TAF Night 2011: JAM CREW

We’ll be releasing the TAF Night acts in the next few days. More to come as quickly as our tafLabs computers can handle!

TAF Awareness Week Kicks Off!

Can you believe it? Only 5 more weeks till TAF 2011 begins! Join us on spreading the word on TAF this year with our TAF Awareness Facebook campaign!

Copy and paste this message:

Help spread the word about TAF whether you’re a camper or alumni! Download and upload the photo above as your own profile picture, then copy/paste this caption to tell everyone at least 3 TAF memories you’ll never forget. Read about mine below and find more ways to share the tafLove at http://tafworld.org/share!

For us at the tafBlog, our 3 favorite tafBlog related memories are:

1. Our very first post back in July of 2009!
2. This amazing photo of Melody before we launched the TAF2010 Photogallery.
3. Ming Bieber. ‘Nuff said.


TAFers start a mobile funnel cake business

Hello Everyone!
My name is Jason Lee and I have been a TAFer since 1998. Fun fact, I have some 15 or more cousins who all have been to TAF as well, and one president uncle! I’ve spent the past few years as a counselor for JH and Youth.
I’ve recently graduated, but over the last four years, when I wasn’t at TAF, I was studying at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign under a created major in Asian American Film and Media. Essentially, I took lots of Asian American Studies, Media Studies, and Cinema Studies classes, and studied how they relate to representations of Asian Americans on TV, movies, magazines, and so on. For example, when our classmates judo chop at us and say “Waaaahhhh” as if it were a question, it is a direct legacy of how much influence images that people see on TV and in the movies have on people’s perception of us.
I am especially interested in how many Asian Americans like you and me are counteracting the stereotypes we see created and recreated over and over again in the media by producing music, movies, poetry, and other art that represent Asian Americans in a more three-dimensional and complex light.

You see, something I’ve heard thousands of times throughout my life is the question, “Can’t some stereotypes be good?” And my answer is this: “Stereotypes are never good because we are unique individuals and stereotypes tend to simplify us into these one-dimensional cartoon characters with very little personality”.

That’s exactly what we learn at TAF. Everyone there is Taiwanese, but as we find throughout the week, everyone is quite unique and complex and amazing in very individual ways. That’s why I want to get into film… because movies have so much power in changing perceptions. Think about your favorite movie. Is it your favorite movie because it had awesome explosions or a really hunky actor? Maybe. But it’s also your favorite because watching it made you feel a certain way. Movies have the ability to engulf its audiences and make them feel what the actors are feeling in very physical ways (i.e. when we cry, laugh, cover our eyes). That’s why, while Hollywood has created many simplifying stereotypes of Asian Americans over the years (i.e. geeky business man or subservient geisha) film can also be a great medium for giving Asian Americans more spotlight as real, unique individuals.

For my senior project, I wrote, fundraised, produced, and directed a short film that put together many of the ideas and themes that inspired me during my college career. It’s called Doughboy: Inventor. Entrepreneur. Funnel Cake Hero. It’s a twelve-minute dark comedy about an Asian American male who decides to continue his late father’s American dream of making funnel cakes as easy to find as a hot dog. So he builds a mobile funnel cake suit inspired by his ultimate hero, Data Wang from The Goonies. The reason why I wanted to write this week’s blog was because TAFers took a crucial part in making Doughboy come to life.

I raised funds to make the movie through a website called Kickstarter, where supporters back projects they like with various amounts of money in exchange for goodies that come out of the project. I was incredibly humbled by the amount of support coming out of the Taiwanese American community, including a large donation from TaiwaneseAmerican.org. By the end of the fundraising campaign, my project was 143% funded!

Then it came to production. About twenty people traveled from all parts of the country to Los Angeles to help me make Doughboy come to life. There was a little joke going around because it seemed like while all of the actors were Korean, all of the crew was Taiwanese. That is because many TAFers volunteered their time and talents to help me make my college dream project a reality.

It was a very hectic week. It seemed there was always another problem arising that we could not foresee just as we found a solution to the problem preceding it. However, a leadership quality we learn at TAF is the ability to step up where help is needed and fill in the gaps to get things done. For many of our crew members, it was about getting Doughboy made and many people volunteered to take care of the many details that needed to be done, from making funnel cakes to filling out paperwork for the Screen Actors Guild.

