Mission StatementWilliam Yu is a Korean American screenwriter and Asian American advocate. William's half-hour dramedy, GOOD BOY, was selected for the 2020 Sundance Episodic Makers Lab and was named to the 2020 CAPE List. He lives to tell stories that he wishes he knew.
About The Project
(Worldwide media coverage of #StarringJohnCho)
A hashtag changed my life.
A few years ago, I launched #StarringJohnCho, a viral project that used Photoshopped movie posters to make the case for greater Asian representation in Hollywood. The reaction was GLOBAL. Director Jon M. Chu said the project inspired him to make Crazy Rich Asians. John Cho took me out to dinner. We had tapas. It got me thinking.
During college, I worked at Bodega, the world famous sneaker shop, dealing with rabid sneakerheads and hustling brands. After I graduated, I thought about taking a chance and staying at the shop. But in such a creative space, I didn’t believe I had anything to say. So I took a safe job at an advertising agency. Mama Yu was proud.
But after #StarringJohnCho, everything shifted.
(Yes, I met John Cho. It was awesome.)
For the first time in my life, I knew that the world wanted stories that not only featured people who looked like me, but they wanted to know our flaws, our doubts, our awkward moments, our hopes. Stories that might give comfort and warmth to the next generation. I knew what I wanted to say. I quit advertising. I started writing.
Streetwear is supposed to be an expression of your most authentic self, mistakes included. Good Boy is a story about choices and expectations. It’s about holding up the mirror to yourself and living with what you see. It’s about falling on your ass and laughing along the way. It’s what I'm scared to say. It's everything I need you to know.
A hashtag changed my life. And I’m not looking back.
Good Boy is a 15 minute, proof of concept short film based on the serialized half hour dramedy television show of the same name. Written and directed by William Yu.
The show follows Joon Kim, a rising streetwear designer who struggles with dysfunctional relationships and conflicting family values, forcing him to question if doing it for the culture is really worth the hype.
In the short film, Joon, burdened by the memory of picking a stethoscope at his doljabi, gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is given the chance to show his designs to a buyer.
But when his laptop gets stolen, he embarks on a desperate search that will challenge everything he knew about his on again off again girlfriend, his best friend, and his family.
The short film will draw visual and tonal inspiration from works like Mike Mills's 20th Century Women, Edward Yang's Yi Yi, and Donald Glover's Atlanta. Each of these projects dissect certain cultural nuances of their respective cultures, while exploring the internal conflicts of their flawed, vulnerable main characters.
The visual of style of Good Boy will be rooted in a grounded, gentle aesthetic and soft, cinematic camera movements that will invite viewers to peer into the lives of the film's subjects. This closeness will weave audiences into the lives of our characters and ask us to empathize with the difficult choices they make.
To get a vibe for what the short film will look, sound, feel like, watch the mood reel here.
Since I worked at Bodega, the streetwear industry has EXPLODED. More saturated, muddled, and distant from its original counter culture roots. And with that, there are many questions as to what the "right" or "wrong" way to approach this world.
The conversation around Asian American identity is wrapped up in a similar conflict.
Since creating #StarringJohnCho in 2016, I have been at the forefront of conversations with those in entertainment who seek to define and cement what "Asian American culture" looks, sounds, and feels like. This expectation continues to grow.
But, the fact is, is that none of it makes sense. There is no right answer.
We're multifaceted, complex, flawed human beings. We're filled with contradictions and traits that infuriate us as much as they make us laugh and fall in love with each other.
And as our voice and our cultries intersects with other communities, we have to confront those inconsistencies and shared passions head on. It has to be our decision.
Before launching #StarringJohnCho, I felt a stirring in the culture. A conversation that was on the tip of our tongues, just waiting for a nudge to spark a new discussion.
I feel the same stirring with Good Boy. It's time to ignite a new conversation.
The script for the Good Boy pilot, which the short film is based on, was selected among eight projects by the Sundance Institute for the 2020 Episodic Makers Lab. Of all of the works selected, Good Boy was the only project to center an Asian American narrative and feature an Asian American cast.
With Sundance supporting Good Boy, I hope that our final product will put us in a great position to submit for the festival. We'll also be rolling out a wide range of film festivals that seek to highlight new filmmakers.
Good Boy has also received several other notable accolades, including:
- Recipient of the coveted “8” rating on The Black List
- 2021 ATX TV Festival, 10th Annual Pitch Competition, Top 10 Finalist
- 2020 The CAPE List present by The Black List, Top 10 Pilot
- 2020 Middlebury Script Lab, Fellow
- 2019 Script Pipeline First Look Project, Finalist
Through an initial private fundraising round, my own savings, and a grant from the Sundance Institute, we are very much on our our way, but we still need your help.
Seed & Spark requires at least 80% of the project to be funded in order to get the green light. We need to reach our goal in 30 days or we don't receive anything and all your contributions revert back to you.
These additional funds will finance the film's pre-production, production and post-production stages: Location scouting, casting, production design, travel, FOOD, editing, music, color grading, film festival submissions and more!
Our goal of $15,000 will greenlight the production of the project. However, we need more to finish and deliver to the world. If we can reach the following stretch goals, that would unlock all these new possibilities:
- $17,000 - Secure ideal locations
- $20,000 - Mid-level production quality (better equipments and production designs)
- $25,000 - Professional editor hire
- $30,000 - Higher end production quality and post production services
So you're in? LFG! Help us spread the word! Contributing to our project is just the first way you can move the needle for Good Boy.
