Clayton Tony Au // Ep 70 // Finding Your Own Identity as a Filmmaker

Welcome to Episode 70 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Clayton Tony Au on this week's episode.


We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

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Clayton Tony Au is an award-winning film director and screenwriter. He began his career in commercials creating content for many big brands including New York Life, BMW and Warner Music Group. After spending years as a visual storyteller for his clients, he began writing and directing his own narrative films. His dark and uncompromising approach to cinematic storytelling captures life in ways that audiences might be afraid to see, but will be left too fascinated to look away. His short film Suburban Jungle, which won five awards and received eight nominations during its film festival run, is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan. 

And my name is Maggie 

And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals.

We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. My name is Maggie, Brian. And today we have a very special guests. We have Clayton Tony out Clifton is an award-winning film director and screenwriter. He began his career in commercials, creating content for many big brands, including New York life BMW and Warner music group. After spending years as a visual storyteller for his clients, he began writing and directing his own narrative. Films his dark and uncompromising approach to cinematic storytelling captures life in ways that audiences might be afraid to see, but we’ll be left to too fascinated to look away his short film, suburban jungle, which won five awards and received eight nominations during its film festival run is now streaming on Amazon prime video Clayton and welcome to the show.


Clayton: (00:01:09)  Hey, thanks for having me. Appreciate it.


Bryan: (00:01:11) Yeah, we’re happy to have you here, man. So let’s dive deep into your story. Like how’d you get started in this industry? Like that’s to me when I first, when I told my parents, I want to be the entertainer or something, they’re always against it, but I want to hear from your story, like, how did you convince them?


Clayton: (00:01:25) Yeah, so, uh, as far as, um, how I kind of handled, uh, making this transition, like I pretty much just followed what my parents wanted me to do for most of my life. And, and the thing that I would say about doing that. Is is that there’s, there’s a risk. It gets harder and harder to make that transition when you get older. But, um, yeah, I mean, for me, like I’ve, I’m, I’m Chinese American. Uh, my family is pretty traditional. I come from a very pragmatic family. That’s very risk averse and, you know, they wanted me to, um, to, to, to stay in the real estate development business, which is what I was doing for awhile, uh, out of college. And, um, yeah, they, they would have never. You know, wanting me to, to pursue a creative career, you know, not because they, you know, didn’t want me to be happy, but, you know, as parents, they want me to be successful. They don’t want me to struggle financially and, and careers like this, you know, they, they are a risk, but, um, you know, the thing is, I think there was, there was a, uh, point where I had to have a conversation with my parents about it, about how important it was. And, um, I think that there was, there was this moment where, uh, I realized I just had to do it. And it was when I was reading this article online about when is the most common time that people die of a heart attack and it’s in the mornings. And so then the stock crossed my mind that, you know, maybe the reason why people are dying of a heart attack in the morning is because they’re getting ready to go to work and that they dread. Doing what they’ve been doing every day for so many years and that anxiety is causing the heart attack. And so I just thought, you know, if I don’t, I’m not happy doing what I’m doing now, when I was before I became a filmmaker. And, uh, if I don’t pursue what I love, if I don’t do what it is that I felt like I was meant to do, you know, it could kill me, you know? And I, and I explained that to my parents. And so, um, so when I, when I just kinda took that leap and I moved out there, um, You know, they were, they were pretty worried about me. And I think that the thing that they kept saying is like, so when are you going to be done with this filmmaking thing? When is this vacation in LA gonna end? Right? Like they just kept expecting that I was going to just, you know, do it for fun for a couple of years and come back and start working in real estate again. Uh, and I told him, no, this is my career. And one day S and. Once they started seeing my commercials that I directed on TV. Then they finally, uh, told their friends what I was doing because they were keeping it a secret and they were, you know, sharing. My mom, you know, is fairly tech savvy for, for someone of her age. She is she’s on Facebook and she’s been sharing with people, you know, my work. And I think it was just that moment when they were able to see my work materialized, that they finally told me that they were proud of me. In their own Chinese American way 


