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China has found success in exporting domestic technology and consumer goods. However, its culture exportation has not achieved the same success. The language barrier may be an issue, yet South Korean and Japanese films and music have managed to overcome it and found success in exporting cultural products like video games, anime, and movies. So what gives? On this episode of the Middle Earth Podcast, the guests discuss the recent successes and failures of China’s culture going abroad. This episode was recorded during a panel at the WISE Festival 2019 at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Featuring: Emily Xueni Jin – science fiction translator Emily’s email Tom Simpson – senior director of the China-Britain Business Council Tom’s LinkedIn George van Wetering – composer and event organizer George’s website And Sha Hua (华沙), host of the talk, and a journalist for the Handelsblatt Sha’s Twitter Three main takeaways from this week’s episode:     从这期访谈中,我们总结出三个主要观点: 1) Yes, the language barrier is an issue, but it is not the only one. If a Chinese indie band or film producer wants to have their work paid attention to by Western audiences, they have to upload the art onto Western social media platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, etc). Circumnavigating the Great Firewall of China makes this difficult, as well as the need to interact with fans in English. At the same time, non-Chinese individuals aren’t willing (or don’t know how) to surf the Chinese internet. But there is evidence that the language barrier can be successfully traversed: The first video to hit a billion views on YouTube was “Gangnam Style” by the South Korean singer PSY. Yet, in defense of China’s producers, the domestic market is such a huge market compared with South Korea’s that Chinese artists and producers don’t necessarily need to go global in order to survive. 2) There is still Orientalism and a lack of general knowledge about China in the West. As science-fiction writer Emily Xueni Jin pointed out, when you need to translate a Chinese concept or a mythical beast into English, should you borrow its Western equivalent or write it in pinyin and describe it? There is often a tough choice to make: to balance a “Chinese style” to highlight your stylistic differences, or to use an approach that could be construed as Westernization or Orientalism to garner a larger audience. 3) China manages to export three types of cultural products. When you look at the cultural products China sells abroad, only three types really stand out. The first is classical paintings and calligraphy. Given the lack of interest in these things among China’s own domestic youth, it prompts the question of how successful they could be abroad. The second is science-fiction works, which, surprisingly, work really well abroad. Perhaps this is because questions about the future of our planet, and how we should embrace technology, are universally understood. The last (and least known) is foreign films. A few years ago, some companies decided to invest in them. The Academy Award–winning film for Best Picture, Green Book, had a backing by Alibaba Pictures. Maybe after investing and learning for several years, Chinese companies will know how to make a global blockbuster film. One could make the argument that films from the 1990s are examples of China’s globalizing culture industry. However, films that toe the line of acceptability are being produced in far lower volume, and face greater levels of censorship. Recommended watching and listening: Her (2013). Wolf Warrior (2015). The science-fiction short story “The Facecrafter,” by Anna Wu. The science-fiction book The Waste Tide, by Chen Qiufan. The pop singer Faye Wong 王菲. The artists Fang Lijun, Yue Minjun, and Wang Guangyi. The film producer David Haymen. The “Four Generations Challenge” meme.
Before the Beijing Olympics, foreign media groups seeking to sell or co-produce science-themed media content in China had a difficult time finding partners. Paul Lewis, an independent producer and former president of Discovery Channel Canada, was nevertheless able to co-produce two science programs in partnership with Chinese state media outlets: Daily Planet Goes to China and Factory Made/Made in China. In this episode, Paul discusses how rapidly the Chinese media landscape has evolved, and the implications for science-themed content.  在北京奥运会前,出售纪录片和与中国电视台联合制作科学节目并非易事。加拿大探索频道前总裁、现任独立制片人保罗.刘易斯在中国官方媒体的帮助下开办了两个科学节目:“Daily Planet Goes to China”及“Factory Made/Made in China”。现在也许不会有同类的联合制作,那么保罗的故事让我们看到了中国的媒体正在如何的快速变化。  Featuring: Paul Lewis: Producer | 制片人 Paul’s LinkedIn | Paul’s website | Paul’s Twitter  And, as usual, your host, Aladin Farré. Aladin’s LinkedIn | Aladin’s Twitter   Recommended watching: “Factory City” episode of Factory Made/Made in China (Discovery Channel, 2009): YouTube link.  
