We had the good fortune of connecting with Josiah Yu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josiah, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
I want people to remember me as just a normal guy who made something extraordinary out of the ordinary. Not to impress, but to be the example so that others may believe in themselves and their abilities as well.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
It’s always been hard for me to explain and elaborate on my filmmaking style, but if I were to put it simply, it would be like combining the story complexity of Christopher Nolan, with the visual beauty of Hayao Miyazaki and Makoto Shinkai. Perhaps what sets me apart is simply what sets everyone else apart; a unique vision. I wouldn’t say that my vision is astounding or out of this world, but it’s mine and I believe that’s what makes it exciting. That ability to create an inspiring story from nothing is what drives me forward. Like many fellow creatives, film has become my canvas where I share my views, experiences, and outlook on life itself. In terms of what I’m most proud of, it’s honestly not any project I’ve completed so far, but the memories and friendships I’ve created with those I can call family. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s truly about the journey, not the destination. All that being said, my journey as a director up til now definitely hasn’t been easy. When it comes to creative journeys, we’ve all heard of exterior obstacles such as rejections, missed opportunities, etc. But for me personally, most of the hard work came from being real with myself and my own flaws as an individual. Thank God I have no shortage of ideas, but my expectations have always been unrealistically high for both myself and the team. This has translated into many failed projects and endeavors, most of which were due to my stubborn view that to push out a project, it had to be completely flawless. Even to this day it’s something that I struggle with, but that’s the beauty of it all. I haven’t overcome these challenges, but facing them together with my team has been a blessing in disguise. It’s taken a combined team effort to remind me that the hardest battles are often the ones within you, but you don’t need to face them alone. I’d like the world to know that it’s ok to be perfectionist and to fail miserably. In fact, it’s best to fail sooner than later, so that you’ll learn from the mistakes you make now. Make mistakes, but more importantly grow from them, and surround yourself with people who support you, challenge you, and encourage you to be better. What I’m trying to push for with my team at DO Yu Productions, isn’t just creating spectacular films for people to see. We wish to leave the message that everyone has amazing creative potential, just waiting to be unleashed. And to unleash that potential, to create meaningful projects, means to accept yourself as you are, flaws and all. In essence, to “do you” from a place of creative authenticity, without holding anything back.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m honestly not the best tour guide, but if it were up to me, I’d take them around the beaches of Malibu, the Santa Monica Pier, and the Glendale Galleria. Depending on their tastes/interests, I’d also take them to museums and exhibits (COVID permitting), such as LACMA, The Broad, The Getty Center, and the Huntington Gardens. As for food and drinks, it would really depend on their preferences. Thankfully, LA has an incredibly diverse foodscape, so it won’t be hard to find great spots all around. As a filmmaker, most of my inspiration is drawn from multiple elements of daily life such as the people around me, the architecture of the city, but more often the scenery around me. Due to this, I’d probably also throw in sunset viewing from the Griffith Observatory, as well as my own go-to lookout spot in Alhambra, where I normally come up with new project ideas. I tend to enjoy long, thoughtful walks and moments of sentiment, so hopefully these suggestions don’t bore them lol.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First off, I’d like to thank my late mother who supported and cheered me on all the way. I’d also like to thank my family and whole team at Do Yu Productions. Elbert Tran, Kelly Mai, Lydia Tsou, Vivian Tse, Wellington Lin, Sanji DeSilva, Francine Can, Anthony Chang, Andres Yang, Alex Suarez, Danny Yang, Leon Sheen, Yuwi Kim, Jeff Han and many others. I’d also like to thank fellow film peers and positive influences in my life such as Daniel Joo, Ryan Hoang, Wendy Wang, Anthonie Johnston, Mandy Huang, Brandon Eng, Michelangelo Nguyen, Michael Tukes, Elijah Perkins and Kaine Hel. There are so many more people I wish I could thank, but don’t want to put an essay here 😉 I wouldn’t have made it here without everyone around me.
Makito Umekita, Angel Lynne, Vincent Luu