EDDIE KIM INTERVIEW
Executive Producer of Projekt NewSpeak Seeks to Create a Movement that is Constantly Evolving
and Continuing a New Language and Culture with a Purpose of Empowering,
Inspiring, Uplifting, Creating, Storytelling and Voicing with a Limitless
Could you share how your experiences with organizations such as Koreatown Youth & Community Center, L.A. County Young Democrats, Korean American Democratic Committee, National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse, Asian Pacific American Legislative Staff Network, Korean American Legislative Staff Network, The K.W. Lee Center for Leadership, Korean Resource Center, Green Pastures Youth Center, Azusa Pacific University guest lecturer, etc. have shaped your perspective(s) of community involvement and responsibility?
I've learned different things from each of these organizations…but if I were to say as a whole what I have learned about community involvement is that…I know that some or many people would go into community involvement because they are angered by issues and want to fight back and create change. Personally for me, I've felt that way too. It led me to a sense of jadedness and cynicism about America…and sometimes I've felt that my efforts were a waste of time. And so I learned that in order to continue to work for community change, you have to love the community and love doing the work. And so the reason for getting involved in the community is because you've got to have love as the underlying motivation rather than hate or anger.
With your great interest in creating tangible change in society, an impact on the minds/hearts of people, what things would you like to see - along with how will your company promote/financially support change?
Lee & Jimmy Boggs
What we need to do now is to begin engaging
our children in community-building activities with the same audacity
with which the civil rights movement engaged them in desegregation
and voter registration activities thirty-five years ago.
Classes of school children from K-12 should
be taking responsibility for maintaining neighborhood streets,
planting community gardens, recycling waste, rehabbing houses,
creating healthier school lunches, visiting and doing errands
for the elderly, organizing neighborhood festivals, painting public
murals. The possibilities are endless.
This is the fastest way to motivate all
our children to learn and at the same time reverse the physical
deterioration of our neighborhoods. . . . by giving children a
better reason to study than just to get a job or to advance their
individual upward mobility, it will also get their cognitive juices
PROJEKT NEWSPEAK'S EDDIE KIM:
I would like to see more and more young Asian Americans feeling like they can be artists, community activists, entertainers, public figures, etc. I want them to feel like they can be agents that can create movements. Our company will promote through not only shows and events, but also through internet media and print. And maybe one day when we are able to generate enough revenues, we hope to create a foundation that can provide funding back into the community for other organizations and/or individuals in need.
The Korean American Youth Leadership Program was an internship that really challenged me to look into my history as a Korean American and understand my identity. I had never really thought about what it meant to be a Korean American prior to that experience. It has shaped my belief and understanding of community. It has also helped to mold my passion for empowerment. It really opened my eyes to all the issues that affect our community as Asian Americans.
With your interest of using acting/storytelling and community issues/politics to create changes in society - along with the current interest of slam poetry within the APA communities, why do you feel that the Asian Pacific American communities still have a great reluctance to make needed social changes - especially noted upon recognizing how Korean youths died to attain freedom for South Korea?
Part of it can be attributed to this notion that Asians (particularly 1st generation folks) are silent and that they hope through time and hard work, change will come. But sometimes in America, change only comes through great pains and conflicts and voicing out as loud as you can.
Therapy was a recent short film that I starred in. I played a nervous, antisocial therapy patient. The character's name was "Jim", and the story was about him overcoming his fear of social interaction and germs. Through out the story, he shows his fear of anything that he thought had germs on it and was extremely nervous about interacting with people. He consults with his psychiatrist about this problem and his psychiatrist gives him an assignment where he has to go to the beach and make a new friend. So "Jim" takes a leap of faith and decides to go to the beach to try to relax and make a new friend. At the beach, people ignore him and he almost gives up hope and decides to take a nap. While napping, a stranger comes along and wakes "Jim" up thinking that he's a friend. The stranger realizes he tapped the wrong person, but "Jim" gets excited about this moment. He calls his psychiatrist and tells him that he made a new friend. And it ends like that. It was really fun playing that character but stressful
also because I felt that "Jim" constantly was on edge and felt tension in his body all the time…and to portray that made me constantly feel tension in my body.
Halloween Carnivale and 1000 by 1000 were both video clips that me and my cameraman, Brian Corpuz, created for NewSpeak TV. They were just fun clips of moments at events. Halloween Carnivale was the annual Halloween festivity in Hollywood. We decided to go an interview a lot of costumed people and see what was there in a funny way. 1000 by 1000 was just a moment where we decided to film ourselves asking an In'n'Out stand if they made 1000 by 1000 hamburgers. They told us that somebody actually ordered a 10 by 10. We didn't expect that.
