web-series are becoming increasingly popular across a wide range of genres and audiences. One noteworthy new web-series is called “Asian Rocks,” and it centers on a young Asian woman who is living in New York City. The comedy series focuses on the lady’s reactions to the “typical Asian stereotypes” that she is confronted with.

To date, six episodes have been shot for Season 1 with a seventh in the making. The series trailer will debut in April of 2018 via social media, and it will premiere on YouTube and Facebook in July. Director Wizeman Khnum Khensu holds a Bachelors in Telecommunications from Alabama A & M University where he wrote and produced three short films.

He also interned on the sets of feature films including “Madea Goes to Jail” by Tyler Perry. Wizeman is also notable as being the CEO of Peace Joy Harmony Productions, for which “Asian Rocks” is the first show.

“Asian Rocks” has an interesting backstory. Writer/producer Wizeman and lead actress, Jane, met over two years ago at a filmmaking conference that as advertised on Craigslist. After the conference was over, Wizeman--who had only moved to NYC a week beforehand--got lost looking for the subway. Jane helped him find his way to the train and, in the process, they became friends.

Jane, a struggling Asian-American actress, and Wizeman heard about her difficulty in finding roles, and he suggested that she should star in her own show.

He subsequently wrote five episodes for a web-series focused on the adventures of an Asian actress in New York City. Jane read the scripts and loved them, amazing that Wizeman (who is African-American) so perfectly captured the Asian-American experience entertainingly and humorously. Wizeman subsequently wrote eight additional episodes, making a total of thirteen which will make up the first season, and cast Jane as the lead actress.

Recently, Wizeman Khnum Khensu granted an exclusive interview where he discussed the “Asian Rocks” project, being a director, working on a web-series, and more.

Writing, directing, and 'Asian Rocks'

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your talent for writing and directing?

Wizeman Khnum Khensu (WKK): As a child, I wanted to be a famous actor.

My favorite past-time was movie nights with friends and family. In high school, my mother and I would go to the movies every Sunday, after going to church. That was our bonding time. While a senior in High School, I was given an internship opportunity on the feature film, “The Gospel,” where I worked as a Production Assistant (PA) in the Assistant Director’s Department. There I discovered my interest in writing and directing. I wanted to learn how to be the person to write and create a vision and be the person who controls the artistic and dramatic aspects while guiding the technical crew and Actors towards that vision.

In college, I majored in Telecommunications. While a student at Alabama A&M University, I was the Director of “Hump Days News,” our weekly news show that highlighted our campus news and events.

I also was the Director of “Ebony Fire,” a movie production totally written and ran by the students. It was after the success of these productions when I discovered I had the talent to write and direct and became passionate about pursuing a career in writing and directing TV and feature films.

MM: You moved to NYC a few years ago, what provoked you to do that and what was it like adapting to the city?

WKK: It’s a well-known fact that the top two places to be for aspiring TV and filmmakers and actors are LA or NYC. Therefore, in 2014, I listened to my intuition, sold my car, took a leap of faith, and made the decision to relocate to NYC. I found a room to rent that was fully furnished in Manhattan on craigslist.

When my Aunt dropped me off, I didn’t even own a suitcase. All I had was a trash bag and a dream. NYC was initially very hard for me, and the lifestyle here was quite different from what I was accustomed to since I grew up in the south in a city called Jonesboro, Georgia. I had never visited NYC, and I had no support system there. Ironically, Jane Park (the star of “Asian Rocks”) was one of the first people I met after attending a workshop. Meeting Jane, and other individuals who also had dreams and passions about succeeding in the entertainment industry was very instrumental in helping me navigate through the city and like this adapting to NYC.

MM: You wrote, “Asian Rocks” for your friend Jane to star in.

Was it hard writing a series about a culture that is not your own?

WKK: First let me state, Jane and I created this story together. It happened on my birthday last June. We had gone to see a movie on 42nd street. It was a beautiful night outside, so we talked as we were walked towards the train station. Jane was telling me about her struggles trying to be an actress. I suggested to her, instead of chasing Hollywood trying to be in their projects you should write and star in a project telling her story. She agreed, and we started discussing ideas for the web series right then. I want the world to know that I could not have written this project without Jane. So, no, it wasn’t hard writing this project because I’m basically telling her story.

MM: Who are some characters in the show and are they based on anyone you know?

WKK: We have a lot of great characters in the series! Alex’s mother and father are hilarious. Her two best friends bring plenty of drama. Alex’s manager at her job is a total nightmare. Alex and her cousin can’t stand each other. Each character brings a different dynamic to the web series which makes it very interesting and entertaining. The characters are based on the stories that Jane has shared with me about her life, situations she has encountered, and various people she has met. None of the characters are based on anyone that I know personally.

Funding projects and production companies

MM: How did you get the project funded, filmed, and produced?

Essentially, how did it get from the page to the screen?

WKK: We have no funding. Everything is coming from Jane and my own pockets. The great thing is, we have a crew that loves and believes in the project, and who are willing to work for little to no pay. Many business owners donated the use of their space to us for filming several of the episodes. Since we are working with a limited budget, we have to be creative in how we can incentivize our crew and actors. We do things for them like have craft services on some sets and pay for gas or bus tickets when necessary. I would certainly welcome any individual or company to donate and/or invest in this project.

MM: What do you anticipate for the release and why did you select a web-series for your medium?

WKK: I believe “Asian Rocks” will educate and enlighten our viewers about the journey of the Asian American here in America. At the same time, the series will entertain our viewers because each episode is hilarious. I chose to release this project as a web series because the internet will allow us the opportunity to tap into an untapped market. Our subject matter is unique and I haven’t seen anything out there like it. Also, I believe Asian America will love “Asian Rocks” and America as a whole will find it very interesting and enjoyable.

MM: Do you feel that it will be easier to get funding and backing for future projects now that “Asian Rocks” is set to go?

WKK: I certainly hope so because Jane and I have made a lot of financial sacrifices for this project and I have almost gone broke from funding this project.

As stated earlier, I would certainly welcome any individual or company to donate and/or invest in this project. Interested parties may contact me (Wizeman) via my email at peacejoyharmonyproductions@gmail.com.

MM: You have your own production company so what kinds of projects do you hope to produce in the future?

WKK: My production company is called Peace Joy Harmony Productions. We are about motivating, educating, and inspiring our viewers. In the future, we plan to produce diverse content from all genres. Once “Asian Rocks” becomes a huge success, I look forward to writing and directing more web-series, and hopefully TV and film projects as well. I’m really enjoying writing, producing, and directing this project.

TV & Film is my passion, but for now, my focus is making this project the best it can be. Whether you’re the minority or the majority, we will have projects just for you. Personally, I’m about truth, justice, balance, reciprocity, and order. Any project that I write or direct will represent who I am.

MM: Are you currently working on anything else and what has been the best thing about working on "Asian Rocks"?

WKK: No, I’m currently not working on anything else. However, writing TV and film scripts is my favorite thing to do so I’m constantly writing outlines of various ideas that come to mind. I have TV pilots that I plan to pitch and feature films that I plan to produce shortly. The best thing about working on this project has been the amazing privilege to work with my best friend and talented female actor, Jane, to help her fulfill her dream to become a professional female actor starring in a leading role.