Blog

Guy Code Episode #54 Live Advice with Filmmaker Kerwin Berk

Host Koji Steven Sakai talks to filmmaker Kerwin Berk. Kerwin’s advice to Koji’s son included (but was not limited to) investing, learning how to survive in a post-apocalyptic, and more. They also got into a discussion about the model minority myth and the universal basic life income (go Andrew Yang!). This was probably one of the most wide-ranging conversations on the podcast! Enjoy!

Guest

Kerwin is a Sansei filmmaker who was born and raised in San Francisco’s Japantown. He is an award-winning journalist who worked at newspapers and wire services in Asia and the United States for more than 20 years. His last stop was at his hometown newspaper – The Chronicle. Today, he is a freelance writer and independent filmmaker who still calls The City his home. He has written, produced and directed award-winning films and web series such as “The Virtues of Corned Beef Hash,” “Infinity & Chashu Ramen” and “Gold Mountain.”

You can check out his films at https://ikeibifilms.com/

You can watch the whole episode here:

Find Us Online

Website: https://guycodepod.buzzsprout.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GuyCodePod

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/guycodpod/

About Us

Koji wanted to impart all of his “wisdom” to his son. But of course, his son already thinks he knows more than me. So instead of trying to tell him now and having it go in one ear and out the other, he decided to record them here with the hopes that maybe… just maybe… when he’s ready he’ll listen to his advice in the future and not make the same stupid mistakes he did. He’ll also bring on guests to impart their advice as well.  Koji has no doubt their advice will be better than his.

Download and subscribe to the podcast at your favorite podcasting host: Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, Tune In RadioiHeart RadioStitcher, Podcast Addict, and most recently Amazon Music.

Best or Worst Pod Episode #93 Getting to Know Filmmaker Tamara Ruppart

This week hosts Koji Steven Sakai and M. Martin Mapoma brought on filmmaker Tamara Ruppart. In this first episode of the week, we got to know Tamara and found out about her first film, her time teaching in Japan, and most importantly we learned all about Japanese “Love” Motels.

Guest 

Tamara Ruppart has worked as a director, producer and actor in both theater and film. Film/TV directing credits include the documentary Rising Soul, the Japanese-language film short Path of Dreams, and Season 1 of The Kool School (web series for youth education).  Path of Dreams won numerous awards including Best Short and the Award of Excellence at the Winter Film Awards, Best Short Film at Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival, and the Director’s Choice Award at the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival. She is in development with two feature films, and, in 2021, will be mounting the Los Angeles production of Broken Story for New York City’s White Horse Theater Company.  Ms. Ruppart studied Digital Filmmaking at New York Film Academy in Los Angeles; and received a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from The New School for Drama and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Davidson College, North Carolina.

You can follow her at https://www.instagram.com/tamararuppart/

You can watch the whole episode here:

Find Us Online 

– Website: http://www.bestorworstpod.com/ 

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BestWorstDayOfYourLIfePodcast/ 

– Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheBestOrWorst1 

– Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bestorworstdaypod/ 

About Us 

Our society is so focused on celebrity, we sometimes forget that “regular” people lead interesting lives too! Best or worst moment of your life? Hosts Koji Steven Sakai and M. Martin Mapoma are here to let your story out. We put people on the spot. What are you going to hear? It could be funny, it could be poignant, it could be sad… you’ll know when we know.

Best or Worst is a twice-weekly podcast. On Tuesdays, we get to know our guests and on Thursdays, we find out their best or worst moment.

Download and subscribe to the podcast at your favorite podcasting host: iTunesGoogle PodcastsStitcherSpotifyTuneiniHeart RadioPodcast AddictPodchaserDeezer, Listen Notes,  and most recently Amazon Music.

My Udemy Class Ranked in the Top 2%

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Super excited to announce that my online screenwriting class has gotten such great reviews!

Have you ever wanted to write your own movie or wondered what it takes to write one? In this educational and FUN four hour-ish workshop, I’ll teach you the basics of movie screenplays, how to properly structure and format them, how to begin to write your own stories, and an honest insiders take on the movie business from a working screenwriter and producer with almost twenty years of experience.

You’ll walk away not only with the tools to begin to write movies, but you’ll leave with the beginnings of your own story. This is a great introduction for those interested in a possible career in film but also for those who love movies and want a one-of-kind experience.

CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED ON YOUR COURSE TODAY! 