Born in Philly
to KTown when I was 1
to Lancaster in pre/school elementary school
to Walnut....in Diamond Bar for elementary school
to Seoul, Korea when i was 2nd grade
back to KTown for 4th grade (third street elementary)
to Torrance for junior high (calle mayor middle school)
in Torrance for high school (south high school)
to UC Berkeley...studied Psychology and Ethnic Studies....did Theatre
Rice and Korean American Student Organization. did a lot of theatre...and
student organizing...protest/marches...student conferences.
live in Pasadena
around a lot because dad was a civilian working for the U.S. Army/Defense
Department. later on..mom moved us for education purposes...good schools
in torrance and also nicer area to live in.
up in church...but later on had a lot of questions about it.
heavily into community empowerment...awareness...and social change.
spark started in la...while interning at KYCC with the Korean American
Youth Leadership Program.
Theatre...constantly was involved in that. performing in the bay area.
and then performing in la. doing spoken word poetry...loved that genre...starting
with the first time i saw "I
Was Born with Two Tongues". they really moved me.
in general inspires and moves me. COMEDY...LOVE IT!...DRAMA...LOVE
love dark things. those moments i find a lot of inspiration.
passion is acting/storytelling and community issues/politics.
are both ways to create change in society...but more importantly to
make an effect or impact on the minds and hearts of people.
Theatre Rice was the impetus of my passion for acting. It was a college student theatre group that I was part of during my time at UC Berkeley. Prior to my experience at Theatre Rice, I thought acting was for strange, weird people. In high school, I saw the drama kids and they were the most oddest and strangest people I've ever seen in my life. They acted and behaved weirdly…and people in school looked at them as outcasts. So it was ironic that when I joined Theatre Rice, I would love it. I joined because a friend recommended that I do it. So I tried it and stuck with it and eventually loved it. And then I realized that acting and storytelling was a passion of mine.
"I Was Born with Two Tongues" was the first time I saw spoken word poetry. It was quite a moving and inspiring experience that went through twists and turns of emotions from funny to sad. It moved to tears and it was touching. And it caused me to think and some moments it made me angry…and in other moments it made me laugh. It was a rollercoaster ride. They inspired me to continue in acting and gave me a sense of belief that I could write as well and ultimately perform.
Performing on stage…acting…storytelling…comedy…drama….all of these are truly the only times that I can be really free to express how I feel about anything and everything. I can't achieve that ultimate freedom in real life…and for that matter; I don't think anyone can achieve ultimate honesty and freedom in expression in real life. It's only through the arts that people can really be free to express how they feel about anything. And that's how I feel about the arts.
There is a sense of vulnerability, honesty, pain and truth that are experienced in "dark" moments that cannot be achieved in the same way compared to other mediums. It's through "dark" moments that we face our own insecurities, failures, hurt….and it's these kinds of moments that are most pure and real. It's not to say that comedy and other stuff are less real, but there is something special about "dark" moments. Everyone tries to hide these "dark" experiences because it's a reminder of pain….but shedding light and exploring these "dark" moments can help to release it…and so many people in the world can identify with all the hurt they experience and try to hide. It's a way to connect with people and their feelings.
Could you describe your proficiency in improvisation, comedy, stage combat (which disciplines), guitar (acoustic, electric, bass, etc.) and sports - along with how these skills have helped shaped your current creative paths/options?
In college, I was involved in creating comedic sketches through Theatre Rice. It was there that I performed my first stage combat also. It continued on even after graduating from college back in 2001 by writing my own skits and working to perform spoken word poetry. My comedy comes from within and also through life experiences, and I feel that it helps me to connect with people. It continues to drive me today through my writing and performances.
Of the places where you've received training (i.e. Playhouse West, Meisner Technique, TeAda Productions, Boal Technique, Acting for Camera and Georgia Well), which place(s) would you recommend for talented and serious Asian Pacific American actors who are striving to maximize their skills?
That's just my personal training listed above so I don't think any one actor should have to go to the places that I've been to. But of all the places that I've been to, I highly recommend Playhouse West. I'm one of few Asians in that school. That school really challenges you and trains you to break down your inner walls of inhibition. They work at making you really raw so that you react emotionally to everything and everyone in a very truthful, honest way…going from moment to moment. A lot of big name actors have come from that school…like Ashley Judd, Jeff Goldblum, James Franco, Jim Carrey, Jordana Brewster, and more. A current Asian American actor who's come from that school is Roger Fan.