Category Archives: Editing

November 29, 2014 — Year in Review (Part 1- More Editing)

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since my last blog. Let me assure you, we have been busy and the film is pro­gress­ing in remark­able ways. It’s just that some­times a Face­book post is eas­i­er to do than putting down a whole blog para­graph. Think­ing back on the past year, I groan at the thought of all the grant appli­ca­tions I wrote, and the many tweaks we made to our work-in-progress video. But I also have a great sense of accom­plish­ment know­ing that the film has got­ten stronger with every grant appli­ca­tion. The year con­tained sev­er­al high­lights, includ­ing break­through edit ses­sions, a pro­duc­tion trip to New York, my FIRST TRIP TO CHINA, and a won­der­ful work-in-progress work­shop on the pres­ti­gious LBGT film fes­ti­val cruise Pride of the Ocean.

Because of the gen­er­ous dona­tions of a lot of peo­ple, we man­aged to get into the edit room sev­er­al times this year. Turn­ing 100 hours of accu­mu­lat­ed footage into a com­pelling sto­ry is a time-con­sum­ing and often tedious process, involv­ing hours of tran­scrib­ing inter­views, log­ging b‑roll footage, writ­ing and re-writ­ing nar­ra­tion lines, and hunt­ing for obscure his­tor­i­cal pho­tos and film footage.

Robin records temporary narration in the sound-proof storage closet at Rubber Stamp Plantation in Honolulu

Robin records tem­po­rary nar­ra­tion in the sound-proof stor­age clos­et at Rub­ber Stamp Plan­ta­tion in Honolulu


Luck­i­ly producer/editor Shirley Thomp­son has the real heart of gold she adver­tis­es and comes to work with a sharp sto­ry­telling scalpel. I took stock after our last edit ses­sion which end­ed the Fri­day before Thanks­giv­ing — we are 1/3 of the way through our rough cut!! And the remain­ing 20 scenes are clear­ly mapped out and ready to be attacked as soon as more fund­ing comes in.


Shirley Thompson and Robin Lung wrap up the last day of a 2-week edit session

Shirley Thomp­son and Robin Lung wrap up the last day of a 2‑week edit ses­sion just in time for Thanks­giv­ing. Count­ing our bless­ings for the many folks who’ve got­ten us this far.


It’s a great land­mark in the life of our film. We could­n’t have got­ten this far with­out the sup­port of over 300 indi­vid­ual donors and the encour­age­ment of film fans from far and wide.


Three Act paper edit - Done! Thanks to the great writing software tool named Scrivener (no they did not pay me to say that)

Three Act paper edit — Done! Thanks to the great writ­ing soft­ware tool named Scriven­er (no they did not pay me to say that)


Help us get to the fin­ish line in 2015 with a tax deductible dona­tion by click­ing on the red donate but­ton to the right. Con­tin­ue review­ing FINDING KUKAN’s year in the next few posts.…



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May 2, 2013 — Collaborating With Shadow Creatives

I knew when I saw the stun­ning shad­ow visu­als designer/animator Chris Do did for a GAP cam­paign that I want­ed to use the same tech­nique for FINDING KUKAN.  I envi­sioned Do’s ani­ma­tion being brought to the genius shad­ow scenes that Lar­ry Reed devel­ops for Shad­ow­Light Pro­duc­tions as the per­fect way of car­ry­ing the emo­tion of espe­cial­ly inti­mate or har­row­ing scenes in the dra­mat­ic nar­ra­tive of Li Ling-Ai and Rey Scot­t’s lives.



So it was thrilling to have both Chris Do and Lar­ry Reed in the same room with me today in San­ta Mon­i­ca at Chris Do’s BLIND design stu­dio office space.  Lar­ry joined us by SKYPE and con­fer­ence call from San Fran­cis­co (SKYPE can drop out on you when band­width is scarce).

Chris Do and Robin Lung SKYPE Larry Reed from the BLIND offices in Santa Monica

Chris Do and Robin Lung SKYPE Lar­ry Reed from the BLIND offices in San­ta Monica

After our meet­ing I real­ized that I had found two cre­ative genius­es who were also prac­ti­cal pro­duc­ers with years of expe­ri­ence in how to ACTUALIZE a visu­al idea.  The prag­mat­ic, step-by-step path to bring­ing a new way of visu­al sto­ry­telling to the screen in FINDING KUKAN, just got a whole lot clear­er thanks to Lar­ry & Chris.

Chris Do helps Robin Lung lay out a plan of action for creating FINDING KUKAN's shadow scenes.

Chris Do helps Robin Lung lay out a plan of action for cre­at­ing FINDING KUKAN’s shad­ow scenes.