In the end, it was a very trying week. But it was amazing to see so many people coordinating and working together for a common cause. I am wrapping up the project now and have thanked many people for their support throughout the process. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to make a big shout out to the my friends in the Taiwanese American community. I could have never made Doughboy without the support of so many talented TAFers or the skills TAF has instilled in me throughout the years. Thank YOU.

You can’t watch Doughboy online yet, as I can’t publicly release it online if I want to get it into any film festivals. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to know someone receiving the DVD, who helped out with the fundraising process a few months back. Or perhaps you will be able to watch it on the big screen at an Asian American film festival near you! Whether you are able to watch it or not, I appreciate your continued to support, not only for my work, but also for me as a friend, a counselor, or someone I would call my brother or sister.

TAF 2011!

Greetings TAFers far and wide! TAF 2011: “THE ONES” is less than 3 months away and we can’t wait to come together from all corners of the nation for a week of awesome and this year’s theme of Servant Leadership! Online registration is coming soon to www.tafworld.org – please check the site in the next couple of weeks and remind your friends and family to register!

REMINDER: If you are interested in being “THE ONES” to serve TAF as a Juniors counselor, JH counselor, Youth advisor, or Youth coordinator, please be sure to apply by May 15th at http://bit.ly/tafstaffapp2011 — TAF happens only because YOU decide to serve and make this year a memorable one full of fun, togetherness, exploration, and growth!

If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or questions to pose to the TAF program directors, please reach out to the following people:
– Juniors: Emmeline Kuo & Sherry Lin (juniors@tafworld.org)
– Junior High: Michelle Hsu & Young Lee (juniorhigh@tafworld.org)
– Youth: Alex Yang & Ming Young (youth@tafworld.org)
– tafLabs: Jon Lee & Kevin Yau (labs@tafworld.org)

Any other general thoughts/concerns can be addressed to karen.lin@tafworld.org. See you at TAF 2011!!

TAF Real World – Week #37 of 51

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose!

This is the pre-game chant Coach Taylor uses to fire up his football team on the TV show Friday Night Lights. I am a huge fan of this show, which began airing its final season on NBC last Friday (watch the season opener here on Hulu!). I’ve already had the luxury of watching the final season on DirectTV, so I’m turning my tafBlog post into my FNL farewell homage.

To those who don’t know, FNL is not about football, but rather, it’s about the universal themes of everyday life, told through the lens of the local high school team. The players and coaches are the center of the small West Texas town’s interest, and the fans live and die with each pass and tackle made by their boys. And through this game of football every Friday night, they create an incredibly strong sense of community. But not everything is perfect for the players of course. Aside from carrying the hopes of a whole town, there are relationships, family issues, recruiters and boosters, and racial and class differences that everyone has to deal with (which from an audience perspective, makes it an incredibly rich viewing experience). But through it all, Coach Taylor guides these young men.

His lessons aren’t out of the ordinary, work hard, give everything 110%, care about your teammates, etc. But one moment in the FNL pilot shows us another side to Coach Taylor. He says,

We are all vulnerable, and we will all, at some point in our lives fall. We will all fall. We must carry this in our hearts that what we have is special. That it can be taken from us, and when it is taken from us, we will be tested. We will be tested to our very souls…it is this pain, that allows us to look inside ourselves.

Whether we’re star football players or the audience watching at home, we are not invincible. And when trials come, and they will, we can and need to count on those around us, our teammates, our friends, our family, to lift us up, and to use the adversity to look deep within and challenge ourselves to come out the other side a better person. This lesson resonates throughout the show. Characters will grow and change, but they’ll always grow or change for something better, and they will do it with the support of loved ones. It’s a simple lesson, but because it is so well told, the message is perhaps clearer. And maybe this is what the show means with its signature chant. Clear eyes (knowing yourself) and full hearts (surrounded by loved ones) simply cannot lose in life.

