16 Feb Worthy Men, Fifth Edition: Akira Chan
Who: Akira Chan (IG: @akirachan)
Location: Depends on what day you ask!
Akira is a friend, client and basically… a Super-Man. He is such a special soul. He is one of those people that has 1,098 things going on at one time yet somehow makes each person that he comes into contact with feel like he or she is the only thing that matters. I call it extreme presence, and he has it.
Akira owns a company called Rare Media with his partner, Renee, whom I have had the privilege of knowing even before I met Akira. They are a powerhouse couple doing great things for this planet, and I feel honored and grateful to get to see them, even for a quick second around Encinitas when they aren’t traveling around the world.
Akira’s work can represent who and what he is all about more than my words. One of the things they have up their sleeve is a documentary and art platform called “Artists for Addicts”; the trailer can be seen at www.artistsforaddicts.com. It sheds light on the highly avoided topic of addiction by using art as a force for good to not only help people who have developed addiction problems, but also to increase understanding about what addiction actually is, where it comes from and how to truly heal it. Most people have been touched by addiction of some sort- whether themselves, a friend, partner or family member… and I highly recommend checking it out.
Another original video that I consider a must-see is “Where are the Men?”, which is a call and tribute to the Modern Man and provides inspiration and insight into today’s top social issues. Men and women both can get a lot out of the piece, and it can be found directly on his home page: www.akirachan.com
Thank you Akira, just for being you and doing what you do. It affects us all in a big way.
1) Who are you?
I’m a mixed race (Half Japanese, Quarter Chinese, Quarter White) explorer and lover of life, using my capabilities to contribute a little more beauty in the world.
I currently do that through my production company Rare Media, with the help of my wonderful partner Renee Airya, and our amazing team.
2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming ?
My greatest challenge is maintaining my center, my essence, through large waves of personal, professional and social growth.
Growing a business can feel like building a little log cabin in some raw and wild land, where you’re constantly dealing with seasonal shifts…feast, famine, glorious sunrises, followed by monsoons.
And with that comes learning many new skills and conquering many fears – like public speaking and having tough conversations. It’s been challenging to not lose myself, or my identity, through all of this.
There are #winning days that feel triumphant – where I’m in awe of the team – satisfied with my leadership – days we’ve pulled off massive feats like delivering a dozen projects on time and within budget. Then there are the #fail days where I feel like I’m lost – fires are starting everywhere – days that I’m longing to return to being a solo freelance artist, running around at festivals and collaborating with friends on simple video projects. But at the end of the day, I know I’ve made a permanent and powerful decision to hop on the path I’m on – and I like who I’m becoming with all of the temperance.
3) What have you learned?
I’ve learned to build on my strengths rather than strengthen my weaknesses.
I’ll share a personal story here. One of the reasons I became so enamored with filmmaking in the first place, was a beautiful experience I had at 11 years old. I had a class assignment to interview a grandparent, and I decided to sit down with my strong, proud and stern grandfather – a man I highly respected but knew little about.
Instead of writing down the answers, I set up the family camera for a video interview. My first question to him triggered an emotional response….and he broke down crying. It was an incredible moment of bonding between us, but it also taught me about the power of listening to people, and recording stories.
So these days, I’m focusing on my strength of listening and producing emotional stories.
It’s a place I love to be, and a constant demonstration of the human spirit in action.
**photo of Akira by Arturo Everitt
**photo of Akira + Renee by Malek Houlihan