You are our biggest influencer. If you're so inclined, you can also:
- Share this Seed & Spark link with your followers. Here's some copy you can use. Feel free to copy and paste!
Here for #GoodBoyTV! I just contributed to the Seed & Spark campaign for this Sundance backed short film from @goodboyteevee @its_willyu about a Korean American designer with streetwear dreams. Support the fundraiser here. seedandspark.com/fund/goodboy
- Make sure to use #GoodBoyTV and tag @goodboyteevee when you post.
- Follow @its_willyu and @goodboyteevee on Twitter and Instagram to get the latest Good Boy updates.
Other elements we could use your help getting together:
- Child/adult hanbok and doljabi set dressing
- Craft services/catering
- Production assistants
- Ground transportation/drivers
Although our production shoots in October, we're closely monitoring the situation and are ready to adapt our production plan to keep everyone safe.
Our entire cast and crew is vaccinated and we're hoping by the time we begin shooting, cases will be down and the vaccine rates in LA will be much higher.
No matter what, we will take COVID precautions and ensure that our shoot is safe.
This story is the culmination of five years of determination and reflection.
Along the way, I've learned that the Asian American community, and audiences around the world, are not only ready for stories that explore the complexity of our experiences, but we are demanding them.
Even if you don't contribute today, I hope that you'll stay in touch and follow along. Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter at goodboytv.com and feel free to email [email protected] with any questions.
I can't wait to share this journey with you and want you be with me step by step. It's going to be wild, messy, and beautiful. Let's go get it.
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About This Team
William Yu is an award-winning Korean American writer, creative strategist, and Asian American advocate. His half-hour dramedy, Good Boy, was selected for the 2020 Sundance Episodic Makers Lab and was unveiled by The Black List as a top 10 pilot on The CAPE List, a survey of Hollywood executives’ favorite unproduced AAPI scripts.
He is also the creator of #Starring JohnCho, a viral, Shorty Award-winning project that used Photoshopped movie posters to launch a global conversation about Asian American representation.
Born in Philadelphia, raised in Hong Kong, educated in Boston, and seasoned in New York, William now resides in Downtown Los Angeles. He is repped by Manager Zack Zucker at Bellevue and Agents Halle Mariner (Features) and Danny Alexander (TV) at APA.
Alex Chi is an award-winning producer. His films Gook and Ms. Purple both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He also co-produced the upcoming film Blue Bayou, which will be making its premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
A Plano, TX native and a Harvard graduate, Alex possesses an intense passion to tell stories from marginalized communities and uplift the next generation of Asian American storytellers.
Originally born in 廣州 Canton, China, Philips Shum grew up surrounded by Hong Kong cinema. Inspired by Salvador Dalí and films by 關錦鵬 Stanley Kwan, 陳果 Fruit Chan & 彭浩翔 Pang Ho-cheung, his passion for fine art cinema grew intensely.
Philips discovered his love for cinematography at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and collaborate with fellow film lovers on narrative and music video projects.
Philips has had the privilege of working on music videos "My Dawg" by 21 Savage, "Hair Down" by SiR & Kendrick Lamar; short film "Ella" starring Nicole Bloom & Dallas Liu; TV series "Bulge Bracket" starring Jessika Van, Feodor Chin & Lanny Joon; feature film "Opening Night" starring Anthony Rapp & Cheyenne Jackson.
Annie Chen creates beautiful and emotive designs through sets, spaces, and experiences.
Working in the forefront of spatial and experience design, she is known for designing immersive experiences such as SXSWestworld, which received the Cannes Gold Lion for Outdoor Immersive Experiences and Grand Clio for Experiential.
Annie has also worked with many clients such as HBO, FX, NBC, Adobe, Absolut, Tiktok, Facebook, and Calvin Klein.
A firm believer in design process for creating quality work effectively, she created a unique design process pulling from her multi-disciplinary experience in experiential, interior, and graphic design.
She has a BS in Interior Design at the Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning College at the University of Cincinnati.
Ruth Kim is a Designer and Art Director based in NYC. Her work mainly explores intersections of duality, real vs surreal, via narrative or execution. She currently works on projects for various clients in lifestyle, fashion, art and music.
As one part of the triumvirate known as Lucky Numbr, Ruth has worked on a series of projects include curating experiences revolving around visuals, audio and light. Their graphical approach is in creating scientifically styled diagrams by mixing traditional 2D techniques with modern 3D technologies.
Each of their projects activate research in different territories and thinking, while orbiting the core of what they live and create by — their Asian American culture, sci-fi, and symbology.
Ian Chang breathes a new kind of human vulnerability into electronica.
Bringing electronic music to the physical realm, genre-bending drummer Chang uses his kit to manipulate samples into a synthesis of raw performative intensity and sophisticated sound design.
Chang has built an impressive roster of pop collaborators such as Moses Sumney, Joan As Policewoman, and Matthew Dear, all while performing internationally. He is also currently scoring an upcoming A24 film as a member of the band Son Lux.
On his debut full-length album 属 Belonging, Chang introduces a musical contradiction: complete yet ever-evolving, neighborly yet global, precise yet instinctive, familiar yet innovative. May we find ourselves at home in the paradox.
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