at that time named “A Dance to World Peace”). I was really thankful to get a new perspective on “World Peace Dance” because Ken had provided me with detailed notes on how I could improve treatment draft #2 to create treatment draft #3 based off of Feedback group #2, Meera Peermohamed’s screenwriting group.

10. During the evening of March 26, 2014, thanks to Tyler Smalls, I started thinking about garnering a following for “World Peace Dance” through creating cultural dance youtube videos for the purpose of spreading awareness about global hunger alleviation. Thanks Tyler! This would be a great method to complement my theatrical film with methods of social action and intervention in the real world.

11. Even later that evening of March 26, 2014 (around midnight), I finished watching the entire video portion of Stephanie Palmer’s online course “How to Be a Professional Screenwriter in Hollywood”. Definitely super helpful! It gave me an overview of how the film industry works, while also providing me with details, tips, and tricks on how to thrive in the industry as a writer.

12. On March 28, 2014, I watched the films “Noah” (2014) and “Precious”(2008) with Ziying.

13. On March 31, 2014, spring break ended and it was BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!!!!!!!! I couldn’t wait to start getting productive again! 🙂 🙂 :), especially after a long sleepy spring break.

 

April 2014

1. On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, I met Ken Rudnick for the first time in person. It was the second day back at school. Ken and I went through his original comments on Treatment draft #2 of “World Peace Dance” (named “A Dance to World Peace” at that time) and my notes from Meera’s screenwriting group in detail in person. It was a great time being able to discuss my film in detail and the possibilities. I was really starting to feel that “World Peace Dance” was beginning to come to life!

3. Brace yourself!! From April 11 to April 14, 2014, I am participating in the Online Hollywood Pitch Festival. If you don’t know what that is, it is a monumental milestone in my film career because it basically means that I get to pitch my film idea to FILM COMPANY REPRESENTATIVES!!!!!!!!!!! This means that if the representatives like my idea, they might decide to set up another meeting to talk more with me or even buy my project.

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014

I pitched to the VIPs from three film companies. I’ll jump to the good news: During my second Skype pitch meet, which was with the film company Eclectic Ent., I got to speak with Conor Charles (Sr. VP Production) and Kyle Cooper (Development). It started off pretty well because I felt like I had a bond with them when we build rapport prior to my pitch. They both seemed fairly young too!

I pitched my log line: “World Peace Dance” is drama with dance mixed with thriller and action feature film about a daring teenage girl named Daisy who is on a mission to alleviate world hung through cultural dance to create world peace, but she ends up starting WWIII.

We the continued and I walked them through my film. They told me that my film was perfect for them because they were looking for female leads. We were really excited talking about my film, but then I was told that my film, because there was so much dance in it, might be better suited for theatre/stage. BUT, Conor told me to give them a call at the end of this summer/beginning of the new year do update them when I have made a play or a multi-video project and gotten a following started. I was asked to invite them to my performances!! I was told that I had a kernel going (that could grow). I was also told that I would be remembered and that they would buy my idea in heartbeat, but my film was too big-budgeted at this moment and was also a RISK project. I was really really happy after this Skype meeting because I felt that there were people who believed in my film idea and that they were excited to see my idea grow. It made me feel really good and happy. I could see my whole film play out in real life and I couldn’t wait for it to happen. I felt so much hope and ambition because it seemed like my dream would actually be coming true. Do you know what I mean?

So that’s my gist of the Online Hollywood Pitch Festival, I have one more meeting with a film company VIP this Monday, so stay tuned!

 

MY NEXT STEPS for the rest of April:

1. Make my own “cultural dance against global hunger” youtube/dance movement(s) in real life (collaborate with the UCLA dance department and UCLA film department).

2. Turn my “World Peace Dance” film treatment into a script.

3. Understand the importance of SLEEP

4. Appreciating solitude – I’m really starting to like my alone time, do you know what I mean? I enjoy being around people, but I also really appreciate when I have time to think to soothing, beautiful music and to utilize my creative juices to come up with something phenomenal.

 

My remaining 7 months and 9 days of being 20 years old will consist of:

1. The Online Hollywood Pitch Festival – my last meeting with a film company VIP

2. Applications to a variety of prestigious screenwriting competitions (thanks to the suggestion of my Film Producing III professor Hans Liebing, as well as Weiko Lin and Rocco Pucillo (both of whom I met at Entertainment Networking Night).

