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EWP Producing Artistic Director Tim Dang chats with Executive Producer/Showrunner Glen Mazzara at the David Henry Hwang Theater on July 9, 2013.

EWP Producing Artistic Director Tim Dang chats with Executive Producer/Showrunner Glen Mazzara at the David Henry Hwang Theater on July 9, 2013.

Whether you are familiar with Glen Mazzara’s work, or just know him as “that guy who has something to do with The Walking Dead,” you can’t deny his presence on stage as a speaker or how forthright he was with his advice. As an East West Players intern, I had the awesome opportunity to attend this event. Somewhat embarrassingly, I admit that I consider myself part of the group who is not familiar with Glen Mazzara, and have only generically heard of his work with The Walking Dead and Hawthorne, among others. I couldn’t have been the only one though! Or, considering the popularity of this AMC horror drama series, maybe I was the only one in a sea of admirers.

News of Glen Mazzara visiting East West Players spread quickly and attracted a pretty large crowd of both ACTS members and non-ACTS members. Even one of the writers, Sang Kim, joined us last night (big shout out for helping to arrange this!). With our Artistic Director Tim Dang facilitating the conversation, Glen openly talked about his job as executive producer and showrunner of The Walking Dead, as well as his beginnings with Nash Bridges and Crash. Tim and the audience posed specific questions about everything from diversity and sexism, to the issue of actors of color in casting and advice to actors and writers about moving forward.

It was refreshing to see how honest and uncensored Glen was in his responses. Some of my favorite highlights include:

On people of color:

-“Unfortunately, Hollywood is racist against everyone.”

-“I try to be authentic. When casting Crash, there was a Korean storyline and I wanted a Korean actor. Not Chinese, not Japanese. And people actually came up to me asking what’s the difference?”

On sexism:

-“When I hear that an actress is difficult, she’s not actually difficult. What that tells me is that she just happened to ask a question that male actors are allowed to ask, but females are not. Writers and directors listen to the suggestions and questions coming from a male. If a female asked the same things, they’d blow it off and question what’s wrong with her.”

-“Check out Miss Representation, it does a good job of showing the sexism that exists in the industry.”

On his style of writing:

-“I’m a gritty cop writer. That’s what I do. Someone told me I should try writing for Gilmore Girls and I was like no! It would be full of rape and mayhem and oh it would be so offensive. Yeah, no.”

On advice for writing scenes:

-“You know, characters are always written the same. The man is always kind of rugged, in his 30s, handsome, but looks younger than in his 30s. The woman is supposed to be smart, beautiful, has looks that can stop traffic, but she doesn’t know how hot she is. She’s supposed to be really strong. Women end up written as feminine men, really. We’re trying to say they’re strong women, but they end up being female men; it’s a strange trap. Just don’t even write that in the description of the character. If you want a smart, beautiful woman, write a scene where she is being smart and funny and beautiful. Write it in and show us!”

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Contributed by EWP/LA County Arts Intern Joann Kweon

Glen Mazzara

Glen Mazzara

Glen Mazzara, Executive Producer and Showrunner for AMC’s The Walking Dead will speak at 7PM on July 9th at East West Players David Henry Hwang Theatre located in downtown Los Angeles. Mazzara’s body of work includes five seasons on Golden Globe®-winning The Shield, FX’s groundbreaking police drama; Crash, the first scripted drama on the pay-cable network STARZ; TNT’s medical drama Hawthorne; as well as NBC’s Life and CBS’ Nash Bridges.

Passionate about both writing and mentoring, Mazzara works with CBS’s Writers Mentoring Program, the Writers Guild Showrunner Training Program, Writers Guild Diversity Committee and Writers on the Verge and teaches classes and seminars at colleges across the country, including UCLA, USC, Emerson College and Loyola Marymount University.

*Content edited from IMDb Mini Biography By Michelle Marron

This event is free to the Alliance of Creative Talent Services (ACTS) members, there is a $10 fee for non-ACTS members. To RSVP you must email Marilyn Tokuda directly at: mtokuda@eastwestplayers.org, SUBJECT LINE: Glen Mazzara

If you are an ACTS member and RSVP’ing, please put ACTS Member in email.

The EWP David Henry Hwang Theatre is located at: 120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles, Ca. 90012

Parking: There is parking across the street at the AISO PARKING GARAGE, fee is $3.00 after 5 pm. Please note that the lot closes promptly at 12 midnight on the day of this event!

