01 Mar AFTER COVID – A SILVER LINING FOR WRITERS?
Will Covid prove to be an opportunity for writers looking beyond Hollywood? The Coronavirus has surprisingly opened doors for writers to expand their market.
The Coronavirus has wreaked havoc worldwide. However – there is light at the end of the tunnel, especially for writers.
WRITERS: CHINA NEEDS YOU
Due to the Coronavirus – China’s economy and the entertainment industry have come to a grinding halt. The human cost is tragic and this article doesn’t make light of that. But despite the doom and gloom – there is a reason for hope not just for a medical solution but perhaps even greater China-Hollywood cooperation.
To begin with – China and Hollywood have different mindsets when it comes to screenplays. The article Chinese Script Development Requires A Different Touch, Top Producers Say highlights this difference.
China lacks good scripts
Huayi Brothers Pictures CEO Jerry Ye said “The thing with China right now is that there’s a huge lack of creative power… so we spend a huge amount of time finding a good script. I now require all my producers to spend 60% of their energy on the script,” He later said, “This is something that’s hard to understand for foreign filmmakers because, in many countries, there are loads of great scripts and stories sitting around. Still, no capital or market to support them. It’s the opposite in China.” Translation – there is a huge opportunity for Western writers in Chinese entertainment. Mr. Ye mentioned Huayi often hires foreign writers to “build the bones of a screenplay before bringing in Chinese screenwriters to then fill it out with flesh and blood.”
In the article, China Taps Hollywood Writers to Create Better Films for Chinese Market, AMG Films, a joint U.S.-China production company’s CEO/producer, Alan Noel Vega had this to say: “There is no question that China holds a bright future for the global film industry. But Hollywood has had 100 years to perfect its writing and film techniques, so the best way for China to rise to the top is to tap into Hollywood’s talent now and learn from them what makes their films so successful.”
CHINA NEEDS WESTERN DISTRIBUTION
Chinese producers will need their movies to cross borders. Current projects will be hard-pressed to come together. This was highlighted in the article Coronavirus May Hurt China’s Long-Term Entertainment Industry Goals. It said: “Yet, bad as the virus impact is for the movie releasing sectors, there could be longer-term consequences for China’s film production and eventually for its emerging rights sales businesses.”
Losses will be heavy in China due to China’s inexperience in film insurance and completion guarantees. Li Chi-an, an independent producer and screenwriter was quoted saying “Producers don’t have a bond company to cover this, that’s why the stock prices for these companies are just going down every day,”
He went on to offer some hope though. He said “For the development of a TV series this situation is actually not that bad, We work on a shared document and write an episode as a team of six. We discuss it and edit it. Of course, it’s better to have the meetings and discussions in person, but it’s also doable viable conference call.”
HOW TO GET IN ON THE ACT
Sign up for our membership website – The Asia List. We connect writers and producers in Hollywood and Asia.