#04 Movie co-production in China - SupChina

#04 Movie co-production in China

Until the 1990s, Hollywood movies were making the vast majority of their revenue in English-speaking countries. Nowadays, these countries comprise only half the market. The main reason for the change is the appearance of new markets, including the most important one of all: China. What problems do foreign film professionals and their teams face while vying to tap into the Chinese market? How do cultural disparities and regulations fit into the equation? What is the current lay of the land in the Chinese film industry from the perspective of a director or a producer? In this episode, our guests provide their firsthand experience to answer these questions.

一直到90年代,好莱坞电影的绝大部分收入都来自英语国家,现在英语国家只占其收入的一半。 主要原因是新兴市场的出现,其中最重要的是中国。 现在每个人都渴望进入中国市场,但要说明一点,因为中国的法律法规及文化的差异,这件事很容易吗? 如何才能顺利进入中国市场? 在第一集中,我们的客人将就这个问题表达他们的想法。

Featuring:

Dominique Othenin-Girard – director

Dominique’s LinkedIn / Dominique’s IMDB

Tammy Tian – international co-production

Sky Wang – director

Sky’s IMDB

And, as usual, your host, Aladin

Aladin’s LinkedIn / Aladin’s Twitter / Aladin’s Instagram

From this interview, we have found three takeaways:

从这期访谈中,我们总结出三个主要观点

1) China’s movie market is not mature enough – 中国电影市场尚未成熟

Although the quality of Chinese production has improved over the last few years, there are still some issues that need to be solved:

– Revenue sharing of movies has to be negotiated. It is not automatic like in the United States.

– There are no clear, established rules on the movie set. Therefore, shooting can still be unorganized.

– The lack of a movie-rating system makes it hard for some movies to be shown in theaters.

虽然中国影视作品的质量在过去几年已经有所提升,但仍存在一些待解决的问题:

– 每一部电影的收益分成都需要经商议决定,并不像美国市场一样拥有约定俗成的规则

– 电影场景设置中没有明确的准则,因此拍摄起来可能没有条理

– 缺乏分级制度导致部分电影很难在院线上映

2) Trust is the foundation of international collaboration – 完成一部电影需要极大的勇气和信念

Having trust in your co-workers, whether you are in the office or on set, and their collaborative ability is incredibly important — and with money and investors involved, transparency and communication are equally critical. Also, because working methods are not always the same, you need sometimes to “act as an example to show how it works,” as the director Sky Wang suggests.

因此信任在国际团队的共同合作中非常重要;又因为涉及到资金,它同时也需要大量的透明度和沟通交流。所以无论你是在办公室还是在拍摄现场,信任和理解都非常重要。另外,因为工作方法并不总是相同,所以你有时需要“演绎一个例子来说明它是如何运作的”导演王天尉说。

3) Forget about co-production? – 也许我们该忘记“联合制片”这件事

As Zhang Yimou’s historic box office flop, The Great Wall, showed, there is no magical formula to make a hit at the box office. A safe way could be for Western technicians and advisers to help Chinese film companies remake Western stories with attributes that would resonate with Chinese moviegoers.

张艺谋的《长城》让我们发现,并没有什么诀窍能让电影收获高票房。最安全的办法或许是通过西方的技术人员和顾问的介入,来帮助中国公司翻拍一些兼具世界性和中国特色的故事。

Notes:

Sky Wang’s film is called Lost in Apocalypse /末世人间道.

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Aladin Farré

With two degrees in movie production and Chinese history, Aladin felt it was only natural to go work as a nonfiction content producer in China. He is now a documentary project manager at LIC China (大陆桥), the largest importer of documentaries into China, where he hopes to uncover the secrets of successful international co-production. Follow him on Twitter @aladin_f.