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Director Jon M. Chu will be honored by East West Players at the 47th Anniversary Visionary Awards and Silent Auction taking place on Monday, April 22, 2013 at the Universal Hilton.  His most recent directorial work, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, debuted at #1 at the Box Office this past Easter weekend, and has grossed over $231 million worldwide to date.

A native of Palo Alto, CA and a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Chu has raised the visibility of Asians Americans in the entertainment industry through his love of music and dance, directing two films in the Disney dance film “Step Up” franchise and creating the prolific dance collective Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (LXD).  He also directed the 3D documentary film “Never Say Never,” about music phenomenon Justin Bieber, grossing nearly $100 million worldwide.

 “This is a huge honor,” says Chu. “East West Players has helped build a strong foundation not only for Asian American theatre, but for Asian Americans in arts and entertainment as a whole. Thank you to Tim Dang and East West Players for including me in this great tradition.”

“Jon is an emerging force behind the camera in his achievement as a director and producer,” says Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director of East West Players. “From LXD to the ‘Step Up’ Franchise, and now ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation,’ it takes leadership and vision to be a master storyteller on large scale screen projects. Jon’s work also raises the visibility of Asian Americans in front of the camera, as reflected in the diverse casts of his productions.”

East West Players (EWP) is the largest creator of Asian American artistic work and the longest running professional theater of color in the country.  EWP has been working with Asian Pacific American actors, writers, directors, designers, producers, stage management, crew, box office and administrative staff for the last four decades. EWP celebrates its 47th Season, themed “Spirited Away,” with its captivating Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction, and salutes those who have made a valuable impact on the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their artistic excellence and support of the Asian Pacific American performing arts. Proceeds from the gala will benefit East West Players’ educational and artistic programs.

Chu joins fellow honorees: seminal Asian American improv comedy ensemble COLD TOFU, YouTube celebrity Kevin Wu aka KevJumba, and “The Walking Dead” breakout star Steven Yeun. Tamlyn Tomita (Karate Kid Part II,” “Joy Luck Club”) will serve as emcee for the event. Award-winning composer Nathan Wang (Beijing Olympics/Shaolin Monks, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar Award-winning film “The Last Days”) will serve as the evening’s Musical Director.

Current major sponsors of the gala include: PLATINUM CIRCLE – CBS Corporation, NBC Universal, Mattel, Inc., Southern California Edison, The Walt Disney Company; GOLD CIRCLE – The Thomas R. Bancroft Family, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Wells Fargo; SILVER CIRCLE – Sony Pictures Entertainment, David L. Mauss; BRONZE CIRCLE – Lynn & Brian Arthurs, Tim Dang & Darrel Cummings, I.W. Group, Inc., Paramount Pictures, Superstar Friends of Daniel M. Mayeda, Union Bank and Rabbit Litho.

East West Players’ 47th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction will be held on Monday, April 22, 2013 at the Hilton Universal City, 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, CA 91608. The no-host reception and silent auction will start at 6pm. The dinner and awards program will start at 7pm. Tickets are $175 – $1,500. Full table sponsorship packages are also available. For more information on East West Players’ 47th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction, please visit http://www.EastWestPlayers.org or contact Development Manager Rosalyn Kawahira at (213) 625-7000 x17 or rkawahira@eastwestplayers.org

YouTube star Kevin Wu aka “KevJumba” will be honored by East West Players at the 47th Anniversary Visionary Awards and Silent Auction taking place on Monday, April 22nd, 2013 at the Universal Hilton, and will join fellow visionary honorees Steven Yeun (AMC’s The Walking Dead) and seminal Asian American comedy improv group COLD TOFU.  As a trailblazing and sought-after comedian, movie director, and actor who has raised the visibility of Asian Americans with a commanding online presence, Wu has amassed over 320 million YouTube video views and 2.8 million subscribers. As he told Forbes Magazine, “A lot of the biggest personalities on YouTube are Asian American, and I think this is attributed to the fact that there’s no Asian American faces in mainstream media that young people can relate to.”

“It’s an honor for me to be recognized by East West Players along with fellow honorees Steven Yeun and COLD TOFU,” says Wu. “East West Players has provided opportunities for the Asian American voice for 47 years, so to recognize my work as ‘visionary’ is truly a privilege and honor.”

