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"There are three masks: the one we think we are, the one we really are, and the one we have in common."
Jacques Lecoq

Korean masks called tal (탈) were used in war, on both soldiers and their horses; ceremonially, for burial rites in jade and bronze and for shamanistic ceremonies to drive away evil spirits, to remember the faces of great historical figures, and in the arts, particularly in ritual dances, courtly, and theatrical plays.

I was lucky to grow up in a relatively diverse town where I never felt alienated for my race or sexuality. The hang-ups I had were personal - I attended an evangelical church with my mother every Sunday, and I learned to internalize certain degrees of homophobia and self-hatred, even if I didn’t extend such sentiments to other queer people. As with many of my peers in the queer community, full self-realization didn’t kick in for me until college, where I had the space I needed to better explore who I was.

For a lot of the Asian-diaspora community, expectations regarding academics and career are a given. The only question is, do we fall in line with “the safe choice” or do we push back to pursue our dreams? I have vacillated between the two all my life. I have interned for several law firms and even spent three years in corporate litigation as a paralegal. I sense I would be a good lawyer; I might even enjoy it. I won’t pretend that I have found total peace with my choices today – even now I wonder if I should be studying for the LSATs. But I am fortunate to have a community of people who believe in my artistic gifts, and I know “beyond a reasonable doubt” that I am happier telling stories on screen than I would be telling them in court.


"TAL" is a reflection on the pressures Asian Americans face, often pushed towards lucrative careers by well-meaning immigrant parents at the cost of their true selves.

This script is a meditation on the life I nearly led, echoing the internal conflicts many immigrant children navigate. Revolving around illusion and portrayal of different identities, the film plays with the blurred lines between reality and illusion. The mask, a symbol of acting, becomes a central element in this theme, interrogating what is real and what is a facade in both the main character Gabriel’s personal and professional life.

The Story: Junior associate Gabriel Park is working late at his big law job when a tense phone call with his mother sends him into an existential spiral. Forcibly reminded of his former acting career and his sexuality - both of which he has turned his back on for her sake - Gabriel’s warring emotions boil over and take physical form as a grotesque, masked creature. Its sole mission: “LOOK AT ME.”

Tal explores themes of filial piety, identity, and mental health. Gabriel exists on a fault line between two identities - a queer artist in pursuit of his own passions, and the faithful son dutifully living out his mother’s dreams. His chilling encounter with a creature—representing the aspects of himself he has suppressed, including his sexuality, desires, and ambitions—highlights the inner turmoil stemming from his dual life. By leveraging the horror genre to elevate real issues, I hope to viscerally convey exactly what is scary about Gabriel’s reality.

The duality between Gabriel and the creature illustrates the conflict between his true desires and the life he’s been pressured into by his obligations to his mother. The horror elements reflect how genuinely frightening it can be to look inward and confront one’s own truths. Gabriel's confrontation with this creature underscores the destructive consequences of denying integral parts of one’s identity.

This script is more than a little autobiographical - I spent three years working as a paralegal at a Manhattan litigation firm, and I had plans to put my artistic ambitions aside in favor of the kind of financially secure lifestyle that my mother wanted for me. (To this day, she wastes no time in reminding me over the phone what a great lawyer I’d be, and how handsome I’d look all suited up in court). But between the grueling days that I saw the associates and partners putting in week after week, and my own sense that a little more of me died with each day spent away from my craft, I came to better understand what was truly important to me.The concept for this piece came to me in bits, over countless nights of overtime. I was often the only person left in the office, and the overhead fluorescents and oppressive silences always left me unsettled. It was an uncanny purgatory of sorts, and by 1 or 2AM, I was losing all sense of time, reality, and self. Where was I? What was I doing? Just what was I sacrificing to be here? Did I hear something moving in the shadows, or did I just need some sleep? After a while I would start to imagine that I was, in fact, not alone in the office — but I was never sure if it was some sort of monster, or my own demons. And thus, this script was conceived.

We are at a pivotal moment for Asian representation.

Hollywood likes to talk a big game about representation, but the fact remains that when a TV show is looking for an young Asian man who can speak Mandarin or Korean, casting offices send out “open casting calls,” which are notices circulated beyond the usual agency & manager networks. “No acting experience required” is often included, and all of this speaks to the fact that the vast majority of my peers are too busy pursuing law, medicine, or tech to indulge in something as risky as art. Not only that, but we are discouraged from being expressive, sensitive, or even emotional. It’s a self-perpetuating loop, and I hope that telling more Asian-centered stories will show my community that a life in the arts is not only possible but worthwhile. Representation begets more representation.

I have not found satisfactory depictions of Asian queerness in mainstream media, either. The instances where I have seen it (I will name no names) rely on it as a punchline or fail to comment on it in any substantive way at all. The interplay of gender, sexuality, and race is poignantly nuanced and specific at every intersection - I want more stories of what it means to be non-binary and Pakistani, lesbian and Japanese, trans and Taiwanese. Through TAL I want to capture the experience of being the closeted son of a Korean immigrant, smothered by Christian values and conservative immigrant expectations. It’s the specifics that really drive human storytelling!

The evolution of Asian-American representation in storytelling is such a rollercoaster that I don’t think I can do it any succinct justice here. Currently we’re at a place, I think, where we’ve moved a little bit away from the model minority piece and leaned into the “Asians can be trainwrecks, too” part of the story. But I want to lean into both simultaneously - what is it about the pressures that resulted in the model minority stereotype (good at academics, successful in traditional career spaces) that result in trainwrecks?

Wesley is a bi-coastal actor and writer who has worked alongside the likes of Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Weisz, and Natasha Lyonne across streaming platforms such as Netflix and Paramount+, as well as on theatrical productions for the National Arts Club and the Yale Cabaret. A graduate of Swarthmore College, they were a recipient of the Kaori Kitao Humanities Fellowship for their playwriting, and were awarded High Honors for their superlative work in acting and dramaturgy.As a queer person of color, Wesley believes that all storytellers have a duty to create and shape narratives that effect positive change in the world. Wesley's focus, as such, is on stories that show women, people of color, and queer/trans folx living their best damn lives.