Virtual reality (VR) is a new medium that many a technology guru has predicted will revolutionize cinema—or would, if it weren’t for the pesky problem (among others) that VR interface still requires the viewer to wear what essentially amounts to a “head box.” Nevertheless, VR markets around the world are slowly but surely expanding. Many of the major film festivals (Sundance, Venice, and Cannes, to name a few) now feature a special VR section. Overall the industry is indeed growing—especially in China. For context, here are some key figures: The value of China’s VR market in 2016 was around USD $500 million (mainly hardware). The value of China’s film market in 2016 war around USD $6.9 billion. The value of China’s film market in 2020 is projected to be USD $10 billion. The value of China’s VR market in 2020 is projected to be USD $6.5 billion (half in hardware, and the rest split between games, films, enterprise applications, theme parks, etc.). 许多科技大牛认为虚拟现实这种新媒体将取代电影;但是它本身还有很多问题待解决,其中最主要的是,我们观看VR内容的时候,头上还得戴着一个“盒子”,要不然大家都去看VR作品了。现在,电影节(圣丹斯,威尼斯,戛纳)已经有了VR单元,这个行业一直在壮大,特别是在中国。 下面给出一些比较数据: 2016年,中国VR市场规模是5亿美元(主要来自设备) 2016年,中国电影市场规模69亿美元。 2020年,中国电影市场规模将会达到100亿美元。 2020年,中国VR市场规模将会达到65亿美元。(一半来自VR设备,其余来自游戏,电影,商业应用,主题公园等等) This episode takes a look at the current status of the VR industry in China, and examines some of the obstacles it faces. Featuring: Eddie Lou: Founder Sandbox Immersive Festival and Sandman Studios | 青岛国际 VR 影像周创始人 & Sandman Studios 公司创始人 Eddie’s LinkedIn | Sandbox Immersive Festival’s website | Sandman Studios’s website  Gianluigi Perrone: Founder Polyhedron VR Studio | Polyhedron VR Studio 公司创始人 Gianluigi’s LinkedIn | Polyhedronvrstudio’s website and Facebook page Denise Wu: VeeR’s Head of marketing | VeeR 公司营销主管 Veer’s website | Veer’s Facebook | Denise’s LinkedIn  And, as usual, your host, Aladin Farré. Aladin’s LinkedIn | Aladin’s Twitter Special partnership for this episode: This week’s episode is brought to you in partnership with “WISE: The Future Think Tank,” a group founded by Philipp Grefer in Beijing in 2018 to spark cross-sectoral dialogue about digital life, style, culture, business, science and technology. WISE invites and connects thinkers and doers from different industries online and offline to discuss essential questions about how we want and should live in the future.  For the second year running, WISE will be hosting a special event in Beijing at UCCA in the 798 Art District from May 18-19, 2019. Topics will range from how AI can help solve world hunger, if the robots will take over, what can be learned about the future by looking into the past, how to find China’s first international superstar, and the future of design and creativity. Investors will share new ideas about the future of cultural and tech industries and startups, while China’s first surfer will share her vision for an environmentally-conscious China. The event will also feature two concerts brought to you by the Reeperbahn Festival, Europe’s largest music platform for international and transcultural exchange. SupChina Access members will receive a special discount. To get your tickets and learn more, visit Three main takeaways from this week’s episode:     从这期访谈中,我们总结出三个主要观点: 1) Professionals and audience members are still learning about VR. 专业人士和普通观众都还在学习中。 The VR industry was a victim of its own success in the early 2010s. Creators and viewers alike were still learning the basics of this new medium, and there were significant growing pains. Hardware issues were also legion, and technology development took time--despite significant pressure from investors. Like many other buzzwords in related industries, like “AI” and “blockchain,” VR in China had plenty of attention but ultimately little to show for it. 回到2010年,人们对VR寄予了太多期望,而在当时,无论是创作者还是观众都没有完全掌握这种新艺术形式的语法,尤其是当我们想用VR来讲故事的时候。另外,设备也需要改进,但是科技发展有它自己的步调,它跟投资者的步调并不一致。在中国,有很多投资者总是在追逐热点,比如区块链,AI或者VR. 2) Success for VR depends on these key elements: Good content, strategic distribution, and focus on the “theme park model.” VR(虚拟现实)成功的关键:好内容、好营销、主题公园模式。 