Storytelling like this and the lessons it can impart are what drew me into my current career in film production. Through my work, I hope to have a helping hand in creating meaningful media, and thus, how I hope to Love Out Loud. I’ve had the good fortune to work on Formosa Betrayed and the Write in Taiwanese Census PSA among other things so far in my career. Perhaps I’ll start developing a show about the lives of teens at a summer camp in Indiana and the incredible bonds they form once they leave…

But regardless, Slideshow this year is gonna be epiicccccccc!

– Jon Lee

Love Out Loud through {HEART JAPAN}

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to TAF and actually only went that one year. But it’s amazing the friendships that forge through one week at TAF. Since then I’ve stayed in touch with a good handful of TAF folks and it’s been even easier to follow as production quality has gotten better and better. It’s always inspiring to see what people do with their gifts and talents and amazing the impact we can make as a generation through multimedia.

Recently, my wife and I started an organization called {HEART JAPAN} along with two of our creative friends. Our goal is to empower other creatives to make a difference with the gifts and talents they’ve been given. It’s truly amazing what we can do as a collective group as opposed to individuals.

Although we’re currently focused on Japan, we plan on rolling it out to a much larger scale. Maybe what you are passionate about is your local dog shelter. Well go out there and do something about it!

In the meantime, what can you do?

1. Get involved.

Think of a creative way to raise funding and/or awareness and we can help get the word out about it and support you from the back end. It’s pretty open for interpretation. Doing a bake sale, a benefit concert, a silent auction, an art show, YouTubeing about it. That all counts. Visit heart-japan.org/join for more info.

2. Support.

Buy a shirt. We have shirts and calendars on sale on the website. All proceeds will be going to support Japan relief. Visit heart-japan.org/shop to see everything.

Donate money. Regardless of if we’re a student or working, we’re all very blessed. Support Japan relief directly at heart-japan.org/donate.

Support a friend. For those of you guys who know Young Lee, he and his band are having a benefit concert this Saturday. For details and to see what might be going on in your area, visit heart-japan.org/benefits. If there isn’t one in your area, see number 1.

3. Get the Word Out!

We all have so much power and voice through all of the social media out there. Facebook, tweet, email, and/or text people about {HEART JAPAN}. Although it was started by four creatives, {HEART JAPAN} is our collective effort!

Thanks for listening to an old man talk. Do good, be passionate, and love out loud!

Jacob Fu

(That’s me in the bottom right!)


Editors Note: ***APRIL FOOLS!*** — The real TAF 2011 theme name coming soon 🙂

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re excited to introduce to you your TAF 2011 theme! Leader Fever won out over other strong contestants after weeks of deliberation from TAF Board Members and Program Directors. TAF Marketing Director Andrea Hong said, “We want to capitalize on what is hip and in, and what’s better than playing off the phenomenon that follows The Biebs right now?” Moreover, ED Karen Lin agreed that not only is the theme name timely in the pop culture world, but, “it also carries a deeper meaning because it builds a passion for servant leadership.” Youth Program Director Alex Yang responded glowingly with ” >: ) “.

Other potential theme names included Our World 2.0.11, Somebody to Lead, The Ones, and Eeniee Meenie Leadie. It wasn’t until Juniors PD Sherry Lin noticed the trend that JH PD Michelle Hsu proposed Servant Biebership or Jarrell & Justin, the latter which morphed into Leader Fever. However, the name did not come without any debate. Labs PDs Kevin Yau & Jon Lee refused to comment, mumbling about “young kids these days”, and when Juniors PD Emmeline Kuo declared that she’d never vote for Leader Fever, JH PD Young Lee quickly retorted, “NEVER SAY NEVER”, a quote from the Mr. Bieber’s critically acclaimed documentary, Never Say Never.

Tell us what YOU think! Only four more months till TAF2011!


TAF2011:Leader Fever begins July 31st through August 7th. Stay tuned to www.tafworld.org for more updates. Staff Applications available on the website!

Photo credit: 1. Anna Wu Photography 2. Justin Bieber

TAF Real World – Week #32 of 51

Hello! Apologies from the TAFBlog admin that this is posted a wee bit late. We’re already through weeks 32 and 33ish (less than 20 weeks until TAF ’11)! sTAFf applications are out and conference dates have been set. Don’t forget to apply, mark your calendars and invite your friends! Speaking of friends, here are Stephanie, Kristin and Jennifer with a LOVE OUT LOUD refresher crash course.