Bryan: (00:04:28) a lot.  And I think that’s, it tends to be the case for most Asian parents here. Because if you sway away from an unconventional path, they’re always kind of fearful and it’s just what parents do. They want their, they want the best of your kids. Right. And you have to show them what’s possible. You know, you have to show them that it is a viable career. And that it may not be the career that they’re, we’re envisioning for you, but it’s viable. But at the end of the day, with Ethan mind that our parents didn’t want to just make us happy. They just want us to be happy, you know, and can show that you can live off your dreams. They’re going to support you all the way, but to get to that point different story, I have like huge Hill to climb over for, to convince them. And that’s the same with my parents at age, the hustle network, you know, when we started using  we was create internet group. Is that going to do for you? I think, um, when I told her that I was leaving my software engineering job, which is a cushy job to do this, and she’s like, are you sure? I wasn’t until I, um, she started seeing the traction that we’re getting, especially when we were doing live events with the one in LA and the product, like 400, 600 people. She’s like, Whoa, this is real, you know, my son’s on stage talking to a lot of people and she’s. That part was thorough. So I can understand how your, how your mom felt about you too. And that’s that’s I feel like,


Maggie: (00:05:54) yeah, yeah, same here. I like when I had quit my job, my parents were asking me like, how are you going to make money with Asian also network, you know? And some things that they just don’t understand, you know, like it could be like a generational gap. It could be that they just probably don’t have a grasp of like how new entrepreneurs are making money now, you know? And I think it’s just like for us to show them that, you know, this is, you know, something that I can actually pursue as a career then, you know, as soon as we like actually show them, okay, money’s coming in then. Oh, that makes sense. You know, so I appreciate you for. Taking that leap of faith. Um, and you know, like I would love to know, like, how did you get into filmmaking? You know, you, I know you have like no education or experience in filmmaking. So how did that all,

Bryan: (00:06:41) and it wasn’t for his breakthrough life where you’re like, Whoa, I can do this is my time now.


Clayton: (00:06:47) Well, um, I basically just went for it, you know, so I was, uh, I was in. You know, like I was, I never, I never took any classes. I was just going to straightforward office job, you know, eight to five. And, um, and you know, it’s, it’s a risky thing to do obviously, but I just went for it. And the plan was, you know, when I moved to LA, um, I was just planning to work as a production assistant on any, you know, any set that I could be on just to learn. And that’s what most people do. And I did do that. You know, like I, I worked on a couple of, uh, music videos and, and feature films and, um, and, and that’s, that was one way to go. But w w the way that things kind of turned around was when I got my first paid job, uh, in LA, which was at a company called plan C. And underneath, um, the holdings company of that brand, they have these multiple brands underneath it, which at that time included a record label, a talent management talent management company, and a marketing agency plan C agency. And so while I was there, um, I was basically just doing grunt work, just something completely unrelated to the skills that I would need as a filmmaker. But I, I was, I took that job just to be there so that I can network, but while I was in that office, um, The marketing agency side of the company, uh, started to take notice of me. And they gave me my first opportunity to direct a short film for the website. And, um, it was a short film that, um, resonated with a lot of people, particularly with Asian Americans, because it was about lunar new year. And so, because they were very happy with that short film. Um, then I started working with the agency on coming up with video concepts and pitching those to clients. And, um, and then I eventually became a copywriter. Uh, and, and, and, and through, through the years, I eventually worked my way up into becoming the creative director of the agency. And so through those opportunities to pitch, uh, commercials, I had an opportunity to direct them and, and, you know, and that’s when I’d worked with all the different brands that you had mentioned earlier in my intro. Um, and so with that experience, um, you know, working with a lot of different talent, you know, one of the first, um, you know, celebrity that I, that I shot, that I film was was George Takei. And, um, and just getting an opportunity to just talk to very seasoned veterans, um, you know, really inspires you to, to, to, to continue pursuing what you love. And so I knew I wasn’t going to be a commercial director forever, even though I do. Enjoy directing commercials, but I knew I needed to make my own narrative films. And so with the experience, the technical expertise that you learn from directing a lot of different content for different clients under a deadline, um, you know, I use that to apply to my own films that I was writing. Um, writing is always something that’s, that’s come very naturally to me. So, um, so when it comes to, you know, the script for suburban jungle, um, that was something that, um, You know, that I had been thinking about some time for, for a long time. And then when I finally wrote it, uh, I, I now had the, the expertise and the resources to execute it in a way that was affordable because, you know, I financed it out of my own pocket. And so, so yeah, so that’s kind of how I, how I got started.