Manufacturers and content producers are increasingly focusing on the potential of VR. In the process, they have found that one of the keys to ensuring a consistent user base is to invest in good content that is easily accessible to audiences. An example of this is the “location-based cinema” model, which is why there are more and more VR experiences to be found in shopping malls. Producers are also pushing for VR content to provide very intense, albeit brief, experiences. This helps to differentiate VR from films and video games, and ensures users are still incentivized to pay for VR experiences that are necessarily much shorter than films or video games. VR厂牌和内容制作者越来越多,但要让观众成为回头客,作品必须拥有好的内容,并且容易找到。设立在商场里的“实体影院”就是一个好例子,它们正慢慢地提供越来越多的电影。对于创作者来说,另一个谋生诀窍是制作短暂却刺激的作品。为什么?因为只有这样才能让人愿意花钱体验。如果同样的价钱可以看90分钟的电影或者玩几个小时的电子游戏,那么谁还愿意花钱只看10分钟的动画呢? 3) The VR industry in China is simultaneously advanced and underdeveloped. 中国的VR既是超前的也是落后的。 VR is one of the few art forms that was developed and introduced to the whole world at a single time. However, the Chinese VR industry still presents an interesting paradox. In China,  there are hundreds of companies manufacturing equipment and no shortage of investors, but at the same time, artists and production companies have yet to produce many blockbuster pieces. There are plenty of reasons why this may be the case. Unlike in the West, there are fewer opportunities for large amounts of funding from public sources or big studios to support VR production, for example. In addition, the technical support needed for producing VR pieces is largely in English—a fact that has also held back the Chinese video game industry, as this podcast discussed previously. Finally, in the current market, local VR creators are often forced to spend time working on other projects to support themselves.  VR是为数不多的在全世界同时开始的艺术形式之一,但在这件事情上,中国却处于一个有趣的悖论中。在这个国家,有数百家公司在提供设备,还有许多投资者,但内容创作者和公司却很难创作出令人惊叹的作品。出现这种情况的原因很多:在西方,一些国家有公共基金或大制片厂的钱用来投资创作;如果你不懂英语,获取技术信息可能就会很困难(我们在之前关于电子游戏的节目中已经提到过这点);中国的VR创作者们通常必须从事一些其他类型的工作才能维持生计。 Recommended watching and reading: Pinta Animation VR Studio: Website  Ghost in the Shell | Virtual Reality Diver (2016): Trailer 2D / Trailer VR “Magic Leap” VR equipment: Website A Touch of Sin (2013) : Wikipedia  Dying to Survive (2018) : Wikipedia Answers to the episode quiz: Anthony Arthaud, a French theater writer, was the first person to coin the term “virtual reality” in his 1938 book “The Theatre and Its Double.” $2.5 million dollars (USD) is the amount that VR company Oculus Rift earned in their 2012 kickstarter campaign and $2 billion dollars (USD) is the amount Facebook paid for the company in 2014.   The number of China’s VR headset companies…is hard to count, but to start, you can look at Ant VR, DP, Pico, Iqiyi, 3 Glasses, etc.  
Making a feature film can be a long and painful process — especially when you’re shooting an indie film in below-freezing conditions 16 hours per day for 14 days. But that is exactly what the creative team behind The Last Sunrise 最后的日出 was able to do, and along the way, they generated useful insight into China’s science-fiction movie scene and the realities of filmmaking in China on a shoestring budget. Featuring: Wen Ren: Director | 任文 :导演 Wen’s IMDB | Wen’s Instagram | Wen’s Vimeo  Elly Li: Producer, Co-writer | 李昳青:制片人,编剧 Elly’s IMDB  And, as usual, your host, Aladin Farré. Aladin’s LinkedIn | Aladin’s Twitter Four main takeaways from this week’s episode:     从这期访谈中,我们总结出四个主要观点: 1) Chinese science-fiction productions tend to be optimistic about the future. While Western science-fiction productions are dominated by dystopian tropes, in contrast, Chinese sci-fi tends to paint a far more benign portrait of how science will usher in a better future. Of course, state regulations that govern cultural production in China have something to do with this, but gifted creators can often find workarounds to these restrictions. 