How I Became A Screenwriter by Barney Cheng

Film Courage: You are moving to Los Angeles, you’ve just done this Woody Allen film, you’ve gone to Cannes, where did you envision your career going once you got your footing here in LA? Did you have this image of how you were going to be booking auditions and things?

Writer/Director/Actor/Producer, Barney Cheng: I was really naïve. I though once you had a substantial part in a feature film with great reviews, you are just going to be offered parts and keep going. All of these things didn’t turn out as I expected. I was so naïve.

Again, every time you work, every time you have a chance to showcase your talent, you either have to capitalize on that opportunity or that visibility eventually dissipates, it fades away.

I wasn’t able to maintain the momentum. That was one of the reasons why I wanted to create my own project and start writing and making my own films and just telling my own stories as an artist.

Film Courage: Did you enroll at UCLA for another 4-year program?

Barney: It was for a professional screenwriting program so I think it took me 2 years to finish the program and then I fell in love with writing. I never thought I could write…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


MovieMaker Article with Barney


Watch BABY STEPS on Amazon here


Barney Cheng landed on the Hollywood map as an actor in 2002 with his acclaimed performance in Woody Allen’s HOLLYWOOD ENDING. The New York Times described Cheng’s comedic timing as “surgically precise.” The Orange County Register raved that Cheng “steals every scene he’s in.” Cheng accompanied Allen to promote the film and to open the 55th Cannes Film Festival.

In addition to acting, Cheng works as a writer-director-producer. His award-winning films have collectively screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese, Cheng is particularly proud of his Chinese-English language feature BABY STEPS, which received Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access fellowship. Produced by the Oscar-winning producer of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, BABY STEPS received jury and audience awards for best feature at numerous festivals.

Gravitas Ventures released BABY STEPS to enthusiastic reception and reviews. The San Francisco Chronicle calls Baby Steps an “engaging” and “touching” film. “Inarguably, here’s a film created by and starring Asian Americans that is definitely worth applauding,” raves Huffington Post. “Baby Steps is becoming more and more relevant by the second.”
Cheng is creating an original series called “Curated Lies,” and his second feature A DOORKNOB AWAY, a Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition winner, is currently in development for production.

Cheng has participated in the NBCUniversal Directing Fellowship program and is a Writer-Director Film Independent Fellow. Grew up in Los Angeles, Cheng attended Stanford University and read political philosophy at Oxford University. Cheng proudly celebrates his Taiwanese-American and LGBT intersectional identity and is on the board of PFLAG San Gabriel Valley API.

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