Nathan Ramos-Park, as interviewed by Julia Hartlep
Q: Would you mind just giving a brief overview of who you are, and some background?
A: I'm Nathan Ramos-Park, I'm a Capricorn from the cornfields of Ohio. My mother is a Korean immigrant, father was the first one born here from the Philippines. I am a gaysian writer, actor, and producer who loves watching mukbangs, documentaries, and reruns of Survivor. I was a Nationally competitive jump roper and an award winning bartender, but actually don't like competition haha. I used to be a successful sex blogger under a pseudonym, and am also a comic book nerd, kpop stan, and have been to 49/50 states. This now sounds like a dating profile because it is.
Q: How did you become involved/interested with film? And when did this happen?
A: I got interested in tv/film honestly first through reality tv, specifically season 13 of survivor - Cook Islands, or colloquially 'race wars'. It was really divisive, but it was honestly the first and only time still on television where I feel like I was fully portrayed as a full human being. It had two Koreans, two Filipinxs (one gay), and a Viet refugee. It was just five completely normal asians on screen, and they just kept WINNING. They also delved so deep into the fractures of being Asian American, and the Asian diaspora, and 2/3 people in the finals were Asian, and that was one of the few times where I felt like a winner, and was the first time where I truly fell in love with media.
When it comes to scripted, Mindy Kaling in The Office was the first time I fully connected to another character, and I was like 'I want to and need to do what she does.' Seeing her name as 'Starring' and then seeing her name as a Writer/Producer, I didn't even know what Producer meant but I was like I WANT TO BE HER.
I became involved with tv/film in kind of a circuitous way. I originally was a teacher in Cleveland, then moved to NYC and was an actor - did the first professional cast of Mulan, the first all Asian Off-Broadway show 'Prison Dancer'. I just got really burned out, so i wrote a play that won the See Change 2042 playwriting competition, and then moved out to LA. A friend was working at Maker Studios at the time and submitted me to write for a sketch comedy show and that was my 'in' in the industry and I'm forever grateful to him :)
Q: Out of all the projects you’ve been a part of, which is your favorite? Which are you most proud of?
A: Out of all the projects I've been involved in, I would probably say Club Mickey Mouse was the one I was the most proud of. There were four out of 8 mouseketeers that identified as Asian, specifically filipinx, and just working with the next generation of talent was such an incredible experience. I was part of so much of the process from writing some of the songs, to helping shape narrative arcs, to writing the opening for the ABC Christmas Day Parade in 2017, and the song When December Comes was one of the top 17 holiday songs of the year (seventeen magazine).
My favorite project honestly keeps happening over and over. I just finished the first draft of a feature that was just sold, and have been doing a lot of research for another show - every time I start something new, it feels like having another golden favorite child haha
Q: Have you ever personally noticed any difference in the way you were treated as opposed to those who aren’t Asian? If so, do you mind elaborating?
A: I absolutely have seen myself be treated so much differently because of being Asian, but also for being queer and also for being Southeast Asian as well. I think it's difficult in two different ways. There's the overt racism, sexism, homophobia, etc, which like you'll get an exec or writer who will just straight up say something that just burns off all the tiny hairs on your ears, but it is also pretty easy to move past those types of people. When it's an unconscious bias though, it feels so insidious - one time I was the only POC in a writers room and I just can become the 'racist' or 'gay' police very quickly and it can get into some sensitive dicey territories.
Q: What has been your biggest struggle with the film industry?
A: I think my biggest struggle with the industry is work life balance. Like I'm doing this interview at 1:27 am in the morning. I started working at 10am. I'm also currently working on revisions for a feature, getting notes from my colleague, and it's... now 1:28am!
Q: What has been the most rewarding thing you’ve experienced while in this industry?
A: The most rewarding part has been seeing such progress in the last decade. Seeing so many of my friends and coworkers just continue to succeed because of their tenacity and hardwork and brilliant fearless imaginations. It's so rewarding to see so many of us thriving and working to pull each other up, and build on what others before us both have done and aspired to do, and also pave the way for the next generation to do the things that we wish we were available to us when we were younger.