Strangers, again. 2011 (archived)

About 3 years ago I wrote a xanga entry following a particularly pensive night. Recent events of the previous year had lead me to a normal evening in my bedroom reflecting on things (read: people) who have come and gone in my life. I started writing and even went a little overboard by making a chart. After posting it, the response was unexpected. I mean, it was a really long and wordy entry; I didn’t expect people to read it. But it got featured on xanga’s front page (as if that even mattered in 2008, haha), but either way, I thought to myself that I definitely struck a chord.

What’s funny is that I don’t think what I wrote about was that novel of an idea, people always talk about stage of relationships. But I guess the way I broke it down and presented it made it standout. After a few days passed, being in the field that I’m in, I decided to try to turn it into a script. In one night I wrote out 19 pages of a story between a boy and girl and their journey through the chart of stages I had drawn up a few days prior. This was July 2008. And it sat for one year, then another. Each time other Wong Fu work would take priority, and each summer I told myself, ok no really, I’m making time to do this. But it never happened. Finally last Dec I made it final, I would force the time in to make this at the beginning of 2011.

Finally this past March, Wes and Ted worked w/ me for a few days to shoot the 2.5 yr old script (some slight edits thru that period of time). Cathy Nguyen was so sweet and awesome to take her time to play the girl, and last month I finally finished and released it online.

The response was totally unexpected. Without sounding cocky, I knew that w/ our current subscriber/support base, that the short would eventually reach at least 1 million views, but to see it reach that after 1 day, I was totally shocked. Then over the weekend it hit 3 million. In a week, 5 million views. All of us couldn’t believe that a 16 minute drama short film could reach those numbers on YT. I mean, YT is known for 1 min videos w/ cats and crotch hits. And again, I was amazed.

I found it fitting that I come back to xanga, where it started, to update and respond. It’s scary to think that millions of people out there have received my message and opinion of relationships. Sorta makes me scared. We got emails saying that it really harmed their relationships, while other said it saved theirs. Some 50 yr olds and parents sent messages saying how even they were affected. Even my parents (who do watch our videos) were surprised to get this peek into my head.

Hopefully more positive came out of this piece than negative. As I’ve always said from the beginning, I wanted to make this video, not to condemn everyone’s relationships to failure…but to let people know, that if it happens to not work out in the end, you’re not alone, at all. Many people have been there, and there is still some positivity to take from a failed relationship, even if it takes time. (Also, I wrote this as someone in his mid-20s. I don’t think 14 yr olds will really see relationships the way I do, so there’s definitely going to be some misinterpretations of the video, lol.) And beyond bfs and gfs, the message applies to friends as well. We have so many people in our lives who were so close to us for some period of time, but because life happens, we drift. It doesn’t mean those friends aren’t special anymore.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is below. “Strangers, again”. And for further commentary on the short film itself, read it here.

This video is dedicated to those strangers in my life. To you, you, you, and you. I still think back often on when our paths were one, and I’m thankful. And I hope where you are (some further than others) that you are thankful too.


73 thoughts on “Strangers, again. 2011 (archived)

  1. hi philip. really glad u made it. whether or not if the impact was good or bad, it seemed to have touched a lot of ppl and made them realize more about their own relationships. i liked how relatable it was. i also found the ending to be rather hopeful/bittersweet, but not so optimistic that it didn’t seem real.wonderful job. keep up the great work! yall have come a long way. i truly look forward to the wfp shorts to come, from the funny and serious to the unique. 🙂

  2. I don’t know if I can say anything that hasn’t been said already, but I, too, want to thank you for taking your reflections and creating such a poignantly beautiful short video. It made me cry rivers when I first watched it, and I’m sure everybody can relate to at least one of the stages. It definitely struck a chord in me and it seemed like watching my last relationship flash by in front of me.I wouldn’t say this video would harm relationships, but it serves as a reality check for couples who might not have a strong enough foundation for their relationship. For me, I took solace in realizing that my failed relationship was a natural progression and not entirely my fault.I only found out about your xanga when I read the background of Strangers, and I was pleasantly surprised to find you a very reflective and articulate writer! Looking forward to more great posts and great videos! Thank you again- your work has touched my life.

