The missing one

Two years ago today, “The Last” was released. What a coincidence that a few weeks ago, one groggy morning, a new revelation about the short randomly came to me as I laid in bed. In the video, I listed out 5 “loves” that influenced the man… but I missed one.

How.

The truth is, I did consider it as I was finishing the script, but left it out on purpose, thinking that it didn’t fit with the structure and the message. But I was wrong.

Who, What, When, Where, Why I love… those are all reactive. Each of those happened to him. They each existed and he took what he wanted. That is the whole angle of the short. The 5 loves, these 5 women, and who/what/when/where/why they affected me. But “How” is totally different. “How” is the way in which I reciprocate. It’s active. It’s what we do together. It might be the most important, and I left it out.

Even when I was thinking about including “how” I thought of it more as a joke. “Oh, ‘How’ I love… heh heh, like… sex”. “How” was only an action, but in fact, it’s much more. I scoffed it off then, but I was actually going down the right track had I just expanded further. Sex > actions > behavior > mindset. And perhaps that’s what I am missing, the proper mindset to love.

Now, when I say that, I don’t mean I haven’t learned how to be intimate, or romantic, or share and communicate in a relationship.. it’s something far deeper. Especially if they are the “Last”, then the “how” becomes much heavier. It actually becomes “how do you love someone forever?” That is the challenge, that is what I struggle with, and maybe many of you do, or will, too.

How do you change with someone while preserving yourself? How do you face challenges without completely compromising? How do you resist temptation yet feed other primal needs? How do you find the love of your life in essentially the first quarter of it? These are the “how’s” that I missed and have yet to understand. All the other 5, I get, I’ve been there and learned from. But how is a new challenge.

I think many of us can get lost in love. Infatuated by the whos/whats/whens/wheres/whys and being so in love with those things, not realizing that those elements can only take us so far. After that, it’s on you, your action, your will… and that’s where the real challenge is. Falling and being in love is easy. Staying in love is something else.

So, I’m sorry everyone. I’m sorry for not giving you a complete package in “The Last”. I mislead you, thinking there was nothing else left. But I was wrong, in perhaps the biggest, heaviest way. I had no idea. But, should I be surprised? It’d be arrogant of me to think I knew it all. Each short film is only a snapshot of my meager understanding of love at the time it was made. I continue to evolve, and so will my work, and in this case.. my understanding of past work. So hopefully someday I can create an addendum.. actually, no. Not hopefully.. I must.

35 thoughts on “The missing one

  1. I watch this short film almost everyday, and every time I watched it, I always wondered why you didn’t put a how. But now, I understand. What you wrote, and what you created is magic. Even with it’s “flaw” of letting us learn how to love for ourselves, instead of watching and dreaming and being infatuated by that idea of “how” we should love.
    Thank you for creating real magic that Harry couldn’t😉
    Keep up the good work, I love seeing you guys grow and achieve more and more everyday. It inspires me so much to reach for the stars and never giving up.🙂 Thank you.

  2. ” How do you change with someone while preserving yourself?”- You don’t. You evolve together.
    ” How do you face challenges without completely compromising?”-You talk it out and meet each other half way.
    ” How do you resist temptation yet feed other primal needs?”- You decide what’s right to you
    ” How do you find the love of your life in essentially the first quarter of it”- When you meet the person that you can do all the things above with her/ him.
    “how do you love someone forever?”- let’s not think about it and enjoy the relationship at the moment and grow with it.

    ps: just some random thoughts when I read your post. We all have own struggles and challenges when it comes to relationships. I just find that sometimes over-thinking about it and its future make the relationship become fragile…

  3. How, was the whole story of him explaining his love, because his actions is how he loves. You did a great job Phil, and showed us how without even realizing it!

  4. Hi Phil,

    This really speaks to me as someone who is involved in a partnership that embodies so much passion, yet so little patience. How we love really focuses on the times we find ourselves struggling to be a good partner for our other half when we just can’t come to an agreement, whether it be through values, political views, lifestyle, and more. It aims to develop trust, commitment, respect, and good communication. It really is the least outwardly romantic of the six, but in actuality is the most substantial. It’s a learning process. It encompasses trials and errors, patience, and forces us to become beings that work hard each and every day to improve ourselves, as well as to find a good balance between being true to ourselves and loving our other half for what they are and what they are not.

  5. Phil,
    “The Last” is one of my favorite short films by you guys, and even if you did include “how,” it wouldn’t have mattered. I still would have loved it just as much. I think that’s the point of art; you take what you know and produce and grow from it. That’s why when you look back on your past creations, you will see just how far you’ve come. And for a subject as multidimensional as love, The film already covers it so well. It’s one of those very human experiences you learn and grow from.

