026: Dealing with disasters on a Chinese film

026: Dealing with disasters on a Chinese film

Producer Alan Noel Vega shares tips on dealing with disasters, getting the green light and dealing with China.

Alan Noel Vega is a producer / stunt action director. We talk about the effect of Covid-19 on the film industry, the advantages of working with smaller players and what to do when shooting a film, your prop guy gets arrested for bank robbery.

He also talks about the difference between Chinese and American producers’ way of doing business, the importance of knowing your audience and why a great script is never enough to get a green light. 

Today’s guest is producer Alan Noel Vega. His company AMG Films is a registered official Chinese coproduction entity. And he has some great war stories. He talks about a Jet Li film he line produced – his prop guy – in the middle of the film – was arrested for bank robbery. No kidding.  But before we delve into that….

“the china list” membership website is coming

A few quick words on what I’m working on.  As you may know I am about to launch a membership website called The China List. It will foster collaboration between China and Hollywood.  

Our launch date will be June 1, 2020. Yes, you heard it here first.

The first stage is going to be a screenplay database. Producers and talent agents will have free membership and if writers sign up before May 15th they can take advantage of our free membership promotion.

And writers don’t worry if your script isn’t a “Co-pro”. If your script has a role for a Chinese actor or perhaps some Chinese element – there’s a good chance you would attract a Chinese producer or financer.  Some Chinese financers to invest in western films and it doesn’t matter if your script would qualify as a co-pro or not.   You might even attract western producer or financier that is keen to work with China. 

Just go to my website https://chinahollywoodgreenlight.com and look for the page called The China list and sign up.


  1. PLAN B: Have a plan B C D all the way to Z. Noel’s funny story about his work on the film Once Upon In Time in America proves everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Including his prop guy get arrested for bank robbery. I like to hope for the best, plan for the worst. Always have a contingency plan.  And if you’re lucky – you’ll feel like Noel afterwards – That after dealing with a disaster and making it through to the end – you feel that can do anything.
  2. THE LITTLE GUY: Noel believes it’s easier to deal with the smaller companies. They may not have access to as much money or funds but your line to working with them is a lot shorter.
  3. AVOID THE HARD SELL: Americans tend to want to get down to business quickly. That doesn’t work in China. Get to know your counterparts.  This is something so basic but needs to be repeated.


  1. ATTACH ELEMENTS: No easy feat. How do you get a star without funding? How do you get funding without a star? (A)  It all starts with the script.  So, it’s got to be great. (B) If a star is typecast and might want a change – write something that is different from their normal roles. Listen / read previous interviews where stars talk about future plans or who they’d like to work with and weave that in. (C) If the star has their own production company (and many do) offer them the chance to produce it. 
  2. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF REBATES: . Noel mentioned a producer friend in Belgium who could raise money by pre-funding rebates and doing presales based on who is attached to the script. So, look for states or countries that offer rebates.  On top of rebates – you might also consider shooting your film as a co-production. Co-productions offers collective financing, wider distribution and avoids strict import quotas. According to the America’s Motion Picture Association  https://bit.ly/2zjehDk  China has co-pro treaties with Canada, Italy, Australia, France, Singapore, Belgium, Britain, South Korea, India and Spain. 
  3. THE LONG HAUL: As Noel says – enjoy what you’re doing. For example, everybody says they want to write a script – but do they? No. You have to enjoy the process and ever day write those pages or make those calls or whatever your goal requires. Small steps add up.  But do it because you enjoy it – not because you think you’re going to get rich and famous. That won’t sustain you. 

And writers remember to go to chinahollywoodgreenlight.com  sign up by May 15, 2020 to get in on our free membership promotion. Producers and talent agents sign up to find material before anyone else does.

And I’ll see you at the Premiere. 一会见!

China Hollywood Greenlight Podcast – Episode 026

Show Notes

Host: Caryn McCann

Website: www.Chinahollywoodgreenlight.com

Podcasts: https://chinahollywoodgreenlight.com/podcasts-2/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CHGreenLight/

Twitter: @CHGreenLight

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/2H1sMLn

Guest: Alan Noel Vega, Producer

A.M.G. Films  https://www.amgfilmsusa.com

WeChat: NoelVega

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