After 10 seasons on the hugely successful "Grey's Anatomy," actress Sandra Oh is going in a very different for her next project. Oh is lending her voice and producing power to "Window Horses," an animated film about a young Canadian poet of Chinese and Iranian descent. And she's also learning a lot about the world of crowdfunding, thanks to the films extensive Indiegogo campaign.
You've clearly been busy since leaving "Grey's Anatomy."
I'm super-excited to be working on "Window Horse" and kind of producing for the first time, which for me is a whole new hat and a whole new learning curve, which is great. It's so exciting for me. And after a decade of "Grey's," the thing that I fall in love with is an animated film! So I thought I'd try to get that made.
What was it about this project that spoke to you?
For me, "Window Horses" is so pro-girl, it's pro-tolerance, it's pro-diversity and it's set in the world of poetry, and these are all things that I feel extremely invested in and extremely interested in sharing. I feel that race is deeply a part of everyday life, and to be a spokesperson or to put stories out there about people who don't get represented is something that I'm really interested in and very invested in. I realized while watching things that are geared towards young people, young girls, I still do not see myself represented as an Asian person. Absolutely not, absolutely not, even with the headway that we have made.
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How do you think we get to a place where projects that are pro-girl and pro-diversity don't just seem like no-brainers?
I honestly don't know. I'm fully aware that the Indiegogo campaign is an outsider's way of making work, and honestly that's why it appeals to me. Having been inside in some ways for the past decade on a very successful and very well-funded television show — which was an amazing, amazing experience — I just want to take what I know from that and bring it to another audience, an audience who is not as well represented, who actually wants to hear different stories, not mainstream stories. I'm honestly sick of seeing the same story over and over and over again. All you have to do is look at reality television. All those things are the same!
What about what Shonda Rhimes has done for representation on TV?
There's so much that I feel "Grey's" did for diversity on television, and the style of the show was that we never talked about race. The way that her track record can actually prove in a physical, monetized way that people will watch a TV show when there are black people on it, to be quite blunt — it's like, yes! And other stories, other faces that maybe we're not used to seeing as the primary storytellers. Who are we following? Who's story are we following? The character is "Window Horses" is this mixed-race young woman who is trying to discover herself and who has an artist's voice and goes and finds it in another country. I just know that there is an audience for that. I know there is a girl out there who is going to see herself in this character, and I want her to see it.
How has it been so far interacting with that audience?
It's very new for us. I'm sure there are a lot of other people who are pros at it at this time, and the way we're doing it is our own way. It's mysterious in its own way because you have no idea what will happen, and I just hope that people will see it and say, "I want to see a stick figure character who has two little slits for eyes and is wearing a chador, I want to see her up there so I'm going to donate." It's a platform to connect with people — to connect with like-minded people. Just the amount of people who have responded to it and want to tell their own stories, it's a like a floodgate. When people — or let's say larger organizations or paradigm structures — say that no one wants to hear these stories, I just don't believe it. I don't believe it at all.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick