Chapter 798: I have not left yet!
Translator: Legge Editor: Legge
On the first day of shooting, the film crews were all very excited, relaxed and treating it as a holiday tour.
On the second day of shooting, the film crews were beginning to feel a little tired.
On the third day of shooting, the first casualties started appearing, with some staff from all three film crews falling sick at the same time. Some either caught a cold or couldn't acclimatize, with one suffering from altitude sickness, but was recovering well after being given an oxygen mask at a local hospital.
On the fourth day of shooting, the film crews were all complaining incessantly.
"We still have to fly today?"
"We're going to Guizhou this time?"
"Fuck me! I can't take this anymore!"
"Director Zhang, can we request for a day off to rest?"
"Yeah, Director Zhang, everyone's almost at their limits. We have been hiking in the mountains and crossing streams every day, coupled with rushing to our flights and making our way into the villages on ox carts. We're all used to sitting in the office at work, so doing all these activities has suddenly taken a real toll on our health. We really can't take it anymore!"
"Director Zhang hasn't even complained yet. Who are we to say anything?"
"Right, let's endure a little more. We can catch some z's on the plane."
"We can do it. Back in the days of preparing for The Voice, how many of us really got any rest in the two months leading up to the broadcast? Didn't we also work every day for more than ten hours? We could even survive those difficult times, so what is this hardship now? It's not easy for Director Zhang either, so let's not complain anymore."
There were some who complained, but also others who encouraged.
When Zhang Ye heard this, he could only try to cheer them on by saying, "We can't afford to rest in the next few days. There are still two more locations that we have to complete shoots at, so why don't we wait for the day after tomorrow instead? By then, we can get a day or two of rest, so please try to endure a little more."
Today, Zhang Ye was following the second film crew around on their film schedule. This crew were all made up of the staff who were previously from The Voice. He knew the reason why everyone could not take this anymore. Other than the mountain hikes which took a lot of their energy, there was one other reason. It was the lack of something to look forward to. When they were recording for The Voice back then, everyone was successively clocking overtime to finish their tasks because Zhang Ye had pulled in an astronomical title sponsorship fee. On top of that, he also pulled in big shot celebrities like Zhang Yuanqi, Chen Guang, and Fan Wenli to join the program. With the public's eye on them and the media reporting about their program almost every day, everyone surely had the motivation to work harder.
However, this time?
This time they were shooting a documentary program which seemingly had no future to them!
It was only reported by a few scattered and small media outlets before quickly dying down. They did not even seem to be interested in the title of the documentary, much less give it any further attention. Knowing that the documentary they were shooting would not be seen by too many people, everyone's motivation naturally dropped by quite a bit.
Zhang Ye told them, "Just endure a little bit more. Perhaps when everyone looks back on this in the future, you all might discover that this hardship was very well worth it. Who knows, this documentary just might bring us a great surprise!"
Everyone broke into a sweat.
Surprise my ass!
What surprises could a documentary possibly have!? They would be more than satisfied if the viewership ratings did not get too frighteningly low. No one was hoping for a miracle and felt that this was just Director Zhang painting pies in the sky to raise their morale.
AD Zhang Zuo led everyone by saying, "Director Zhang, don't worry. Since you can hold up, we'll be fine as well! There definitely won't be someone who holds us back!"
At this moment, a call from Beijing came in.
It was Department 14's Director Yan Tianfei.
Yan Tianfei asked: "Teacher Zhang, how's the progress of your shoot going?"
Zhang Ye immediately answered: "It's been very smooth up until now. We're stepping it up to try to get more footage recorded."
Yan Tianfei coughed: "You don't have to rush. It's not like we must definitely broadcast in December anyway. I've heard that some of your crew members have fallen ill since yesterday? There was even someone who suffered from altitude sickness? Please take it easy and watch out for everyone's safety. That is of the utmost importance. It doesn't matter if it affects the show, but our people must definitely not have anything happen to them. I know that you have very strict requirements when it comes to the arts. You always want to achieve perfection and excellence, but a documentary is different from other programs, so there's no need to push it so hard, am I right? Just do OK and it'll be fine."
Zhang Ye laughed: "Director, rest assured. I have a sense of propriety. I'll certainly bring back everyone in the same condition as when I brought them out here."
"Alrighty then, as long as you know what you're doing." Yan Tianfei had wanted to say a bit more, but after hearing Zhang Ye reassure him in that way, he couldn't really interfere anymore. Since the film crews were already assigned to Zhang Ye, with him as their boss, it wouldn't be too good if Yan Tianfei had to stick his nose in. He only called because he got worried after hearing that some people had fallen ill and hoped to persuade Zhang Ye not to push the teams too hard. However, he guessed that Zhang Ye probably did not really take his words to heart. Hai, it was good that he was responsible in his work and sought perfection in what he did, but there was no need to be like this. Does Little Zhang really intend to make something fancy out of this show called A Bite of China?
How could that be!?
Yan Tianfei had read through the program proposal repeatedly, but he did not find anything unusual about it.
Recording cuisine, recording ingredients, recording people and cultures, it was a very standard template that you could find in eight out of ten documentaries. Their department had also done similar documentaries like this before, where they would visit forested mountain regions to document the untouched way of life. Wasn't this how all documentaries were filmed? The only difference was that they had never used HD video cameras in the past, so rather than just saying that the staff on Zhang Ye's filming crew did not anticipate the documentary much, or that the media and audience of the entire country also did not anticipate it much, even an experienced director of a documentary channel like Yan Tianfei also did not anticipate it much.
