San Francisco born and raised, Victor Chen is a REAL, lifelong martial artist, action talent, choreographer and filmmaker who was kicking and punching since age 2. Victor’s chief aim has always been to showcase Chinese American authenticity. As a martial arts and fitness coach, motivation through movement is how he blends the physical, spiritual and mental aspects in all walks of life. He started martial arts at 8 yrs old, then became obsessed with bodybuilding/fitness training after he saw himself in the mirror with his stomach looking a bit round.
In 1993, he began training hardcore martial arts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, then lead to a growing passion for Muay Thai Kickboxing. He’s trained around the world alongside top-level martial art gyms from Asia to Europe. Always learning and adapting new skills to become a better coach and human being through the warrior spirit. Fast forward to 2009, Victor spent 4 years in China working as an English instructor at a private university. It was sheer luck that he decided to enter into the mainland and stayed committed to seeing every one of his students graduate before returning back to the U.S.
Victor’s attributes his film aspirations to his students in China because they gave him a reason to explore the possibilities of becoming an actor and filmmaker. In April 2019, I joined my friend from London to help film his indie action movie in Romania. Throughout the entire month, I developed a new found love for the Romanian culture, environment but most importantly, the Romanian people. The idea to create a new film project came about from my interest to learn the language.
Hearing words like “bine” and “liniste” every day, I thought of a way to learn faster by ending every word with this phrase “a Romanian action love story.” This caught on to many and it became my daily ritual on set. It began to grow on me after talking with the Romanian crew who stated that their country has never produced any quality action movies.
Many films have used Romania and surrounding countries to portray the look of Eastern Europe. However, few if any modern films represent the country or are made as a product of Romania (documentaries not included). With this in mind, it occurred to me that I can be the first Chinese American to create an action film for the Romanian people. This would be an export to the world vs the world coming to Romania to film.he film is titled “Fata” and will be my first feature film to direct and star in. I have written the opening section of a proof of concept visual look and hope to be able to film the trailer in Romania this Fall. I believe that the philosophy I instill within the story of human emotion through action will help highlight the love of an unknown nation. I have to complete my second short film that directed/wrote earlier this year. It is one of two short films I wrote to be served as a director’s reel.
The first is titled “Essence of Time.” This is more of a dramatic piece than action. There are two scenes I will need to add in before finalizing the short film. The other is the action/drama with a fight sequence between a girl vs guy. This project has not been started yet as I was out of country filming and have to now find new actors and funding if possible. My favorite type of project is one with pure martial arts action that combines a dramatic story showcasing the warrior spirit of an individual striving for the greater good of human life. If I could travel back in time and make changes, I would have. This is the small regrets in life that come and go and when that time passes it’s gone. Do not copy.
The number of social media likes, followers or “influencers” that now roam the Internet has become one of the primary sources of who gets what job or who is popular enough to get those jobs. This is no reflection of anything negative as times have changed. However, a true passion for script writing, directing an action scene, or an actor auditioning can be overlooked because of how many followers you have. This is what I have seen in many listings where the requirement is “must have a large following.” Not the end all be all of course but the effect is undeniable in how people are treated from a posting.
Years ago before the social media craze exploded, talent was taken more seriously through human contact. Now it is who’s following who on Instagram that is most important. Where has common sense gone is the question? Agents and managers all fighting each other and talent lining up for auditions that lead nowhere. It’s losing the moment to understand and engage with the person whom you are talking with. I highly doubt time is spent to know the individual who comes in for an audition (and by this I mean a simple chat with them is but a mere few seconds). Rather it is a rush of mindless rhetoric that leaves many confused and unsure of their abilities.
This may seem irrational or coming off as a whiner. But it is far from that. If every human being in the entertainment industry can stop with the social media postings, ratings and likes for followers, I believe the creative process will be much more fulfilling.