Episode #92 Best or Worst Day with Musician Ed Donnelly

This week hosts Koji Steven Sakai and M. Martin Mapoma brought on musician Ed Donnelly. In this second episode, we put him on the spot and asked him about the best OR worst day of his life. His answer involved the best and the worst moment of his life. We don’t want to spoil it for you, but let’s just say that it involves Willie Nelson and a joint.

Guest

Ed Donnelly is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer, record producer and activist from South Pasadena, CA.   He has worked with Matchbox Twenty, The Cult, Gladys Knight, Willie Nelson, Smashing Pumpkins, Del McCoury, OK Go, Exodus, Tom Morello, O.A.R., Madness, The Crystal Method, Deadmau5, Zac Brown, Crowded House, Marc Cohn, CrysP Tyger, Bighead Todd and the Monsters, Jake Shimabukuro, Barenaked Ladies, Tsar, Killola and more. Donnelly regularly performs with Little Silver Hearts and records with GhostsDream.  Little known fact: He previously held Top Secret Security Clearance with the Department of State and Q Clearance from the Department of Energy.

He currently runs The Barber’s Basement Recording Studio in Highland Park.

You can follow Ed at https://www.facebook.com/edward.donnelly3 or check out his company at http://www.barbersbasement.com/

You can watch the whole episode here:

Find Us Online 

– Website: http://www.bestorworstpod.com/ 

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BestWorstDayOfYourLIfePodcast/ 

– Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheBestOrWorst1 

– Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bestorworstdaypod/ 

About Us 

Our society is so focused on celebrity, we sometimes forget that “regular” people lead interesting lives too! Best or worst moment of your life? Hosts Koji Steven Sakai and M. Martin Mapoma are here to let your story out. We put people on the spot. What are you going to hear? It could be funny, it could be poignant, it could be sad… you’ll know when we know.

Best or Worst is a twice-weekly podcast. On Tuesdays, we get to know our guests and on Thursdays, we find out their best or worst moment.

Download and subscribe to the podcast at your favorite podcasting host: iTunesGoogle PodcastsStitcherSpotifyTuneiniHeart RadioPodcast AddictPodchaserDeezer, Listen Notes,  and most recently Amazon Music.

Guy Code Episode #53 Life Advice with Professor Oliver Wang

Host Koji Steven Sakai talks to professor, writer, curator, DJ, and father Oliver Wang. Oliver came on the show via Zoom and gave Koji’s son some great life advice—such as being intellectually curious, the importance of travel, and more! Check out the episode and be sure to subscribe!  

Guest

Oliver Wang is a professor of sociology at CSU-Long Beach. He is the creator of the audioblog, Soul-Sides.com, author of Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews of the San Francisco Bay Area and editor and co-writer of Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide. He contributes on arts, music and culture to NPR, KCET’s Artbound, KPCC’s Take Two and other outlets.

Check out what he’s up to at https://soul-sides.com/

You can watch the whole episode here:

Find Us Online

Website: https://guycodepod.buzzsprout.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GuyCodePod

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/guycodpod/

About Us

Koji wanted to impart all of his “wisdom” to his son. But of course, his son already thinks he knows more than me. So instead of trying to tell him now and having it go in one ear and out the other, he decided to record them here with the hopes that maybe… just maybe… when he’s ready he’ll listen to his advice in the future and not make the same stupid mistakes he did. He’ll also bring on guests to impart their advice as well.  Koji has no doubt their advice will be better than his.

Download and subscribe to the podcast at your favorite podcasting host: Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, Tune In RadioiHeart RadioStitcher, Podcast Addict, and most recently Amazon Music.

Best or Worst Podcast Episode #91 Getting to know Musician Ed Donnelly

This week hosts Koji Steven Sakai and M. Martin Mapoma brought on musician Ed Donnelly. In this first episode of the week, we got to know Ed and found out about his musical origin story, his musical career, and more!

Guest 

Ed Donnelly is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer, record producer and activist from South Pasadena, CA.   He has worked with Matchbox Twenty, The Cult, Gladys Knight, Willie Nelson, Smashing Pumpkins, Del McCoury, OK Go, Exodus, Tom Morello, O.A.R., Madness, The Crystal Method, Deadmau5, Zac Brown, Crowded House, Marc Cohn, CrysP Tyger, Bighead Todd and the Monsters, Jake Shimabukuro, Barenaked Ladies, Tsar, Killola and more. Donnelly regularly performs with Little Silver Hearts and records with GhostsDream.  Little known fact: He previously held Top Secret Security Clearance with the Department of State and Q Clearance from the Department of Energy.

