Harold & Kumar red carpet interviews

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“Sorry For Party Rock” featuring Hok and Moon!

Thanks to Chris Trondsen of Pacific Rim Video, for getting Moon in touch with me to record this dance piece. Hok and Moon are very professional, and I am happy to have worked with them on this job.

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Teresa’s Wedding

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March re-cap: PA work

It’s been almost seven months since surgery and my knee has stabilized to a point where I can now run, but still feel pain. I think it has plateaued and I’ll have my last few doctor’s appointments in May.

Work has plateaued as well. In March, I worked about three PA jobs: Funny Or Die’s Billy Crystal Project, a Prilosec commercial, and an epic Hertz commercial. I also worked on two weddings: one in San Francisco and one in Irvine.

This was my favorite PA job last month. I think Mr. Crystal is such a pro. We were shooting at a retirement home and lots of old people wanted to meet him. He actually took the time to talk to people! One time he held the elevator for me when I was carrying a trashbag.

Then there was Helen Mirren, who was also such a pro. I was a stand-in for the mermaid character, so I got to wear fins. Ms. Mirren was sitting in the car while I laid in the backseat pretending to be dead. She would make sure I felt comfortable.

The Hertz commercial job was the most epic and most brutal in the history of my PA career. We shot in distant locations for seven days: Dumont Dunes (near the Nevada border), Simi Valley, Lancaster/Palmdale, San Gabriel Mountains, Santa Paula, just to name a few. Of the seven days I worked, I fainted twice. I really wanted to drive the trucks, so I was given the opportunity. It turns out that I couldn’t handle driving long distances with only 4-hour turnaround times. One night, after a nine-hour roundtrip drive, I got home at 1am. Then I had gotten up at 3am to get ready for work at 5am. I fainted in the middle of the day while I was on the freeway. Good thing I pulled over!

The last day of shooting was in a mansion somewhere in Beverly Hills. I started work at around 9:30am and the shoot would go until 4am. I passed out sometime around 10pm and production sent me home at midnight because I looked like I was about to die. What a pansy way to end the epic-long shoot!

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What’s Up Update: February 2011

Happy Lunar New Year!
Today is Chinese New Year, the year of the rabbit. I will try to come home to Daly City on the weekend of February 18th. I booked a flight on Southwest. Hopefully, I’ll be able to lion dance!

Physical Therapy Update
Yesterday was my LAST physical therapy session! Woohoo! I can walk pretty well now, but I still can’t run at 100%. I’ve come a long way since I started back in October. During my sessions, I’d do drills that work my quads, hamstrings, calfs, and gluts. I would do jumps, balance exercises, cardio, and stretches that bring back memories of high school. At the end of a PT session, I would feel really good. I would feel like I was sixteen years old again! Memories of ending a track or lion dance workout would flood into my head. Cool!

PA Jobs Update
I’m back working as a production assistant! It’s great to be back to work! Although, my knee still hurts. So I just keep it easy, rather than rush to get something done. I wish I had this attitude back before I had my injury.

ALLSTATE COMMERCIAL (January 20th-22nd): This job was my favorite this year. It was a three-day shoot: two days in Pomona and one day in Harbor City. I got to work with and talk to actress, Patricia Ja Lee, who was one of my favorites. We talked about anime conventions, career, and food! Also, Dennis Haysbert was on the job! In Harbor City, we shot inside a motorcycle shop. In between a take, he asked me for water. So I handed him a bottle of Arrowhead while the whole crew waited. Then he looked at me and said, “What’s your name?” I said, “Russell.” Like a boss, he reached his hand out and shook my hand! When I turned around to leave, I tripped over a motorcycle. Fail, haha. I stumbled in front of the director, producer, and star!

MERCEDEZ-BENZ COMMERCIAL (January 23rd): On this job there were no grip or electric crews. It was a barebones production. They used the Canon 5D to shoot with. Meanwhile, in downtown LA, I stumbled upon WILLOW SMITH’s music video set. I later read that WILL SMITH and JACKIE CHAN were there too. Anyway, I talked to the PA’s and went about my business.

FUNNY OR DIE (February 1st): This job lasted less than 12 hours and the call time was at 10:30am. This was the most chill production I’ve ever worked on. Even though the pay was lower than my usual commercial jobs, I enjoyed it very much.

