From Humans of New York by Natalie Kim

“I’ve had serious problems with authority my entire life.  The first person I tried to piss off was my mother.  I got an Ivy League education and then became a street cop for six years.  I’d always been a knee jerk liberal.  I was one of those kids screaming ‘off the pigs’ at protest marches.  And then I ended up joining the force.  I think it should be mandatory for everyone.  We all have to take turns being the hall monitor in elementary school.  I think everyone should have to be a cop.  It’s the ultimate social work.  It’s the cop who has to step in when everything else has broken down.  It’s where the rubber meets the road.  It’s where conflict bubbles to the point of needing resolution, and somebody has to step in and protect the group welfare.  Ninety percent of the job is family disputes.  It’s walking into a room and keeping people from killing each other.  Yet everyone hates cops.  Everyone loves the fire department, and everyone hates cops.  That’s why I think everyone should have to do it.  Everyone should have to make an arrest. Everyone should have to feel the fear of trying to apprehend someone who doesn’t want to go to jail.  Everyone should experience the ‘fight or flight’ response when flight isn’t an option.  It breaks my heart to see all the hate toward cops.  Are there hateful, racist cops?  Sure.  And they should be punished.  But I’ve worked in just about every industry.  And I didn’t find any more racism in the police department than I’ve found in boardrooms and retail stores.  Before I joined the force, I used to think that all cops were The Man.  Now I know that the cops are all of us.  Just a bunch of human beings trying to figure out how to play the game.  And I think everyone should have to do it.”

TONIGHT 3/11/16 7:30 PM by Natalie Kim

TONIGHT: Just got word of a screener that SEE ME SEE YOU will be seen on a big screen. RESERVE YOUR SPOT HERE: bit.ly/1SGsxHw

The Jacob Krueger Studio

247 West 35th Street

6th Floor

New York, NY 10001

TONIGHT FRIDAY: 7:30

SYNOPSIS: SEE ME SEE YOU chronicles a day in the life of an NYPD cop, Kathleen Stamos, who is having a bad day. Despite some earnest advice on life and love from her partner Rico Thomson that gets her nowhere, Kathleen has a chance encounter with a troublemaker that changes everything. #speakeasycinemanyc

Our film screener in Los Angeles... by Natalie Kim

Keeping my mouth shut is not easy.

Keeping my mouth shut is not easy.

JR Carter as Police Officer Rico Thomas

JR Carter as Police Officer Rico Thomas

I was very excited that our short film was accepted to the Playhouse West Film Festival in Los Angeles!

I was unable to attend but here are some photos from the event:

My partner in crime, JR Carter as P.O. Rico Thomas on the red carpet.

My partner in crime, JR Carter as P.O. Rico Thomas on the red carpet.

I am so grateful to JR for representing SEE ME SEE YOU in the Los Angeles talkback.

I am so grateful to JR for representing SEE ME SEE YOU in the Los Angeles talkback.

On a funny note, someone asked if *I* was a real cop and JR (the 20 year veteran & NYPD detective) had to let them know that I was just an actor.

Some fun facts about production:

1. HOW JR & I MET: I first learned of JR through my acting teacher, Jim Parrack, who talked about a veteran and NYPD detective who was very devoted to the Meisner practice. I hunted him down and cornered him on a street in Brooklyn, peppering him with questions about his work, his life and most importantly, if I could play a cop. He told me that, without a doubt I could play a cop if I wanted to. His former partner was a tiny Asian woman who he said was the toughest and trustworthy person he knew.

2. TWO COPS WERE SHOT AND KILLED  IN BROOKLYN A FEW MONTHS EARLIER: In a very sad turn of events, Weijian Lui and Rafael Ramos were murdered point blank in the middle of the day while sitting in their squad car.

The tensions were understandably high (fever pitch at the time of shooting) and I was not eager to saunter around Brooklyn in a cop uniform. 

3. IT'S THE FIRST TIME I DID A SHOOT THE LEGIT WAY: I was reluctant to spend the money on getting a permit and for other shoots (SuperTwins.TV, Josey&Nat etc.) Some even suggested that I forgo a permit all together and just GO FOR IT! But I knew I needed a permit and the blessing of the NYPD to make the kind of movie I wanted. How could we all act while dodging the police? Actors wearing cop uniforms on network television shows in police uniforms must follow stringent rules.

4. WE DID NOT SIT IN A COP CAR: It appears that we sit in a cop car in the opening scene but it was actually due to the genius of Jason Whitaker, my amazing DP. It also appears that our car is white but it was actually JR's dark car recolored by Jason's magic in post production.

This was the car from THE NYPD Film & Television Division

This was the car from THE NYPD Film & Television Division

5. WE SHOT THE FILM IN TWO DAYS, 1-2 TAKES EACH: Because I had the luxury of knowing my actors from Playhouse West, we rehearsed quite a bit beforehand. Working with them was like speaking in shorthand and we "got" each other. I also planned like crazy with stick figure storyboards of how each scene would play out, the blocking, what I wanted included etc. This planning made our shoot run very smoothly.

6. PRIOR TO THIS FILM I THOUGHT I WOULD WANT TO BE A COP: But then reality set in. When I learned what I had to do and what really goes into becoming a cop, I knew I was not cut out for this line of work. 

JR taught me a lot about being a cop and specifically looking at people and noticing where people's hands were placed. If people had their hands in their pockets, I would watch them a second longer to see what they would do something suspicious.

