Quan Phung | President, Scripted Programming | Slingshot Global Media
Quan Phung is President of Scripted Programming at Slingshot Global Media, an independent television studio backed by private equity and based in Santa Monica, California. Established in 2014, Slingshot’s mission is to build a talent-friendly, forward-thinking 21st century studio that develops, produces, finances and distributes television series with a global focus and reach.
Prior to Slingshot, Quan spent close to two decades as a producer and an executive at companies such as Bluegrass Television, Twentieth Century Fox Television Studios, Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). He has been involved in the development and production of many acclaimed series including House, How I Met Your Mother, My Name is Earl and Arrested Development. In 2002, he was named one of Hollywood Reporter’s Top 35 Executives Under 35.
Full Name: Quan Luong Phung
Hometown: San Diego, California
Current City: Los Angeles, California
What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”
To me, “Going Against The Grain” is always striving to be your authentic self. It is continuing to evolve and recognizing your strengths and shortcomings. It is not being afraid of failure and looking at those moments as opportunities to engage with the world, and get to know yourself better. It is leading anything but a life of quiet desperation.
A community leader and philanthropist who advocates for diversity and inclusion in media and the arts, Quan has been invited to moderate panels by organizations such as the Center for Asian American Media, the Asian American Journalists Association and Advancing Justice. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Stanford Alumni Association and Visual Communications, the oldest Asian American media arts non-profit organization in the country, and previously served on the Board of Directors for the California Community Foundation and the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble. He graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and lives in Los Angeles with his wife Dr. Michelle Ko and their two children.
What made you decide to pursue your career path?
I have always had an unhealthy love for television. As a kid, I watched TV with the same fervor today’s kids play Minecraft. But I managed to figure out that beyond the entertainment value, television has a remarkable ability to affect social change. So I decided to spend my working life in an industry that through unique characters and stories might engage viewers in a conversation about the human condition, while simultaneously making them laugh, cry and think about where we’ve been and where we’re going as a community.
What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?
Being any outsider sometimes means you have to figure out what the inner circle wants, adapt to the situation and then slowly try to stretch the boundaries of that circle so it includes different voices. As Asian Americans who at best are looked at as a model minorities and at worst invisible by the industry, it is a daily challenge to define who we are rather than let others define us. Luckily, there are many more of us in the industry today than when I started, and that really helps to facilitate the transformation and expand the circle.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?
Shows that I’ve helped create and have worked on come and go, but I get the most fulfillment from mentoring young like-minded executives, as well as Asian American writers, filmmakers, producers and actors. There were many good people who encouraged me to pursue my passions when I started, and I’d like to think if we all pay it forward, the industry will be better off in terms of reflecting the true values of the audience we’re asked to court and service.
What’s up next?
I’m working on building an independent television studio based in the U.S. that is trying to develop, produce and distribute TV series for a global audience. Our first big show is an action drama executive produced by and starring Keanu Reeves.
Quote to live by: “A rising tide lifts all ships.”
Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac): Rooster and Sagittarius
Passionate about: Horse racing, good ethnic food and Stanford football
Favorite food: So much to choose from. A smattering: Southern fried chicken, the omakase at Shin Bay in Phoenix, my mom’s pho.
Can’t live without: My family. Amazing wife and two beautiful newborn twins.
I Go Against The Grain #beCAUSE: I like to zig where others zag.