What’s Next
I got two wedding video gigs coming up! There’s still one more that I’m editing right now. Other than wedding videos, I got other PA jobs coming soon. Then there’s Anime Expo, or SPJA. I’m no longer the manager of the media department. Now, I’m an on-call editor. This works out for me, yet I’m still not clear on what’s going on in the company. As for Disney, I’m not sure I’m still on payroll? Anyway, I’m open to other kinds of work as well. Acting, producing, directing, and more! At this point, I should just pick something to master. It’s not good to be the “jack of all trades and master of none.”

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Russell’s what’s up update – November

Physical Therapy
It’s been over a month since my knee surgery and I have learned how to walk this week. It was pretty cool to actually walk across the room without my crutch. So far I’ve done four sessions of physical therapy. Hopefully, I can regain the ability to run and ride bikes in a few weeks.

Laura’s wedding
On October 23rd, I went to Carlsbad to document a wedding. It took place at a beach house in this place called Levyland. My assistant did most of the grunt work because I was walking around in crutches, due to my knee surgery. On the drive there, it rained heavily. By the time we arrived at the location, the rain had stopped.

The ceremony took place outdoors. I could see the sun come in and out of the clouds. The display on the camera would ask me to switch filters, which meant there was too much sunlight. When I stopped recording the ceremony, the time code clocked it in at around fourteen minutes. Ha, that was short!

This was the easiest wedding I’ve ever done. The turnout was intimate, which was about fifty people. I picked up the standard toasts, cake-cutting, and bouquet toss. The dances were very minimal, and thus by the end of the night, I only used about two DV tapes.

The Giants vs. Phillies game was going on concurrently. At around 8:30pm, the wedding was over. Some people left and some people stayed to watch the game. I remember that the room cheered when Brian Wilson did the final pitch which go the Giants into the World Series.

San Diego Asian Film Festival
This year, I didn’t watch any films. I did catch the celebrity panel as usual. Daniel Dae Kim, CS Lee, Aaron Yoo, Ellen Wong, and Harry Shum Jr. were at this year’s panel. They said a lot of interesting and inspiring things. It all went by like a blur, so much so that I get the other years mixed up. I’ve been coming here since 2006. For some reason, I wasn’t as into it in 2010. It’s kind of like how I come to Comic-Con every year and just forget what just happened.

On my queue
Micha’s wedding video
Siu-ling and Jen’s wedding video
Laura’s wedding video

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Knee surgery

On Wednesday, September 29th, I finally had my knee surgery. It was a fun morning. My roommate dropped me off at Good Samaritan Hospital at 6am. I didn’t get into the operating room until around 11am.

That morning I got a job call for a PA gig, but I had to turn it down. While I waited to be put down, I sat around observing the hospital setting. The doc came into the resting area to mark my knee. That way they don’t operate on the wrong one! The plan was to do an arthroscopy first, which meant that an incision would be made on my knee to make room for a microscopic camera. They would then see what the ACL damage would look like before they decide how to operate.

Scenario #1: No tear, then they “shrink” the ACL to tighten the loose strands. They do this by applying heat and melding my ACL into place.

Scenario #2: Severe tear, they do ACL reconstruction. Which means they cut off the bad ACL and insert a graft.

I laid in the bed with wheels as the medical assistants pushed me through the hallways and into the OR. This felt like TV! When I arrived in the OR, I could see the lamps above, like the House promotional poster from season one. The surgeons looked down on me, chatted with me briefly, and before I knew it, I was out.

It must’ve been a very short surgery that lasted less than 45 minutes. I woke up feeling so high. It felt good. I was confused because all the sounds were muffled. I faded in to a white, cloudy image of people moving about in the recovery room. It felt like a Harry Potter scene where he kinda wakes up in the infirmary after an injury. Everything’s FUZZY!

Is this real life?

Then the nurses noticed I was awake because I was trying to get up. I couldn’t sit up, so I kept moving my legs very slowly. I wiggled my toes like John Locke. Yes, I can still feel my leg! They pushed me back into the room with the hospital beds and curtains. There, I laid and took my nap.

The doc came in briefly to tell me that there was no tear in my ACL, so he just tightened it. No screws or reconstruction. Awesome. That means my recovery wouldn’t be too bad.

By 2pm, my roommate picked me up. Before I left, I learned to use crutches and read my discharge papers. No driving for 48 hours. No showers for 3 days. No legal decision-making for 48 hours. Keep the leg brace on.

Later, I picked up my medication: aspirin and vicodin!

I feel like House. I walk with pain in my knee and leg. I use a walking aid. I have vicodin. Except I’m not too cranky. At least not all the time.

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