Contemporary Chinese TV series gaining more appeal overseas, forum told
By Joyce Xu
Contemporary Chinese TV series about the lives and emotions of ordinary people are gaining increasing popularity and influence overseas, officials told a forum of the 25th Shanghai TV Festival.
The forum, titled “Drama Without Borders: Chinese Narratives for Global Audiences,” demonstrated the huge potential and bright prospects for Chinese TV dramas in the overseas market.
A growing number of film and TV companies in China are seeking international cooperation to tell Chinese stories to the world.
Tang Shiding, vice-president of China International Television Corporation, said the company had launched special Chinese channels and hours of China programs in many countries to cater for local audience’s increasing demand for such TV dramas.
Many recent urban dramas, including “Ode to Joy” and “Life Revelation,” had received acclaim from foreign viewers.
International TV co-productions about Chinese culture, history and modern-day stories were also on the increase, the forum heard.
Jonathan Spink, chief executive officer of HBO Asia, said China had a lot of wonderful stories which could be produced to appeal to a global audience.
Karen Fu, vice president of Huace Group, said the company would continue to create dramas with a global vision. They would focus on portraying the universal emotions and destinies of people.
Experts also mentioned the importance of good translation and technology in the distribution process of the dramas overseas.
More domestic TV dramas are developing multiple language versions instead of simply broadcasting the series with subtitles, the forum heard. Their efforts also have managed to attract global audiences.
Additionally, 5G and 4K technology are expected to be widely applied in the future production and distribution of drama series. Chinese TV dramas and films will also be available in many more digital platforms.
Trio of TV Drama Masters Direct Wisdom to Next Generation
By: Rachel Lu
The 25th Shanghai International TV festival hosted the first ever TV Drama Masterclass at the Shanghai Exhibition Center this past Wednesday.
A new generation of Chinese TV artists and producers learned from seasoned experts in the field, with three top-notch guests famous for scriptwriting, directing and acting sharing their experiences and reflections on the development of the industry.
Scriptwriter Zhao Dongling, who penned “Red Sorghum” and “In Law We Believe”, spoke candidly of the lonely yet rewarding process of scriptwriting. Reminiscing about how her process can involve up to seven drafts to find inspiration, she credited determination for eventual success.
Zhao stressed the importance of passion throughout her career, and recognised the many failures she encountered as milestones. “Even at age sixty, I still hold a daring heart because I venture out of my comfort zone,” said Zhao, proudly.
Commentators suggest that the entertainment industry is going through a ‘winter period’ with production capital decreasing and stricter regulations increasing. Yet Zhao acknowledged that this trend is no excuse for not creating. Instead, industry professionals should move forward with a spirit of resilience and determination.
Director Fu Dongyu, a member of the China Television Director Committee, and best known for his recent work “The Thunder” spoke of the importance of unwavering professionalism and meticulous execution to the production of artistic creations.
Fu offered aspiring TV professionals his rules for directing. He noted that television must be an extension of real life, therefore should always begin with personal observations and experiences.
He was adamant that television drama should stay true to its defining characteristics in order to maintain interest and meet expectations of audiences. Thus, Fu said he strives to portray the spirits and emotions of each character in order to effectively reach audiences.
Actor Wang Jinsong, famous for his performances in “The Advisors Alliance” and “The Thunder,” rounded out the trifecta of TV Masters and shared his tireless dedication to the pursuit of acting.
Wang reminisced fondly of his past 32 years as an actor, admitting that they were not always as glorious as his life now appears. He recalled how he endured many arduous years sleeping in anterooms while a drama student in Nanjing. Yet during these years Wang also read ferociously, and he found that throughout his career, the books subconsciously benefitted him and taught him the work ethic necessary to prepare for every scene.
The TV Drama MasterClass was a unique opportunity for the next generation of the TV industry to hear from the masters and receive a lesson on the production of television drama. While the last Masterclass of the 25th Shanghai International TV festival, there are more to look forward to at the Shanghai International Film Festival next week.