Maggie: (00:10:12) That’s crazy. That’s amazing. Yeah. Well, let’s talk a little bit about Ceridian jungle. I love to know like, you know, the inspiration behind it and how it all started.

Clayton: (00:10:21) Yeah. So suburban jungle is a, it’s a period piece that’s set in the late 1990s. And it explores the subculture among Asian Americans, where you had a really smart kids. You know, with 4.0 GPA was AP students, you know, on their way to becoming valedictorian. And there, you know, they’re living in, uh, the upper middle class suburbs, you know, like these really good kids, smart kids who are also living double lives as violent gang members. And, um, you know, the film examines this duality, you know, where you have these kids who in school, they’re enforcing the model minority stereotype of Asians, but at night, They’re creating a different kind of stereotype, which was the Asian American gangster. And, um, I think that with this story, I think that this was, this was my way of making an Asian gangster film. Cause that’s been done before. You’ve seen a lot of Asian gang gang films before, but, uh, this was a perspective that I felt only I could share. Um, Noname when non-Asian people, you know, hear about the film and they see it, you know, they’re just blown away because it’s not common among gangs of different ethnicity, where you have this duality. Usually you join gangs, um, uh, out of poverty or out of survival, uh, out of necessity. Right. But, um, the question of why kids, you know, with so much to lose. Would choose to live this lifestyle, you know, really brings into question, you know, like why, why is this happening in my Asian Americans? You know, what’s the reason. And I really wanted to explore and not just, um, the culture of, of being in a gang, but to also get into the psyche of, um, of young Asian kids, especially back then, and about some of the social struggles that they go through, um, feeling like they don’t belong. Um, And, and, and kind of figuring out how it is that they could, they could, uh, create an identity for themselves that wasn’t, you know, and here’s the thing it’s like when you’re in high school, especially back then, there was really like three social classes that you can be in a you’re either an Asian nerd. You are a whitewashed Asian w who was basically like the token. Uh, Asian kid amongst, you know, the, the white kids or you’re an Asian gangster. And so being, being a gangster was kind of like the one thing where you could just be Asian, but be cool. And, and, um, and, and the film, you know, slightly touches on that. But I think the important thing is, uh, you know, how bad it was to, to feel like you can be yourself. To be something that you can be proud of, um, to the point where you would put your life other people’s lives and your entire future at risk, just to, uh, feel like you belong to something.


Bryan: (00:13:12) Yeah, I really liked this period categories of Asian. So I think almost we release that. Right.


Clayton: (00:13:20) Hopefully that’s changed. Hopefully that’s changed these days. And I feel like, you know, like the newer generation patients, um, have a lot better than back in the nineties, but yeah, I mean, I think that some of it probably still exists today, but especially back then, you were really pigeonholed to just those three categories and it was tough.


Bryan: (00:13:37) Yeah, I know you mentioned, you know, the strict categories, but from a personal belief, how do you want to represent Asians and media?


