“Better Luck Tomorrow” was the first Asian American Film to be picked up at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and MTV Films’ first acquisition ever. When it premiered, it was the number one movie that weekend. Additional DVD rental/sales have brought the total box office tally to approximately $15 million to date -- the film cost $250,000 to produce.

Since then, over 100 colleges and universities have brought Parry in to share his journey from his beginnings as a college student leader to his current role as a working Asian American actor and recently published co-author of the graphic novel, “Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology”.



Parry's keynote will go into things he’s noticed since his days as an officer in his Asian American Organization on campus to being at the forefront of “Better Luck Tomorrow” as the lead actor. He’ll share his ideas on what can be actively pursued by the AA community to be proactive once they've left the confines of college. 


It addresses topics from the swapping of Asian/Asian American characters in the movie adaptation of "21" and "The Last Airbender" from the original story to real-life statistics he's collected from the movie studios’ demographic marketing data.  


In addition, he will discuss his intentions to improve AA representation in the media by putting together “Secret Identities” in order to instantly infuse 52 original and progressive AA characters ready to be further developed in film/tv/animated series or ongoing comic books. 


"Secret Identities" boasts contributions from: Kelly Hu (X-Men 2), Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls) , Yul Kwon (Survivor: Cook Islands), Lynn Chen (Lakeview Terrace), Dustin Nguyen, Sung Kang (Tokyo Drift), Leonardo Nam (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), Michael Kang (The Motel, West 32nd), Gene Yang (American Born Chinese) and of course…. Parry!


The groundbreaking graphic novel contains over 26 stories using the lens of superhero identity to bring to light aspects of Asian American history and culture that people don't talk about very often and makes them accessible, entertaining, and provocative by use of this unique pop genre. 

Examples of short stories in the book contain "shadow history" of our country: from the building of the railroads, to the Japanese American internment, atomic bombings, the Vietnam airlift, the murder of Vincent Chin and the groundless incarceration of Dr. Wen Ho Lee.


Parry will have special animated panels of the book’s stories that he can share, voiced by the creators themselves.


See a quick humorous promo clip about the book here:


The Workshop

Within the Keynote, Parry integrates a workshop where the participants will get to experience and “audition” for the types of roles that he and his fellow Asian American colleagues have auditioned before and after the ground-breaking “Better Luck Tomorrow”. 

Parry will directly correlate how current stereotypical images and mis-representations of Asian-Americans in the media affect society; in short, revealing how much the aforementioned images “trickle down” and affect Asian-Americans even NOT in the entertainment industry. 

How for example, seeing an Asian American character described for the 20th time as:

"Office I.T. guy, nerdy and shy.  Awkward around women.  However has the ability to access information with lightning speed" or "fiercely intelligent (a nerd, even), and asexual" 

Leads to real-life statistics like this:

The authors of "Freakonomics" did a study of women who dated online and found 97% of white women preferred white men but responded equally to profiles of Hispanic Men if they made $77k+ more, Black Men if they made $154k+ and Asian Men if they made $247k or more

The workshop forces participants to discuss and think about these issues such as  -  how the Asian American Male has become so undesirable  that only having only a quarter million dollars in their pocket can level out perceptions – when shown in a real world application.

It’s the ultimate compare and contrast lesson. No acting experience necessary but something everyone should see and experience. 

Since the Asian American superheroes of Secret Identities were created from actual events based on the shadow history of America, an alternate workshop option will be to have Parry duplicate the book's creative process based on the suggestions of the attending participants.

The character will then be rendered by an artist (if available via internet) to sketch that created character before the audience’s very eyes.

Copies of ‘Secret Identities’ will be available for sale and be signed/sketched by Parry.

So why this Program?

What makes Parry's perspective unique from other celebrity speakers is that, he too was once was an active officer in HIS Asian American Organization in college -- doing exactly the same things student organizers are doing right now (bringing in speakers and championing AA 

causes) while also being a working Asian American actor for the past 12 years.  


Possessing these 2 perspectives, Parry has a real understanding of how important it is to share the things he's seen behind closed doors in Hollywood to the next generation, so that they can arm themselves with the knowledge to help make changes in the future for the betterment of all Asian Americans (not just those in the Entertainment Industry). 


As an active AA officer, Parry has sat through several dozens of conferences/lectures and has designed his programming to model the type of programming/speeches that made the most impact to him while he was in college – all of which ultimately made him the individual he is today.  


Parry’s interactive programming strays from the usual format of attendees being "talked to" for an hour and a half.  Your attendees will be kept on their toes the entire time and the points/examples Parry cites throughout the keynote are driven effectively home through practical application in the workshop. 

One student perfectly summed up Parry's programming: 

"...there's no substitute for everything Parry's gone through from his days at his AASU to being at the forefront of 'BLT' and presented in an engaging way.  I was totally having fun the entire time but also learned more in an hour than I did in a whole semester at my Asian American Studies Class!"

In addition, organizer’s will find working with Parry to be nothing short of being a worry-free and simple experience (after all, you still have your classes to focus on, right?):

“Over the years, I have had numerous opportunities to facilitate campus visits for keynote speakers, and I assure you that Mr. Shen is by far the easiest I have ever worked with both in terms of logistics and communication.  

He is extremely detail-oriented, provides a user-friendly contract, and will regularly provide you with e-mail updates and reminders on everything from his travel arrangements to A/V needs.  

I have never dealt with anyone as well-organized, flexible, or as easy to reach as he. 

Unlike many guest speakers in academia that I have worked with, he is amazingly down to earth and does not possess any diva-like qualities.”

-Ms. Kate Agathon, MSEd

Bilsland Strategic Initiatives Fellow

College of Education, Purdue University



So there it all is in a big nutshell.

If your school is interested in booking Parry, please download the programming packet and fill out the FORM AT THE RIGHT SIDEBAR or email: to inquire about dates and costs, Att: Speaking Engagement. 

Hope to hear from you soon!



Michelle Rio events



The Programming Packet

Download Programming Packet Here