Behind the scenes with Jason Poon

BY: ALISA WONG

Hoping to inspire people to be curious about life, Cal State Long Beach alumni Jason Poon aspires to be a film director. In his passions, Poon has indulged himself in a postgraduate life full of fun, difficulties, skill-building, and growth. Poon, who is originally from Sacramento, enrolled for CSULB in fall 2005 as a transfer. He graduated in film and electronic arts in winter 2008 and has lived in southern California since. Poon has worked on more than 50 music videos, productions, and YouTube projects for artists such as Far East Movement, Cali Swag District, KevJumba, and the Fung Brothers. For the past three years, Poon has been working as a freelance filmmaker, learning and honing traditional filmmaking skills.

Poon started making home movies with a friend who had a videocassette recorder. By the end of his high school years, his family got a digital camcorder and Poon started shooting and editing his own videos.

After graduation, Poon traveled and worked a bundle of odd jobs. He taught kids the guitar and piano; and shot photos and video for friends, different companies and weddings.

Poon has filmed many celebrities including Snoop Dogg, Kid Cudi, E40, DJ Quirk, Marques Houston, and Twista. He also filmed for big-name brands like NBA, Red Bull, and Adidas.

Poon’s long-term goal is to direct movies. His current short-term plan and goal is to continue making short films and submit them to film festivals.

Andrew and David Fung, also known as the Fung Brothers—an Asian American comedic duo based in Monterey Park—have worked with Poon in directing their hit YouTube music videos and productions such as “626”, “Bobalife”, and “Asians Eat Weird Things” within the past two years.

“Most of our big hit videos have been with Jason,” the Fungs said. “ It's been two-fold—I feel like he's played such a big role in defining our careers and I know it's been good for him as well so it's been a mutually beneficial relationship business-wise and beyond that, we've become really good friends with Jason.”

One of his eye-opening experiences was being a camera operator for the first feature film he ever worked on, “Man-Up!” with KevJumba and Justin Chon.

“The set was filled with people who had tons of different experiences,” Poon said. “Even though they were so experienced they were also very humble and gracious.”

In spite of his many experiences, the pursuit of Poon’s career taught him to surround himself with “like-minded artists and filmmakers to provide a positive support system.”

“Learn to listen and learn to ignore,” Poon explained. “There are many opinions on ‘what you should do’ in this industry…. Sometimes you need to be humble enough to hear something you don't want to hear so that you can learn; sometimes you need to ignore so you can move forward.”

Poon is currently working as a second camera assistant on a low-budget indie film, “Memoria”—one of three feature films based on actor James Franco’s collection of stories from his book “Palo Alto.”