Clayton: (00:13:45) Well, I think that, um, one of the most important things I feel for Asian Americans to do is to create their own identity as Asian-Americans and not just as Asians and, um, you know, a lot of the things that, uh, Asian actors kind of struggle with is that. You know, for, for, for many years, many decades, you know, they’ve only gotten roles where they had to be Asian, you know, either it’s a story where they had to talk in broken English and they’re playing an immigrant or they’re playing a martial artists or some kind of stereotype. Right. And, and I feel like, uh, how I want Asian-Americans to be represented in the media is that we’re Americans. You know, we are, we have, we’re normal people who go through the same struggles as everyone else. And, and we have our own identity. That’s separate from people in China, in Korea, in Japan, in Vietnam. Like we all have our own identities. And, um, you know, one of the things that I think, I think one time struggle that I see a lot of Asian Americans having, and this is just my perspective. I’m not going to speak on everyone, but I feel like. Uh, many Asian Americans struggled to create an identity for themselves in entertainment because, you know, they’re afraid to just be themselves and not keep in mind. What I’m talking about is I’m talking about Asian Americans and not people from Asia, but, uh, you know, when an Asian American actor is auditioning for an American role, what I’ve seen a lot is, uh, is that they tend to act really white. Almost, you know, exaggerated, uh, and, uh, it’s like they’re doing an impersonation of a white person. And so I see this all the time where, when I’m casting, uh, and I, and I’ve got actually comes in, he’s introducing himself, talking to me, he’s acting natural. I’m seeing, you know, how this person is naturally. And then once, once the audition begins, they start talking like Jim Carey or Robin Williams, you know? Yeah. And, and believe it or not. Right. White people, not everyone, but, but many white people can tell Asian, even if you don’t have an accent and they can’t see your face, uh, I’ve spoken to people on the phone who, who never even seen my face. And then they mentioned to me in future conversations that they knew I was Asian, uh, before they even saw me. And the reason is because Asian Americans have their own cadence in the way that they talk. Uh, that’s just one example of, of one of the things that we need to own as Asian-Americans like, we have our own style, we have our own way of doing things and it’s not something that represents Asia. It’s just us. And we need to feel comfortable being ourselves without thinking. Is that how a white person would do that?


Maggie: (00:16:23) Yeah. I love that. That’s, that’s very powerful. And I can imagine, I can just imagine, you know, Asian people coming in to auditions, trying to fulfill this role because they think that changing the way they sound may increase their chances of getting selected. Right. We have two new discussion, right? We have to embrace who we are culturally. Um, you know, and, you know, really embrace our heritage because. By being ourselves or bringing diversity into the industry. Right. And I think it’s hard for us to see that, but it needs to happen.


Bryan: (00:16:57) Hollywood is a different story, right. And historically, it’s really hard to break in and there’s some gatekeeping going on, but things are changing rapidly nowadays. And in your opinion, like what else can we do for other, what else can we do? Like for example, Asian also know where other organizations or yourself do to help more. Asians and mainstream recommendation, um, in terms of more mainstream representation.


Clayton: (00:17:20) I mean, I think the first thing I would say is it kind of goes back to, um, just telling more unique Asian American stories, uh, that can live separately from, uh, the culture of Asia. Right. And, and, and the thing that I, I like to encourage more creators to do, and this doesn’t have to be filmed. You know, I mean, this can be, you know, this can be podcasts. This can be, um, you know, a number of different things about, you know, like what we choose to talk about and not everything that we do has to be. Um, about an Asian American issue, you know, like we need to talk about this cause we need to talk about racism. We need to talk about the hate crimes that are going on in this country against Asian-Americans. We need to talk about those issues. Um, but we don’t have to just talk about things like immigration or even Asian gangs or even, um, you know, foreign policy in, in China or Korea. Um, we can just tell American stories, but we need to encourage more creative people to. Tell stories from an Asian American perspective. And when you’re able to just talk about everyday life, talk about high school life, talk about business, talk about dating, um, but just share that perspective, that Asian American perspective of the way that we see things, the way that we do things right then. You’re allowing for Asian Americans to be ingrained into American culture, because right now, uh, th one of the biggest problems with why we’re so behind in being incorporated in mainstream media is the perpetual foreigner stereotype. No, like no matter how many generations of Asian-Americans have been in this country, we’re still being, uh, treated like foreigners. And even it goes back to the question that people ask. Uh, when, when, when they meet you for the first time, they said, Oh yeah, where are you from? Yeah, I’m from, uh, I’m from LA. No, no, no, no. Where are you really from? Right. It goes back to, it goes back to the way that we’re, we’re kind of perceived where it’s like, you know, we’re not really American. And I think that that has to do with, with us kind of embracing something that lives here as an American style of doing things and not like. Uh, us just being those foreigners that, that, that, you know, non-Asian people continue to think. Right?


