who is mark cheng

Hey, thanks for stopping by. Here's some information about myself. I guess it might be a little lengthy, but I'm including details here for other filmmakers and aspiring ones in case it helps paint a picture of a path to directing might look like.
Undergrad Film

I went to undergrad at Cornell University where I converted freshman year from a major in Government, to one in Theater Arts. Our class (Class of '97!!) was probably one of the last ones to not use digital at all- we were shooting on 16mm reversal and splicing on flatbed editors.

My first film was about a helium balloon that became self-aware and strangled people as it searched for its creator.

My second film film was an ode to Hong Kong action flicks whose production was nearly shut down permanently when the campus police confiscated my japanese import replica Glock 9 handguns after I failed to report my film shoot causing nearby construction workers to panic at the sight of several armed Korean guys running around college town.

Post grad

The first year after college was spent working on music videos and commercials. I worked on a commercial for Chef Boy-R-Dee, and music videos for Blues Traveler and Jay-Z. Jay-Z's "Streets is Watching" movie video was probably the worst experience of life as a PA which involved me basically showing up at the apartment of the producer and refusing to leave until I got paid.

PA work can be real rough and you need to be able to deal with a lot of instability and be constantly on the lookout for more work. After a year, I realized I was getting nowhere fast and started to look for other things.
Web Design. In 1998, the internet bubble was big and everyone including me started to learn web design and programming on my own. I got a job as a webmaster at a financial trading company whose e-commerce department was about to explode. There I learned more about web programming and application and ultimately became a tech lead there.

MBA, Movies, and MTV

In 2001, I enrolled in business school at Rutgers Business School and paid my way through their part-time program by doing freelance web consulting. I turned 29 during my final year of business school and the film bug came back with an awful vengeance.

I wrote a movie script for a film titled, Deployment Strategy, in my final semester and started pre-production after graduating that summer. The film started shooting in December of 2005, wrapped in the first week of 2006, and was completed in 2007. I blogged the entire process of making Deployment Strategy on my other site, iMustMakeThisFilm.com

It toured the festival circuit for about a year and was picked up by distributor IndiePix in the spring of 2008. Deployment Strategy is now on vimeo where you can see it for free.

Two weeks after filming Deployment Strategy, I started my new full time job at MTV Networks' Nickelodeon as a web developer. I've been at Nickelodeon ever since, taking a break from filmmaking to start a family.

Yo Joe

Operation: Red Retrieval is my first major jump back into filmmaking. I originally conceived of the idea as a means to learn DSLR filmmaking. The project's sort of taken a life of its own though beyond that goal and as the project reaches its completion, I intend to use this site to promote the film and share what I've learned about making the film, the talented people I've met along the way, and the visual effects.

Thanks for letting me share!