I work as an entertainer and presenter, and something of an East-West cultural go-between. I've done this for over 30 years now and almost all on a freelance basis, so it's been a very eclectic career (more about that under Portfolio below).
More high-profile, mass-exposure work has been done on China Central TV (CCTV), especially in the 1990s and early 2000s, so that's what most people think of first. That work tends to be fairly random and only take a short amount of time. Working on CCTV has never been a full-time job much less a career for me, but it sure is a big boost when one appearance can seen by hundreds of millions of people.
Whatever I do (and I'm always open to new ideas) I take a Chinese-first approach. As a native English speaker born and raised in the West, working in my second language and outside of my own cultural environment has always seemed the best way to truly bridge cultures.
In recent years I've focused on developing a live show that I've toured across China and to Chinese communities around the world. People know the character "Dashan" from TV; through this live show I share some of the behind-the-scene stories from my 30 years of living and working between China and the West.
I'm taking a break from most freelance work to focus more on writing and creative projects in 2019. Apart from "Dashan Live" here are a few things I'm working on:
Mermaid Theatre is best known for unique stage adaptations of children's beloved literary classics, and I've been proud to record the narration for several of their puppetry productions in Mandarin. We recorded new material in March as they prepare for their next China tour.
A first-hand account of a Canadian-led refugee camp in Henan during the Japanese invasion of 1938. These memoirs, never before published, share a personal connection with my own grandparents' work in China in the 1920s.
Not writing those memoirs just yet, still too early, but I am pulling together an archive of stuff I've done and experimenting a bit with a vlog to tell my own stories, past & present..
This more or less sums up what I do in general. If this gives you an idea for what we might work on together, send me a note.
I first made my name performing xiangsheng and comedic skits on national TV in China, before spending the middle part of my career diversifying into non-comedic work. Of everything I've done, comedy is by far the most difficult and most rewarding, and so I've come full circle in recent years but with a new twist, through my solo show Dashan Live.
I'm open to invitations but prefer to keep this entertaining as well, focusing on insights into culture and society through the lens of comedy.
Working as a television host & presenter was my bread & butter work for many years. I'll still do this for special events, but it has to be something extra interesting and worthwhile. My main focus is on my own show and personal projects these days.
I've performed in television dramas and theatrical productions, winning a White Magnolia award for best supporting actor some years back. It has to be the right role (and typecasting for white guys in China is just as bad as for Asian actors in Hollywood) but I'm open to new opportunities when the time is right.
I love this work and have narrated pieces like "Peter and the Wolf" for the Toronto Symphony and New York Philharmonic, recorded voice-overs for children's plays and even voiced the part of an evil rat on 黑猫警长 "Black Cat Police Chief". Right now I'm working on a new series of "Uncle Dashan" short stories for children
My work as a television host has led me to host many educational programs over the years. I'm not a language teacher per se, and that's not where my personal interest lies, but I do share my experiences as a student of language through various projects I've done over the years.
I've done advertising and promotional events for corporate clients and charitable causes, and I still get a lot of requests for this type of work. Fair warning -- I turn down most requests because I'm looking for long-term clients that are a good fit with my public image and other work. Talk to me if you're interested in sponsoring or developing some sort of commercial cooperation with my one-man show Dashan Live, as that's really the best way to work together. And I'm always open to requests from charitable organizations, as long as the work is truly charitable in nature.