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Interview with Mas Moriya: Insights on Branding and Career in Entertainment

Interview with Mas Moriya: Insights on Branding and Career in Entertainment

Summary: Jadyn Wu reached out to me. She helped me take some video from an event two years ago, and so when she reached out to me, I was happy to take a phone call with her because she volunteered with me. As I say in the end of this, you give me time, I'll give you time, especially for students who are looking to ask professionals questions. This is the summary, a summary transcript of what this is, of what our conversation was, edited for clarity and conciseness. You can also watch the video as I've uploaded it to YouTube.

Mas Moriya:

Branding is so important for a company. People get this idea stuck in their head, and it's so hard for them to change it. It's crucial that they had a strong lead. They get a strong Asian lead. They saw the events, they saw some screening stuff, but they actually didn't really know what the mission was. There wasn't a clear mission or good KPIs. What numbers can we track? It was really not very clear even to me. But they knew it was important to have more stuff, and I think that was good for them. They would say, "Oh yeah, I heard about that. It's really good." But they didn't know we had an app.

They'd go on the website, but they didn't really know how to sign up. Those who used it didn't know how to use it and thought Strong Asian Lead was just going to be a newsletter or resource database. They didn't really get it. I positioned the app as a resource database and user database, like a creative database. By changing it to Filmclusive, which I didn't think I was going to do this year, I thought I was going to do it next year, I'm glad to see the change now.

Mas Moriya:

Now, with Filmclusive, it's an app. People can make a profile and sign up. They get that. And I don't have to do it just for Asians. I can tell all my friends to go. You don't have to be Asian or need to hire Asians; it's a job app. The first question I usually ask is, what apps do you use to audition or find jobs? And the answers are always the same: Casting Networks, Actors Access, Mandy, Production Hub. Do you pay a monthly fee to do that? They say yes, about $12 a month, plus $22 a minute to upload your demo reel. Imagine if you didn't have to pay that. Filmclusive does that—you don't have to pay.

Jadyn Wu: It's an app.

Mas Moriya:

Yeah, right? Audition, apply for jobs, upload demos for free, always. People want that. That's where we get them. This is what we're going to change the industry with. We're still in the beta phases, still building things. In the past week, we've made major improvements, and in the next couple of weeks, there will be further improvements. Now they get why Filmclusive is here. If I just kept with Strong Asian Lead, non-Asians wouldn't need it or necessarily want it unless they need to find an Asian with Asian skills. People who thought they knew Strong Asian Lead now know we have something different. It's not what they thought it was. They just thought it was networking. Now it's like, what's Filmclusive? It's a whole new world, separate from what it was.

Mas Moriya:

It's important to introduce me as Filmclusive, not Strong Asian Lead. This new direction will not only help everybody but also eventually bring in revenue for me to keep going and get other people work. Strong Asian Lead was not going to get other people work; it was more about networking.

Jadyn Wu: Networking.

Mas Moriya:

Yes, networking, which got people work but was hard to track. This will track how many people applied for and got hired for jobs. And yes, we still have events. Once I made my account, they emailed me back. I signed up for the Hollywood Climate Summit.,

Jadyn Wu: I don't know if you're going to that, but.

Mas Moriya:

Yeah, I'm going. It's not our event, but we post events up there, just like Facebook. I volunteer and work with my team there, doing food and beverage. It's amazing. Right now, we're not bringing in any revenue, but the revenue streams will be sponsored listings, premium memberships, and master classes. Listings are always free because most sites like LinkedIn or IMDb don't charge casting directors to list, which is backwards. If I charge them, why would they pay for our site when they can use a free site? So ours should be free.

But if you have many independent producers with unverified accounts posting casting calls and Disney comes in at the bottom, they wouldn't want that. Disney wants to be at the top, so we charge them to be at the top. That's what we go into, like pinned listings. Premium memberships will be tiered, and verification is also a fee. Verification involves filling out your profile, sending an ID, and having a phone call. Then you get a verification badge. We don't charge for it now, but we will. Job listings are free, but verified profiles are a different tier.

For master classes, I have a Hollywood GPT course and a screenwriting course. I'll likely shift them more towards AI and screenwriting. You can buy these courses for a fee. I spent five years in New York as a photographer, assistant editor, and running a small nonprofit called Rogue Photo. We helped local photographers work with nonprofits to get affordable photos instead of expensive stock images. It was popular but not scalable at the time. Now, with better technology, I could scale it.

New York taught me a lot about activism, community building, nonprofit work, and giving back to the community. This experience shaped Strong Asian Lead. Learning to serve before asking for things is crucial. My mom, a classic Republican, volunteered with the church and school but didn't do extra work or protest. My dad was against any activism. We've had police violence in our family, so I learned to stand up for change despite the trauma.

Jadyn Wu: That's powerful. So New York really shaped your activism and community mindset.

Mas Moriya:

Yes, New York threw me right into it. It aligned with my values, and I could actively participate instead of just learning about it from afar. I learned a lot about nonprofits, supporting causes, and using my skills for good. Freelance photography taught me about passion, practice, payment, purpose, and pleasure. I loved photography and got better at it while getting paid. It was a golden triangle—doing what I love, learning, and earning.

Strong Asian Lead was about learning nonprofit work, web design, marketing, and community building. I made mistakes and burned bridges but also learned a lot. When I transitioned to Filmclusive, I knew how to build the website, design, trademark, and market it. I'm still learning about securities, stock, and for-profit tech. It's a different world from nonprofit work, involving SaaS, B2B, B2C, two-sided marketplaces, and e-commerce.

Jadyn Wu: That's impressive. What advice do you have for someone like me, still a student, coming into Hollywood?

Mas Moriya:

What's your goal?

Jadyn Wu: Producing or being an agent, more on the business side, maybe the studio system.

Mas Moriya:

If you're trying to figure out between those two, get internships in both areas. An internship at an agency would be great. It's very competitive right now, but start putting people in touch with others. An agent connects clients with producers or directors and eventually gets their 10%. Start by finding jobs and connecting your friends with those opportunities. Understand what that entails. We'll be posting jobs and casting calls on Filmclusive, so everyone can see and apply.

If you want to be a producer, start helping your director or writer friends make something. Find locations, get permits, find money, crowdfund, hire the right people, and manage the production. It's not easy, but it's rewarding. Learn from YouTube, No Film School, and other resources. Constant education and practice are key. While in school, use your peers and free time to experiment and learn. The stakes are low now, so make mistakes and try different things.

Jadyn Wu: That's great advice. I'll definitely start applying and learning as much as I can. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

Mas Moriya:

Absolutely. If you're giving me your time, I'll give you mine. Paying it forward is important. I'm happy to help and connect you with others who might need your skills. Keep learning, trying, and making connections. Your school time is the best time to do that. Don't hesitate to reach out if you need anything.

Jadyn Wu: Thank you so much. I'll see you at the Hollywood Climate Summit.,

Mas Moriya:

Yes, see you there. Look for me around the coffee station. Take care.

Hollywood Climate Summit

We’re thrilled to announce our continued partnership with this year’s Hollywood Climate Summit. We believe in the urgency of climate change and are committed to minimizing our environmental footprint. For the past three years, our leadership has proudly supported this incredible event, which offers a weekend filled with learning, community, and networking. We highly recommend attending to anyone passionate about climate action and sustainable storytelling.

As a special benefit, Filmclusive members get $75 off for a 3-day pass using this link. Don’t miss this opportunity to join us and be part of the change. Through this partnership, we uplift the importance of cross-sector collaboration and action addressing climate change.

 

 

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