Revenge of the Green Dragons – My First Red Carpet Movie Premiere [TIFF 9/10/14]


Before I get into this blog, here’s the website and trailer for Revenge of the Green Dragons.

Wow,.. I can’t even begin to tell you of my experience at this event.  I’ll try to explain it from how it felt.

All I have to say is you had to be there, and luckily, I had Carol, my sister, there to share this moment with me.
We had no idea what we were getting into ha ha.  I know I didn’t.  They really played it down.  But from the time I landed till the day we left, it was all so surreal.

I landed and went straight to a conference panel for Revenge of the Green Dragons.  When I got there, they fed us ha ha, I’m sorry, just didn’t expect that ha ha.  YES!  FOOD!
Then after I met Carol, and later that night went to a dinner with the director, producers, cast and etc.
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The next morning, I had an interview with KatieChats.  Which I’ll link here if it’s up.  That’s where I learned how big this festival really was.  They were telling us that the Toronto International Film Festival [TIFF] was the festival that all the early Oscar predictions came from!  Wow!  So being in this festival is pretty huge.
 9-10-14 Interview19-10-14 Interview3
Then we met with Aunt Sandra and Uncle Francis for lunch.  It was wonderful seeing them, and we got to see their house, and had an amazing meal at a Chinese restaurant!
 9-10-14 At Sandra's6
Then Carol and I went back to our hotel to rest and get ready for the night’s events.
From the time we got to the pre-party till the end of the night, it was like a Hollywood dream ha hal!
The pre-party was put on by the companies distributing the film.  They had 3 films at this festival, including one with Keira Knightly and Sam Rockwell.
Carol and I get out of the cab, and since it was raining, there were people with umbrellas to escort us to a red carpet.  They had a red carpet at the party!?  Sorry, didn’t expect that,… to have to “make” an entrance!
A manager, agent, and many people I didn’t even know introduced themselves to me.  Some whom already seen the film and was telling me how great I did,..which is just,… I don’t know, the things people were saying about me was just,… I was just speechless, didn’t know what to say, or even know to believe it.
The star of the film, Justin Chon on various occasions spoke highly of me, even though I’m NOT a huge character in the film.  I’m not in it that much.  I hate to brag, but I feel very validated when I hear someone like him, who was great in the film, tell people that I was one of the best actors in the film,.. and that I really stood out.  What a guy!
 9-9-14 Cast Dinner1 - Carl & Justin Chon
We didn’t have much time to be at the party, as we had to leave for the première.  They had cars waiting for us outside, and as I go into my car, Sam Rockwell was on the carpet getting pictures and interviewed, and  the car behind me was letting Keira Knightly out!
When the my car arrived at the theatre the film was being shown, the door opened onto a huge red carpet lined with paparazzi, a row of reporters with camera crew, and crowd of people behind a rope!  I had no idea, no idea that this was going to happen.  I wish I hadn’t drank that one champagne back at the pre-party, as I’m a light-weight and was now a little red!
I think I might have been in shock,.. ha ha, but luckily it didn’t faze me.  I walked up, people yelling for me to look their way to take a picture.  I was totally giddy, and in awe.
 Carl+Li+Revenge+Green+Dragons+Premiere+2014+Pckz9mSYihAl
Previous to getting here, I realized another role of a publicist which I did NOT have, but others in the film did.  In addition to the number of things they do, they also, at parties, are the ones who go around and introduce various people to who you are, and at red carpets they go to reporters ahead of you, to tell them all about you, so that by the time you walk down the carpet, they already know who you are and interview you.  I didn’t have that, and I would be damned if I was going to get on that carpet and just walk down, and miss opportunities to be interviewed!  SO, I acted as my own publicist.  Luckily, Leonard’s wife, Steph [man, the two of them are such great people btw], she gave me a few quick pointers, and then I was off, I walked up to every reporter, and introduced myself as my own publicist ha ha.
 2014-09-10 20.36.29DSCF3231

I was so elated, excited … I was on a cloud, really.  I was even called over by the crowd behind the ropes to sign autographs!  I almost started dancing on the red carpet! ha ha

