Vincent Chan is an actor from Devon, UK. He just completed his web series called Eye of the Dragon. We have conducted a short interview with him.
What are the challenges to be a director and actor in the web series?
The biggest problem I faced was acting and directing myself at the same time. The fight sequence in the final episode was the most difficult because I had to concentrate on my martial arts moves and at the same time picture how the fight would look on camera. This made me wary of my movement and positioning because I wanted to ensure the scene was filmed as I had imagined it. There were a number of times when I thought I executed a punch or a kick at the right angle, at the right speed etc. But when the footage was played back to me, I realised my positioning was all wrong or the move wasn't executed as well as I thought. So, we did have to do a lot of retakes.
How long did you take to produce and film your web series titled "Eye of the Dragon"?
This is going to be a long answer because you have to bear in mind that "Eye of the Dragon" began as a short film and was supposed to be a one-off. I went to Japan in the summer of 2012 to film the establishing shots in the opening titles. At that point, there wasn't a script yet, just ideas. I wrote the script at the beginning of 2013 and we shot the film shortly after. It was uploaded to YouTube in April and I received positive feedback but people wished there was a clear ending to the film. I wanted to give them a sequel but I didn't know how to continue the story at that time. It took over a year to finally get the script together for a sequel and I wrote a fight scene into it as part of the grand finale. However, I had laser eye surgery in June 2014 and was told I couldn't do contact martial arts for several months. I didn't really want to spend the summer not doing much so, I decided to turn the sequel from a short film into a short web series. That allowed us to split the story up into little episodes so I could film the fight scene towards the end of the production. The fight scene was shot in December 2014 and the final episode was uploaded in January 2015. Including the original short film that's over two and a half years.
Before the production of each movie, what/who inspire you in the content and concept of the films?
It can be anything. My early work was inspired by Jackie Chan and other Hong Kong martial arts actors from the 1980s and 1990s. Recently, I've taken real life experiences and incorporated them into my projects. "Bad Day" was based off my short-lived experience from working in a civil engineering company in Hong Kong. Some real life events inspired me to include similar situations in the "Eye of the Dragon" series. In the second episode "History Repeats" I used clips from a video I found in YouTube's Creative Commons section. It was a video of a pro-democracy riot with protesters, triads and police in Hong Kong. The script already depicted Hong Kong in chaos and the timing of the 2014 Hong Kong protests was so perfect, I was able to show a city of unrest. In the final episode, "The Tenth Dragon" features an island called Yim Tin Tsai which, is where my grandparents once lived. It was abandoned for a long time but tourists now frequently visit the island. Our ancestral home was basically left to rot but we then rented the place out and the occupier restored it. You can see the house before and after in the episode. In reality, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2013 to mark the revitalisation of the once abandoned salt pans. In "Eye of the Dragon" the same thing happens but it's because of a fantasy element unlike real life!
What are your motivations to create these kinds of YouYube movies?
My YouTube channel is currently partnered with the AwesomenessTV Network which is owned by DreamWorks. I feel good about being part of a large network especially as it's owned by a well-known film production company. That encourages me to keep making videos so, I try to upload at least one video a month.
Have you been trained in an acting school? What kind of reactions have you received from your audience?
Aside from the usual school plays and the drama classes, no, I was not trained in an acting school. I get good reactions from people who enjoy watching my fight scenes and some people like the short stories I tell. "Eye of the Dragon" wasn't originally conceived as a web series nor was it going have any martial arts. But still, people enjoyed the original short film because of the featured scenery and the storytelling. When the last episode of the series was released, some viewers were blown away by the fight sequence.
More information available at:
Google+ (for YouTube channel): https://plus.google.com/b/117715494602308162166