  3. i watched this many times over… and i think i share those sentiments that if anything, at the end of the day, it’s a time period in your life where you shared something special with someone else, no matter how it ended. it will always be a part of your history.thank you for putting it into a short and making people think :)the stories that wongfu tells always have so much more meaning than the pictures on the surface!

  4. Great Job! Wong Fu does such amazing work that people can relate to. You do a great job at representing the Asian community, We are all so proud of you and will continue to support you. Contined success for many more years to come. XD

  5. Well…after having watched your short, I now analyze my relationship according to the different stages. I don’t like analyzing my relationship in that fashion, Phil. I don’t want to know what stage my significant other and I are in at a conscious level. I wish I could erase this awareness….but thanks for the short. I enjoyed it, to a degree.

  6. Watching videos of WongFu from 2006 till now!!! WongFu video gets better every time~ Keep it going. People from around the world could relate to “Strangers again”. Thumbs up! I also like Nice guys!!!And Philip, you are so adorable~ Could I ask you out for a date? Hehe~

  7. I’ve always remembered that strangers chart you made in 2008. I shared it with my then bf and ex a year or two back. I’m about to email this video and blog to him.. because I feel the same way about relationships as you do. Appreciating what they are and were, whether they grow into the future or grow apart with the lives we live. It’s a great production and post, Phil. Thanks for being so creative, awesome and true. Delia:)

  8. I remember watching that video awhile ago, you broke down the simple, common idea about stages of relationships in an interesting way. It was beautiful video-graphic artwork. 🙂 I didn’t know it started through a blog on xanga. The quote, “we only have 2 options, get married… or break up,” is well embedded in my mind.

  9. You already know for yourself, but you and Wong Fu Productions have gone a really long way. I think it’s great that you were able to follow up on an idea that you had 3 years ago. As for the video itself it’s great, even though it makes me a bit sad =/I was discussing it a bit with my friend and we agreed that it was the sad truth and a part of the woes of youth. However we’re pretty sure that once you guys get married and have kids there will be films about you being a husband and a father. Thus taking your stage chart to a whole new level. I wonder how that’s going to be lol. Btw It’s interesting to me that I stumbled upon this blog via surfing Xanga rather than through Wong Fu Productions.

  10. Such a beautiful short. Being bittersweet, it kind of gives me hope for the future. And although not all relationships are meant to last, it doesn’t make them any less special.

  11. Hi Phil, Just a starter, I never expected to stumble upon your xanga page. This was the facebook back in the day! Hilariously enough, I’ve been watching a ton of WongFu videos since I got my internet back (yay!), and I’m on the video “Seldom”. I wanted to see if that was really your parents in the video, so I googled “Philip Wang’s parents” and this was the first link on google. I thought to myself, “No way, this can’t be Phil Wang’s xanga page.” Surely enough it is, and I’ve been reading for about the last 20 minutes! BTW, journaling FTW! ^___^ I myself have been journaling for about 7 years. I was consistent for the first couple years, but being in school slows it down and I don’t end up finishing my journal entries.I don’t know if you read this anymore, but when I first watched this video, I cried like a little baby. Honestly, I still do. I’m pretty sure when I watched this, it just came out. My ex-boyfriend showed me. Of course like any couple, we had our ups and downs but it started out bad in the beginning. And I don’t think it really got better. But the video did kinda show how we were. We were happy when we met, when we were really young. Then when we were together, we were just comfortable with each other. Then we had pointless arguments and every time I look back, I would think “what were we arguing about?” like in the video. People tell me, “this is just a video, it’s not exactly realistic.” That was complete BS. You’ve depicted the stages of a relationship, and where it can go. Though it may not be going into specifics because each and every relationship begins differently, but it applies to everyone. I love when Cathy Nguyen and you have the part at the end depicting where the relationship will end up: breaking up or getting married. What do you think will happen if we don’t end up together? Are we gonna hate each other? Think We’ll keep in touch? I think that if life separates us and we end up in totally different places, I’ll always remember when our paths aligned for this period of time, and I’ll be thankful for that. And hope that wherever you are, you’ll be thankful too. And that’s the best we can wish for. Phil, You, Wes and Ted make the best videos ever. Thanks so much for uploading this video. After my relationship, I watched this video over while analyzing myself. This short is very close to my heart. Hope you read this! 🙂 Anna Chu – Chicago, IL

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