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Visa and Green Card for a Boy who Works Hard

$8,575 of $14,500 goal

Raised by 87 people in 1 month


Hello guys 大家好

My name is Leo Yu-Ning Chang, aka the boy who works hard.

I am so grateful to have the privilege of living in one of the greatest city in the world pursuing my dream as a performing artist. My mom knew that I was going to be a special kid when I tried to eat a microphone and danced to her daily yoga video before I even know how to walk.

To your surprise, perhaps, my performing journey started when I was an exchange student in Olathe, Kansas at the age of 16. Yes, in another country, in another language, I found my passion for life. After finishing my undergrad in Taiwan, I spent two years in San Diego studying the craft of this unique and fascinating art form-musical theatre. It took me a decade to finally take a faithful leap to move to New York City. Within the past six months, I have been extremely fortunate to become an adjunct faculty at a college, a teaching artist at a theatre company, as well as working as a performer and about to make my Off-Broadway debut in a month. Yet, I am facing the biggest challenge in my career so far, my visa status.

Living in NYC as a foreign performer is tough. We have to fight harder than everyone else to overcome our language barriers, different cultural background/ethnicity, and the right to stay and work legally in this country. Some may ask, why are you putting yourself in this situation? Why not find an easy way or job back in your country? However, as an educator, I always tell my students: "Difficulty is not an excuse to quit, it is the key to breakthroughs and success." In order to promote diversity and equality of the entertainment industry, I have to stay. To prove that as long as you work hard, you will be closer and closer to your goals day after day, I have to stay.  To be a strong and persistent representation to the next generation as a minority and encourage children to fight for their dreams, I have to stay.

So I am here to ask you to join my journey.

I know it is a long, complicated, and expensive process, so I have done a lot of research and consulted many lawyers and those who have gone through this process. I am going to briefly explain my plan and where the money will be going towards.

Currently, I am on the OPT visa, which is granted after receiving a higher education degree in the States. In my field, this visa lasts for one year. Then, I will have to apply for another working visa or green card to stay and work legally. For artists, the O-1 visa is a very common route. It will allow us to stay for up to three years before a renewal or other immigration processes needed to be considered. So this is what I am applying for. However, being an actor is different than other artists. Holding the O-1 visa, actors who have gotten into the Actors' Equity union, their memberships will be frozen until they get their green card. However, during the time, they are still technically equity actors, which will hinder them from taking both equity and non-equity jobs. Of course, there might be exceptions. But due to the complexity of its process and expense, most producers and theatre companies will shy away from international performers until their green cards are secured. Suggested by several attorneys, I am going to apply for the O-1 visa and Green Card at the same time.


Here is the breakdown of the expense for the process:

O-1 Visa:
Legal Fee: $4,000
Filing Fee: $460
Possible extra legal fee if the government requests more evidence: $2,000 (at the most)

Green Card:
Legal Fee: $5,500
Filing Fee: $1,925 (700+1,225)
Miscellaneous Fee (Physical, other potential expenses, and the percentage to GoFundMe): $615

Adding all these expenses together, the total amount will be $14,500


I know it is a lot of money to ask for. And if you know me, I am very bad at asking for help or money, even if it's my money. Fortunately, my buddy Haulston said to me one day when we were working out at the gym: “Let me help. Let’s make it a fun project. I want to help, and I’m sure so do the people who love you.” Then I talked to my Godfather about the Gofundme project, he prayed and then said to me, “Why not? People want to help you, but they don’t know how. This will be a great opportunity for others to be part of your journey.”

So, here comes this exciting project. Below is the list of rewards you will get at the levels of your donation.


Rewards:

$5       Shout out on Social Media

$10     Dedicate a workout to you

$15     Create a Dance move for you

$20     Perform a part of your favorite song with my vocal impersonation of Erhu (Traditional Chinese Guitar)

$25     An acclaimed Shakespeare Actor @Haulston Mann will perform your favorite song as a Shakespearean Monologue

$30     Translating your name to Mandarin and send it to you!

$40     Translating your favorite quote and your name to Mandarin and send it to you!

