Thursday, September 13, 2012

Repost from Benji and Lesley’s Blog: Life As An Actor

I just discovered not too long ago that Benji and Lesley Chiang (the children of veteran actor Paul Chun) have a blog on Ming Pao's English website. They update the blog frequently with stuff about their careers, personal lives, projects, etc.

The latest post updated today was written by Benji and in it, he talks about something that has been a dream of his for awhile -- acting! After 7 years in the industry (primarily hosting music programs for TVB), Benji finally got the chance to try his hand at acting this year -- first with a role in the movie Lan Kwai Fong 2 and then after joining CTI, he got the chance to participate in two TV series (he gets to work with his sister Lesley in both series).

Ever since Benji and Lesley came onto the music scene back in 2010, I've definitely taken notice of them. I will admit that I initially started taking an interest in them primarily due to their father Paul Chun, since Paul Gor is one of my all-time favorite veteran actors -- I pretty much grew up watching Paul Gor's movies and TV series and even now I continue to 'follow' his works (mostly his works in HK though). But after I learned more about Benji and Lesley themselves and started paying more attention to their entertainment industry careers and such, I started to develop a certain amount of respect and admiration for them. As a long-time follower of the HK entertainment industry, I've seen alot over the years and understand how difficult it is to try and make a name for yourself in such a colorful but complicated entertainment world while at the same time remaining true to your core values and inner self -- in the 2 years since they've debuted, Benji and Lesley have done a great job in this area!

There are many things that I admire about this brother / sister duo, but one of the biggest is their passion for music as well as their perseverance in realizing their dreams, even if the path to achieving this is a difficult one. One thing that impressed me about Benji and Lesley right off the bat was the fact that they not only write and sing their own songs but they also used their own hard-earned money to produce their first album as well as finance their music careers -- all of this done entirely on their own, since they are not signed to any record company! I mean, how many singers do you know of nowadays who have gone down such a difficult path and have been able to achieve relatively good results? Not very many, that's for sure! Benji and Lesley's first single -- the upbeat dance tune "Showtime" -- was very well-received and helped propel them to 'Best Newcomer' status in 2010/2011 (and deservedly so in my opinion)!

As I'm sure people who've read my other blog posts probably know, I grew up listening to Chinese music and back in the 80s/90s, I was a huge follower of the HK music industry and was one of its biggest supporters -- but since the industry started spiralling downwards in the late 90s/early 2000s (due to various reasons that I won't get into here), I grew increasingly disappointed with the industry and for the past decade or so I pretty much stopped listening to HK music as much as I used to (with some exceptions of course). Needless to say then, I actually surprised even myself when, back in 2010, Benji and Lesley's "Showtime" debuted and after taking one 'listen' on the radio, I pretty much became smitten with the song (and I immediately bought their debut album containing the song as soon as it came out)! Benji and Lesley brought some much needed 'energy' to the HK music industry with their debut 2 years ago, which was definitely refreshing to see.

What's more, to see 2 aspiring artists continue to remain so grounded despite their initial success and continue to move persistently but humbly step by step along the path to carving out a niche for themselves in the entertainment industry -- honestly, it brought back some of the 'warm' feelings for the HK music industry that I had already lost years ago!  I will definitely continue to support Benji and Lesley and look forward to seeing what they will bring to the acting world!

Anyway, here is the latest post from Benji and Lesley’s blog….enjoy!


Benji and Lesley Blog﹕ Life as an Actor

Article originally published 9/13/12

Source: Mingpao English Web

Text and photo by Benji Chiang (姜文杰)


Writers' Profile:
Benji (姜文杰) and Lesley (姜麗文) are HK's latest singer-songwriter sensations. They debuted with their first single in 2010, and have started their tv acting career this year.


It has taken me 10 years to reach this point, and I am having a BLAST right now!

Three months ago, I became a policeman for my role in Lan Kwai Fong 2 (《喜愛夜蒲2》). Dozens of extras and members of the crew worked 24/7 trying to fit everything within the tight filming hours at night. For instance, while I walked and talked like a policeman during the filming process, the other fellows organised bar stools in line so that we actors could work out smoothly together.

After that came the filming for my first TV drama series - CTI's Fantasy Love Song 201314 (《童話戀曲201314》). This is Hong Kong's first ever musical TV drama, and my role is a student of the performing arts in his early teens, with a deep-rooted triad background but is unbelievably inept at everything other than dancing and drumming.

This time the filming felt so different from that of LKF2, as we first had to spend weeks training in a dance studio to look legit; then the hard work was the actual days of filming dance scenes from dawn to dusk, in the summer sun. Bonus? I had the chance to film with Lesley for the very first time, and close friends like Kelvin Kwan, Jason Chan, Evelyn Choi and other young actors kept the atmosphere so high school.

Before I knew it, three months had passed, and our schedules overlap with our filming for another TV drama series Three Sides of Shape Doctors (《三面形醫》). This time I am a 30-year-old actor with a loving wife whom I cheat on, doing nothing other than spending her money. In the story I have romantic relationships with Leanne (wife of Tom, drummer of the band Mr) and YouTube sensation Queenie (who is my long time close friend). Hopefully these "relationships" will not turn out to be embarrassing. Lesley's in this drama as well, and Uncle John Chiang (姜大衛) will be playing her father. Interesting.

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