2) In China, getting started in the film industry is like founding a startup. The main goal of most filmmakers is to make a good-quality film and, if at all possible, to pay the filmmaking team along the way. There is no shortcut to a successful career in making feature films; making a high-quality movie is the end result of years of experience in the industry. Big payoffs do not happen by accident. Just like any other entrepreneur, filmmakers need to make good products before they can hope to earn serious revenue, and this means working on as many projects as possible. In China as in many other markets, the jump from making low-budget films online to big-budget films intended for cinematic release is a large one, and not everyone makes it. 3) Chinese internet distributors usually pay a flat fee and keep audience numbers secret. If an internet platform agrees to distribute a film, the producer will receive a flat fee and will need to budget the film accordingly. There is no incentive or bonuses for films that reach a large audience on an internet platform. The general public will likely never learn how many people have actually watched the movie, just as with Netflix in the West. Platforms like Youku do provide an indicator of popularity 热度 and share it with the creators after some time. However, the popularity of any given film peaks only briefly before audiences move on. In the case of The Last Sunrise, for example, the movie was the second-most widely viewed movie on Youku for a few weeks before plunging down to number #799 three months later. 4) There are a few key secrets to shooting a film in 14 days. Do a lot of advance planning to avoid wasting time. Surround yourself with a team who can work long hours and understand your creative vision. Select only a few locations, and shoot indoors as much as possible. For The Last Sunrise , for example, the team limited filming locations to only three places: Beijing 北京,  Zhangbei 张北 in Hebei Province, and Ordos 鄂尔多斯 in Inner Mongolia. As you pitch the project, be prepared to propose a variety of budgets and lengths to appeal to different types of investors. Recommended watching and reading: The Last Sunrise 最后的日出 (2019): Youku (VIP account needed) | Facebook page Train to Busan (2016): Wikipedia page Black Coal, Thin Ice 白日焰火 (2014): Wikipedia page  The Wandering Earth 流浪地球 (2019): Wikipedia page South Korean director Kim Ki-duk: Wikipedia page  Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda : Wikipedia page Zhang Yimou’s opinion piece in the New York Times, “What Hollywood looks like from China.” Answers to the episode quiz: Lu Xun 鲁迅 was the famous Chinese author who translated several science-fiction books over a century ago. Amazon Prime bought the rights to the book The Three-Body Problem 三体, by Liu Cixin 刘慈欣. The full series has yet to be released.  The year 2003 was when the first Chinese astronaut, or taikonaut, Yang Liwei 杨利伟, went to space.
In case traveling to the nearest Chinese temple may be a bit inconvenient, modern-day Chinese astrologers still have you covered — inevitably, there’s an app for that! In this episode, astrologer Wen Jun explains how she works, the kinds of clients who seek her out, the differences between Chinese and Western astrology, and other aspects of fortune-telling in the modern age. 通过一个app了解占星的艺术世界上最古老的工作已经可以在网络上进行了。文君,一个占星师,她解释了一些问题包括她如何在网络上进行工作,她的客人,以及东西方关于占星的不同之处。 Featuring: Wen Jun: astrologer | 文君: 占星师 And, as usual, your host, Aladin Farré. Aladin’s LinkedIn | Aladin’s Twitter Two main takeaways from this week’s episode:     从这期访谈中,我们总结出两个主要观点: 1) There are a number of popular Chinese fortune-telling apps on the market today. Wen Jun works for the popular astrology app Ce Ce Astrology 测测星座. One of its main competitors is another popular app, Stars Network 星星网络. 2) Contemporary Chinese astrologers are very popular. The most famous astrologers in China are Tang Qi Yang 唐绮阳, Uncle Tong Dao 同道大叔, a graduate of Peking University, and Monica Mo 莫小奇, a TV star.  