3. REALLY excited for this! — making actual “cultural dance movements against global hunger” in real life to garner a following.

4. Turning my “World Peace Dance” treatment into a script.

5. A summer trip to China with my family (looking forward to meeting people of the major film studios there!)

6. Selling “World Peace Dance” to film companies.

My year 21 will consist of…

Hopefully, pre-production, production, post-production, and marketing of “World Peace Dance”!

Thats it! I’m so glad that you were able to read through my post. I hope that I have inspired you to follow your dreams too!

Cheers and with peace, love, and compassion,

Mei Sze Phung

P.S. Have a great year 2014. I hope that your dreams come true — transcend all limits and boundaries. I believe you can do it.

 

 

 

 

 

Update on my dance/filmmaking journey!

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Blog update photo 2:23:14(Click to enlarge)

Hello to all of my fellow friends, family, classmates, teachers, floormates and acquaintances etc.(everyone is welcome to read this blog)! 🙂

Hope you all have been doing well!

It’s been about two months since I first launched the blog “My Road to becoming a Filmmaker and living my Hollywood Dream”. I am happy and excited to tell you all that a lot has happened since then and that I wouldn’t feel complete if I did not tell you all about it!

First, I will tell you what I have been doing since I turned 20 three months ago:

December

My fall quarter at UCLA ended on December 13, 2013 (as a transfer student, it was only my second quarter at UCLA, after the summer sessions head start I completed during summer 2013). At that moment, I knew I needed to change something about my life. My friend Ziying and I proposed to share with each other our 10 new years resolutions and count on each other to follow through with all of them (since then, I have condensed and revised them down to 9). I’ll keep them secret for now, but what I will tell you is that working on them and following through on them has brought me tremendous changes in my life: I became more productive, happy, energetic, and mentally strong everyday.

But to boil it down, here are my highlights of December:

1. I made the decision to commit to doing five tasks towards my film dream every day to get it rolling.

2. I created my list of ten New Year’s Resolutions for 2014, printed them out, and exchanged them with my friend Ziying.

3. I discovered the work of Stephanie Palmer (author of Good in a Room – How to sell yourself (and your ideas) and win over any audience and founder of consultant company Good in a Room). Thanks to her book and her blog, I learned of steps that forced me to become clear about what my movie, “A Dance to World Peace” would be about. I learned about how to pitch my film title and logline to my friends and family.

A Dance to World Peace

“It’s a dance/culture and society thriller about a daring teenage girl who attempts to unite the world through cultural dance to alleviate global hunger and create world peace, but she must fight against corrupt politicians who would rather the world be static and unchanged.” (This is the latest version of the logline of “A Dance to World Peace”)

January 

Before I knew it, January came! I will tell you about my highlights of January too:

1. I started my first official SMART goal (you can google what it means for clarification) on January 7th, 2014, and completed it by January 15th, 2014. SMART goal #1 consisted of completing the six steps: Coming up with the film idea, brainstorming related ideas, researching the idea, drafting revised short pitch, and testing the revised title and pitch.

2. I actually spoke to Stephanie Palmer on January 17th, 2014 on Skype for a fifteen-minute session! She was extremely helpful and gave me more ideas on how to further the progress of my film, “A Dance to World Peace”.

3. I started SMART goal #2 on January 17, 2014 and finished it on January 26, 2014. SMART goal #2 consisted of the following steps: Outline the Project, edit the outline, and outline the story.

4. I took advantage of Entertainment Networking Night at UCLA on January 29, 2014. This was a huge event where UCLA alumni in the entertainment industry came to speak with UCLA students. I spoke to about 9 people that night, making connections, retaining business cards and emails. That night, I stayed up until 4 AM to send follow up emails to the alumni I spoke to, thanking them for their time and for allowing me to know what the next steps in my film career dream were.

