Sparks Magazine Online
Q&A: Ryan Potter

Q&A: Ryan Potter

Sparks: How did you feel about tonight?

Ryan Potter: It was amazing. After watching the show, I just got an awesome sense of family here and unity. It really is such a tight knit community between sisters and brothers.

Everyone comes from a very similar place of being by themselves, then coming together into the community for a greater cause, and they showed that tonight through the dances and the videos they created. That goes to show how strong the bond is they’ve created. I was really taken aback. I rewrote my script multiple times. I had one, came here, and after asking people questions about what they wanted to hear, I thought, “This doesn’t relate to anything.”

After those questions, I rewrote it, then I watched the first half of the show and all the things people were talking about, and I thought, “How can i incorporate these messages and themes that we’re learning now with stories or past experiences that I’ve dealt with?” That’s what i tried to convey in my speech tonight.

 

Sparks: As an advocate for the Asian American community in Hollywood, what would be your advice to us about what we can do to help diminish this problem?

RP: The change is going to come from the inside, so it really is going to come from the people who have blazed a trail, like how George Takei led a way for Brian Tee, John Cho, Daniel Henney, and those guys have blazed a trail for me. It’ll continue to get better and better, but it really is going to take people who are interested in writing to write screenplays; it’s going to take people who are interested in cinematography and video to get behind the camera.

We need a strong community in the city that is constantly creating with members of our community. There are projects that are written by people in the Asian community or directed, and a perfect example is M. Night Shyamalan with Avatar the Last Airbender. With casting, they purposely went out asking for no people of Asian descent, and that’s heartbreaking to me. We need representation, but people in our own community are making it hard for us. There are so many jobs available in Hollywood; there are more positions than just being an actor or director, and that platform lends us that voice where we can speak about issues.

The main issue is just the lack of representation and community. If we could somehow emulate the community that you guys have with the AASU, and be able to recreate the subdivisions that you guys have, in Hollywood on a bigger scale, that would make all the difference. It’s the community that I’ve seen here tonight that we’re trying to recreate.

 

Sparks: Is there anything else you would like to add?
RP: Go Gators! But I’ve also really enjoyed my time here. I took a lot away from this event, more than I thought I would, and that comes from rewriting [my speech]. I really wanted to give you guys something to think about, not just information being thrown at you. I didn’t want to come out and speak at you guys, but I wanted to come out and speak to you guys, and I wanted one of the things I said to resonate.

At a young age, sometimes we have a hard time listening to our mentors and our teachers, because sometimes, we think we know better. But it’s not until failure or a mistake that we realize that maybe we should have listened to them from the get-go, because they have been in the same position. That’s the main message I really want to focus on. Listen to the people who are trying to guide you. Let them give you advice; take it, and really run with it.

Featured image by Alexandria Ng.