Maggie: (00:19:54) Yeah. That’s very important. I think. Yeah. I think like one important thing to notice, like, You know, previously or historically, even like we’ve had so many films, I came out starring or who have starred Asian actors and actresses. Right. And they’ve always been kind of enrolls as like pharmacists or like drug store owners, like the very normalized, like Asian roles. I’m curious to know, like, how have you seen that change over time in your industry? Um, and in your field as a, as a filmmaker, like how have you seen that representation kind of change over time for, for Asians in, um, popular films?


Bryan: (00:20:30) Well, I think, um, one thing that is encouraging is the way that Asian American men are portrayed, uh, in media, uh, that includes both feature films and in commercials, uh, you know, like crazy rich Asians was a big deal and it. It really shouldn’t have been such a big deal, but, but the fact that everyone was making a big deal out of it just goes to show the systemic racism that we’ve, you know, been facing for all these years. But like the reason why it was a big deal is because you got to see an Asian American man in a romantic role. Right. You know, and he was in. You know, he, he was, he was in a relationship with another Asian American woman. Um, but you know, what we’re seeing more and more of is, uh, Asian-American men in interracial relationships because when it comes to Asian women, And interracial relationships. That’s very, very common almost to the point where it’s a stereotype. Um, but you know, to have a movie, like, I don’t know if you’ve seen this film, uh, all my life, you know, with, uh, hubris Shum Jr. Um, but it’s, you know, like you’ve got, you got, uh, an Asian American male in a romantic lead and it’s him and, uh, Jessica Roth. And, uh, and it’s just, and it’s not a, I don’t even know if, if it’s really about, you know, being Asian, it’s just, there are a couple. Uh, the, the man in the relationship happens to be Asian. And I think that those kinds of things are important. Um, and also just even when it comes to commercials, we’re seeing more and more Asian guys, you know, with a non Asian, um, you know, Romantic partner. Uh, and, uh, and even I’ve done the same thing. I’ve actually cast an Asian guy and a Hispanic girl in one of my commercials. And, and just being, being able to see that it may seem like a small thing to some people, but it’s a big thing to Asian-Americans as a whole, to just see, you know, Asian American men in romantic roles and to just be treated like normal people and not, you know, a stereotypical weird. Asexual Asian nerd.


Bryan: (00:22:33) Right? Right. Yeah. I do want to move to bring things more into like the feature. Right. And be more optimistic, but you know, things that are going to drastically improve by the time, you know, 10 or 20 years from now, I wonder what is your vision on that team? Kind of curious, like where do you see this? Playing out like how mainstream you see Asians being a part of media. Um, cause that is, that is a core part of our mission statement. You know, that’s also one of the reasons why he wants to speak to you in the podcast, because you’re trying to bring more Asian to mainstream media. And just from an optimistic point of view, I just want to hear from your, your perspectives, like, what is the recommendation trending at this moment? What does it look like and how do we continue staying proactive on that?