When prodded to think about documentaries at all, most people imagine features films that are shown in festivals and cinemas. What this picture misses is the fact that the majority of documentary filmmakers make their living producing documentaries for television. Does this mean that documentarians in China are all but guaranteed to make money in the country, with its billion-strong audience? 当我们谈论纪录片的时候,很多人会想到在节日和电影院放映的故事片。但实际上,大多数纪录片制作人都是以电视纪录片为生的。中国的亿万眼球能给他们带来财富和名誉吗?  Featuring: Steven Seidenberg: Script writer and consultant | 编剧、顾问 Zhang Nan: Director, PANGO Pictures | 张楠:导演,盘古影业 And, as usual, your host, Aladin Farré. Aladin’s LinkedIn | Aladin’s Twitter   Three main takeaways from this week’s episode:                从这期访谈中,我们总结出三个主要观点: 1) Documentary storytelling is not the same everywhere. 纪录片的叙事方式在不同的地方并不一样。 Chinese documentaries often feature strong narration with impressive visuals, often called the “voice of God” style. Generally, in this style, the narrator will explain the actions of the characters of a film, with interviews and sound bites reduced to a minimum. This approach to documentaries gives filmmakers more control over the message of the film. While Japanese documentaries are frequently shot in this style, it is markedly less popular in other Asian nations, including South Korea and Singapore, where documentarians prefer to directly show conflict and the end product resembles a fiction film. This preference is also shared in most Western nations, suggesting that cultural preferences may be at work.  中国的纪录片通常有很多的旁白,通常被称为“上帝之声”,然后再由漂亮的画面来修饰它。在采访中,片中角色的行为通常由旁白来讲述,同时现场的录音被减小到最低的程度。同样的现象也出现在日本的记录片中。但是西方国家及某些亚洲国家,比如韩国或者新加坡,他们倾向与表现冲突,这看起来更像一部电影。这种分歧可能来自文化差异,也因为对于制片人来说,这样更容易控制出现在影片中的话语。 2) If you want to make TV documentaries in China, you’ve got to call on the big guns. 如果你想在中国拍一部电视纪录片,那就去找一些大机构。 In China, finding a broadcaster to release your documentary is easy; between CCTV 9, CCTV 10, CGTN, and the plethora of local channels and internet platforms, distribution is hardly a problem. However, many of these platforms will merely post the film and won’t invest in distribution. Funding must come from other sources, such as a local government that wants to advertise the location in which the film is shot, an institution promoting a certain message, a company with a PR angle, or a donor who just wants to support a given project.  有了CCTV 9、CCTV 10、CGTN、许多地方频道和互联网平台,找一个广播公司来播放你的纪录片是相当容易的。但有些平台只是提供一个展示你电影的机会,而不会投资。为了给你的节目制作人投资,你必须找到其他类型的资金。可能是地方政府想宣传拍摄纪录片的地方,想宣传某一主题的机构,愿意参与公关活动的大公司,或者只是想帮助某个项目的慈善家。 3) Filming documentaries is not a path to riches. 做纪录片是不会发财的。 Often we see documentary filmmakers as white knights fighting on behalf of the public by reporting on difficult or marginalized issues. However, even if your film is screened at a famous festival or aired on a popular television network, it is still difficult to make a living. Producers, directors, and script writers of documentaries often have to supplement their incomes by doing other work (e.g., corporate videos, teaching, or doing technical jobs in bigger productions).  我们常常把纪录片制片人看作是白衣骑士,为了公众而报道困难的问题或提出有趣的话题。但是,即使你的电影在著名的节日放映,或通过电视播放,以此来谋生也是相当困难的。制作人、导演和编剧必须另找工作(企业宣传片、教学、在大制作中当技术员),以便在做纪录片的同时维持生活的。   Recommended watching: 1. Last Train Home (归途列车), a Chinese feature film by Fan Lixin (範立欣), released in 2009. 2. A Bite of China (舌尖上的中国), a Chinese documentary television series on the history of food, eating, and cooking, broadcasted by CCTV 1. 3. The Great Shokunin (了不起的匠人), a Chinese mini-documentary series that tells the stories of craftspeople across Asia. All seasons are available on the internet platform Youku, but you can see the first season on YouTube (with English subtitles) here.  
This edition of the Middle Earth podcast takes a look at China’s video-game industry — a hugely popular business in a nation where over half the population regularly plays. In 2015, the size of the video-game market in China officially surpassed that of the U.S., making the Chinese video-game industry the biggest and most profitable in the world. Listen in as experts discuss the unique features of Chinese video-gaming culture and their implications for this constantly evolving market. Featuring: Ava Deng - translation manager Ava’s email Sebastien Francois - overseas operations manager (WeChat ID: SebastianFrancois) Max Wang - narrative designer Max’s email And, as usual, your host, Aladin. Aladin's LinkedIn | Aladin's Twitter Four main takeaways from this interview:               从这期访谈中,我们总结出四个主要观点: 1) China already had a huge game culture in the 1990s. 