We had the good fortune of connecting with Jasper Chen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jasper, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
In Chinese, it’s “沒什麼大不了.” In English that translates best to “It’s not a big deal.”
I take this quote to heart in whatever I do. When it comes to filmmaking and the arts, people will go on endlessly about their passion, about how they must tell the stories they tell, and the ungodly amount of effort that is continuously put into it all. For me the quote is a constant reminder that the stuff I work on is not life or death. At the end of the day, it’s collaboration and meant to be fun. It’s easy as a storyteller to funnel everything into work, to feel like one has to succeed in order to be labeled as an “artist” or “filmmaker,” but the idea that none of it is as big of a deal as we make it out to be helps to put perspective.
More applicably, the mantra is something of a comfort especially as a young creative entering the film/TV/entertainment industry. Hardships abound and hard work guarantees nothing, so with every bad move, bad day, or bad news, it’s important I always remind myself, “沒什麼大不了.”
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What I strive to do is to introduce new perspectives, ideas, and experiences through storytelling. As someone who spent his first decade in the States and the second decade in Taiwan, stories were everything as a means to unify different settings, people, and cultural experiences. There is, at the end of the day, more that we have in common with each other, and I wish to bridge cultures, people, and worlds with every story I tell and every story I vouch for.
What is particularly exciting is a new generation of artists, coming into their own at this very moment, with the same goals to self-express, to share unique perspectives, and highlight unheard voices. This can’t be done solely on one’s own, especially with filmmaking as an inherently collaborative medium. So I make it my goal to create opportunities to help others do so.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In n’ Out is a must. But overall LA is such a richly diverse place it just comes down to what one’s preference may be. Want to go all out bougie shopping? Rodeo is the place for you. Want some hearty authentic Korean food? That’s K=town. Want to live amongst a Chinese enclave? Let’s swing by Alhambra. It goes on and on and on.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My teachers growing up. I was never a particularly good student. At best I was the kind of quiet student who didn’t have much of a presence. I was, though it may not have seemed, the student who always listened, took notes, and took ideas to heart. Being 23 with high-school and university still not far away in the rearview mirror, I think back to the teachers and professors I had who exemplified qualities that I strive to embody as well. Patience. Humility. Levity. Gravity. Empathy. Wisdom. Passion. More specifically, a passion for helping others. A pride in watching and helping others grow and realize their best potentials.
I know many don’t have particularly good experiences with their teachers, or one specific teacher, but looking back, I can only say how fortunate I was to have teachers who were, across the board, amazing.