I invite you to check out their work HERE and HERE.  If you are as wowed by it as I was, please con­sid­er con­tribut­ing to the col­lab­o­ra­tion process at our Post-Pro­duc­tion GIFT REGISTRY.  If you have any cool shad­ow ideas or images you think would work well in the film, please post on our Face­book page at and write “Shad­ow Idea” in the com­ments sec­tion (and don’t for­get to LIKE us while you’re at it)!


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April 21, 2013 — Looking Forward; Looking Back


Editor Shirley Thompson takes notes on Li Ling-Ai Interview -- Yes, Shirley is a Rangers fanatico

Edi­tor Shirley Thomp­son takes notes on Li Ling-Ai Inter­view — Yes, Shirley is a Rangers fanatic


We are Editing!!

Three fourths of the way through pro­duc­tion with over 4TB worth of raw footage and an amaz­ing sto­ry that con­tin­ues to unfold in the present as well as the past, I real­ly need­ed help to put some reins on this film. Good thing I had Shirley Thomp­son (edi­tor of the online fundrais­ing teas­er) sched­uled for four weeks of pre­lim­i­nary edit­ing (fund­ed in part by all the gen­er­ous con­tri­bu­tions of our Kick­starter back­ers and Indi­go par­ty atten­dees). 

In four weeks here are the major things I learned:

1)    We have an INCREDIBLE three act sto­ry that reads like a major Hol­ly­wood movie script!!!

2)    We still have a long way to go and lots of fundrais­ing to do to give you a final film that can do jus­tice to this incred­i­ble story.

3)    So many of the things I’ve learned and expe­ri­ences I’ve had and great peo­ple I’ve met will not make it into the final film.

4)    It’s all part of the process

As a response to #3, and inspired by the recent blog posts of fel­low Asian Actress/Actor his­to­ry detec­tive Duri­an Dave, I have made a pledge to blog about my FINDING KUKAN encoun­ters and adven­tures as often as I can in the next few months.  It may only be to assist my aging mem­o­ry cells, but if you’re inter­est­ed in shar­ing a lit­tle of the jour­ney I’ve been on, please drop a line or a com­ment to let me know you’re out there.  And stay tuned for more about #1, 2 and 4 in future posts.  There are plen­ty of sur­pris­es in store.


Over 4TB of FINDING KUKAN footage is being cloned on these two drives -- named "Derek Holland" and "Yu Darvish"

Over 4TB of FINDING KUKAN footage is being cloned on these two dri­ves — named “Derek Hol­land” and “Yu Darvish”


The real Derek Holland takes the mound for his first game of the season.  The editing process, like the baseball season, is a long one.

The real Derek Hol­land takes the mound for his first game of the sea­son. The edit­ing process, like the base­ball sea­son, is a long one.


Shirley Thompson announces the editing room chocolate of the day.

Shirley Thomp­son announces the edit­ing room choco­late of the day.


All those post-its represent FINDING KUKAN sound bites

All those post-its rep­re­sent FINDING KUKAN sound bites


Act One of FINDING KUKAN begins to take shape.

Act One of FINDING KUKAN begins to take shape.

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October 3, 2011 — Crafting Story with Editor Shirley Thompson

Robin Lung & Shirley Thompson view FINDING KUKAN footage

Robin Lung & Shirley Thomp­son view FINDING KUKAN footage

When I first met Shirley Thomp­son back in June, I was already a fan of her work and instinc­tive­ly knew that she would be a great long-for­mat edi­tor for my project. So I was thrilled when, at our next meet­ing, she voiced enthu­si­asm for FINDING KUKAN and agreed to edit the project once it got to the post pro­duc­tion stage (assum­ing that sched­ules, financ­ing, and all the oth­er vari­ables of doc­u­men­tary pro­duc­tion work out). 

Shirley Thompson edits FINDING KUKAN footage

Shirley Thomp­son edits FINDING KUKAN footage

When I need­ed an addi­tion­al few min­utes of footage cut for a grant appli­ca­tion, I was very thank­ful that Shirley was avail­able for a few days to help me out.  I’m hap­py to say that my instincts were cor­rect.  Not only was Shirley a joy to work with — pro­vid­ing a beau­ti­ful, airy work­space; 2 cats to pet; and incred­i­ble choco­late snacks — she helped  me sort through the small mass of footage I’ve col­lect­ed so far and turn it into man­age­able chunks of sto­ry that added up to some­thing real­ly exciting. 

Shirley Thompson's post-it storyboard for an excerpt from FINDING KUKAN

Shirley cre­ates beau­ti­ful post-it sto­ry­boards to help struc­ture the edit session.

The result was that I was much clear­er in my head about the kind of sto­ry I want­ed to tell with FINDING KUKAN. And I was more con­fi­dent about what I need­ed to film next to fol­low that story.

Shirley real­ly is a sto­ry doc­tor. And I’m more moti­vat­ed than ever to com­plete pro­duc­tion and get back to the edit­ing room with her. It’s an exhil­i­rat­ing experience.