Angus Brown (Maelstrom Media Productions) interviews Dave Wong -Actor, Film Producer & Martial Artist
Hello Dave, Thank you for meeting me today.Dave:
Thank you for inviting me to chat with you.Angus:
To give us some background, tell me a little about where you were born and where you grew up.Dave:
Well, I was born in the small town of Bridgend, near Cardiff, Wales. And Bridgend is where I grew up.Angus:
Can you tell me more about your early life, and maybe something about your culture?
Let me see. My parents came from China. Now usually people ask me which part of China. I can’t
remember exactly where they came from, but I know that they came from the southern half of China. Sadly my father Sen Wong, passed away in early 2010. As I said, I grew up in the town of Bridgend. But for about two years I did live in Liverpool when I was very young. My father moved us there to find work. I do remember that we all lived in a one room apartment.
I’ve three sisters, and yes I’m the oldest of them all. I have to admit that I am not close to any of my sisters. So I don’t really know what goes on in there lives. Likewise they have no idea what goes on in my life.
My childhood was mostly spent around Chinese restaurants and takeaways. My sisters and I would help out. We must have saved them a fortune in wages. Ha ha!
I attended Brynteg Comprehensive School. But I have to admit I was not academically or physically gifted in any way.
How would you describe yourself as a person?Dave:
I would say, That I’m a pretty patient sort of guy. I’m quiet and usually not the argumentative type. I hasten to add that I’m not shy though and when the need calls for it, I kick ass!Angus:
When did you start becoming interested in making film?Dave:
Oh that’ll be back in the early 90’s. It was a period in my life when a lot of things where going wrong in my life. I was going through a divorce and was unhappy about my professional life as a computer programmer. Whilst at a fete I was given a number for an agent. I contacted that agent and was offered work as an extra or Supporting Artist, I should say. I remember my first job on the set of ‘A Mind to Kill’.Angus:
What was the appeal?
I think, for me it was the thought that I was rubbing shoulders with people whom I’d only ever seen on TV. That sparked the idea that maybe I could become an actor.Angus:
Whom do you draw your inspiration from?
That’s an easy one! I once read an article written by the late Don Henderson in the Stage.
The Stage was a fortnightly publication for actors. I used to buy that to check the ads for work. Anyway, the article was about trained actors and untrained actors in the industry. Don had never trained and defended those who did not have formal training in acting.
I wrote to Don because he was actually older than I was when I started acting and only fell into by accident and not by design. So I felt we had something in common. I still have his hand written letter. He encouraged me not to give up just because I didn’t have any training.Angus:
But you must have received some kind of training as an actor?Dave:
Well I didn’t take formal acting lessons but I took private classes for almost a year.
What featured acting work have you done? Dave:
I’ve appeared in films such as ‘Draining Lizards’ and ‘Underground’. Television, I’ve appeared in Caerdydd, Keen Eddie, My life in film and more. I’ve been on stage, but not very often. The most exciting for me was touring with the ‘Shoalin wheel of life’. In my time of course I’ve done numerous commercials and photographic work for the likes of Orange, Nokia HSBC and more. There have not been many voice over jobs in my career. But one of them was in Expedition Everest where I needed to do a slight Chinese accent.Angus:
So what are you currently doing?
I’ve just filmed a small part in a comedy called Stella. It’s being produced by Ruth Jones’s Tidy Productions or Sky’s comedy channel. I’m attached to a couple of other projects such as Gauntlet, Starring good friend Zara Phythian, again for Sky. There is a project called ‘Iron Monk’ being produced by my dear friend Jason Cao. This is a movie planned for theatre release. There’s a small project, that I’m doing for Creative Academi called Scarlet. This was supposed to be shot in October 2011 but has been rescheduled for next year. I’m afraid I’m not sure where this was planned to be screened.
I also have a couple of my own projects. A sitcom called 'Listen Dr Woo'. This project has been ongoing for some time and I’m looking for funding for that now. I have a screenplay called The Quiet Life written for me by Othniel Smith, again I’m looking for funding. In the meantime I have plans to shoot a web series which I plan to screen on my company website at www.senproductions.comAngus:
You have a production company?Dave:
Yes, I started this company last year.Angus:
So what’s the biggest film you’ve been in?Dave:
I’d say that Out for a Kill starring Steven Seagal was my biggest moment. Though I did appear briefly at the very beginning of the Bond Film, Die Another Day.
What about TV?Dave:
I’d say BBC Wales’s High Hopes. I played Dr Kawasaki.
You are also known for being a martial artist. What kind a martial art do you do and how long have you been doing it?Dave:
Yes, I’ve started Karate back in the late 80’s I’m currently a 4th Dan black belt. And practice the Wado Ryu style of Karate. I also dabble in Okinawan weapons. I competed for a short time but taught Karate for many years.
How did you get into martial arts?Dave:
As a young man I was not keen on sport. But I did like the idea of martial arts. I never thought that I was capable or fit enough to do it though. I think it was after a visit to my doctor and being told that I had high blood pressure. Oh and hitting the scales at 18 stones that I realised that I had to do something about it. So I started off with jogging. And as my confidence in my fitness increased, I decided to have a go at martial arts. I knew that there was a club at my local YMCA. So I went there.Angus:
What’s the link with your acting and martial arts?Dave:
In the past I never considered it to be important in my career as an actor. I even gave up Karate for over a year. But I came to realise that it was actually an asset that I had under-used. And so started back training in January of 2011. I’m no longer an instructor though. But, to answer your question. Yes it was helpful in getting my first role in a short film called ‘Sugar Coated’ where I did some martial arts. Today, I’m sure that if I make it better known that I’m capable in martial arts then there may be more roles for me, as films with martial arts seem to be on the increase.Angus:
Where do you see your career in the future?Dave:
As a Producer, I’m developing both Film and TV projects. As an Actor, I’m associated with a couple of Pilot projects through my Agent and as a Martial Artist, I continue to develop my craft, also lending my skills and expertise to both Film and TV.
So how do we get a hold of you? Dave
: Well you can always follow me via my facebook or twitter, which you can find links on my website www.davewong.co.uk Angus:
Well thank you very much for chatting to me Dave.