Folk Stories

Episodes about Art:

17: Following the Filmmaker's Journey with Bao Tran

May 27th, 2019 (66 minutes)
Photographer: Steve Korn

Bao Tran is a professional filmmaker currently raising money for his first feature film, The Paper Tigers, a "Kung Fu indie feature film about three guys who are one kick away from pulling their hamstrings".

Despite knowing that he wanted to do film from watching kung fu movies as a kid, Bao got a degree in computer science as it was the responsible thing to do for someone that is the child of immigrants. This tension between following your dreams and doing what is expected is a theme that is explored both in film and in life for Bao.

Outside of The Paper Tigers, Bao's editing credits include CHO LON, one of Southeast Asia’s highest-budgeted action blockbusters, and JACKPOT, a heartfelt comedy selected as Vietnam’s official entry to the 2016 Oscars for Best Foreign Film.

In today's episode, we talk about kung fu and the action movie genre, we talk about what its like to fundraise for a film, and we talk about telling a good story and what that might mean.


You have a lot of people you might start out with earlier on but they kind of go their separate ways or they go civilian as we say… Its just industry is very tough and its very hard to keep going and continue doing this.

– Bao Tran


  • how Bao's love of kung fu films let to a career in film
  • pursuing passion vs fulfilling family expectations
  • marketing and sales for people that would rather do anything else
  • Bao's first feature film - The Paper Tigers
  • film fundraising and kickstarter
  • diversity and shooting with a mixed race cast
  • shooting action movies and telling stories


  • inspiration
    • as artist, always looking for the work that goes behind art that looks effortless, really impressed with Beyoncé's homecoming
  • surprising fact
    • have a background that is not just film (eg. computer science degree)
  • principle
    • the golden rule
  • closing notes
    • always looking for people that could support the film and want to help - if that's you, reach out


  • Bao's website:
  • Bao's email:
  • LinkedIn:
  • Socials
    • Twitter: @_thepapertigers
    • Facebook: @ThePaperTigersMovie
    • Instagram: @_thepapertigers

13: Creating Film and Community with Vivian Hua

March 25th, 2019 (59 minutes)

Vivian Hua is the director of the Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) , a non-profit film and arts center dedicated to public dialogue and creative action through collective cinematic experiences. Prior to NWFF, Vivian was Communications Manager for ICANNWiki, a collaborative resource dedicated to simplifying the complex issues, policies, and players in the sphere of internet governance. Vivian was also editor in chief of REDEFINE Magazine, a print and web magazine focused on music and the arts.

Vivian got a BA in sociology focused on Law, Society & Justice. Social justice has been a central theme in Vivian's life and is reflected in the work she pursues. In 2017, Vivian released Searching Skies, a narrative short film about a Syrian refugee family. The film was screened in 50 venues across the US and accompanied by a discussion series where people could meet a Muslim person, sometimes for the first time, and ask questions.

In today's episode, we talk about Vivian's vision for the NWFF, Vivian's sudden decision to pursue film upon turning 30, and exploring social justice with film.


When I turned 30, I had a personal revelation. I spent my entire 20's supporting other peoples art … So how do I work on my own now and had a calling to do film

– Vivian Hua


  • what is NWFF
  • getting started in film
  • divination and following signs
  • typical day
  • hosting film discussions
  • searching skies
  • current projects
  • routines to recharge
  • vr and film
  • community and diversity at NWFF
  • marketing art


  • inspiration
    • being inspired by the person that you're with
  • surprising fact
    • used to be a huge raver and gamer
  • principles
    • be authentic to who you are
  • closing
    • anyone who has a cool idea, reach out to Vivian and the NWFF
    • open to random emails


  • LinkedIn
  • Email:

12: Feeding Ghosts with Tessa Hulls

February 15th, 2019 (68 minutes)

Tessa Hulls is an artist/writer/adventurer whose work spans a multitude of genres and whose travels have taken her across all 7 continents, much of it on bike. She is the daughter of two first generation immigrants and is currently working on a graphic novel about her grandmother titled "Feeding Ghosts".

Tessa describes herself as a compulsive genre hopper who has worked in some capacity as an illustrator, cartoonist, editor, interviewer, writer, performer, chef, muralist, conductor of social experiments, painter, teacher, and researcher. She is fascinated by the concept of home. Outside of working on her graphic novel, Tessa is also focused on public speaking about little known women at the turn of the century and social activism.

In today's episode, we talk about Tessa's current project and its origin, we talk about Calvin and Hobbes and being either totally engaged in or out of work, and we talk about the feelings that come with home and solitude.


I'm completely convinced that serendipity is a muscle that gets stronger the more you exercise it… I just like to sling myself out in the universe and see what happens.

– Tessa Hulls


  • history and start into genre hopping
  • Feeding Ghosts and origin of Tessa's current project
  • reading habits
  • Calvin and Hobbes
  • a day in the life
  • combining work and hobbies while avoiding burnout
  • cooking professionally
  • lifestyle and trade-offs
  • concept of home
  • solitude and what it means
  • artists residency
  • coddiewompe: "to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination"
  • feminism and activism
  • getting to know America by biking across it


  • inspiration
    • overwhelming canon of women in the 20th century doing things that they shouldn't have been able to do
  • surprising fact
    • professional cook and how it started with rugby, whisky and pie
  • principles
    • piece by Jim Dodge: "They can do whatever you cannot stop them from doing. You can do whatever you can pull off and still live with yourself"
  • closing notes:
    • lookout for Guided by Ghosts, Tessa's upcoming project to be exhibited in Santa Cruz, which weaves together her current family history with the Chinese history of Santa Cruz


Feeding Ghosts Notebook

Feeding Ghosts Sketchbook

5: Love, Math and Design with Janet Galore

October 8th, 2018 (78 minutes)

My guest today is Janet Galore, Creative Director of Amazon's Retail Experience Concept Lab. The Concept Lab is a department that looks 3-5 years ahead and explores potential retail experiences that could be possible in that time.

Janet is all about working at the intersection of emergent technologies and design and her past gigs include being an executive producer at Zombie VR Studios where they made the first VR exclusive computer game called Locus and as Speech Director of Microsoft's Advanced Strategies and Research where she worked on long term strategy for the company.

In 2015, Janet and her husband bought "The Grocery", a historic building in the Beacon Hill district of Seattle that started its life as a grocery store in 1929. They have turned the space into a creative space where they regularly host events, exhibits and performances (I first met Janet at one of these events).

Today, we talk about Janet's path into technology and design, we talk about the creative process and what it means to evaluate art and we talk about The Grocery and why staying small can be awesome.

Thanks for listening and if you want to leave feedback or nominate folks to the show, please send emails to feedback(at)


  • history and interest in mathematics
  • early work in tech
  • the life of a creative director at Amazon
  • showing your work in design
  • notes on managing creatives
  • learning from mistakes
  • evaluating art in context
  • the grocery: past, present and future
  • managing panic