Jason Chan (陳智燊) began his career in entertainment as a TVB television presenter. With his good looks and fluent English, Jason steadily began transitioning into acting. Despite the slow climb, he eventually landed his first major role in the sitcom Be Home for Dinner <誰家灶頭無煙火)> in 2011. In 2012, he landed his first leading role in the drama Missing You <幸福摩天>, alongside Linda Chung (鍾嘉欣). However, the reception to his portrayal was lukewarm at best, with netizens criticizing his wooden acting and lack of on-screen charisma. This severely limited his future prospects to make it big in television.
Seeing little-to-no chance for improvement or opportunities, Jason made the decision to not renew his contract with TVB earlier this year. Instead, the 41-year-old actor and father-of-one decided to try his luck elsewhere. Despite being worried, his wife Sarah Song (宋熙年) is also supportive of his decision and she, too, left the company soon after.
Jason shared, “Even Sarah is a bit worried about it. When we came to Hong Kong, TVB was our first job. This decision was not an easy one. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but this decision was not any harder than my decision to leave England. When I moved to Hong Kong, I didn’t have a place to live. Not only did I have to find a place to live, I had to find work and figure out how I was going to make money. There were a lot of things to worry about, but you have to give it a try. It’s the same perspective about leaving TVB.”
On whether TVB was not giving him enough opportunities and challenges, Jason did not answer directly. However, he compared working for TVB with going to school – similarly to attending school, he felt like he was a high school student again. His day consisted of going to school, leaving school, going home, doing homework, and starting the day over again.
Although TVB is known to not pay their employees very much, what it does offer is stability – stable income and stable work stream. With a son to care for now, many may feel that both Jason and Sarah leaving TVB is a risky decision. To this, Jason has a different outlook. “Stability is at a surface level. Careers like a doctor, lawyer, or teacher may offer stability. But as an actor? Stability is just a feeling.” Stable or not, leaving the TVB nest is a big step for many artistes, especially for those who have not gained enough momentum to make it in Mainland China and other markets.
However, Jason has no regrets. “I have no regrets, because I am able to constantly try out new and different things. If I didn’t leave TVB, there could be many different outcomes of that decision. Similarly, there are equally as many different possible outcomes for deciding to leave TVB. The process is very enriching. Am I making a lot of money? Absolutely not. However, I am happy and content. I am able to try different things, and I am able to take care of my family.”
Despite being happy and comfortable with his decision to leave, the choice does not come without its worries and concerns. Reflecting on his current life with a wife and son now, Jason expressed, “When I was in England, it was just me. Even if I couldn’t take care of myself, I would be the only one suffering. Now, if I want to switch jobs and try out something new, I have to think about whether this decision would affect my family. At the time, Sarah was pregnant with our son. I felt a lot of pressure then too. However, if you want to succeed, you will need to be strong and persistent. We saved up some money, so we decided I should give it a shot.”
Jason’s most recent project is partaking in the musical stage play, Life is But a Sad Song <人生原是一首辛歌>.
This article is written by Huynh for JayneStars.com.