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STARTING A NEW CAREER IN MY 40'S.
Hello, I'm Lynn Chen. I've been performing since I was five - from the Metropolitan Opera stage, to films (Saving Face), TV (Silicon Valley), video games (Call of Duty: Black Ops III), and food videos (BuzzFeed) that have seen over 30 million views. I also narrated the Crazy Rich Asians audiobook.
The above is a scary headline to write. I've been trained my whole life to keep quiet about how old (or young) I am. Well, even with the invention of Botox, I know first-hand how difficult it is to be a working actor in Hollywood - let alone a female one, an aging one, and an Asian-American one.
I never set out to become a writer, director, or producer. But somehow this film, about growing older and re-examining our past relationships, called out to me. And I could not have told this particular story at any other time in my life.
SURROGATE VALENTINE 1 & 2 & DAVE BOYLE.
Right before last Thanksgiving, I was taking a walk with my friend and longtime collaborator, Dave Boyle. Dave has directed me in three films – two of them being the feature Surrogate Valentine and its sequel, Daylight Savings. I was always very attached to this particular series of movies, shot on a micro budget in black and white. They touched audiences during our premieres at SXSW and won multiple awards during our festival runs (scroll down for a complete list, along with trailers for the first two movies).
During our walk, I asked Dave if the third one was happening (when we were doing press he always joked that this was going to be the most low-budget trilogy in history). Dave pretty much confirmed what I didn’t want to hear – that it was never going to happen.
“Well, what if I make it happen?” I asked. Half serious.
Dave’s reply was that if I wanted to take the reins on the third movie, he would help me. That’s all I needed to hear. A few days later I was on my way to Boston for Thanksgiving. The entire plane ride there I wrote half the script. Three days later, on the return flight back, I completed the first draft.
I was surprised at how the story poured out of me. I wanted to tell the female perspective of the three women from the first two movies, which centered around my now good friend, musician Goh Nakamura (playing himself). How did they act in private, when they weren't around him? How did their lives turn out after the first two films? Not to get all woo-woo, but never before had I felt such a clear artistic drive. These characters, and this story, wanted to be reborn.
"I WILL MAKE YOU MINE."
In Dave Boyle's Surrogate Valentine (2011) we met Rachel, musician Goh Nakamura's high school crush. His sequel Daylight Savings (2012) introduced us to two more potential love interests, professor Erika and musician Yea-Ming Chen (also playing a fictional version of herself).
Six years have passed since then, and I Will Make You Mine continues through the eyes of these women. Each has a flawed history with Goh, yet they believe he may be the answer to their problems.
How much has Goh really changed? Can he finally make a choice?
I Will Make You Mine is a bittersweet story of growing older while continuing to reach for the familiar from our youth, all set to the real-life soundtrack of Goh Nakamura and Yea-Ming Chen.
Along with Goh, Yea-Ming, Ayako Fujitani, and myself, Joy Osmanski (Santa Clarita Diet) will be reprising her original Surrogate Valentine role. Joining the cast are Tamlyn Tomita (The Good Doctor), Mike Faiola (Awkward), Christy Meyers (Scandal), Jeff Meacham (Black-ish), Christina Paterno (Here We Wait) and Ayami Riley Tomine in her big-screen debut.
We already spent 10 days in August filming the first half of I Will Make You Mine, and plan to continue the rest in November - almost a year after my hike with Dave Boyle. As promised, he is guiding me through every step of the process, wearing multiple hats (being everything from my stand-in to my 1st AD) in addition to being my mentor, teacher, and producer. Along with Dave, my (mostly female) producing team is highly experienced and nurturing – and my crew is equally talented and supportive. I feel lucky to have so many people dedicated to telling this story. We have the same Director of Photography (Bill Otto) from the first two movies, filming on the rare RED Helium Monochrome camera.
I couldn't be more thrilled with how the movie looks - continuing the trilogy in black and white was a question mark for us initially, but I'm so glad we decided to stay true to the first two films' aesthetic.
LET'S FINISH THIS TOGETHER!
I've learned a lot already in the first half of filming I Will Make You Mine and have fallen deeply in love with storytelling and filmmaking.
Asian-American women are only now appearing on screen as fully-formed characters - but there's usually just one part for us. This movie puts several front and center, each unique and complex, without apology or excuse for their race or gender or why they belong in the limelight. Watching them breathe and live on screen, each telling their own love story, is something I believe we can all relate to. It's my mission to cast my fellow Asian-American actors - and not one of us has to compete over being the "token Asian."
Even more uncommon is for Asian-American women to be behind the camera, a position I am so grateful to be in. As we gear up for our November shoot and post-production, I hope that you will help us complete this movie, and to finish the story. To give this trilogy the proper ending it has been asking for, and to make sure I Will Make You Mine reaches a wide audience.
Collectively, we can amplify the voice Asian-American women hold in cinema.
When you join our Kickstarter campaign, you are investing in not only the completion of I Will Make You Mine, but also the film's future. If you follow us @IWMYMfilm - we'll show you a behind-the-scenes look at where your funds will be going during the November shoot, through post-production in 2019:
- Paying/feeding our hardworking team
- Location fees
- Visual Effects
- Sound Effects/Mix
- Color Grading/Correction
- Marketing/Film Festivals
- Theatrical/DVD Release
Find out more about the film, with press and social links, by visiting our official site: iwillmakeyoumine.com. Want to reach out directly? Please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for taking the time to read, and to support. I can't wait to show you our film!
AWARDS FOR SURROGATE VALENTINE/DAYLIGHT SAVINGS (PARTIAL LIST)
- 2011 SXSW Film Festival (Nominated: Audience Award - Emerging Visions)
- 2011 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (Won: Audience Award - Best Narrative)
- 2011 San Diego Asian Film Festival (Won: Grand Jury Prize)
- 2011 Dallas International Film Festival (Won: Special Jury Prize - Special Achievement: Acting)
- 2011 BAM CinemaFest
- 2011 Seattle Film Festival
- 2011 Cleveland International Film Festival
- 2011 Dallas International Film Festival
- 2012 SXSW Film Festival (Nominated: Audience Award - 24 Beats Per Second)
- 2012 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (Nominated: Jury Award)
- 2012 VC Film Festival (Nominated: Grand Jury Prize - Best Narrative Feature)
- 2012 Hawaii Film Festival
- 2012 Cleveland International Film Festival
THEATRICAL TRAILERS FOR SURROGATE VALENTINE (2011) AND DAYLIGHT SAVINGS (2012)
Risks and challenges
Films with a minority cast by minority filmmakers are difficult to raise money for. We believe we have created a movie that is unique in the realm of Asian-American cinema. We are hoping the third installment will continue the legacy and re-introduce audiences to our deeply talented community.
We already finished half of "I Will Make You Mine" and are excited with what we have. Our production team is made up of experienced, award-winning filmmakers who have done this multiple times. We hope that, with your help, we can complete the rest of production in November and see this project through post-production, a proper film festival run, and a theatrical release.
We hope you will not only help us by donating whatever you can, but spreading the word and raising awareness about our project. Thank you so much for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)