Celebrity 20 Questions with Ming Chen
The first installment of our Celebrity 20 Questions is with Ming Chen, pictured above with Brian Lynch (the funniest man on the planet, and creator of Angry Naked Pat). Who is this guy, you ask? He is the webmaster of ViewAskew.com, the website for Kevin Smith's View Askew Productions. He also had a cameo in Dogma. He also is a good buddy with Kevin Freaking Smith. If that's not enough, he also does all the tech stuff at the View Askew office, runs several other websites, and is a cool guy. So here it is....
1)First off, I want to let you know how cool it is you are doing this.
This first question is your opportunity to tell us anything you want about yourself. Consider it a ďfree spaceĒ.
First off, I want to let you know that this is not a problem.
Iíll start off by telling you how I got this job. Much it has to do with pure luck really. Back in 1995 I had just seen the movie ĎClerksí and really related to it because at the time I was working at a video store based in the student union at the University of Michigan. Later that year I acquires and equally low-paying but less mundane job as a computer lab consultant. Because I had some free time I took up most of the shifts which landed near the Christmas Holiday. This basically meant sitting around watching 2-3 people come in per day because veryone else headed home for the holidays. Dying of boredom - I decided to put together the end-all-be all ĎClerksí website.
A couple months later - as the story goes - Kevin was told of this site and decided to check it out at a local Internet cafe in Red Bank, NJ. Apparently is was impressed enough to call me the next day and ask if Iíd put together a site for his production company. Iíve been working with and for View Askew ever since.
2) To many View Askew web geeks (myself included), you have a dream job. Is it as glorious as one may think?
I can honestly say that it is as glorious as one may think and more. Iím still a big fan in addition to being an employee so I think I take on this job with a different perspective. Most people get a job and go to work everyday and pretty much work on stuff they could care less about. Itís the opposite for me. In addition to that - things that would be considered a fans dream are daily occurrences for me. I see all the new merchandise come in, Iíve read the ĎJersey Girlí script and I was lucky enough to see stuff like the ĎFlying Carí short weeks before it was aired.
3) So what else do you do job wise besides the View Askew site?
I am pretty much in charge of anything technical at the office - meaning I get to fix all the machines at the office and down at the Stash. Anytime anything breaks I usually get the call to take a look at it. I also run the technical side of the online Stash. I also run all the technical stuff for our new site Movie Poop Shoot (www.moviepoopshoot.com) and on top of all of that Iím in charge if Auctions Askew - our auction site where we auction off rare and screen used props from the movies. And if you consider this a perk - yes thatís me taking all of the photos of the models.
4) Youíve made cameo appearances in Kevinís films. How sweet was that?
That was very sweet. Many of my boyhood dreams were fulfilled in one day.
I got to be in a movie and I got to meet Salma Hayek. On top of that I was introduced to both Chris Rock and Linda Fiorentino and on top of that, I got paid for it.
5) What is the most annoying part about your job?
The hours can be very long depending on whatís going on. And theyíre not set either - Itís not exactly a 9 - 5 job. You have to be ready whenever stuff happens and it can put your personal or social life out of whack at times.
6) Tell us your thoughts about the VA Web Board, honestly.
I find a lot of the discussion on there nowadays interesting, however as a guy who has to moderate the thing I do wish more of the discussion leaned more on-topic. There are other boards for other topics. Iíd like to keep the board a bit leaner so that people like Jason Lee and such donít get too overwhelmed by it.
7) Being a webmaster and all, what sites do you surf the most?
Iím actually on Google groups a lot and read Kevin Smith related newsgroups (alt.fan.kevin-smith) and I use it to research stuff. The IMDB is also one that I couldnít live without. Iím a big fan of Varietyís website for entertainment news along with aintitcool.com and Dark Horizons. I also have a thing for cell phone technology so wirelessadvisor.com is a good one if youíre into that. News Askew is a given for any Kevin Smith fan. And hopefully this doesnít shock anyone but Iím a big fan of InStyle magazine and their site (instyle.com).
8) Do you even like Kevinís movies? What is your favorite one?
I love Kevinís flicks - it would be hard to do a good job if I didnít. My favorite one still is ĎClerksí as itís the one I can relate to the most having worked many crappy retail jobs where I had to deal with people. Iíll give you my other rundowns as well - ĎDogmaí is a close second because it actually calmed many of my fears about the Catholic Church which was great at the time because I actually became a member shortly after the movie was released. The other three rotate in order depending on my mood.
I will also say this - if Kevin can pull off on screen what he put down on paper for Ďjersey Girlí - it will probably become my new favorite.
9) It must be so difficult posing with beautiful women for the Auctions Askew photos and deciding which ones to put on the site. How on earth do you do it?
Itís not as hard as it looks - Iím a complete professional since itís part of my job and I try to make the ladies feel as comfortable as possible or else it will show up on camera. Working with Amy is pretty easy since I know her pretty well by now and the other models that have shown up on camera are friends of mine as well. I think Iíd have a harder time at first if someone I didnít know came in. As far as choosing the photos - I leave it up to the models - they pick out which ones I should destroy immediately and which ones I should keep. And you thought you were picky...
10) So how does one get to be the VA webmaster anyway?
A sound knowledge of putting up sites is a given as well as a deep knowledge in graphical applications as well as knowledge in server admnistration and computers of all platforms running a myriad of applications. It really is a mixed bag of stuff. Plus you have to be in good with the boss.
11) This is one of those questions I have to ask everyone: What are your top five favorite movies?
These are the 5 Iíd drop everything and run to see if they were shown theatrically again:
1) Star Wars
3) Ferris Buellerís Day Off
4) Back to the Future
5) True Romance
12) Describe a day in the life of Ming.
The day usually starts off about 8:30am or so with site maintenance, changing/modifying the board, answering lots of e-mail thatís come in overnight, helping people with lost passwords, etc. The itís onto posting new news stories and columns over at Movie Poop Shoot and archiving old ones. On special days either new Auctions Askew photos have to be taken or new items have to go up, which means images and descriptions. Iím also in charge of mailing the items out and making sure people get them. Other days involve new sites for upcoming events such as Kevinís appearances either live or on TV. On days with TV appearances, the footage gets digitized, compressed and put on the site. Iím also in the midst of re-digitizing existing clips so theyíre easier to download.
13) Do you ever feel like a babysitter sometimes when it comes to the VA Board?
Absolutely - I wish people would think before they post and to do so as if they were actually shouting it out to people in front of them instead of hiding behind a mask of Internet anonymity. That will never ever happen sadly.
14-19) Time to play BrendoManís word association. Just tell us the first thing that comes to mind.
Dogma - Ben Affleck in a set of angel wings smoking a cigarette and talking on his cell phone (see Dogma photo gallery)
∑ Jason Mewes - hard to get a hold of
∑ Web Board - the thing that keeps people coming back to the site
∑ Kevin Smith - the guy I thank after God each morning
∑ Poopie Trim - my friend Amy Ferster who uses that as her WWWBoard name
∑ Brian Lynch - one of the funniest guys I know
20) And now for the question you probably get all the time, what is Kevin really like?
Kevin is the guy youíd expect him to be in real life - constantly cracking jokes at either your expense or the people youíre with. He also throws some really great barbecues and heís a very very good gift giver on special occasions. Despite all the money and fame heís still a normal guy.
Hope that helps