Recently, I was talking to John Lim, host of the Moving Forward podcast. He had me on his show where we discussed how to get out of the 9-5 and take charge of your life.
After we wrapped up, we were commenting on the odd yet undeniably engaging videos produced by JT Tran, an Asian dating coach who is creating content that is gaining a sizable and loyal following.
This sparked up a conversation about how Asians have been shoved out of the limelight in Hollywood.
There's no doubt you've seen it. The controversy surrounding Scarlett Johannson's casting as Major Kusanagi in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell to Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Marvel's Dr. Strange.
And who can forget that little episode at this year's Oscars, where three little Asian children in tuxes, holding briefcases, were jokingly portrayed as accountants.
Sure there's Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead and John Cho helming the Starship Enterprise, but it's becoming quite evident that many of today's plum roles aren't being cast by Asians.
Sure, you may not work in film. Neither do I. Regardless of your ethnicity, you are directly impacted by how Asians are portrayed on screen.
The controversy behind Scarlett Johannson's casting was so bad that screenwriter Max Landis went onYouTube to defend his decision, then explained how the industry works.
As easy as it is to cry foul play, the bigger issue is turning the ship in the right direction. But the bigger the ship is, as the case with the movie industry, the harder it is to turn.
Redirecting the ship
The good news is that we live in an age where self-media expression and empowerment is at an all time high. People across the world are using various platforms online to create powerful media presences with influential branding.
While Hollywood may lag behind, viral videos are slowly changing the narrative and perceptions of Asians and Asian-Americans.
I used self-media expression to create my brand, where I have generated over 10 million reads on my content. But another example is John Lim. Coincidentally, John worked for a brief time as an actor, both in the DC and Los Angeles areas. His most notable role was when he was cast as a young Lt. Cmdr. Sulu, opposite the legendary George Takei, in an independent production called Star Trek: World Enough and Time that was streamed online.
The endorsement by George Takei to play the role of Sulu inTrek Today and IGN helped him get an audition for the big budget Hollywood reboot. While the part ultimately went to John Cho, this was John's first taste of what media self-empowerment can do. It was a big 'who me?' moment for him.
Finding your voice
Fast forward a few years, John was at the gym at his ex-girlfriend's apartment. He couldn't get his NPR app to stream, so he started looking for something else to listen to. He wasn't in the mood for music, so he swiped past Spotify and Pandora and came across that little icon that looks like a stick figure surrounded by ellipses. When he opened it, he found incredible free content on every topic imaginable.
As John started listening to individuals like Robert Kiyosaki, John Lee Dumas and Pat Flynn, one thought kept occurring to him: I think I can do this.
So he did what anyone in the age of Google does, he dug as deeply as I could into the world of DIY podcasting and launched Moving Forward in March, 2015.
Since then it's been an amazing adventure with lots of 'who me?' moments, which are the best kind to have.
Here are John's top three 3 reasons why you need to broadcast your voice:
1. Be the decision maker
As a former actor, John was at the mercy of casting directors and what they saw as role appropriate. With the exception of Star Trek, most of his auditions were for the quintessential Asian parts: doctor, lawyer, scientist. But as a podcaster, you get to be the producer, writer, on-air talent and editor. Whether you're a would-be journalist, talk show host, self-help guru, comedian or the next big voiceover artist, podcasting provides you access to a budget-friendly forum and an audience. You are in charge of your own media narrative and you create the brand.
2. Establish authority
With iTunes, Stitcher Radio and now Google Play, your podcast can quickly earn credibility and reach thousands, worldwide. When John first launched Moving Forward, he wanted to learn as much as he could from successful entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, with the hope that he could inspire listeners to do more than simply sit in an office cubicle.
At the time, John's ultimate dream guest was John Lee Dumas, host of the popular, Entrepreneur on Fire. Here was someone who had launched a daily podcast and leveraged it into a 7-figure business. Flash forward to February, 2016, episode 50.5, John Lee Dumas is sharing his insights with the Moving Forward audience and telling John he has the "perfect podcasting-slash-radio voice." That was a big 'who, me?' moment for him. Since then, John has had many more who, me? moments, speaking with some of today's most inspiring individuals and thought leaders.
3. Forge great relationships
Having a guest on your podcast is more than simply a chance to speak to someone you admire. It's an opportunity to cultivate relationships. John wouldn't be collaborating with me on this piece if he had not connected with me and invited me to be a guest on Moving Forward.
Although many look at podcasting with dreams of monetization and sponsorship dollars, relationship capital is the biggest and most valuable asset you will earn from producing a podcast. Creating great content and sharing it can open doors you never imagined. Most importantly, you are forging a relationship with your listeners. These are the people who you may never hear from but are learning and getting inspired by what you're putting out there.
Have you thought of creating a channel to have a voice for yourself? Now's the chance. Get started and check back in with me with the results of your labor. I'm looking forward to hearing about your continued success.