$65     30 mins Skype Audition coaching Session (Must provide your own accompaniment, live or pre-recorded) with Leo Chang or Haulston Mann will coach a monologue or sides with his blend of Michael Chekhov Technique and Practical Aesthetics

$80     45 mins one-on-one Salsa Dance class with Rebecca Bartlett (Limited to LA area.)  Becca can travel to you if it's not too far.  Also, you can bring one friend to dance with you if you'd like. 

$80     30 mins Online Mandarin Lesson with Leo Chang

$100    Chase Mann (The 3rd Best Power Lifter in Arkansas) and Emily Jordan (Weight Loss and Nutrition Coach) of Mannimal Strength and Fitness will create a four-week personalized workout and nutrition plan for your goals and body types. They are wonderful!

$120    Bois (Haulston, Fernando, and Leo) will create a short song for you based on your social media or any given theme you wish

$200    I will cook a traditional Taiwanese meal for you and your special guest (only in New York City)


$500 and above

Artistic project with Leo Chang, such as a living room concert, sing for your special event or other artistic collaboration upon discussions. (Transportation and accommodation needs to be provided outside of New York City, accompanist upon discussion)

Once you donate, I will do my best to get your reward back to you or scheduled ASAP. I appreciate your patience.

Of course, you can donate any amount you like, or choose to donate anonymously if you wish. No matter who you are or how much you donate, I’m very grateful for your love and every cent you put into my journey.

The future is unknown, but with your love and support, it will only become brighter and clearer day by day. I will put on my smile and stride across the universe to reach my stars.  

Thank you, thank you, and thank you.



大家好,我是Leo張祐寧,台灣大學戲劇系畢業。去年五月從聖地牙哥州立大學取得音樂劇表演碩士學位,九月搬到紐約從事表演工作。這段時間,我非常幸運一路上有家人、朋友的支持,讓我可以無畏的朝著我的夢想挺進。

面對運用外語學習、教學、演出的壓力,使我這段過程更快速成長,吃苦當作吃補。目前我在紐約一間大學兼職教授音樂劇表演,這半年內也很幸運參與了三部音樂劇的演出,以及三個新戲的讀劇會,其中一齣是東尼獎得主Jason Robert Brown作曲的音樂劇,改編自我們耳熟能詳的『霸王別姬』。今年五月,我即將踏上Off-Broadway外百老匯的舞台演出一齣新的音樂劇『啟示錄』。搬到紐約的這半年來的確走得不容易,但一切都非常值得,我從中學習到很多,也成長了許多。

然而目前我面臨到了一個很大的關卡:簽證與綠卡的申請。

大家都知道紐約的生活消費非常的高,當地的許多演員們,就跟台灣的演員一樣都必須要兼職好幾份工作才能維持生計,而我很幸運的靠兼職能溫飽,不用露宿街頭。

不過看到龐大的簽證申請費用,我也真的是醉了。所以這次才會選擇使用群眾募資的方式往夢想的下一步前進。


以下幾點是我目前的計畫以及所需要的費用:

1. 藝術家的簽證跟其他工作領域的簽證不一樣

因為工作內容和領域的關係,我申請的簽證會是O-1藝術家簽證,不是大家平常聽到的H1-B工作簽證。這個簽證通過會讓我可以至少合法在美國工作三年的時間,屆時可以再申請延長或是轉換綠卡。

2. 為什麼要申請綠卡?

演員在藝術家簽證的領域中又是更複雜的。設計師、畫家等等職業拿到藝術家簽證之後,只要在從事的工作範圍在該領域之內,不會有太多工作上的限制。然而演員因為有Actors’ Equity美國演員工會的關係,許多工作機會在O-1簽證的時期會被阻擋,直到拿到綠卡的那一刻。而許多百老匯和外百老匯,甚至其他區域性的大劇團都是屬於工會的。當然,這有可能有例外,我目前要演出的這齣戲就是屬於非工會的製作。但是大多數的製作公司和劇團都會因此請外國演員拿到綠卡之後再來甄選或是談未來的工作機會。

3. 為什麼綠卡和藝術家簽證要一起申請?

