'Asian Rocks' web series born from friendship, team effort to increase media diversity || En
'Asian Rocks' web series features an Asian American woman navigating life. Source: Asian Rocks
Two strangers developed a lasting friendship that led them to create a project that's made their bondeven stronger.
Jane Park, the lead actress of the "Asian Rocks" web series, met director Wizeman Khnum Khensu at a acting workshop in New York City. Khensu had just moved to the Big Apple from Washington D.C. with a "trash bag and a dream," while Park showed him around the metropolitan.
In an initial conversation at a train stop, Park lamented to Khensu about the lack of diversity in media, Khensu told #AmyLieuPresents. He said he never forgot their conversations that ensued. Fast forward three years, they teamed up for "Asian Rocks," a project they say is from their "heart and soul."
Park is also the executive producer, Khensu, the writer and producer. Khensu tells #AmyLieuPresents that he first wrote the script and showed Park, who then edited it to make it more "authentic" to things that she would say in real life.
#AmyLieuPresents also caught up with Jane Park, who answered some questions about "Asian Rocks."
Can you tell us about the Asian American woman main character of the series?
The name of the Asian-American woman who is the main character is Alex. She is an Asian American struggling between two cultures. Her character is loosely based on Jane Park's real life and the things that she has experienced. We initially didn't bring attention to [her name] in the actual episodes because when we introduce the girl, we wanted her to be relatable by allowing our audience to think that when they look at her they see themselves and put themselves in each situation.
What is the inspiration behind the production? How did the idea come to fruition?
The inspiration started out as a casual conversation between Wizeman and myself, in the middle of Time Square. I was just telling Wizeman random stories about my life, and then I proceeded to complain about the lack of diversity in Hollywood, and how hard it was for me (being Asian-American) to get an opportunity to audition for leading acting roles.
Then Wizeman had this creative thought, in which I thought was an insane idea, which was that we should put my stories on screen. Wizeman suggested that I should star in my own show. At first I was a bit skeptical and I thought he was joking but once I realize he was serious we began developing the project right then.
Lead actress Jane Park (L) with writer-director Wizeman Khnum Khensu (R). Source: Asian Rocks
Why the title "Asian Rocks"?
We selected the title “Asian Rocks” for two reasons…
Reason 1- To show America that I am a proud Asian and all my other Asian brothers and sister should be as well.
Reason 2- “ Being Asian Rocks” is our slogan and the catchphrase that you will hear at the end of every episode which we use as a metaphor for our viewers interpretation on how I feel based on what has happened in that episode.
What does the web series hope to leave viewers with after watching it?
After watching “Asian Rocks,” it is our hope that we leave viewers, fans and our supporters, who we call our “Asian Rockstars,” questioning themselves if they also can relate to or have seen these Asian stereotypes and to be entertained with wanting more! We constantly read on social media that people have been asking Hollywood to create a TV series about an adult Asian American woman experience living life in LA, but we don't live in LA so we did the next best thing and chose to show the Asian American female point of view living in New York and the experiences she goes through because a lot of time our stories has either been whitewashed, ignored, marginalized and neglected for far too long. We also want our series to embrace diversity and demonstrate cultural awareness through entertainment.
Is there anything else you'd like to add for us to learn more about the series?
In closing, Wizeman and I met three years ago, three days after he had just moved to New York City with only “a trash bag and a dream” literally. I didn't know at the time that meeting him at an acting workshop would change my life forever. I once travel from New York to Washington DC just to support his first modeling show just after a few weeks of meeting him because he invited me to come after I said yes, my friends thought I was crazy to travel that far but I'm a woman of my word. I had no idea how I supported him back then would come full circle of him supporting me doing this series but I knew it was something special about him that I couldn't explain. Currently, I am a bartender and Wizeman is a server. We had no funding and no corporate sponsors for our project. We nearly went broke funding our web series ourselves.
However, his passion for storytelling, my passion for acting and structuring this series to make it authentic as possible made us a perfect match. We had a lot of creative differences along the way but going through the process of working on this project together has been the most challenging and best learning experience in my life. I want to thank Wizeman for carrying the burden of putting so much of the workload on his shoulders to get things done with our limited budget and resources. I could tell is was challenging for him as well but he never lost his composure while filming.
This web series far exceeding my expectations, I originally wanted to just do six episodes but we manage to push through to do for an entire season of 13 episodes as well as filmed behind the scenes videos of those episodes as well. We put our heart and soul into this project and we hope it translates on screen for everyone to enjoy and support it!
Park (L) would like to thank the diverse "Asian Rocks" team. Khensu is seen at the bottom (R). Former Miss Puerto Rico Catalina Morales, in the middle, joins the cast and crew at the series premiere screening. Source: Asian Rocks
We also would like to thank our cast, crew, social media marketing team, and everyone that contributes to our series, they are our unsung heroes. You all came on board because you all love the concept and believe that our story should be shared with the world, we constantly say they are our truly our "Asian Rockstars" as well. Our crew is very diverse and we all have grown together during these long, hard, stressful days but you stuck by us through it all and from the bottom of our hearts we want to thank you all so very much.
We appreciate everyone that has watched and supported our series and just in case you haven't, you can find us on YouTube by searching for "Asian Rocks" or on the Peace Joy Harmony Productions YouTube Channel. We also want everyone to follow our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) @AsianRocksNYC.
If you love “Asian Rocks” please let us know with your feedback and comments. Please subscribe, share and enjoy our webseries! We want to hear from our Asian Rockstars. haha