Biomusicology

Shannon, a talented yet shy singer learns to stop hiding behind her camera and join her friends in their musical confidence during an impromptu road trip. Biomusicology is a fictional film with true stories starring the people it is based on.

Director’s Statement

“Biomusicology” was a lighthearted attempt to talk about the interplay of talent with confidence and how talent alone relies on confidence to truly flourish. Playing off Asian American stereotypes, “asians are always good at music, asians always excel in math or biology”…etc; I personally felt a pressure to live up to these expectations that didn’t define me as an Asian American growing up. And because I never measured up to these stereotypes, I developed a crippling lack of confidence with even things I was told I was “good” at.

I feel like one of the unifying aspects of the Asian American experience is deciding who you want to be in this melting pot of cultures that all look more appealing then our own. Confidence to perform, confidence to speak our minds, confidence to embrace ones own culture… It doesn’t come easy for the Asian American community. At least not for me.

In the same way Shannons character films her friends and tapes over her own performances, I too would film my friends constantly as a way of documenting people that I aspired to or wished I could be, forgetting the aspects of myself that I ought to be proud of. And in a meta way, I was still doing that by making this film. Everyone played a version of themselves. But the goal was never to author their characters far from reality. The hope was to stay true to who they were, and since they were not actors or familiar with being on camera, I never showed them anything beyond an outline of the film. I felt that anything scripted would be too imposing on my part. Instead I set up situations for them to interact in. In many ways it felt like shooting a documentary with fictional situations where I would direct each of them separately and then let them go loose on camera. I’m thankful I did because they came up with things I never would have thought of if I inauthentically dictated their dialogue from the beginning.

But at the end of the day I made this film to celebrate my friends who were moving away to attend med school. A group of people who are so casually talented with very honest and humble aspirations. It wasn’t about being better or more talented… I was about enjoying the music and having fun.