Well, whatever. As long as the entire 10 million was spent, everything else was not an issue! He wasn't going to be bothered by anything else anymore and just left Teacher Little Zhang alone to handle this matter. He could do it however he liked, and no matter how poor the viewership ratings ended up, Department 14 wouldn't care about it. In any case, they were already at the bottom rung of the entire Central TV structure, so no matter how badly they did, they couldn't do any worse than they were already doing!
While the film crews of A Bite of China were slaving away, rushing to the different locations to film their scenes, the program team of Central TV Department 1's Rise to the Dance was in contrast much more relaxed.
The preliminary auditions had already begun!
Their program had taken up at least half of the entertainment news headlines!
"Chen Ye's marriage on the rocks?"
"Internal rumors rife: Rise to the Dance's executive director, Xu Yipeng, to host the coming Spring Festival Gala!"
"According to sources, Rise to the Dance's actual production spending could rise to 120 million RMB!"
"Beijing Dance Academy's senior year school belle rumored to be competing in Rise to the Dance?"
"Preliminary auditions, fierce competition. A talented dancer emerges!"
All these headlines were mainly to hype up the show. Some were real and some not, but all of them were just rumors.
Then, there was also some confirmed news.
Beijing Times: Rise to the Dance has officially invited dancer Teacher Lili to join the program. Our reporter has received an official confirmation about this news from Teacher Lili's management company. Undoubtedly, this would add another heavyweight claim for Rise to the Dance. Teacher Lili is one of the few famous dancers from China to have received an international professional dance award before, so her status in this industry was unquestionable!
Southern Entertainment News: A-list celebrity Huo Dongfang confirms that he has joined Rise to the Dance, with a rumored joining fee of 18 million RMB. As everyone knows, "Sect Leader Huo" started out as a professional dancer before crossing over to become an actor. Back then, the movie Dancing in the Air earned the accolade of Best Picture in China. Sect Leader Huo played the lead role without needing a stand-in. All the dance scenes in the film were performed by him, and he even played a part in choreographing them. From that alone, his strength in dancing was evident. The addition of him to Rise to the Dance was truly a great move. With Huo Dongfang joining Rise to the Dance, he brings along a great deal of his followers as well, and he could be considered one of the most suitable guests to be invited onto the show. Yes, as to why we say "one of the most," that is because there is another even more suitable guest-Heavenly Queen Zhang Yuanqi. It's rumored that the people in charge of Rise to the Dance have been in contact with Sister Zhang's agency. If they really manage to invite the Heavenly Queen who's also extremely well-versed in dance to helm the show, then it would only make the show even stronger!
The news of the day in the entertainment circle was mostly about Rise to the Dance!
At a small civilian airport.
Zhang Ye and his team were waiting to show their boarding passes to board the plane. At this moment, his cell phone rang. It was Zhang Ye's former boss at Beijing Television, Hu Fei, who called.
Hu Fei: "Little Zhang, where are you?"
Zhang Ye said, catching his breath: "I'm in Guangxi right now."
Hu Fe cleared his throat. "You went all the way there?"
Zhang Ye: "Yeah, right now I'm in Guangxi. Later, I will be in Guizhou. I'm actually waiting to board the plane right now."
Hu Fei: "You always give your all when it comes to work. I've heard that you're making a documentary this time, so I thought of giving you a call. You should know that a documentary is really difficult to handle. When I graduated all those years ago, my first job was to work on documentaries. I've produced several of them before, so you can say that I have some understanding of them."
Zhang Ye laughed: "It really isn't easy to shoot. I've come to realize that greatly in the past few days."
Hu Fei said: "Have you already read about Rise to the Dance's promotions?"
"I flipped through some newspapers and saw them. It seems like they're really promoting it quite a lot," Zhang Ye replied with a laugh. Although he had been spending much of his time in the mountains and small towns, but when it came to his opponent's news, how could he not keep himself updated?
Hu Fei declared, sounding rather stressed: "It's more than a lot! I haven't seen their ads yet, but the speculation and publicity in the news are always changing every day. They've already managed to move Huo Dongfang and Teacher Lili and get them to join the program with their joining fees one higher than the other. I've also heard that Chen Ye is trying to convince Sister Zhang to join them, having gone over to discuss with them personally twice already."
Zhang Ye blinked at that. "Did Sister Zhang agree?"
Hu Fei said: "No, a joining fee of 20 to 30 million won't be able to move the Heavenly Queen. In the entire entertainment industry, the Heavenly Queen will only give face to you. Xu Yipeng and Chen Ye could never do that. However, even without the Heavenly Queen, Rise to the Dance still has a glittering lineup. Our entire program team is already feeling the pressure from them, possibly because they're not letting up in their promos at all. The recent viewership ratings for Do You Remember has already dropped slightly, while the other talent shows are also experiencing the same thing. This Rise to the Dance show is already creating such a wave even before it starts broadcasting. I really cannot imagine what it will be like when they start their broadcast! From now on, I'm afraid that our good days are going to be over. I just had a meeting yesterday to discuss with Dong Shanshan and the others. We're already preparing to implement the changes that you told us about back then to change the show's rules and format. Hopefully, this will help freshen the program a little for the audience."
Zhang Ye nodded when he heard that. "That's OK. Since Do You Remember has already been on air for so long now, it's also the right time to introduce some changes."
Hu Fei sighed: "If only you were still around in the television industry, Rise to the Dance would never be able to act so arrogantly. After you left, no one in the variety industry is able to keep them under control."
Zhang Ye laughed: "Brother Hu, who says that I have left?"
Hu Fei sounded a little startled. "Huh?"
Zhang Ye added: "Because I...have not left yet."