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Viewfinder: A Memoir of Seeing and Being Seen (Hardcover)

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From visionary director Jon M. Chu comes a powerful, inspiring memoir of belonging, creativity, and learning to see who you really are.

“A must-read for aspiring artists and dreamers of all kinds.”—Ava DuVernay

Long before he directed Wicked, In The Heights, or the groundbreaking film Crazy Rich Asians, Jon M. Chu was a movie-obsessed first-generation Chinese American, helping at his parents’ Chinese restaurant in Silicon Valley and forever facing the cultural identity crisis endemic to children of immigrants. Growing up on the cutting edge of twenty-first-century technology gave Chu the tools he needed to make his mark at USC film school, and to be discovered by Steven Spielberg, but he soon found himself struggling to understand who he was. In this book, for the first time, Chu turns the lens on his own life and work, telling the universal story of questioning what it means when your dreams collide with your circumstances, and showing how it’s possible to succeed even when the world changes beyond all recognition. 

With striking candor and unrivaled insights, Chu offers a firsthand account of the collision of Silicon Valley and Hollywood—what it’s been like to watch his old world shatter and reshape his new one. Ultimately, Viewfinder is about reckoning with your own story, becoming your most creative self, and finding a path all your own.

About the Author

Jon M. Chu is known for his visually stunning blockbuster films, including In the Heights and Crazy Rich Asians, which was nominated for numerous awards, including two Golden Globe Awards, one for Best Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy; a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble; a PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures; and four Critics Choice Awards, winning one for Best Comedy. Born the youngest of five children in Los Altos, California, Chu continues to use the influences of his childhood (family, technology, food, music, and movement) to tell personal stories in a variety of mediums that connect with audiences from around the world. 

Jeremy McCarter is the co-author, with Lin-Manuel Miranda, of the #1 New York Times bestseller Hamilton: The Revolution. He is the author of Young Radicals, the founder of the acclaimed audio storytelling company Make-Believe Association, and the literary executor of the novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder.

Praise For…

“With Viewfinder, Jon Chu has written a profoundly inspiring book that reminds the reader of the power of dreams and the importance of remaining determined and focused even when—especially when—faced with adversity. A story of identity, creativity and the spirit of an artist, this vicarious journey is moving, funny, heart-wrenching, and relatable to anyone trying to carve out their place in this world.”—J.J. Abrams

“On any given day of filming, Jon Chu finds what’s magic about the day and finds a way to capture it. He takes big swings and dreams big dreams but never loses sight of the beating heart at the center of the story he’s telling. I wish this book had been around when I was younger. I’m so grateful it’s here now.”—Lin-Manuel Miranda

“Heartfelt, candid and wise beyond words, this deeply insightful and wonderfully inspirational memoir by a true storyteller is an absolute must-read.”—Michelle Yeoh

“Jon M. Chu’s Viewfinder is a riveting chronicle of a singular filmmaker’s journey, exploring serious matters of visibility and viability while embracing all the vitality and verve of Hollywood and beyond. It’s a must-read for aspiring artists and dreamers of all kinds.”—Ava DuVernay

“Just like in one of his movies, Jon M. Chu weaves a magical spell and takes us on a wondrous journey through his childhood, his family life, and his cinematic adventures as one of the most visionary talents working in Hollywood today. Viewfinder is a fascinating and heartfelt story that will inspire every reader.”—Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians

“This memoir on the career of Jon Chu will be an inspiration for new aspiring filmmakers as well as a treasure map to the X that will mark the spot for finding their own careers in moviemaking!”—Steven Spielberg

“Inspirational and practical . . . As he recounts, Chu really came into his own with Crazy Rich Asians, the first full-length movie to allow him to explore his heritage, and In The Heights, which gave him a chance to do the kind of musical he had always longed to produce. . . . The author is a reliable guide through many of the less-glamorous aspects of being a director. . . . Entertaining insights from a unique film industry insider.”Kirkus Reviews

“In this endearing autobiography . . . Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker Chu digs into his childhood, influences, and struggles to define himself. . . . Chu and McCarter enliven the standard-issue celeb memoir beats with bits of wisdom aimed at aspiring filmmakers and welcome humor. Film fans—especially those with hopes of working in the business—will enjoy this.”Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593448946
ISBN-10: 0593448944
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: July 23rd, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English