February

Time only continued to move quickly. As if I were on a treadmill, I felt myself having make the effort to keep up with the fast pace of time. After all, I only had 24 hours in a day, and about five days a week, I had to attend my UCLA classes, go to the gym to work on my physical therapy stretches, eat dinner, do my homework and much more of the typical day to day tasks one does. About two days per week, I attended ballet and belly dance classes. What was left of my day to work on my film each day was usually only a few hours out of the twenty-four hours of a day, but I persevered and looked forward to those few hours each day. Each night, I struggled to get the 7-9 hours of sleep that an adult needs to properly function, sometimes getting less than 7 hours because I had been in the momentum and zone of working on my film and it was hard to stop working.

Now I will tell you about my highlights of February are:

1. On February 4, 2014 I started SMART goal #3 and completed it by February 16, 2014. It consisted of converting my story outline into a three-page treatment. This was my opportunity to identify story problems.

2. On February 17, 2013, or Presidents’ Day, I started SMART goal #4, which consists of testing my 3-page treatment to a feedback group. For this group, I chose my sister Linh, Ziying, my brother David, my floormate Cynthia, and my RA Anthony. I felt happy to be able to hear their feedback and criticism (from those who I received feedback from so far). Like Michelle Kwan says, “I can take criticism. It’s when I DON’T get any that I worry”. Having been inspired by Michelle Kwan, I am starting to feel the same way too.

3. I took advantage of UCLA’s Non-profit Networking Night on February 19, 2014 to learn more about the causes of hunger, poverty, and homelessness as well as the work that different non-profit organizations were doing to address those issues. I knew that at this stage in my life, it is essential to seize opportunities as they come. Worried that I was on the wait list and might not get in, I went there early after dinner. But I guess it was my lucky day because upon my arrival at the check-in station, I was told that I was actually not on the wait list! So I happily went to the panel and listened to five representatives form different non-profit organizations talk about their career paths and the organizations they worked for. After that, the official event began and I went from table to table to meet and talk with the different non-profit organizations working to alleviate poverty and homelessness. Once again, it was an eye-opener experience because the representatives gave me a lot of information, allowing me to realize what my next steps would be —  1. to commit myself wholeheartedly to non-profit organizations  that I feel strongly interested and connected to 2. to experience the hunger and poverty in third world countries first hand and try to make an positive impact directly at the sight because it is a lot about how I feel and what I experience that helps me to write my film script.

4. On Thursday, February 20, 2014, I went to UCLA’s school of Theatre Film and Television (TFT), as my friend Nate had invited me to come listen to guest speakers such as the writer of Avatar, the editor of Scream, and three UCLA grads who made the movie “The Raid” (2011) and “The Raid 2” (2014). I also audited a professional screenwriting class, listening attentively to a the discussion that centered around one of the five students’, Anthony’s, script. I took notes about the details and elements that a script must encompass, knowing that these notes would be important to address as I write my own script as well. My night visit to UCLA’s School of TFT was a learning experience for me because I was allowed to ask questions on what I was curious about. It was also a chance for me to connect and talk with members of the TFT department. I am forever grateful to Nate for inviting me along to TFT to learn that night. I am also thankful the professors whom I met, James Strain and Howard Suber. And of course, thank you to all of the TFT students I spoke and connected with!

Once again, I sent follow-up emails, Facebook requests, and linkedin requests to those I met at Non-profit Networking Night and at my UCLA School of TFT night visit (as I had done so for Entertainment Networking Night as well).

This month also consisted of my search for screenwriting collaborators because I knew that I couldn’t do it alone and would be more efficient if I collaborated with others. Thus I made use this flyer (first made on and for Entertainment Networking Night):

ADWP Business Cards Official 2.23.14(Click to enlarge)

I have posted this flyer around the UCLA World Arts and Cultures Department, UCLA School of TFT, and on many Facebook film and screenwriting groups. I have had several inquiries and people interested, but no definitive collaborators so far. The world doesn’t end here though. I am persevering and doing as much as I can on my own and I believe that when the time is right, I will find the right collaborators. If you are interested, let me know! We can talk! I hope that I can find international collaborators too. My dream is for my film to not only be shown in theaters all over the world over the next few years, but for it to also create a real impact on the world against global hunger and poverty.

Thanks for listening to my journey so far! I know it is a lot to take in! I am happy with my progress so far and have faith that I will continue to progress until my dream becomes a reality.