中国自上世纪90年代起就已经有了规模庞大的游戏文化。             Many urban children and teenagers had the option of playing games in cheap computer bars or on devices like the SUBOR console (小霸王 - xiǎo bà wáng). The console was often filled with pirated copy of games that were sold for around $50 on the Western market. But many parents and teachers often disapproved of their child's gaming habits, preferring more pressing things (like homework).                 很多在城市里长大的孩子都有机会去收费低廉的网吧玩游戏,或者使用一种名叫“小霸王”的设备玩游戏。通常,这种设备里都装满了盗版游戏,这些游戏在西方市场的售价在50美元左右。不过很多家长和老师常常围追堵截、把孩子们从游戏机旁抓回去写作业。 2) Time is of the essence: If you want your game to be successful in China, think mobile and quick rewards. 如果你想把游戏卖到中国来,可以考虑手机游戏以及可以快速得分的形式。    As many Chinese players are often young people, they don’t have much time to play because of the gāokǎo 高考 or work schedules. So, unlike the gamers in the West, the gaming experience must be quickly fulfilling; there is not a lot of time to explore and learn how to master the game. Also, because most of the mobile games are linked to social media accounts, users can compare their scores with those of their friends. Right now, 57 percent of Chinese gamers play on mobile devices, compared with only 35 percent in the U.S. 目前很多中国的游戏玩家都是年轻人,因为学业或者工作的原因,他们没有太多时间玩游戏。 因此,与西方玩家不同,中国的游戏必须在短时间内满足玩家体验; 他们没有太多时间来探索和学习如何掌握一款游戏。 另外,因为大多数手机游戏都链接到社交媒体,因此游戏玩家可以将自己的分数与朋友进行比较。现在,中国有57%的玩家在手机上玩游戏,在美国则只有35%。 3) Cultural compatibility is critical for sales. 找到合适的文化土壤对销售而言非常重要。               Many Chinese companies have difficulties selling their games abroad, as they often produce stories related to kung fu or other culture elements rooted in local folklore. The few Chinese games (like Clash of Kings) that were well received in the West had European cultural ties. So far, Western games that “make it” in China already have a good reputation and can thus find their target audiences more easily. 很多中国公司在国外的销售业绩不佳,是因为他们常常制作一些跟功夫文化或其他民俗元素相关的游戏。为数不多能进入西方市场的游戏,比如《列王的纷争》,实际上具有深厚的欧洲文化背景。目前为止,成功进入中国的西方游戏都已经获得了不错的口碑,也更容易获得受众。 4) Indie games are a hard sell in China. 独立游戏在中国处境艰难。            Due to a ban on game consoles (2000–2015), and a different video gaming culture overall, Chinese players are not really into indie games. These kinds of productions are often more single-player oriented or focused on the artistic message they want to deliver. But due to a lack of knowledge about game design, and a general distrust of the Chinese public toward those kinds of projects, few independent studios manage to make a living or even finish their games.   由于游戏机禁令(2000-2015年)的影响和游戏观念的不同,中国玩家对独立游戏并不太感兴趣。这类制作通常设计为单个玩家式,或者着力于传达作者的艺术理念,但由于缺乏游戏设计方面的知识,以及受众对此类创作普遍缺乏信任,因此很少有独立游戏工作室能生存下去,有些甚至坚持不到作品完成。  
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.  
Today, we are trying another format of the show, a “case study episode” where one guest will go over a specific project or a theme in China’s culture industry. And to kick off this new format, we start with Anthony Kuhn, who works at NPR. 今天我们正在尝试另一种节目形式“案例研究系列”;在节目中,每位嘉宾将会介绍一个特定的项目或一个关于中国文化产业的特定主题。 今天,为了推出这种新的节目形式,我们请到了在美国国家公共广播电台(NPR)工作的Anthony Kuhn。  Anthony has been working on how China is using its soft power, and that’s actually one of the main reasons the Middle Earth podcast started: to investigate how politics and culture can be linked. The culture of a country doesn't come out of thin air. Rather, there is a political and business side to it. Anthony一直在研究中国如何利用其软实力,这实际上也是Middle Earth开始的主要原因之一; 如何将政治与文化联系起来。一个国家的文化往往不是凭空产生的,它往往受到政治和经济的影响。 With: Anthony Kuhn – journalist / 记者 Anthony’s LinkedIn / Anthony’s byline at NPR And, as usual, your host, Aladin Aladin's LinkedIn / Aladin's Twitter / Aladin's Instagram Show notes: You can now listen to one of Anthony’s reports on China’s soft power here. The film Anthony talked about was 厉害了 我的国 (My Amazing Country), by state-media company CCTV and China Film Group Corporation. Anthony's Weibo moment of fame, mentioned in the show, can be seen here.