Was I afraid of how I was coming across?!  Yeah, it crossed my mind.   Would I be taken less seriously because of my look and demeanor?  Was I not behaving professionally enough?  Was I being too happy? ha ha.  Should I have put on a serious, “I’m an actor” face, changed my hair and dress differently?  At the end of the day, yes, I want to be taken seriously, BUT, if anything, one thing I’ve learned is the importance of being myself, in acting, and in life.  You really gotta be you,.. bring YOU to the character, otherwise, you’re just playing the character straight, and ANYONE can do that, BUT, they can’t BE you.  One thing that’s been helping me figure out who me IS, at least publicly, is the YouTube show I do every week called First Impressions.  In the show, I’m just a host, but I’m not playing a character, I’m just me, a public, show host version of myself atleast.  That’s really helped me to connect some aspects of bringing myself to the material.  That’s what your TRUTH, is.  Which only helps you to stand out.  To be original.  So, on the carpet, as in life, I don’t like being fake, and like to be as truthful as possible without being tactless ha ha.  Sure, I looked like a giddy kid, but I gotta say, I was in the moment, present, and completely being genuine.  I was happy!
I also look back and think.  “Look at Jennifer Lawrence,” and they way she is in her public persona.  She seems super genuine and fun, and I honestly feel, people like her more for it.  She’s more relateable (sp).  She can be a goof, but she lets the “work” speak for itself.  And yes, I’m aware, I’m also NOT JenLaw, or do I have her status in the industry.  She’s already proven herself to be a good actress.What do others think about this?  Perhaps if I DID have a publicist, they’d change everything about me.  Don’t wear this, don’t say this, don’t do that,… and I would’ve been a nervous wreck ha ha.  I definitely scared of what I might have said during interviews ha ha.
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I ended up not getting to meet Martin Scorsese as he came in after me and didn’t attend the after party.
Then finally we get inside.  Earlier I was told the theater was like only a 500 seat theatre… we were let in from the screen side of the theatre, the front, walking into a packed house, with the audience just looking in anticipation for the film and for who will walk in.  There were over 1200 people there.  Not 500.
I chatted people up who were excited and Carol and I took our seats in a reserved row.  We sat next to the other big producer (outside of Scorsese), Stuart Ford.  He introduced himself to me, as he recognized me from having seen the film about 18 times already.  He was so proud of the film!
The directors were introduced, came up and introduced the film.
So what did I think of the film?  When you film, your experience of the film can be completely different from what you see when the film is done.  You can only hope the final product is as amazing as your experience of filming it.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up you know?    It was good!  Some scenes we shot were cut, BUT there was acutually more than I even imagined.  Everything was cut so tightly, not a second was wasted.  The pace was good, and everyone did great and were amazing.  In all honesty, if anything, the film suffered from having to cut over 20 pages of script.  That’s quite a lot, and it must have been so difficult to decide what to cut.  This resulted in some condensed storytelling, and perhaps more narration than originally planned.  In some parts, you just really have to pay attention.  In regards to my performance.  I think I did  great for the character I was given.  It’s not a big role, but I could easily have played him flat and uninteresting, but luckily, they let me create this character, and they liked it.  What others have said about my performance, and what it does for the film, it’s harder for me to see it in the same light.  It’s just how it is.  Though if enough people think it, maybe it’s true, I don’t know.
The directors and Justin Chon went up for the Q&A, and then we eventually made our way to the after party, where oddly, I felt faint, nauseous, and very tired.  I felt like I was hung over.  But I had to push through it as it was time to network!  There was a manager, who repeated expressed how good an actor, and great a performance I did.  He even said my character was his favorite!  Again, just surreal for me, as I did just watch the same film ha ha.  I wasn’t in it much, but apparently, I really pop, and I brought something they really liked to the film.
By the end of the night, we exchanged contacts, and I also got contacts for an agent out in LA.  I was feeling like death but I made it, and by the time Carol and I got back to the hotel it was after 2AM, and surprise, I had to do a self-taped audition that was due the next morning.  Carol, was amazing, supporting, and a charm the whole night, graciously helped me film it!
The next day, at the airport, on my way back to NYC, guess who I sat next to?  Ethan Hawke.  He was also going to NYC.  I congratulated him on his film, and then we chatted a little bit.  He gave me some advice on what I should do at this point.  In my position.  Amazing right?
Anyhow, I’m home, and so so so so grateful, and still in awe of it all.
Thank you Carol for being there, and sharing this moment with me!  It meant the world for you of all people to be there!  Love you!
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So,.. that’s the trip in a nutshell.
I really can’t wait for you all to see this film.  There will be a NYC, and LA première coming very soon as the film is set to have a limited release in the US on either Oct. 24 or 31st. The film will also be at OTHER FESTIVALS including Hawaii, DC, Philly, Sitges, San Diego, West Washington (click on link for more details… and eventually be released in Hong Kong and Japan.  I’m going to try to make it out to a few of the festivals, and would love to go to the LA Premiere, but I’ll def. be at the NYC one.  See you all then.  If not, I hope you’ll still get to see it.
From now until October the film is also available on Direct TV.  Just for Sept.Ok,.. thanks if you’ve read this far.
I hope this was worth reading.  You don’t normally get this kind of insight as an actor, on what to expect, and how things work sometimes.  I’m particularly interested in hearing about similar experiences from others.
Please look me up online, and stop by my page on IMDB!!
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