Today we’d like to introduce you to Toy Lei.
Toy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was an actor in New York City, I love New York. It’s my hometown, but it’s a theatre town, and the camera is my medium of choice. I also prefer movement/visual-driven content, but at the time Law & Order and Woody Allen ruled the roost in the Big Apple. I realized that if I wanted to participate in those types of shows, I would have to move to where they were being made – Los Angeles.
When I got here I spent the first six years playing inconsequential manicurists and tiger moms. I was dieing a sloth-slow death. I never fancied myself a director, much less a writer. I never had dreams of it, never understood what all the fuss was about. But I was tired of waiting for the perspective of the story to change. I knew I had to be the change. You see, I put a ban out to my agent on all manicurist and mom roles, but really, I would have been thrilled to have been cast as the serial killer manicurist or the assassin Asian-American mom.
And wouldn’t you know it, I ironically wrote and directed myself as an assassin Asian-American mom in my award-winning short BOXER (@boxershortfilm). I have been fortunate enough to have BOXER receive enough attention that fans are asking for a feature version where I will continue to play the mom. And there ya go…
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No one ever believed that their life has been a smooth road. Smooth roads are a perception of man-rules, i.e. rules that humans latch into place without letting the infiniteness of the universe do its magic. Man-rules rigidly say: “Do x then do y then do z and you will get a pot of gold and do not stray or you will get something else”
Well maybe that stray will get you your soulmate. Would you be willing to get that something else then? And who says if you get your soulmate you can’t also get your pot of gold? Who says its either/or and not and?
So really what it comes down to is perception. People’s lives do not walk in a straight line. Hopefully we stop to smell the roses even on those days sometimes we find ourselves crying. Any event that happens to us whether we find them to be joyous and grievous are all what shapes us and gets us to take the next step. The step is inevitable. How we choose to take that step, either joyously or in sadness – is our choice.
Having said that, for every “yes” I’ve heard, I’ve heard a million “no’s. And believe me, I was hardly ever joyous on those days. I’ve heard – “You’re too Chinese. You’re not Chinese enough. You’re too old. You’re too young. You’re too short. You’re too fat. You’re not big enough.” Basically, “you’re not enough”. And then one day, someone with some vision sees that you are. And when those days came – I made sure I was ready.
Toy, LLC/human entertainment – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are an entertainment company. We will produce media content for any platform. I have a technology background, so I have touched many platforms from traditional film to new media to website-driven open-source media technologies. Therefore, we can cater our content to accommodate budget sizes and technology needs. But what really sets us apart is our content. We like to do action/movement-driven content. Those are the most fun for us. And we like fun.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
If I can eat good healthy food, get to the gym to train, play with my dog, have love in my life and create something that makes me laugh – that would be a successful day. Of course, getting all the monkey business done, such as paying the rent, getting groceries, doing laundry etc., contributes to the above, but aren’t quite as fun.
- Instagram: playwithtoy
- Facebook: toylei
- Twitter: playwithtoy
- Other: youtube.com/playwithtoy