Clayton: (00:23:13) Um, well, I think I’ll S I’ll speak specifically about film, just cause I don’t want to go into too many different industries that I am not as knowledgeable about, but I think that, um, I think that what we, there, there’s one side of things where as well, what it is that we see in front of the camera. Right. You know, and casting is something that I’ve already talked a lot about, but I think that, uh, We’re getting more and more Asian Americans onto the business side of dance on the production side of things is what we need to see more and more of. Uh, and, and, and we’re already seeing that, you know, like we’ve, we’ve seen, you know, Asian American CEOs at, at, uh, at, at Warner brothers. And, uh, when you have more and more producers who are able to champion, uh, Asian Americans, uh, it makes a big difference. And, and, and that’s, what’s been happening. You know, we’re, we’re seeing a lot of great films from Asian-American filmmakers and, um, and I think the other thing too, just has to do with, um, you know, how we with, with us supporting, with supporting those films. Yeah. And, and I think that that’s, I think the other thing too, that’s important is like the way that our audience, uh, supports, you know, uh, Asian American content. I think that in maybe about 10 years or earlier, There was kind of like a hater nation going on among Asian Americans. Not everybody talks about it, but there were a lot of haters out there who would just like, they see one person doing something and then they can say something negative about it. Um, and I’m seeing that I’m seeing less of that. And that’s, that’s a good indication because when, when we, as a community are, uh, not only just getting out there and creating content, but we’re also showing that there’s a market for it. You know, like we need to, we also need to show studios that, uh, you know, the Asian-American audience is a profitable audience, you know, that it can be just as profitable as making, um, black films or Hispanic films. Right. When they know when studios know that there’s a market here where they can put out a film with all Asian American cast. And they know that that, that, that our community supports it. Then we can, we can continue to see more and more content and, and all of us are able to thrive, not just in front of the camera, but behind the camera. 


Maggie: (00:25:26) Right, right. Absolutely. And Clayton I’m, I will love to know, um, you know, if you’ve had any challenges, yourself being an Asian filmmaker in America. And if so, like how did you kind of overcome those challenges?


Clayton: (00:25:40) I would say to some of the, some of the conversations I’ve had, uh, early on, uh, when I’ve been, uh, when I’ve, when I’ve written my own narrative films, um, feature films that I’ve written in the past and pitched, and, and the same that, one of the things I heard, uh, was that, uh, Asian American dramas, this is just an example, but there’s specifically talking about dramas. This an Asian-American dramas are the least profitable. Um, Genre film, you know? And so when I was, so when I talked about suburban jungle and I talked about, you know, a feature film version of suburban jungle, um, you know, there was, there was a lot of this perception that, you know, you just, you can’t make an Asian American film, um, because there’s no market for it. Nobody’s interested. And, and, and that changed with crazy rich Asians. Um, and you know, I got a lot of nos and I got a lot of people who, um, you know, who just. You know, didn’t want to, you know, make any film where it didn’t have some kind of token white person in there to make it marketable. And I overcame it just by not listening. Um, you know, the sad thing to say is that a lot of the people who, um, encourage me not to make Asian films were other Asians. You know, and it’s, it’s kind of a sad thing that, you know, like there’s so many of us who can be so risk averse that we don’t want to take chances, but you just had to take it. And I just made the decision that I needed to make a film that only I could make and suburban jungle was that film. And, uh, and I’ve, and I’m also working on a feature film right now. And, uh, I’m having those same conversations, um, you know, about like, Oh, well, you know, like, Are you going to have enough non-Asian people in it? Uh, and you know, like I think that, um, we, we just have to ultimately make the right choices that we feel are gonna make the best film possible. And I’ve just chosen to just tune out the, uh, you know, the, the negativity and the pessimism about what we can do as Asian-Americans and just charge forward.


Maggie:  (00:27:55) Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, I think, um, I. Definitely can see that happening. I mean, like there’s so many films that have been coming out, um, just related to Asian Americans, um, you know, on Netflix and everything. And sometimes I do hear, you know, people saying like, Oh, I wish they portrayed Asians in a different light than they did in the show. But I feel like, like, it’s good that we’re getting more representation. Right? Like at least we are getting more representation and we’re heading into the right direction. Right. Um, and so. I’m I’m curious, like, what are your goals for 2021 and what are you currently working on?


