035: Tips on writing for a Chinese audience

Marc Handler writing for a Chinese audience

035: Tips on writing for a Chinese audience

China writer Marc Handler discusses the benefits of working with a Chinese writing partner. He discusses China bashing and China’s talent management problem.

Writing for a Chinese audience, Marc Handler reveals how he gets jobs in China, Marc is also a producer and international consultant with American and Chinese studio experience. Having a Chinese writing partner has enabled him to get hired in China. He also discusses China bashing, China’s talent management problem and possible solutions.



Marc talked about a time he cut the script development process down by ignoring notes and just wrote the script. Note – he beat out the competition for this job based on his take on the story. This is an extreme case. Thus this illustrates there are times you can be a team player and there are times you need to stand up for your vision. In the end it worked out for Marc. So, pick your battles carefully.


In particular, there’s a lot of China-bashing in the US and a lot of US-bashing in China. My podcast isn’t about politics but about cooperation – but cooperation with your eyes open. This means vet your partners, protect your copyright – do your due diligence. As Marc says – look for facts not opinions. 


Above all, Marc hopes Chinese and American studios will stop treating writers as interchangeable parts. He suggests studios use the Pixar method. A typical studio has a development team or corporate execs come up with movie ideas. At Pixar which made blockbuster animations such as Toy StoryCarsUpThe IncrediblesFinding Nemo etc. Pixar uses small incubation teams made up of a director (usually the one with the idea), a writer and some storyboard artists.  Pixar bets big on these small teams, gives them enormous leeway and support. And the teams get honest feedback from everyone. Pixar is also famous for its R&D for its animation projects which can last up to a year. No wonder they are so good at what they do.

For example, see the link to the article The Uniquely Powerful Reason Why Pixar Movies Are So Good



Additionally, don’t ask what China can give you. Figure out what you have to offer – skills, investment, distribution, specialized knowledge.  Make it mutually beneficial and you will have a better chance of getting hired or launching a joint venture. Writing for a Chinese audience could open Hollywood doors for you as well.

For more advice on implementing a win-win approach see:

China Is Starving for Good Projects: Ep #25

Find the Right Chinese Partner: Ep #18

Development Hell: How to Survive and Thrive: Ep #08


 In brief, if you want to sell your script to China or find a Chinese financier – the best way is to start with the script and partner with a Chinese writer. If you want to write for a Chinese audience, you can do this on my website The China List. You can sign up for a free trial and post a tailored request for a Chinese writer or western writer with China experience on our writing jobs page.  Just use the link https://chnlist.com/promo Get hired by working with a Chinese writing partner.


To clarify, Marc said China has a serious talent management problem. Here’s your opportunity. Whether you’re a talent rep or someone who can coordinate a ‘Hollywood-China sharing of best practices’ event – there’s a job for you. This is a golden opportunity for some smart person to be the problem solver to make hiring Chinese talent easier. I hope the China List will help producers find writers in the east and west. And if you go to my website – you can register as an actor, as a director, or a filmmaker. If there’s enough of a demand – I’ll start a database for actors, directors and film crews to get jobs in Hollywood and China. Just go to The China List website and register on the “How To Work With Us” page.

China Hollywood Greenlight Podcast – Episode 035

Marc Handler, Screenwriter, Producer & Int’l Consultant

Show Notes

Host: Caryn McCann

Website:  The China List – where Hollywood and China meet 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheChinaList

Twitter: @chnlist

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caryn-mccann-5718058/

Guest: Marc Handler

LinkedIn: Marc Handler   https://www.linkedin.com/in/marc-handler-2482524/

WeChat: marchandler

Website:  https://marchandler.com

Best restaurant in Beijing according to Marc: Blossom Vegetarian, No.144 Dongshimen Inner Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing China+86 10 6401 2228  


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