    Nonetheless, this was an enjoyable read. I loved how you were so open to sharing this realization with us. Keep up the good work!

  6. Reblogged this on Lola By The Bay and commented:
    I don’t always re-blog other people’s posts, but when I do, it’s often with reason. I had mentioned previously how Wong Fu Productions served as an influence for me when writing my book. One of its members, Phil Wang, just posted this incredibly analytical piece about “the missing one” of Wong Fu’s 2012 short film, “The Last.” It’s worth the read so feel free to check it out, along with the short film if you haven’t seen it yet.

    -Lauren

  7. Hey Phil,

    Just a thought, but there’s a way you can still express the “How”. It’s quite a simple solution really, something we’d all want. I’m pretty sure you’d be against because I know “The Last” is something you’ve finished and wanted to move forward from, especially with how I remembered you saying something about doing sequels to previous videos. I think you can also see where I’m going with this too: I believe you can make an entire video expressing the “How” aspect of the last. Like you said, this is probably the most important one, showing how you love your partner through the actions that you give everyday. Perhaps you can think about completing the “package” with a spin off of some sort in the future. As for now, we’ll be waiting patiently.

  8. I love this. In fact after my ex I often wondered if I would even know to love again. Not in a sappy forever alone way but in a more genuine how do you gain back yourself after spending years giving it to someone else.

  9. You don’t need to apologize for that lovely short, Phil. As an artist, your work will continually grow and change as you do, and that is to be expected. To think you’d have all the answers now as you will when you’re 98 is unrealistic. Be forgiving and kind to yourself, and proud of how far you’ve come in your understanding and self-awareness in the matters of love and relationships.🙂 You can also apply that to all those uncertainties neatly wrapped up in your questions towards the end of your post.

    Seems like you’ve been struggling with commitment. The truth is, there will be a lot of people out there who may not ask the same questions you do. I know I wouldn’t at my age.😛 As you grow and change in your relationships, your partner will too. That’s the beauty of sharing a life, because you grow, change, and experience things together. Relationships are constantly evolving, but it’s the conscious choices and decisions each individual makes to stay together that keep it going. But there’s a difference between doing so at a young age vs. when you’re older and more sure of who you are and what you want in life, and I think it is this uncertainty of lack of self-awareness, perhaps which you experienced when you were younger that led to relationship breakups, that is keeping you up at nights.

    You’re a director, I get it. You like to have control of things– Lightings, cameras, props, etc. But in long-term romantic relationships, uncertainties are just a fact you’ll have to accept. Imagine you’re back in Montana’s wilderness, about to embark on a new adventure with your loved one by your side- Truth is, when you choose to reach out and hold her hand throughout life, realize that you’re also embracing uncertainty, and the fact that things may not go so smoothly or the way you’ve planned, that crises may arise and need to be addressed, and those butterflies may eventually get stagnant…The most important part is what we do when it happens. All we can ask of ourselves is to believe in our promise if we should choose to take it on, to face that unknown that the future can be sometimes, and to try our very best. And we cannot ask for more.

    If you are brave enough to take the leap and explore this side of life, you might get more than you bargained for. But “when the world gives you more than you bargained for, you’re usually glad you got it.” Sometimes in life, you never really know until you try. Something to think about if you’re scared, which you do sound to me. Lol. Have faith. Just wanted to share what I was thinking after reading this post.

  10. Hi Phil,
    Appreciate your honesty and the time and thought you have clearly spent on this subject.
    Keeping in mind of the fact that there are couples everywhere, everyday, who still divorce at 55 or older reminds me that it’s never easy, and there’s never a point for anybody, to have “made it” or even found “the one”. I believe that love is a daily choice, and finding someone, when in the crappiest moments you can still stand, is very lucky already.
    Personally, I am in a relationship with someone that I never would’ve thought would be a right match for myself, but I’ve been very lucky indeed. I still can’t say with 100% certainty that we will be together forever, like my mom and pop are. I just try to treasure every day we have together, because I know love is a gift, and I never know when it may be gone.

  11. So i thought there is no ‘how’ so stay in love but maybe there is – indirectly. Love becomes a different kind of love throughout the stages. If you’re scared of temptations and/or straying then first you have to decide who you can see yourself or keep returning to

    Anyway, staying in love is like smoking. One may have a passion to smoke, but in order to quit, they need a higher passion to want to quit. Just like being in love, you need to have a higher passion to not give in to those temptations that comes and goes

  12. Treat this “mistake” as an opportunity to display your creative and personal growth. After reading this, I think the “how” could be better addressed as a standalone work. Like you said, the 5 W’s from “The Last” were reactions. There’s so much to explore with the “how” that it might have suffocated the rest.