綠卡申請審核的時間大約是6-18個月不等,而藝術家簽證是3-6個月。但這些只是保守估計。我去年申請的OPT簽證就被拖延,導致我整個學期無法教課,因此少了一半以上的收入。而為了鞏固我接下來教學的機會,以及不要有無法合法工作的停滯期,我必須要在十月之前順利拿到工作簽證。過程順利的話,會是先拿到藝術家簽證,同時等候綠卡的消息。

4. 申請的費用

O-1簽證:律師費$4,000, 簽證費用$460, 若屆時需要補件,律師費至多會增加$2,000
綠卡: 律師費$5,500, 簽證費用$1,925, 雜支(體檢、GoFundMe募資平台手續費): $615
        
因此總共的費用為$14,500


5. 為什麼選擇這麼辛苦地留在美國,用不是自己的語言闖蕩?

我很慶幸這是我選擇的路。如果我今天是擁有美國國籍,或是從小在這裡生長學習英文的話,我在過去這幾年內也不會這麼的努力,反而會視一切為理所當然。就因為這一路的困難,我更感恩也珍惜我所得到的機會與關卡。我會選擇畢業後先留在美國闖蕩,是因為我覺得我看得還不夠,學的也還不夠,自己更是有許多不足的地方。我會申請簽證與綠卡,是因為我希望獲得更多的工作與學習機會。在未來,我非常希望能夠將我的所學反饋到台灣的劇場界以及台灣的音樂劇教育。我的碩士畢業論文就是專注在如何將美國大學的音樂劇系課程移植到台灣並創造適合我們文化的音樂劇高等教育系統。現在的我,還需要更多經驗,還需要更多得學習,還需要更謙虛。我期盼的不僅僅是未來在台灣能有完善的音樂劇教育體系,更希望世界看到我們台灣人的韌性與堅強。

這次的群眾募資,是我在紐約一個好朋友幫我設立的。他說人的一路上,都會有很多想幫助我們的人,只是他們不知道怎麼伸出援手。因次我決定不去在乎別人眼光,進行這次的募資。我們想出了一些有趣的點子,只要是捐款到固定額度我們都會有回饋項目(以下標示皆為美金):

$5       Facebook/Instagram Po文感謝

$10     用一段健身影片向您致敬

$15     創造一個獨門舞步向您致敬

$20     用我的嘴巴發出二胡的聲音,唱一段你喜歡的歌

$25     我的好朋友Haulston會把你喜歡的歌曲片段(限英文)以莎士比亞獨白的方式呈現

$35     特別印製的親筆手寫感謝卡(須提供地址)

$65     30分鐘音樂劇歌曲線上Coaching (需自備伴奏)

$80     30分鐘線上英文口說課

$100    為期四週的營養和健身菜單。
(教練教練Chase Mann -美國阿肯色州第三名的舉重選手以及他的營養/瘦身教練女友Emily會提供一份完整的健身計畫和營養攝取建議。)

$120    專題影片錄製:留學分享、表演研究所申請過程、學習英文等等。

$200    煮一頓台灣料理給你和你的一個特別貴賓(僅限紐約市)

$500 (或以上)特別企劃如音樂劇表演課程教學、婚禮演唱、或其他表演合作等等。(紐約市以外須提供交通與住宿,伴奏樂手另議)


我知道這是很大的一筆經費。但是不管您是選擇匿名贊助,或是經費的大小,你們贊助的每一分錢,我都非常感激,也都是我繼續進步的一大動力。簽證的結果和未來一樣都是未知,但我不會因此放棄。很多人對面對現實的定義是放棄夢想;然而我對面對現實的定義是:了解夢想的難度與高度,並一步一步去實現。


謝謝你們願意看完我的故事,甚至參與我的故事。因為有你,我的故事將會更不一樣,離夢想的距離也會越來越近。
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Thank you so much for your support. I am halfway through my application process. The rest of it should be done within the next 3-4 weeks if everything goes smooth. I just want to deliver my appreciation by sharing my new song with you.

It's called Curry Rice, which is a song I wrote during Chinese New Year while missing home. It talks about how hard it is to get to your dreams, and I will hold on to it and never give up. Because I have all of your support and love. Hope you will enjoy it. And please feel free to share it if you like it!

https://soundcloud.com/user-860422750-978605850/curry-rice

Sincerely,
Leo
+ Read More

$8,575 of $14,500 goal

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