JO CHIANG
Actor, Writer, Activist, Geek

October 11, 2014

Responsibility to Represent | The Pantheon Project 

by Cassidy Mayfield

This week’s highlight is The Pantheon Project, a YouTube miniseries written by Jo Chiang, a Taiwanese-American writer, actor, and filmmaker working out of New York.  The Pantheon Projectis a six-episode miniseries about a girl who moves to the big city and discovers that her two roommates are actually Pele and Guan Yin, Pacific Islander and East Asian deities.  Naturally, hijinks ensue.  Jo is a co-founder of Puddle Jumping Productions.  You can follow Jo at her professional tumblr, jochiang, or her personal, thatcupofjo

What inspired you to do the Pantheon Project?

I was looking for a way to combine three of my preoccupations: representation, the manipulation of narrative conventions, and urban fantasy. I’ve been fascinated by the storytelling capabilities of the vlog form for a long time, andThe Lizzie Bennet Diariesproved that it could be done and done well. I wanted to play with that format, but at the same time, I wanted to commit to highlighting identities and histories that often get shunted to the side or ignored altogether. I’m also deeply fascinated by urban fantasy and the way our lives can be intertwined with the fantastical, so the Pantheon Project is the result of my first attempt at wrapping all three of those things together.

Your main divinities, Pele and Guan Yin, are from pantheons not commonly known to American viewers. Why did you choose those goddesses instead of more mainstream ones?

For one, I wanted to make sure that there was no excuse not to cast People of Color in this web series. In addition, by specifically choosing to highlight Pacific Islander and East Asian goddesses in the first few episodes, I hoped to challenge what pantheons we automatically think about when we talk about gods. Also, Guan Yin means a lot to me, personally. As a Buddhist figure, she’s an important tie that keeps me connected to my cultural heritage, and I wanted to introduce her to the world.

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September 28, 2014

Directed by

Amrita Singh

Written by

Jo Chiang

Featuring:

Mastermind - Rebecca Clark

Grifter - Korinne Winter

Hacker - Sergio Saenz

Hitter - Keanu Ross-Cabrera

Thief - Jo Chiang

September 25, 2014

Casting a Light | The Eye 

 AJ Stoughton

Diversity in theater is not about punishing or excluding white artists, but about making the arts a more open and equitable space on campus, one in which everyone is as comfortable with their place as so many white artists are now.

The problem, to many, also seems to be one of privilege. As Chiang says, a lot of difficulty arises from how some react to discussions of race—namely that many take systemic critiques as personal attacks. “Nobody is claiming that the actors in the all-white ensemble are not talented or that they don’t deserve to be there. All that’s being asked is that people question their biases in order to understand how they contribute to creating an environment where that kind of exclusion happens,” Chiang says. “What these white artists need to understand is that diversity is not a zero-sum game. With so much privilege and power afforded to them already, they can get by very comfortably with a little less.”

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September 20, 2014

NEXUS: a Leverage tribute | Official Trailer

sometimes bad guys are the only good guys you get

August 19, 2014

Produced by Nora Mueller
Directed by Amrita Singh
Written by Jo Chiang
Featuring:
Rebecca Clark
Korinne Winter
Sergio Saenz
Keanu Ross-Cabrera
Jo Chiang

Produced by Nora Mueller

Directed by Amrita Singh

Written by Jo Chiang

Featuring:

Rebecca Clark

Korinne Winter

Sergio Saenz

Keanu Ross-Cabrera

Jo Chiang

July 11, 2014

Directed by

David Rock

Written by

Jo Chiang

Anfal Boussayoud

Featuring:

Ash - Brooke Ishibashi

Persephone - Carolyn Kegel

Hades - Kyle Johnson

July 11, 2014

Directed by

Whit K. Lee

Written by

Jo Chiang

Anfal Boussayoud

Featuring:

Ash - Brooke Ishibashi

Loki - Keanu Ross-Cabrera

June 30, 2014

Directed by

David Rock

Written by

Jo Chiang

Featuring:

Ash - Brooke Ishibashi

Guan Yin - Danielle Ma

June 24, 2014

Directed by

David Rock

Written by

Jo Chiang

Featuring:

Ash - Brooke Ishibashi

Shopona - Thomas Wynn

June 13, 2014

Directed by

David Rock

Story by

Jo Chiang

Featuring:

Ash - Brooke Ishibashi

Pele - Nina Sabado

Guan Yin - Danielle Ma