After the shoot I caught myself sizing people up in the subway and wondering what bad stuff they were up to. This was not mandated by JR, it was something that slowly. I forced myself to shake this mentality off.

7. THIS CHARACTER, KATHLEEN STAMOS, WAS BASED ON A CHARACTER CREATED BY ABC'S AMERICAN CRIMER WRITER AND PLAYWRIGHT DIANA SON: A few years ago I read Stop Kiss by the playwright Diana Son and I loved it. It was touching, real and smart and also starred one of my heroes, Sandra Oh.

A few weeks later I was in the same room with Diana, auditioning for Blue Bloods. I booked a small role as a wise-cracking, tough-talking, Asian-American cop. Unfortunately that scene was cut and I never set foot on set. That character stuck in my mind and I always knew I was destined to play that character. Diana was kind enough to congratulate me on building on the character. 

Dario Anthony as Angelo Giordano

Dario Anthony as Angelo Giordano

8. A PRODUCER DISCOURAGED ME FROM PLAYING A COP: A "concerned acquaintance" told me I was "too tiny"to play a cop and she worried people might laugh at me. 

9. MY ACTING TEACHER JIM PARRACK HELPED OUT BIG TIME: Not only is he one of the finest acting instructors (with his partner Andrea Dantas), he took the time and sat down in a cramped deli with me and my cast, broke down my script and pointed out the significance of each moment. During the time he sat with us I was terrified because of my respect for him. It would like John Steinbeck sitting down and giving positive and supportive notes on a script. Or perhaps taking a nuclear weapon to a fist fight. Not once did he belittle the project or make me feel like this short was nothing short of terrific work. He also encouraged me to direct it which I'm forever grateful for.

10.THIS MOVIE HAS MADE ME MORE ENGAGED WITH CURRENT EVENTS: With my character being a cop I've been very sensitive to what is happening in America right now.

I've kept my mouth shut on the whole #blacklivesmatter and police situation. On FB and Twitter it's very easy to be an armchair political expert but when it comes to people's real lives (not just on the screen), the consequences are very real. It's too simple to see a 30 second post on Facebook and send out more anger.

How would I feel if someone who looked like me was being killed on a daily basis? How would I feel if I was risking my life to serve and protect people but was spit on when I was walking down the street?  As an artist and human being I grapple with these questions and try to do so without judgement.

I've had positive experiences with cops and I've had people close to me who have been locked up. I see the good and bad. 

The way I look at it is: 

1. Both sides are hurting tremendously.
2. I'm not going to jump to knee-jerk conclusions.
3. Healing needs to be done.

I spoke to someone I consider my Dharma teacher, she is a meditation teacher and she had this to say:

"It is very emotional for many people and since we have avoided it for so long, we have not cultivated the skills needed to discuss and think about it honestly and constructively.  As anything we start doing with very little experience, it will be messy and frustrating for many in the beginning.  I think if we can recognize that, we will be more willing to let this messy phase take its course so that we can get to the next phase when more people are convinced of the need to have genuine conversations about this very important issue. 

Social progress tends to take long windy roads.

The first step is for people to see their views clearly, and recognize how they are unhelpful.  Then we may begin to re-examine our views and in turn adjust our actions.  Change is not easy.  That's why people have avoided confronting the issue for so long.  If we practice cultivating awareness of our mind and actions, we have a better chance of seeing how our views may be problematic.  No easy fixes."

I also recently met with mediator Brad Heckman, CEO of the non-profit organization The New York Peace Institute where he talked about how he worked with cops and taught them mediation. The hope is to become more involved with the communities they serve and be seen as an ally instead of the enemy.

I'm not entirely sure how I will become involved but I know it's a very important issue to me that I hope to contribute to. 

I am hopeful through activism, education, self-reflection and growth that things will change for the better.

xo,

Natalie


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Hey, I'm Natalie Kim and I'm a comedic actress and artist. I produced and starred in the short film SEE ME SEE YOU which tells the story about an NYPD cop, Kathleen Stamos. You may have seen me on The Blacklist, Law & Order and many comedy webseries. For more info, please check out: www.NatalieKim.com

 

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David Henry Hwang Got Assaulted in Fort Green, Brooklyn. by Natalie Kim

This is an article written by playwright, David Henry Hwang, who was recently stabbed near his home in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. He's a wonderful, kind and talented man and the randomness of this violence is disheartening. 

I helped promote his revival of Flower Drum Song in 2004 when it was on Broadway I was so psyched to see this classic musical come to life. The Roger's and Hammerstein score is glorious and I was jazzed to see all these fantastic Asian American actors performing on stage.

Look at the awesomeness of these beautiful women doing my favorite number, Fan Tan Fanny ;-)

Look at the awesomeness of these beautiful women doing my favorite number, Fan Tan Fanny ;-)

David and his family were often present at events and they were always gracious and positive. 

The funniest thing about this revival is that as a college student, David protested Flower Drum Song for being racist. But even as he picketed with friends, he sheepishly admitted he kinda liked the play. I was tickled when I found that out.

It's a sad coincidence that we shot SEE ME SEE YOU on the same street where David got hurt. It's also where my acting class, Playhouse West Brooklyn Lab was. Fort Greene, Brooklyn is a beautiful neighborhood and the people always make eye contact and smile warmly at you. I've often walked down this street (and others) at all times of the day and felt safe. 

It doesn't appear that his attacker knew him or targeted him. What is clear is that even though David writes in a factual way, his injuries were potentially life threatening.

I wish DHH and his family well and very grateful for his speedy recovery.