Placed in Blog
Last year around this time we first got an email from a company called FremantleMedia. After a quick search we learned what a big deal this was. This was the company that makes American Idol, and distributes countless other mainstream programs here in the US and abroad. We thought, what could such a big company like this want with us?
Our first meeting with the team of developers went really well. We clicked and could tell they understood Wong Fu Productions and the possibilities in new media. They had a track history of taking successful shows or series from the web and bringing them to television and they saw that potential in us.
So our goal with them? Create a web series like a tv show pilot episode. If it did well, they might be able to show networks its success and try to pitch them to turn it into a real television show. With this in mind, we set to come up with ideas with the destination of TV in mind, not just YouTube. The idea of HANS was among a few that we pitched them, but the concept came about because we thought, why has there not been a show on tv with an Asian family? There are African Americans, Hispanics, why not Asian? Without getting into the politics, we decided to create a story that melded the two cultures, in an effort to make seeing Asians in not such a strange light as the general TV audience might see it. Fremantle liked the idea and wanted us to go with it. They agreed with us that an Asian American cast has a place on television and wanted to support it.
Fast forward a few months of developing the outline and scripts and we were shooting out first “meant for tv” web-series. Hopefully that gives you some insight and understanding as to how this idea came to be, and why we made it. We’re really glad we had this opportunity and hope you enjoy the coming episodes. Who knows, if we get some great response and views, this might have a chance to go to TV! How amazing would that be? But it’s up to you, so please share the video and series with your friends of all backgrounds. Hopefully you don’t just see this as an Asian show. Yes It has Asians in it, but it’s not just Asian jokes and stereotypes. It’s about emotions everyone can understand and a family trying to reconnect. Of course, with a Wong Fu Productions twist Thanks for watching!
In this episode, we focused more on revealing more about the relationships he has with everyone at home. A little scene with his mom, Patrick, Ellen, and the family as a whole each show a bit more personality about the characters and how they’ve been living in the time that Derek’s been gone. We chose to have these scenes because we felt it was important for the viewers to learn more about each character and how they’ll possibly continue on in the series.
You may or may not have noticed during the time of the release that we were 2 days late in releasing this episode. This was due to, what we announced as, “an unexpected major technical issue”. Now that it’s out, we’ll just tell you what happened. Since this series is co-produced with Fremantle (a HUGE media corporation) we have to send each episode in for their approval before releasing. Before we left for our Malaysia tour, we submitted the video not expecting any problems, as we’ve been showing them our progress throughout. But while we were there, they came back to us with some bad news from the legal department. The posters in Patrick’s room had to be changed. You see, originally they were a poster of Cloud from Final Fantasy, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We shot with this posters to give character to Patrick’s room, not thinking it’d be an issue, we were wrong. And so, we had to get our good friend and visual effect editor, Derrick, to go in and frame by frame, replace those posters with an ISA and Wong Fu short poster. And since we were in Malaysia, we couldn’t get him the files to work on until we got back, 1 day before release. So he worked like crazy for 3 days to fix the issue. Now, hopefully you didn’t even notice that those posters were put in AFTER. Movie magic Thanks Derrick!
Finally…we get introduced to the dad, Andrew Han. After fearing his first meeting with his new stepdad, Derek finally faces it, only to be surprised that Andrew is nothing like he imagined. In fact, they have a lot more in common than he thought.
We’re so glad to have the amazing Randall Park lend his talents to this project. He definitely brings in a new energy to the series and this was exactly how we had intended it to be. When we were conceptualizing the father figure for the series we went back and forth a lot about how we felt he should act. Should he be a traditional “Asian father”, strict, accents, generation gap? Well, while we definitely think that could be funny and that there’s a place for that… we didn’t want him be that stereotype, completely. TV already has an terrible problem depicting Asians always with accents, and we didn’t want to add to that. While it may have been more accurate, we’re trying to change the general public’s perception. (PLUS, it’s very hard to find actors of immigrant background, most older Asian actors within our reach are from the 2nd generation, for obvious cultural reasons. Furthermore, we really just wanted to work with Randall again, haha) So we ultimately decided for a more westernized father, and to make him rather cool and outgoing, but with hints of the stereotypes peeking through. Randall fit the part perfectly. An awkward, but firm, dad that is a little lost but still finds joy in his family.
We also find out more about Derek in this episode. Wanting to give him more depth, Derek reveals more about his past and feeling of defeat and regret. Making both him and Andrew vulnerable allows them to connect and create a friendship that can continue through the series. The whole goal was to make these two unlikely people, friends, and if the series continues, we want to show more of their relationship grow.
So this is where the series ends…for now. We did our best to round out the series with bringing “Phil” back in, showing that Derek and Andrew are going to have a good friendship together, and that the Derek is finally happy to be home. There’s definitely a lot more Derek and the Hans can go through, and we’ll just have to wait and see if we can bring it all back.
Like we said in the ending audio commentary, we’re really glad we got this opportunity to work with a great team at FremantleMedia. They were awesome people to work with and we’re sure you’ll be seeing more stuff from us with them involved, whether it be more HANS episodes, or a new series. Who knows, maybe we may end up on TV with a show someday, but this is just the beginning. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Thank you again for watching the episodes and sharing with your friends!