Behind the Scenes of Census 2010: Write in “Taiwanese” | Passion Project

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It’s been a week since the Census 2010: Write in “Taiwanese” video debuted on YouTube, and it’s already garnered over 120,000 views. Produced by Slideshow Pictures in conjunction with at least seven Taiwanese American organizations, the public service announcement is part of a larger campaign to get Taiwanese Americans to self-identify on the US Census by checking “Other Asian” and writing in “Taiwanese.”

If you know me well, you may know that I love being behind the scenes of all sorts of projects and productions. So I was very lucky to find myself a last-minute addition to this project. Five days beforehand, we worked it out for me to fly down to Los Angeles for a day and a half, just to help out a tiny bit. Let’s be honest– I basically had an very fun day just hanging out with the various cast and crew members, but my official capacity was to serve as the behind-the-scenes photographer on set of the video production. Later, I pulled my own weight by designing the accompanying website for the video campaign ( But now I get to bring you behind the scenes with me!

We got an early start on the day, rolling out of bed around 6am and heading over to the studio in Alhambra.


Three Slideshow Pictures producers and a makeup artist relaxing a bit before shooting begins: Jon Lee (CEO, Slideshow Pictures), makeup artist Yuriko Bondies, Alex Yang (Slideshow Picture), and Howard Chen (Slideshow Pictures). Jon has been working in Hollywood for a couple years now. He was an associate producer on Formosa Betrayed. So between him and director Karen Lin, they were able to make this a first-class production with sound, photography, and editing professionals up and down the production chain.


Byron Werner and his crew sets up the backdrop, lighting, and camera.


They test the setup on Howard. Looking good in both frames.


Jon Lee with Alex Wen, owner of KCW studios.


The famous “Taiwanese” Census 2010 shirts. Order yours today from TACL!


Harrison and Haley are third generation hapa Taiwanese Americans. Adorable! Harrison just kept on munching away at his fruit while he was waiting, and Haley was a natural star, delivering lines flawlessly!


Love the giant pencil. Love.


Politician and lawyer Ted Lieu gets some pointers from director Karen Lin.


Two sets of sisters! We had a few really great families who came to the shoot. On the left are Japanese-Taiwanese American Muramoto sisters. On the right, Agnes Hsiao and Elena Ling.


If you’ve been following me or Taiwanese American news, you might recognize these two as the killers from Formosa Betrayed: actors Henry M. Chu and Adam Wang (links to previous shoots with me). Keep an eye out. You’ll be seeing them more in the near future!


You may recognize actress Michelle Krusiec from Saving Face, amongst other projects. And on the right, a 96-year-old a-ma, Mrs. Ray-Yun Tsai Huang.

There were many, many more interesting people who participated in the video, but I don’t have space to show all of them here, so head on over to the Census 2010: Write in “Taiwanese” website to meet all of the other cast and crew members.


Singer-songwriter Alice Tong fills out some information for me– my other job that day was to collect bio information from everyone.


Director Karen Lin wraps the shoot at the end of the day– 8am to 5pm. A full day’s work.


Alex works on the giant pencil.


Breaking everything down– the scene outside.


A wider view of KCW studio.


I don’t know what they’re thinking! You tell me.


Lastly, a word about the campaign– I could launch into an argument about history and politics validating a Taiwanese identity. But for me, it’s also about upholding the right to identify ourselves rather than be defined by others.

So share the YouTube video and the website. Tweet this. Go after one of the many other ways to take action. And tell every Taiwanese American person in the United States about the campaign.

But as Ho Chie says, no matter how you identify, whether Taiwanese or not, be sure to represent your own identity and community. This is important for all of us as Americans, and this is our only chance this decade.

Be Counted. Be Recognized.

census2010Above, my latest web creation. Their bios display on hover! You can also learn more about the campaign and ways to help by visiting the website.