He currently runs The Barber’s Basement Recording Studio in Highland Park.

You can follow Ed at https://www.facebook.com/edward.donnelly3 or check out his company at http://www.barbersbasement.com/

You can watch the whole episode here:

Find Us Online 

– Website: http://www.bestorworstpod.com/ 

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BestWorstDayOfYourLIfePodcast/ 

– Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheBestOrWorst1 

– Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bestorworstdaypod/ 

About Us 

Our society is so focused on celebrity, we sometimes forget that “regular” people lead interesting lives too! Best or worst moment of your life? Hosts Koji Steven Sakai and M. Martin Mapoma are here to let your story out. We put people on the spot. What are you going to hear? It could be funny, it could be poignant, it could be sad… you’ll know when we know.

Best or Worst is a twice-weekly podcast. On Tuesdays, we get to know our guests and on Thursdays, we find out their best or worst moment.

Download and subscribe to the podcast at your favorite podcasting host: iTunesGoogle PodcastsStitcherSpotifyTuneiniHeart RadioPodcast AddictPodchaserDeezer, Listen Notes,  and most recently Amazon Music.

Guy Code Episode #52 Life Advice with Filmmaker & Educator Michael Sloman

Host Koji Steven Sakai talks to filmmaker and educator Michael Sloman. Michael gave Koji’s son five great pieces of life advice that included such diverse topics as not saying “should,” putting family first, and how to treat others.

Guest

Michael Sloman lives in Upstate New York with his family. He is a filmmaker and educator. Keep up with his latest work at the Facebook page for his latest film, Our Harlem, https://www.facebook.com/ourharlemfilm.   

You can watch the whole episode here:

Find Us Online

Website: https://guycodepod.buzzsprout.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GuyCodePod

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/guycodpod/

About Us

Koji wanted to impart all of his “wisdom” to his son. But of course, his son already thinks he knows more than me. So instead of trying to tell him now and having it go in one ear and out the other, he decided to record them here with the hopes that maybe… just maybe… when he’s ready he’ll listen to his advice in the future and not make the same stupid mistakes he did. He’ll also bring on guests to impart their advice as well.  Koji has no doubt their advice will be better than his.

New (and improved) Madame Butterfly Reading @ USC

Friday, February 19 @ 7 pm via zoom (Link at the bottom)

Producer and screenwriter Koji Steven Sakai and Ko Mori of Japan-US film and distribution company Eleven Arts are poised to develop a film based on the Madame Butterfly myth. A new play, “Madame Butterfly,” by internationally acclaimed writer Velina Hasu Houston, revisits the “Cho-cho-san” myth made famous in Puccini’s 1904 opera, “Madama Butterfly.” Excavating the Japanese female condition from the lower depths of such myths, Houston returns to the 1898 short story by John Luther Long for inspiration, in which the legendary, unnamed “Cho-cho-san” neither commits suicide nor relinquishes her son to the West. The event presents an online reading of an excerpt from the play performed by professional actors, directed by award-winning stage and film director Tamara Ruppart, and produced by Sakai, Vice President of Programs, Japanese American National Museum. The producers, director, writer, and cast will hold a post-play discussion and question-and-answer session.  

Supporting organizations: The Japanese American National Museum, Eleven Arts, True Heart Films, and the USC School of Dramatic Arts. 

Panelist Bios
Writer/Producer Koji Steven Sakai has written five feature films that have been produced, including the independent film success, The People I’ve Slept With. He also produced three feature films; a one-hour comedy special on Starz, Comedy InvAsian, a television series featuring the nation’s top Asian American comedians; and Brash Girls Club, a limited comedy series, which premiered on Tubi TV.  He is currently a screenwriting instructor at UCLA Extensions, University of California at Los Angeles; New York Film Academy in Burbank, California, and Chapman University.

