20 Aug 028: Repairing relations between Hollywood & China
L.A. based Chinese Film Executive – Ms. Sammie Hao discusses repairing the relations between Hollywood and China, the fallout of bad Chinese money in Hollywood, and what will be in demand next year.
L.A. based Chinese film executive Sammie Hao discusses how a growing number of US-based Chinese producers hope to repair the relationship between Hollywood and China.
Ms. Sammie Hao is a Senior Media & Entertainment Analyst at Yintai Investment Company in Los Angeles. She discusses the lasting effects of the “bad money that flew to Hollywood” a few years ago. Ms. Hao also discusses how you can avoid bad deals.
Ms.Hao shares her insight on Chinese censorship and guiding Western filmmakers through the Chinese censorship maze. She offers hope for writers in that there will be a huge lack of content next year. She advises writers to write low budget material which can be shot under Covid-19 guidelines.
3 KEY POINTS
- SKILL SET: when choosing a partner, it’s best to pair up with someone whose skills complement your own. You also need to learn about Chinese culture. Then do your homework, get referrals and check track records.
- AVOID BAD BUSINESS DEALS: A few years ago, “bad money flew to Hollywood” and many high-profile deals collapsed. Westerners can make the mistake of believing in China hype over due diligence
A sorry tale of expecting riches from China without doing your due diligence was on the front page of the paper recently. It’s outside the film industry but it’s such a tragic cautionary tale – I thought I’d mention it.
Car legend and Ford Mustang designer, Steve Saleen thought he found a savior when Chinese investors approached him to make his muscle cars in China. The cars manufactured turned out to be poor imitations – the cars even had happy face emojis on the hood if that tells you anything.
It was a bust and now everyone is suing. Unfortunately, Steve already handed over his designs to the joint venture. So, Steve lost millions, he’s suing his partner for fraud, his reputation is in tatters and he lost his IP for the car designs since they’re wrapped in the joint venture.
Steve’s strong point was car design not financial maneuverings. He picked the wrong partner. So, do your due diligence!
- NO QUICK RETURN: Don’t make the same mistake Netflix did. Back then they tried to get into China but wanted too much, too fast. Your project must be beneficial to China. And don’t think you can take a short cut to succeed in China. It’s a long path.
- US-CHINA TENSION: There’s a lot of the news coming out of Washington that paints a very dire picture of future relations with China. And yes, as Sammie mentioned – there were many bad deals “Dishonorable business” that happened a few years ago between China and Hollywood. However, they are up and coming Chinese filmmakers in Hollywood now who are striving to renew that trust and hope to recreate a respectful business model between the US and China.
- CENESORSHIP: For Westerners who want to get distribution in China – your script will have to pass censorship. Ask yourself – are you willing to balance your vision and what would pass censorship? Then avoid red flags such as ghosts, showing mainland Chinese cops as corrupt, avoid religious or political topics, avoid ultra-violence. You must decide – is this going to water down your vision? Is it worth it? Only you can answer that.
- LOW-BUDGET: Next year low budget films will get their closeup since due to Covid-19 and all the new restrictions on filming – producers will be looking for ways to shoot while following new guidelines. With a low budget script – you have a smaller cast, fewer locations, etc. Low budget scripts will be the hot property so your next writing project should be low budget.
Well that’s the show. Thank you for listening. To show your support – go to iTunes, subscribe and leave a rating so other people can find this podcast.
We will soon be launching The China List. This is a membership website to connect writers with producers and reps in Hollywood and China. The China List will also connect producers to Chinese financiers.
China Hollywood Greenlight Podcast – Episode 28
Sammie Hao 郝思文
Host: Caryn McCann
Guest: Sammie Hao 郝思文
Sr. Media & Entertainment Analyst 媒体与娱乐产业高级分析师
Yintai Investment Company 银泰投资集团