Asian American Writer/Executive Producers

Asian American Writer/Executive Producers

September 29, 2020 A DGA Asian American Committee Virtual Event

On September 29, the Asian American Committee’s (AAC) meeting featured the panel discussion, Asian American Writer/Executive Producers.

In a conversation moderated by AAC Co-Chair Lily Mariye, Writer/Executive Producers Leonard Chang (Snowfall), Dee Johnson (The Good Wife) and Alexander Woo (The Terror: Infamy) spoke about their influences and experiences as Asian-American in the industry, how they started and individuals who had influenced their working styles.

Going into more depth, Johnson spoke about her fear of being pigeonholed into genre, needing to push into different arenas and how rewarding it was to be able to influence society through storyline. She was also conscious of the difficulties faced by Directors when they “parachute” into a production and have to bring part of themselves while still being conscious of matching the sensibility and world view of the show.

Chang spoke about the burden to perform as the first and, most-likely, only Asian on productions and how working with Directors is a highlight of collaborating on the creative process. He shared his advice that the best thing do as a Director is be prepared, invest in show and be committed.

Woo spoke about not being able to express his "Asian-ness " until had his own show. He revealed that what he looks for in vetting directors is someone who can connect to the material honestly and noted how the competition had gotten stiffer as the talent pool has widened.

Following the moderated portion of the event, the panelists took questions from the online audience.


Leonard ChangLeonard Chang 
Currently an Executive Producer and Writer for FX’s acclaimed drama Snowfall, Chang was also a Writer/Producer for FX’s drama Justified. Prior to that, he also served as a staff writer for the NBC drama Awake.

Dee JohnsonDee Johnson
Johnson’s career has spanned nearly three decades, during which she has worked on more than a dozen series including I'll Fly AwayMelrose PlaceProfilerERCommander in ChiefThe Good WifeBoss, and Nashville
Alexander WooAlexander Woo
Woo most recently served as Co-Creator, Showrunner and Executive Producer for the critically acclaimed series The Terror: Infamy on AMC. Previously, he served as Executive Producer on HBO's True Blood. His other credits Sleeper CellLAXWonderfalls and Manhattan. He also developed and wrote the screen adaptation of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for HBO. 

Lily MariyeLily Mariye (moderator)
In addition to her feature Model Minority, Mariye’s directing credits also include episodes of The Terror: Infamy, How to Get Away with Murder, StumptownCouncil of Dads, Chicago PDMacGyver, NCIS: Los Angeles and Prodigal Son. Mariye also earned a DGA Award-nomination in the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs category for her 2017 “Just Add Meddling” episode of the Amazon series Just Add Magic. A DGA member since 2015, she currently serves a co-chair of the DGA’s Asian American Committee. .

About the Asian American Committee:

The Asian American Committee (AAC) was created as a networking group to provide a forum for interests and issues that concern Asian-American Guild members. Through outreach efforts in the entertainment industry that emphasize career development and skills enhancement, the committee provides a variety of networking opportunities as well as screenings, seminars and discussions with industry professionals. The current AAC Co-Chairs are Directors Cellin Gluck, Michael Goi and Lily Mariye.

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