angry reader of the week: greg pak

Ah yes. Coming at you once again with another Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's reader is none other than filmmaker/comic book writer Greg Pak:

Who are you?
I'm the writer and director of the feature film Robot Stories and a bunch of short films including Asian Pride Porn, Fighting Grandpa and the soon-to-be-released Mister Green, starring Tim Kang. But these days I'm probably a little better known as the comic book writer who created Amadeus Cho, wrote Planet Hulk, World War Hulk, and Magneto Testament and co-writes Incredible Hercules with Fred Van Lente. I also wrote "The Citizen," a buddy story starring an Asian American superhero and the President of the United States, which was illustrated by Bernard Chang and included in Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology.

What are you?
Korean American. Hapa. Boy Scout. Political science, history, and film production degree holder. One-time improvisational actor, cartoonist, and employee of Texas Governor Ann Richards. Bearded and nearsighted. Comics, movies, tech, and politics nerd. Bad but enthusiastic harmonica player.

Where are you?
New York City. Just like I pictured it. And in your computer at twitter.com/pakbuzz.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Dallas, Texas. Although I've now lived in New York longer than any other place on the planet.

What do you do?
I get up every day and write and write and write and then write a little bit more. I talk with my editors and artists and collaborators. And every once in a while, if I'm very, very good, I get out of my cave to shoot a film. These days I've also been selling signed comics and other goodies using the eBay charity tools as part of the Heroes4Haiti.com effort to raise money for Haiti relief. I'll probably have some new auctions up soon -- check out pakbuzz.com for the latest.

What are you all about?
Whoa. That's a big one.

When it comes to the practical, street-level business of breaking in and getting work made and seen, I'm a huge advocate of independent mediamakers seizing every opportunity and new scrap of technology to build communities and audiences and master every level of production and distribution. I'm also a strong believer that it's not a zero-sum game and I'd never have gotten anywhere without huge amounts of help from fellow writers and filmmakers. So I've tried to return a little something to the pool through my website FilmHelp.com, where I share practical pointers based on my successes and mistakes in hopes of helping out others.

In terms of race, politics, and representation, I think movies, comics and dramatic storytelling in general are insanely powerful tools for humanizing people of different backgrounds to each other. We can argue about racism, sexism, or homophobia all day long, but almost no one's mind gets changed through argument or reason. It's the emotional experience of human connections that changes people. And the immersive nature of dramatic storytelling can actually come close to providing that experience. So I'm a giant believer in nontraditional casting and telling new stories with new faces. That's why I started AsianAmericanFilm.com over ten years ago and why I've tried to work diverse casts into my films and comics. When it comes to Asian American work in particular, that's also why I have so much love for all of the film festivals, websites, media outlets, and fellow filmmakers and filmgoers who have supported genuinely independent films over the years. (And you're right there at the top of the list of the most appreciated folks around, AngryAsianMan!)

In terms of storytelling, my literary and filmmaking heroes are people like Ray Bradbury, Lloyd Alexander, Octavia Butler, Kurt Vonnegut, Akira Kurosawa, Billy Wilder, and Hayao Miyazaki -- folks who combine big, big ideas, mind-bending genre hijinks, and a deeply humanistic worldview in which compelling characters grapple with some fundamental human experience and emotional truth. I think I've also been compelled by writers and filmmakers who haven't given in to cynicism and who actually have something to say. I'm in the business of escapist entertainment. But I'd argue that the greatest escapist literature doesn't just let us avoid our problems; it gives us a safe space to explore new ways to deal with our real world challenges. One of the reasons I've been so drawn to the Hulk, for example, is that he's insanely fun because we can all vicariously enjoy his anger and smashing. But what makes him a truly great character is that his stories almost always explore the price of all that anger and smashing. There's a process of emotional discovery in those stories that's incredibly attractive to me as a reader and a writer.

What makes you angry?
Grown men and women displaying willful ignorance and selfishness. Particularly when said persons are United States Senators.

Anyone or anything that damages a kid's spirit or potential.

Physical objects. Seriously, what's with all these things bumping into my shins and falling out of my hands?

angry archive