Q&A with Daniel Park, KTOWN COWBOYS Director and Transparent Agency Creative Director

filmmaker and artist Daniel Park chats about the importance of Asian American media, musicians, the impact of smoking, and why he is an advocate for reducing tobacco use.

This post is sponsored by the California Department of Public Health. They are spreading the word to parents about the dangers of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigs, which more and more kids use because they come in flavors like mango and strawberry. In fact there are over 15,000 e-cigarette flavors on the market, many of which are enticing to kids. And, 80% of kids who ever used tobacco started with flavored tobacco. All tobacco products are toxic and highly addictive. Visit FlavorsHookKids.org for more info.

We interview filmmaker and artist Daniel Park, who has supported many artists and filmmakers that have come through CAAMFest over the years, and has been a champion of Asian American creatives. He talks about the importance of Asian American media, musicians, the impact of smoking, and why he is an advocate for reducing tobacco use.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself — where you grew up, and what you do now?
Hi, my name is Daniel Park but a lot of people know me as Dpd. I grew up in SoCal. I’m a partner and creative director at Transparent Agency. Basically, I work with a lot of different musicians to make sure that their creatives are on point. I also produce and direct content!

You’ve come to CAAMFest a number of times, including this year. Do you have any special moments that stand out?
Really, everything I went to was amazing, all the films and events. Each time I come it’s really special. Really enjoyed attending Heritage SF too. The energy throughout the Festival was amazing and I met several different people who are just so happy to see an event like this in The Bay.

Why is it important to have Asian American talent be visible in this day and age? 
We need to be visible so people can get to know Asian Americans! Our current representation in the media is pretty non-existent. In the past our representations were not controlled by us and mostly based off of stereotypes. It’s important that we can feel familiar and our true identities explored — we’re like everyone else, we have nerds, food delivery guys, martial artists, but also rappers, mechanics, school teachers, studio executives, etc. When we’re normalized, the rest of America can get a sense that we truly are American.

We were told you used to smoke? When and why did you give up the habit?
I picked up smoking when I was about 15. I started cuz it was the 90’s and I was insecure. I gave up about five years ago now. I stopped mostly because of my health — dry heaving all the time was pretty scary.

How has giving up smoking and living healthier affected you for the better?
Giving up smoking has been great! Girls that would never kiss me are now at least considering it (my girlfriend will not be amused). Jokes aside, my smoking was causing me to feel nauseous and I was constantly coughing. Now that I don’t smoke anymore those symptoms have gone away and I have the comfort of knowing my body is just that much better when I work.

How has it affected you for the better as a director?
I used to smoke pretty much non-stop when I was on set. Now that I don’t smoke, I’m sure a lot of staff members are happier and I’m able to actually focus in on my tasks a bit better. I used to rely on smoking like a crutch during production but the absence of smoking has made me stronger.

You gave up smoking a while ago, and in that time tobacco has become even more varied — with e-cigs, over 15,500 flavors of flavored tobacco, and so much more. What advice would you give to anyone trying to avoid tobacco use or give it up now?
I’m a strong believer in going cold turkey. It’s easier said than done but in my experience trying to ween off of it just kept reminding me what I was gonna miss! Glad that I gave it up 100% though! My life and work have benefited so much from giving up on smoking.

What’s your take on smoking flavored tobacco, e-cigarettes, hookah, cigarillos, cigars, juuls, etc.?
Let me start by saying – it’s cool to see CAAMFest take on such an important topic.  I actually had no idea that there were so many different forms of flavored tobacco. Learning about it was kind of crazy. I have a lot of friends that are parents now – and learning about it myself makes me want to tell them about it when I see them. They got to know!

Daniel “Dpd” Park is a producer/director who grew up heavily influenced by both American and Asian pop culture. Being a creative direc­tor in the music industry has also given Daniel the unique ability to work heavily with both musicians and actors. Having his start in directing the web series KTOWN COWBOYS (Justin Chon, Daniel Dae Kim, Ken Jeong, Bobby Lee), he was able to direct his first feature of the same name in 2015 premiering at SXSW. Produc­ing titles include BLAME IT ON THE STREETS starring YG 400, Rick Gonzalez and Jade Yorker which premiered on Revolt TV, along with numerous commercials and music videos ranging from clients such as Nongshim, Paypal, Verizon, Chris Brown, Far East Move­ment, AOMG, Snoop Dogg, Hyolyn (Sistar), Jong Hyun (Shinee), Jay Park (AOMG) and more.

Daniel is currently a partner and the creative director at Transparent Agency.


The California Department of Public Health is a proud Sponsor of the 36th CAAMFest. CAAM thanks them for their support of ANATOMY OF A MUSIC VIDEO WITH RUBY IBARRA and POWER IN UNITY!

For help to quit smoking, the California Smokers’ Helpline offers free telephone counseling, self-help materials, and online help in six languages. Visit www.nobutts.org or call 1-800-NO-BUTTS.