  13. Hey Phil,
    Prefect timing as the WongFu Movie wraps up this “How” topic came to you (and all of us) at a perfect time. Never too late, never too early, better sooner or later…my point is that life is about finding the missing pieces, that you would already know. Time to express, “How”… We (your fans, friends & family) will be waiting.
    Good luck!

  14. Hey Phil,
    Prefect timing as the WongFu Movie wraps up this “How” topic came to you (and all of us) at a perfect time. Never too late, never too early, better sooner or later…my point is that life is about finding the missing pieces, that you would already know. Time to express, “How”… in a sequel. We (your fans, friends & family) will be waiting.
    Good luck!

  15. I don’t think you should view this as a failure on your part as a filmmaker. Film is about growth as well. It isn’t as stagnant as it may seem. Yes, maybe the pictures on the screen stay the same and on the surface, so does the story. But as a writer and a great film lover that you are, you must realize that good films change with time and experience. Your favourite movie isn’t the same each time you watch it, and neither is your short.

    Maybe, just maybe, the how is implicit. It’s there underlying each relationship. Its building slowly. It can’t be summarized by a woman, but it is…him at the end. Maybe, the How is how he found himself and the Last together.

  16. Hey Phil,
    I love this short. It inspired me to view love in a different perspective. Who, What, When, Where, Why…… They are forms of memories which teaches us “How to love”. I guess no one could ever say truly “how to love”. We could probably love someone in a certain (textbook maybe) way and still not able to make it into a “forever after”. A “how” just has too many variables, too many unknowns that no one can really control.

    I feel that you didn’t mislead or shortchanged anyone by missing out on the “How”. After all, a “how” shouldn’t be one sided, but rather an interaction of both parties trying to make it towards their forever after. Guess even after we have had found that special him/her, we would still learning and trying to grasp the concept of “how to love”.

  17. I don’t know if this has been said already but my thoughts about why “how” was missed from the final version of “The Last”. Personally, I think “The Last” is perfect how it is – explaining the who/what/when/where/and why…and the reason “How” can not be included is because of one simple fact: “HOW” we love – choose to love – show our love – HOW we choose to show our why/what/when/where/who WE love is different and unique and personal to each one of us. There’s no one “HOW” – otherwise Phil, you’d be a genius at this concept of “LOVE” and have it figured out by now…enough, at least, to write a book, a movie, and make millions off of it. But, “HOW” is special and unique to each one of us. It’s our own personal experience(s)…there’s no one way … there’s no formula depicting it or analyzing it ….HOW is how we separate our unique and personal love stories. HOW is how we can tell our kids the unique way(s) we all met our “last” person.
    Personally, I don’t think there should be a sequel…a retraction…or an apology. HOW was left out for a reason…HOW is it you want your story told….HOW do you want to show your who/what/when/where/why? By not including it, you let us (the viewer) tell our own ending to “The Last”.

    “The Last” is a masterpiece….that’s beautifully pieced, shot, scripted, and portrayed. Anything else would do this piece of work by Wong Fu Productions injustice…to themselves and their fans!

    Looking forward to your future work Wong Fu

    M

  18. We all love ‘love’. Falling in it, being in it, finding it, making it. But when you’re a romantic – and I think that you probably are – love can become such a convulated fantasy that reality fails to match up. Ironically, getting so caught up in such a specific idea of what a ‘forever love’ is, makes ‘forever’ an even bigger struggle.

    Yes, ‘forever’ is a heavy thing but time flies when you’re enjoying yourself. There will come a point when you have to make tough decisions — Do I really want to stay? Is there really it? Could I kiss someone else without her finding out? — and there’s no guarantee that you’d make the right one. But I think if you start learning to trust yourself, you’d be a step closer to being the man you want to be.

    P.S There is no timeline to finding the love of your life. Don’t let age mess with your head/heart..

  19. “How do you change with someone while preserving yourself? How do you face challenges without completely compromising?”

    This has always been a struggle for me as well. Not just in lovey-dovey relationships, but in every relationship. Friends. Work. Acquaintances. How far do you bend before you break? How much do you give until you’re empty? How far do you go before you’re lost?And it’s frustrating, bc I’m not not sure either. But when it comes down to it… we can only be true to ourselves and accept the consequences of our choices. For better or worse, our choices make us who we are. Our character. Our actions. Our words. Our thoughts. If we can let go and just appreciate everything for what it is… in the end, we’ve actually given nothing, and received more than we ever thought we would. Because, we opened our hearts.

    Hope you find the “missing piece”, and realize you are that someONE to somone else, but more so, yourself.

  20. I do agree with you about ‘How’. I guess it’s something that we would eventually know or eventually learn or maybe we will never know. i mean, How do you know if he/she is the one? How do you know that this is it & it is forever? Is it because of the who, what, when, where & why?

    Maybe it will be a journey for some people to find out and some to just know. I find your post intriguing and glad to know that i’m not alone in wondering about the ‘How’.

  21. I think you, leaving out HOW, was meant to be. Because in HOW, there are many different levels…like a puzzle…that’s waiting to be put together properly…in a sequence that will make a person understand and question and reply back to himself naturally and honestly.

  22. phil you are so cute~~~~~~~~~ hahahahah~~~ i wanted to write more, like my opinion/expierence/belief on this topic~ but then it is kind of unfair for you~~ so i will save it for myself~~ :))

  23. This is my favourite video you have ever made. Speaks to me so much. I wish I could use it for my wedding. You don’t need to change it, it’s perfect just make another that reflects the wisdom and insight you have now. As always Phil, you speak to our hearts.

    ——-
    You are How I love, with you I learnt that Love is not a feeling but a choice, that love is beyond romance and giggles and moments. With you I learnt that Love is for the Other and you loving me without condition and choosing to love me everyday has taught me how to love. You love me like Christ loves his Church. I will spend the rest of my life trying to love you like that as well.
    ——-

    Wong Fu for Lyfe….

    Sincerely,
    Diane
    Singapore

    1. All I know is that the how is not finished yet,what a picture of your soul it’s like I can see you in your struggles and hear a I don’t know a longing a deep intuition that tells you that your not perfect and neither are any of us but you still sense that there is a deep abiding true love for you one that no matter (How) what you do they will always love you nor How much you have hurt her she will not return evil to you but do you good I think you know that it exists and maybe you have it but how can you trust her with your deepest soul after you have lived this way with her ,maybe that’s a chance you have to take after all with the way these movies are going I think you have a intuition that it is real and all this woman is waiting on is you. maybe she has grown and seen that love is a powerful force it stands in truth and hopes all things it has subdued Kings and Nations it fights for those to whom it belongs between a man and a woman God calls it a 3 cord strand but the How is you have to go for it trust it believe it live it and if you falter you had the greatest love in life someone to help you and wait for you to stand up and to know you are forgiven and to complete your promise to each other and consider your promise a holy and sacred thing don’t ever ever give up if love can move our God to become a man and suffer death for us we can experience that one true love ,that was his will in the beginning

  24. Reblogged this on choopiggy's Blog and commented:
    This is my favourite video Wong Fu has made. Speaks to me so much. I wish I could use it for my wedding. You don’t need to change it, it’s perfect just make another that reflects the wisdom and insight you have now. As always Phil, you speak to our hearts.

    ——-
    You are How I love, with you I learnt that Love is not a feeling but a choice, that love is beyond romance and giggles and moments. With you I learnt that Love is for the Other and you loving me without condition and choosing to love me everyday has taught me how to love. You love me like Christ loves his Church. I will spend the rest of my life trying to love you like that as well.
    ——-

  25. So I don’t fully understand the socially acceptable mannerisms of the blogging world, like for example whether or not it’s weird to comment on an old blog, buuuuut, whatever you probably won’t read this so yeah, anyway. I too was wondering about the “How” in The Last, I mean it’s an amazing short, but honestly the “How” in love is the most important than, who, what, where, when, and why. They are all about the self, how it impacted yourself, but How, How is much different because it’s more about the other person. I do think a short about how to love would be really necessary, because I think that’s what people struggle with now days. I mean love in itself is complicated but I think people will understand who they love, when they love, where they love, what they love, why they love, but how they love, I think that’s more of an everyday event that takes place when you wake up and choose to love this person and that takes time and energy and a lot of learning and choosing. How you love it’s an action, it’s a sacrifice, it’s a choice, but most of all it’s really satisfying when you love someone else, yeah it’s hard but it’s worth it. Although I’ve never been in love, (I realize that that this sentence makes the sentence before it,lose a lot of it’s value), and I personally struggle with love, not relationship wise, because I’ve never been in one (man I am definitely devaluing my credit on this subject), but from what I’ve seen (honestly I’ve seen some messed up relationships), okay actually here’s the truth I know love is… well it’s many things, but It’s Something We All Need, and we need to Share it, and we need to know How to share it, and a video about that would be nice, although I know there are many other places to find out how, some people use Youtube shorts to learn things, and most people use the internet to learn things..so yeah much needed video about how to love🙂

  26. I was thinking that since you said that “how” was very important and you didn’t include it in the short, you could make the addenum and emphasize the importance of “how.” “How” is so important that it gets its own short/video.🙂 It could even be a spin-off, or a completely different idea from “The Last.”

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