Fast Food: The preview
Junior Ryan Maidment: actor. Junior Fong Kuo: director, filmmaker, screenwriter and cinematographer. Curating a 90-minute long movie? No problem. After three prolonged years of hard work and dedication, they have finally produced their first feature film, “Fast Food.”
Kuo’s vision for the film kindled one day when he was in a Chinese restaurant eating dim sum with his parents. At the time, he didn’t like Chinese food, so he had the idea to make a movie about children’s struggle to integrate into their parents’ cultural lifestyle in the Asian-American society. Fong’s dislike for the values placed upon him inspired him to make “Fast Food” to dramatically portray his personal experiences and emotions.
“They’re Fong’s ideas. The characters, the situations are all based off of what Fong thinks, what he sees,” Maidment said. “So, he tries to make every event relatable to the audience [and] the best way to do that is to show what he thinks himself. That goes along with culture, with parents talking to children about grades and friendship–all that kind of stuff.”
It all started in their freshman year when Kuo filmed, scripted, hired and casted everyone for roles. Initially, he was hesitant to hire Maidment since he didn’t know his capabilities. However, upon seeing Maidment star in a friend’s film, “The Dark Encounter,” Kuo hired him to play James Malone, a supporting role in “Fast Food.”
“Before, I wasn’t very good with lines, but I joined Drama junior year and I’ve gotten a lot of practice with memorization,” Maidment said. “I’ve improved a lot since freshmen year and that’s helped a lot with the production, especially with speeding it along.”
The title “Fast Food” is a little misleading, however. The movie isn’t primarily focused on burgers and the typical fast foods. Rather, “Fast Food” centralizes around the whole implications behind different meals and the conflicts that arise between parents and children over the value of cultural traditions.
Everything that happens in “Fast Food” is primarily a rendition of Kuo’s own personal life. The film tells the story of Darrus Kydo, the main character, who is always in conflict with his parents. Similar to Kuo’s situation, Kydo’s parents are also immigrants who uphold traditional values, and he often clashes with their cultural views.
“Every time I eat with parents or go to an event, I never seem to appreciate the food that they give me [because] I’m just not used to it,” Kuo said. “And thats the theme of the movie – ending up appreciating what your parents have done, especially immigrants, what they go through and appreciating that you actually food on your table.”
Over the years, Kuo has spent around ten thousand dollars out of his own savings to pay for actors, equipment and transportation expenses, exceeding his original budget of six thousand dollars.
“There’s a whole different story about being 14 at the time when I started making a feature because it cost money. Its a really long journey trying to find actors, trying to pay for your budget, trying to arrange transportation for a 90-minute long movie,” Kuo said. It’s really tough but in the end, all the effort it took to push through it like when you look at the final product, it’s all worth it.”
When “Fast Food” is completed, Maidment, Kuo and the rest of the crew plan to submit it to film festivals around southern California where they hope it will be accepted and receive numerous awards. If that fails, Fong plans to get screenings at school, at his church or even at a local theatre.
“We’re going to try to spread the word of course and get people to know about this film and hopefully that will escalate it so that it will be more known and we can do be able to more things like this in the future,” Maidment said.
After three ongoing years of production and with no more scenes to be recorded and the audio already set, the crew is now in post-production. The final stage of their development process is for their friend junior Christopher Tjajadi of Orange County School of the Arts (OSCA) to edit the footage and put it all together. “Fast Food,” which takes up to five months to produce, will be released in the summer of 2015.
“[The journey’s been] very long-winded and tedious, but nonetheless it was very fun. Filming is always a bonding experience between actors, directors and whoevers involved because you have one common goal to create this one movie–this one production,” Maidment said. “You have one common goal and it brings you closer together throughout that process. We’ve already known our goals since freshmen year. We’ve been set on that since then, and to see it come to an end is really cool. It’s just exciting that it’s finally going to be coming out soon.”
By Sophia Ding, Staff writer