Tamara Ruppart has worked as a director, producer and actor in both theater and film. Film/TV directing credits include the documentary Rising Soul, the Japanese-language film short Path of Dreams, and Season 1 of The Kool School (web series for youth education).  Path of Dreams won numerous awards including Best Short and the Award of Excellence at the Winter Film Awards, Best Short Film at Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival, and the Director’s Choice Award at the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival. She is in development with two feature films, and, in 2021, will be mounting the Los Angeles production of Broken Story for New York City’s White Horse Theater Company.  Ms. Ruppart studied Digital Filmmaking at New York Film Academy in Los Angeles; and received a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from The New School for Drama and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Davidson College, North Carolina.

Film producer and distributor Ko Mori originally is from Japan and now resides in Los Angeles.  Mr. Mori is president and CEO of Eleven Arts, which produces films in the US and globally, and distributes Japanese films to the US market.  Previously, he has produced Lords of Chaos, Man from Reno, Uzumasa Limelight, and other film and television programs.  Currently, he is in post-production with Prisoners of the Ghostland, a feature film starring Nicolas Cage; and Gift of Fire, a Sundance Film Festival award-winning film about World War II scientists produced in partnership with NHK Japan.

Moderator’s Bio
Velina Hasu Houston is an internationally celebrated writer with 28 literary commissions.  In New York, US nationwide, and globally, her plays and opera are produced at notable institutions such as Manhattan Theatre Club, Old Globe Theatre, and Los Angeles Opera; and she writes film-television work-for-hire.  Honored by the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, Japan Foundation, and others, she founded and directs graduate playwriting at the USC School of Dramatic Arts, where she is Distinguished Professor; she also is faculty with the USC Jimmy Iovine & Andre Young Academy.  A Fulbright Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa, she served on the State Department’s Japan-US Friendship Commission for six years. Her main archives are with the Library of Congress and Huntington Library.  She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild of America-West, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, and League of Professional Theatre Women. Her blog, matchabook, focuses primarily on BIPOC and female theatre-makers.

Zoom LInk:

https://usc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3vMK3bk6Sl-7JVfyHWFa1A

Episode #90 Best or Worst Day with Writer & Entrepreneur Soneka Kamuhuza

This week hosts Koji Steven Sakai and M. Martin Mapoma brought writer, educator, and entrepreneur Soneka Kamuhuza. In this second episode, we put him on the spot and asked him about the best OR worst day of his life. His answer involved finding out what REALLY happened when his friends died. This story is CRAZY. You have to hear it

Guest

Soneka holds two decades worth of experience in the for-profit, post-secondary school arena. Whether training up impactful teachers and navigating team dynamics or managing the classroom and intentionally engaging students for completion success, his contributions have earned him numerous retention awards and Director of the Year recognitions. Through volunteerism and programmatic work with area non-profit entities he has brought his passion to community advocacy. Over the years he has continued to be a youth leader & mentor, building programs, and writing and delivering workshop content. He serves as a conference speaker, facilitator, and serial entrepreneur.

Soneka is a graduate of Boston University & Newbury College. A recipient of the Scholar-Athlete Award for his participation in soccer and basketball. He went on to become a championship-winning Soccer Coach (Southern New England Athletic Conference 1994) with Newbury College.

One of his current pursuits finds him focused on improving the mental, physical, and spiritual wholeness of men via his non-profit organization, Institute for Wholehearted Men (www.wholemen.org). He is currently developing an electronic Learning Management Platform which will provide content for vocational/technical schools and non-profits called 3SIXty (www.3SIXtyEd.com).

When not engaged with family, he DJ’s https://www.facebook.com/DJKakesi), is an avid reader, a published poet (A Poet Becalmed) with a new poetry book coming out in February 2021.   

You can watch the whole episode here:

Find Us Online 

– Website: http://www.bestorworstpod.com/ 

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BestWorstDayOfYourLIfePodcast/ 

– Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheBestOrWorst1 

– Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bestorworstdaypod/ 

About Us 

Our society is so focused on celebrity, we sometimes forget that “regular” people lead interesting lives too! Best or worst moment of your life? Hosts Koji Steven Sakai and M. Martin Mapoma are here to let your story out. We put people on the spot. What are you going to hear? It could be funny, it could be poignant, it could be sad… you’ll know when we know.

Best or Worst is a twice-weekly podcast. On Tuesdays, we get to know our guests and on Thursdays, we find out their best or worst moment.

Download and subscribe to the podcast at your favorite podcasting host: iTunesGoogle PodcastsStitcherSpotifyTuneiniHeart RadioPodcast AddictPodchaserDeezer, Listen Notes,  and most recently Amazon Music.