Clayton: (00:28:33) So I mentioned before I’m working on a feature film, so I completed the script and I’ve been, um, you know, just talking to talk, talking to producers about getting financing. And so I’m kind of in that early development stage. And, um, and so that is. So, so, so that’s, that’s been, my focus is, um, you know, telling, telling the story that only I can tell, you know, because I, I think that that, that should be the goal of most filmmakers is, is to tell a story that only you can tell, uh, and, um, And hopefully, you know, the COVID situation becomes more manageable to where, um, you know, we’re not in a state that we’re in. Um, but you know, that’s my focus, that’s one of my focuses is on working on the feature film. Um, but there’s also, uh, another commercial that I’m working on, which I can’t, I can’t go into too much detail about it, you know, for the client’s sake. Um, but. You know, I’m also working on something that is going to be very important to the Asian-American community. Uh, and it’s, it’s related to some of the things that I talked about earlier on this call. Um, it’s going to be a wake-up call for everyone, for both Asians. And non-Asians about, um, the way that we’re portrayed in media, uh, and about, you know, The fact that Asian Americans are often are not being treated like a we’re American. And, um, I think that when this, when this project, when this campaign launches and there’s going to be a lot of eyes for it, you know, I wish I could say more, but I’m just going to say it. It’s, it’s going to be something that everyone’s going to see. Um, you know, I hope that. Uh, all Asian Americans will see this as an opportunity for us to finally have all of our voices heard and, um, to, to no longer accept the status quo and to no longer accept the microaggressions that we face. Uh, and when people say things that imply that we’re not American, we need to let them know that we are, you know, especially since we’ve been here for, you know, 150 plus years, uh, we need, we need to, to, to, to, to show. That you know, this is our place and, and, you know, we’re, we’re all in, you know, the struggles of being an American, we’re all in this together.


Maggie:  (00:30:58) Right? AbsolutelyWell, we can’t wait until we hear more about your upcoming plans.


Bryan: (00:31:07) Thank you for representing Asians in the best light.


Maggie:  (00:31:12) Yeah. And so we have one last question for you, Clayton, and that is what one advice could you give to an aspiring entrepreneur


Bryan: (00:31:23) in Europeans as Farley filmmakers, aspiring filmmaker?


Clayton: (00:31:27) Yeah. So, so my advice would be, um, like I would say that, uh, one thing to just keep in mind is that impersonation is not the same thing as inspiration. Um, you know, a lot of people, I think a lot of Asian Americans, you know, have, have made a lot of films that are shot well, and they are basically just like carbon copies of other, you know, films that, that have existed before.And, and the thing is, uh, when we draw inspiration from the filmmakers that we respect and that have encouraged us, um, we should, you know, we should, uh, We should take that as motivation to do our own thing, not to recreate that. And you see, you want to try to learn what you can from the filmmakers before you, but you never want to lose sight of the fact that you as a filmmaker need to find your own voice and, and, and that you should focus on not only making films about, you know, the Asian story or the Asian American story, or about Asian American history, but then also tell stories with an Asian-American perspective. And to just do what you want to do, make the films that only you can make do it in your own way. And when, um, you know, when, when other people are able to see that only you can do this, that’s when Hollywood is going to continue to recognize that they need us. No, that’s not it.


Maggie:  (00:32:55) Um, and how can our listeners find out more about you online and just wanted to know if you had any final remarks.


Clayton: (00:33:01) Yeah, so you can, uh, connect with me on Instagram at Clayton, Tony. Ow. My handle is Clinton, Tony Al uh, and Suburbans, if you want to watch suburban jungle, it’s, it’s now streaming on Amazon prime video. Uh, and, um, yeah, and just, I I’m always open to connecting with more and more people. And I just, and I hope that, uh, you know, people, every, every, all the other creatives out there just continue to just go after their dreams and doing what it is that they’re meant to do.


Maggie:  (00:33:30) Amazing. Thank you. And we’ll leave all of that in the show notes of the podcast. It was amazing hearing your story today. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I appreciate it.


Clayton: (00:33:40) Thanks so much for having me.



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