“Kevin is a great example of the ‘next generation’ taking the lead to raise the visibility of Asian Americans through new media and the art of comedy,” says Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director of East West Players. “At a relatively young age, he has achieved a level of recognition that has garnered a new and vital audience.  He is also an innovative philanthropist, leveraging his celebrity to engage his audience in giving to charity and building his own school in Kenya through his JumbaFund YouTube channel.  As new opportunities arise bridging various media with various audiences creating mega-connectivity, he has a bright future ahead, integrating comedy, entrepreneurship and social good in his sincere, genuine style.”

East West Players (EWP) is the largest creator of Asian American artistic work and the longest running professional theater of color in the country.  EWP has been working with Asian Pacific American actors, writers, directors, designers, producers, stage management, crew, box office and administrative staff for the last four decades. EWP celebrates its 47th Season, themed “Spirited Away,” with its captivating Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction, and salutes those who have made a valuable impact on the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their artistic excellence and support of the Asian Pacific American performing arts. Proceeds from the gala will benefit East West Players’ educational and artistic programs.

Tamlyn Tomita (Karate Kid Part II, Joy Luck Club) will serve as emcee for the event. Award-winning composer Nathan Wang (Beijing Olympics/Shaolin Monks, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar Award-winning film The Last Days) will serve as the evening’s Musical Director.

Additional entertainment and presenters to be announced at a later date.

East West Players celebrates its 47th Season, themed “Spirited Away,” with its dazzling Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction, and salutes those who have made a valuable impact on the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. The fundraising event will take place on Monday April 22, 2013 at the Universal Hilton. Proceeds from the gala will benefit East West Players’ educational and artistic programs.

“EWP and the APA performing arts community continue to expand the spectrum of voices and stories of our vast, complex yet underrepresented community,” says Tim Dang, Producing Artistic Director of East West Players. “This year’s Visionary Award Honorees reflect some of the best of our community, who raise the visibility of APAs through their craft – Cold Tofu for the past 30 years, and Steven Yeun as a breakout star on the hugely popular television show, The Walking Dead.”

Tamlyn Tomita (Karate Kid Part II, Joy Luck Club) will serve as mistress of ceremonies of the event.

Award-winning composer Nathan Wang (Beijing Olympics/Shaolin Monks, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar Award-winning film The Last Days) will serve as the evening’s Musical Director.

The 2013 Honorees are:

Cold Tofu Photo

COLD TOFU, receiving the Visionary Award, is the nation’s premier Asian American comedy improv group.  Under the leadership of its current Artistic Director Helen H. Ota and core cast members, COLD TOFU continues to grow and develop its distinctive brand of comedy. The members of COLD TOFU consistently strive to create unforgettable characters, improvised scenes and original sketch materials. From its inception in 1981 by Marilyn Tokuda, Denice Kumagai, Judy Momii and Irma Escamilla to today, COLD TOFU has grown to 25 members who perform improv shows regularly in historic Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles and MC events for several community organizations. COLD TOFU shares the thrill of performing improv and sketch, while training up-and-coming performers by providing improv workshops year-round.

StevenYuen_900-600-10-26-12

Steven Yeun, receiving the Breakout Performance Award, currently stars on AMC’s hit series, The Walking Dead, where his portrayal of ‘Glenn,’ the pizza boy turned “walker killer” has developed into a leading role on the show and has quickly become a favorite for both fans and critics alike.  The Walking Dead has become the most watched drama series in basic cable history, and launched internationally in over 120 countries in 33 different languages. The Breakout Performance award was created to recognize an individual or group who, through an outstanding performance, has made a significant contribution to the community by helping raise the visibility of the Asian Pacific experience.

Additional honorees and entertainment to be announced at a later date.

East West Players’ 47th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction will be held on Monday, April 22, 2013 at the Hilton Universal City, 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, CA 91608. The no-host reception and silent auction will start at 6pm. The dinner and awards program will start at 7pm. Tickets are $175 – $1,500. Full table sponsorship packages are also available. For more information on East West Players’ 47th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner and Silent Auction, please visit http://www.EastWestPlayers.org or contact Development Manager Rosalyn Kawahira at (213) 625-7000 x17 or rkawahira@eastwestplayers.org

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