I’d like to give thanks to the authors of these books:

Story by Robert McKee

Good In A Room: How to Sell Yourself (And Your Ideas) And Win Over Any Audience by Stephanie Palmer

Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc by Dara Marks

Writing Movies For Profit by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Create the Pitch for Your Screenplay by Stephanie Palmer

How to Take a Hollywood Meeting by Stephanie Palmer

I’d like to give my appreciation to the makers of the documentaries:

A Place at the Table (Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson; Participant Media)

Inequality for All (Robert Reich)

My remaining 9 months of being 20 years old will consist of:

1. Applications to a variety of prestigious screenwriting competitions (thanks to the suggestion of my Film Producing III professor Hans Liebing, as well as Weiko Lin and Rocco Pucillo (both of whom I met at Entertainment Networking Night).

2. The Online Hollywood Pitch Festival (my chance to pitch “A Dance to World Peace” directly to film studios!)

3. A summer trip to China with my family (looking forward to meeting people of the major film studios there!)

My year 21 will consist of…

Haha! Just kidding. I will stop here (for now).

THANK YOU SO MUCH for joining me on my journey. I am forever with gratitude to you.

Cheers,

Mei Sze Phung

Have a great year my friends 🙂 I hope that your dreams and aspirations come true.

Steven Spielberg

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Steven Spielberg,

Steven Spielberg

I just read a book that details your childhood to your adulthood and later life. I want to tell you that I am so impressed by you and you inspire me a great deal. I wish I had the courage to be more like you. You are so brave. You keep trying. You are persistent. The story of your life is so heartfelt. I am really in awe finishing your book. You are a great role model. I saw many of the struggles you went through while reading the book, and I am encouraged to ply through my struggles too. Life has not been easy for me, but I am happy to be where I am now.  I can’t believe you knew you wanted to be a movie director when you were 12-13 years old. No 12-13 year old I know is like you. If I could, I would want to stay teenager forever, but I can’t, but at heart, I know I will always be a kid, because we all know that passion starts when we are kids. We already know what we love and desire because our heart tells us so. Also, your baby pictures and pictures of you as a kid were so adorable! You looked mischievous and and adventurous and I see that in myself sometimes too. What really blew me away is how you never stopped trying and you never seemed to even take a break. You just kept going and going. Anyways, thank you for inspiring me.

-Mei Sze Phung

My Winter Break

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“There is no time to lose” is my motto.

My passion has always lied in the arts and in dancing, and sometime between high school and college, I knew that I wanted to make movies. I’ve made a list of 10 resolutions for the new year with Zi Ying Liu, which we will both push each other to accomplish. They’re secret now, but someday you will find out what they are! These resolutions mainly outline ways for me to reach who I want to be as a person and who I want to be as a filmmaker and arts activist. Everyday, I have vowed to myself that I will do at least five things to achieve my film dream. I started this Monday, and so far things have been going well.

I am also working on becoming the best dancer I can be. I am still recovering from two leg injuries, but through these injuries I have learned to take much better care of my body. I can dance again, but I have to slowly build up. I do mainly Chinese dance and cultural dance, but this winter quarter, I am excited to be taking ballet (resuming) and belly dance (haven’t done this since my freshman and sophomore years of high school). I love exotic dances such as Indian, arabian, egyptian etc. They are a lot of fun and the music is so catchy and alluring.

My other hobby is reading. You won’t believe how many books I have checked out from the Alameda Free library, and CD’s too. I love new music and books. I’ve checked out books on Spielberg bios, Disney and Warner Bros bios, Chinese culture books, a geisha memoir, film books, Chinese Zodiac books, etc etc etc. When I go to find a specific book, I grab it, but then I look around the shelf at the books on similar topic surrounding them, which makes me graph 3 or 4 more books when I originally intended to just grab one. It’s great, and I hope I can finish all of them or at least take in the significance of each. My goal is to read one book a month from cover to cover. I feel that this will really inspire me even more.

It’s getting late, so have a good evening!

Stay tuned! I will keep updating. I am super excited to go back to UCLA for winter quarter, but before then, there is MUCH MORE that needs to be done.

I will stay strong and firm about my passion and it will never change. I can picture exactly who I want to be by or before 21. I know exactly what I want. And it has been great. I don’t ever feel like I am wasting time when I take actions towards what I want and who I want to be.

I hope that I can inspire some of you along the way to achieve your dreams too in pursuing my own dream.

Cheers,

Mei Sze Phung