This episode is the second part of a two-part series about how the internet changed the way to consume and create content. Last time, the panel comprised people who earn a living by creating only on the Chinese internet, but today we meet the other side of the fence, the more “capitalistic” one: those who make, sell, or deal with advertisements. With: Kenneth Cheung – data and branding consultant Kenneth's LinkedIn Tera Fang – fashion influencer Tera's Instagram / Tera's Weibo Eloi Gerard – CEO and founder of CrowsNest Eloi's LinkedIn And, as usual, your host, Aladin Aladin's LinkedIn / Aladin's Twitter / Aladin's Instagram From this interview we have four takeaways: 1) Forget about TV advertisements In 2012: 20 percent of advertisement spending was on the internet. In 2017: 57 percent of advertisement spending was on the internet, and only 31 percent on TV. The online advertising market represented $47 billion in 2016, and will increase to around $90 billion in 2020. As a comparison, it’s more than the film industry at $7 billion, but less than the tobacco industry at $160 billion. The main reason online advertising is booming in China compared with in Western countries is because the television channels there are all state-owned and don't really have an agenda about a specific type of audience they want to attract. 2) Without data, you are nothing The “BAT” companies (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) have much more data about their users than Facebook or Google because they own multiple platforms and services, making it easier to track down the kind of product you would want to buy. Therefore, brands and advertising agencies with smaller budgets can more efficiently target potential clients on the internet. If “data privacy” starts to be a thing in North America, Europe, or developed Asian nations, China’s general public seems to care a bit less about this. But the Chinese internet is not the Wild West because some data, like credit card transactions, is illegal to buy. You can still find it on the market, but that would be totally illegal and risk prison time. 3) On the internet, hire a Key Opinion Leader For some reason, in China, even the most basic commodity like a burger or a car needs to have a spokesperson to represent the product. And as the Chinese internet is massively used by young adults in search of authenticity, users often try to link their products to one of those Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) to boost their products. If you are one of those KOL whose Weibo follower count is greater than the population of some small countries, you should consider starting your own brand at some point. Being famous is not enough — you have to be able to one day sell something of your own or you will be forgotten. 4) Technology will keep replacing jobs As incredible as it sounds, artificial intelligence could slowly replace editors as they edit pictures and films. Just by saying to the computer “This advertisement should look like X,” the AI could potentially perform the task much faster than any human.   Also, as the adult-video industry and Xinhua have proven recently, it is possible to digitally re-create someone’s face on screen. One day, stars might not even have to go to a studio to shoot their advertisement; they will just rent their face and someone else will walk in front of the camera.
China has only 55% internet penetration, but almost every person online is using a smartphone, therefore a lot of phone-optimized content (video, news, silly applications to make your selfies look beautiful) is created every day. As of this month of recording, October 2018, Bytedance, the Chinese company owning news aggregator Toutiao and short video app Douyin/Tik-tok, is now THE most valuable startup in the world, more than Uber or Baidu. ​虽然中国只有55%的互联网普及率,但几乎每个网民都使用智能手机,因此每天都产生大量内容(视频,新闻,很傻但让你看起来很漂亮手机APP)。截至本期节目录制时(2018年10月),“字节跳动”这家中国公司公司——旗下有新闻聚合器APP“今日头条”和短视频应用“抖音”/“Tik-tok”(抖音视频国际版)——现在已经是世界上最有价值的创业公司,超过了优步或者百度。 So, as I work on a television project I wanted to talk to those who just create articles, funny videos, and news on the Chinese internet. How do they make a living by creating online content? How do they find followers? And how big is the competition? 鉴于我正从事电视行业,我很想与那些在中国互联网上写文章、创作有趣的视频和新闻的人聊一聊。他们是如何通过创作线上内容谋生的?是如何吸引受众的?这个行业的竞争有多大? This episode will be a two-part series on how the internet is changing content creation in China. Next month we will look at how today’s advertisements are light years away from what was done just 5 years ago. 这一集是关于互联网如何改变中国内容创作的第二部分,下个月我们将关注现在的广告作品与5年前的巨大差异。 With Erman – Weibo & Wechat influencer / 微博和微信( 就是曼仔 )影响者 Erman’s Weibo / Erman Instagram Ben Jonhson – Douyin celebrity at the 和歪果仁说英语 channel /‘和歪果仁说英语’抖音红人 Ben’s Instagram / Ben’s (personal) Douyin Tang Yiqing /唐宜青 – Founder & CEO of media app “Juzi Yule” / 社交软件‘橘子娱乐’创始人兼CEO And as usual, your host Aladin Aladin’s Linkedin / Aladin’s Twitter / Aladin’s Instagram From this interview we have found three take-aways: 从这次采访中,我们总结出三个主要观点: 1) Whatever you do, do it with heart, and glory awaits – 无论你做什么,精诚所至,金石为开 As you will create content solely in Mandarin, there are so many people in China waiting for quality content that fans will soon flock your account and be your die-hard fans. No need to overthink a strategy or work on something you don’t like just because it is today’s fashion. Content is king and you should first focus on what you like and what you are good at to share with the world. 如果你用普通话来创作,你的潜在受众将有很多,大家都在期待高质量的内容,粉丝很快就会涌入你的帐户并成为你的铁粉。因此没必要过度考虑策略,或者做一些你并不喜欢、但是现在很火的内容。内容为王,你应该首先关注自己喜欢以及擅长的内容,把它分享出去。 2) When do you start running ads? – 什么时候开始投放广告? As your brand will need time to develop, don’t start too soon to partner up with commercial clients. The question is not really if your followers will dislike it or not, but more that you need first to reach a good level of content creation that will allow you to get a lot of followers. When you have created enough videos and articles, then you can move on to phase two: Partner up with a brand and sell their product. Some people might hate it, especially when you do a “soft ad” which looks like real content, but the common people will understand you need to make a living and will forgive you. 因为你的品牌需要时间发展,所以不要急着去寻找商业伙伴。最关键的问题不是你的粉丝喜不喜欢你,而是首先你需要创造更多有品质的内容来吸引关注;当你创作了足够的视频以及文章,你就可以开始第二阶段了:与品牌合作,开始做营销。有些粉丝可能会讨厌营销手段,即使你做了一个内容很好的软广,但大部分人还是会理解你的生存需要、释怀你的营销行为。 3) Don’t try to cheat to become famous – 绝对不要试图靠撒谎来走红 There is a huge temptation to buy “zombie fans” or fake comments. First of all having a million fans for only a few likes and comments will definitely make your account look shady. Also, from time to time the platforms will purge fake accounts and might even punish you for it, so don’t accept weird propositions from strangers to sell you fans. Also you should rest assured that if you start working with a brand to help sell their product and you need to reach as many fans as possible you will have to pay the social media platform to help on that. And that kind of spending’s are usually part of the budget of the brand working with you. So just keep your head down and focus on having quality followers. 买僵尸粉或者做假评论是有很大风险的。首先如果拥有百万粉丝的帐号下仅仅只有几个点赞和评论,这样看起来就很假。其次平台也会时不时地清除一些僵尸号,到时候甚至你也会受到处罚,因此,不要相信那些卖僵尸粉的陌生人。再者,如果你开始和品牌商合作、销售他们的产品,你就需要向更多的粉丝做推广,这时你就不得不在社交平台上花钱推广了,通常这些费用都是你合作品牌预算的一部分(品牌商帮忙推广后如果产品销量仍然不好,他们可能就要怀疑你的影响力了)。所以还是埋头苦干创作内容、吸引更多有质量的粉丝吧。 This episode will be a two-part series on how the internet is changing content creation in China. Next month we will look at how today’s advertisements are light years away from what was done just 5 years ago. 针对“互联网是如何改变中国内容创作的”,我们制作了上下两集节目,本期是“上集”。下个月将播出“下集”:现在的广告与5年前有什么不同。 Thing we talked about and you might not know A Wǎng Hóng (网红) is a celebrity on Chinese internet. The infamous “internet water army” (网络水军 – wǎngluò shuǐjūn) are internet ghostwriters legendarily paid half a yuan for a hasty copy-pasted comments. The apps and websites that we talked about were : 抖音 (dōuyīn – video) 快手 (kuàishǒu – video) 星座棋谈 (xīngzuò qítán – entertainment) and 今日头条 (jīnrì tóutiáo – news) The red scarf (红领巾 – hónglǐngjīn) is an important symbol of the Young Pioneers of China. And hiring a porn star to wear it publicity for your brand can have long lasting consequences. Ben Jonhson and his colleagues were inspired by the youtube creators “MamaHuhu – 马马虎虎”. The young blogger that Erman mentionned is 曲玮玮 (qû wēi wēi).
Hi everyone, We are moving the show to next year, but don't worry It will stay free and we have a small surprise to announce you.
This episode is the B-side of a two part-series about how internet changed the way to consume and create content. Last time the panel were people making a living by creating only on the Internet, but today we meet the other side of the fence, the more “capitalistic one”, the one who are working on advertisements. 我们制作了一部系列节目,分上下两集讨论关于互联网是如何改变了消费和内容创作的,本期节目为这个系列的下集。 上期节目我们采访了通过互联网创作谋生的人,而今天我们调转角度,来和这些更“资本主义”的人聊聊。他们是广告从业者。 With : - Kenneth Cheung : Data & Branding consultant / 数据和品牌顾问 - Tera Fang : Fashion influencer / 时尚博主 - Eloi Gerard : CEO & founder of CrowsNext XR CrowsNext XR 创始人及CEO
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