Chapter 45: The Serialization of "The Wizard of Oz"!
The atmosphere in the office was very awkward.
Tian Bin was full of envy. Jia Yan, normally proud and full of confidence, also felt like he was now sitting on a cushion full of needles. He felt uncomfortable and had an ominous feeling. The breakout of "Old and Young Story Club" has given them significant stress. Wu Datao was annoyed about how "Entertainment Daily" had suffered an unprecedented slip from 2nd place, never before seen in its history!
Zhao Guozhou did not appear in the office for the whole day. Everyone was sure that he knew about Zhang Ye's results, but no one made a sound, as they all simultaneously chose to remain silent. No one could tell what the other was thinking about. In accordance with regulations, a program's last broadcast could only be decided by its ratings. Programs which placed badly for a long period of time were cut. But never had a program scheduled to be cut had its ratings increase so explosively. How should this situation be handled? Stop broadcasting? Continue broadcasting? The leader was silent about this and no one could really answer this either. But silence could also be a sign!
Xiaofang called out, "Teacher Zhang, the recording studio is ready."
"Okay. Thanks for the hard work. I will head over immediately." Zhang Ye switched off his monitor.
When he got up, Teacher Feng, whom he shared a table with, gave him a thumbs up. "Come on; write another good story. Failure or success will depend on these two days." Teacher Feng had become hopeful now; perhaps the young Little Zhang could really create a miracle this time!
"I understand." Zhang Ye replied.
As everyone watched on, Zhang Ye went to the recording studio.
As for the Leader's thoughts, Zhang Ye had his own assumptions. Jia Yan was Deputy Station Head Jia's relative; he would surely be well taken care of. But Zhang Ye was just a rootless duckweed and had even offended the Station Leader before. He would surely not be preferentially treated. It could then be said that if Saturday and Sunday's ratings had a tremendous drop, the Leader would not hesitate to axe "Old and Young Story Club". But if the ratings could maintain at 2.40% or even higher, then the situation would not necessarily be fixed. With the results placed in front of them, they could not move him even if they wanted to!
So how was he to keep the ratings consistent?
Zhang Ye did not rush to record his program, but pondered in the recording studio for a long time. The situation was to his advantage now. Through the promotion of "Little Bunnies Be Good" and through the official announcement of the Education Ministry, many parents had already become audience members of his program. Zhang Ye had to make these people stay on and not let them leave after the fad was over. He also had to make some plans for his program!
In this world, a serialized fairy tale might seem unfamiliar. To the people, a story is a story. It ends after it has been read to the end. But in Zhang Ye's new world, this was more common. There were uncountable famous stories which were serialized.
Why did he choose a serialization?
Firstly, Zhang Ye planned to gather popularity through serialization. For example, some sitcoms may have episodes which could stand on their own. There was not much continuity, therefore viewers were less enthusiastic towards it; even if they skipped an episode, it would not affect them much, as every story was independent. But serialization was different; a story that was read daily for 18 days would be affected if you missed a part in the middle. So listeners would be more enthusiastic about listening in to every episode. Secondly, since the station had sent out the notice that the segment would be axed after Sunday, by using a serialization, it was impossible to finish narrating it on Sunday. It was clear that he did not want to hand it over, and this would also give the station a problem. Since you can play dirty with me, am I not allowed to play dirty as well!?
This method was quite wicked, but Zhang Ye did not care. If others were good to him, he would return it without question. However, when others kept gunning for him again and again, then Zhang Ye did not care anything about professional ethics!
What story to choose?
Zhang Ye's eyes rolled and, with a flash, he opened the game ring and saw that he still had quite a lot of Reputation points. He then went into the Merchant Shop to buy a "Memory Search Capsule". These days, the Reputation gained from the accumulation of "Late-night Ghost Stories" and the result at the Essay Competition with "Little Bunnies Be Good" had increased Zhang Ye's Reputation to 200,000, as tallied by the game ring. "Late-night Ghost Stories" would give 20-30,000 Reputation points on a daily basis, which was not a lot. The main reason was the fame gained from the Essay Competition. So he did not feel the pinch from spending 100,000 Reputation points to buy the capsule. After eating it, Zhang Ye immediately recalled a complete, full-length children's fairy tale.
He began recording!
"Chapter 1: The Cyclone. Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife. Their house was small, for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon many miles. There were four walls, a floor and a roof, which made one room. And this room contained a rusty-looking cookstove, a cupboard for the dishes, a table, three or four chairs and the beds."
That's right. The children's fairy tale that Zhang Ye had chosen was "The Wizard of Oz"!
Why did he choose it? This was because Zhang Ye had read this growing up. Although the translated names could cause some reading difficulty, history had told Zhang Ye that it would not be a problem. Children could perfectly accept it. There was no need to say how classic this children's fairy tale was. Not many people in Zhang Ye's world were ignorant of its existence. And one of the reasons Zhang Ye chose "The Wizard of Oz" was because this story was different from "Little Bunnies Be Good" or "The Emperor's New Clothes". It was not limited to an audience below the age of twelve. "The Wizard of Oz" was a fairy tale that was suitable for all ages!
Adults? Old people?
It covered all age groups! This was extremely rare among children's fairy tales!
Zhang Ye still remembered when he had just became a freshman. He had watched the animation and television drama version of "The Wizard of Oz", together with his parents. His parents had also liked it a lot.
Wouldn't some people say that "Snow White" was the same? Actually, it's not the same. "Snow White" was also a work that managed to wipe out all age groups. It had many animations and movies, but the point was that they were adapted. For example, "Snow White and the Huntsman", "Snow White and the Magic Mirror ", etc. These had changed almost everything beyond recognition from the original version's foundation. And, to put it bluntly, even "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" itself was not the original version. The original version sure was bloody, so let's not talk about it.
From this angle, for "The Wizard of Oz" to cater to all ages was a very rare exception!
If there was a flaw that could be picked, it was that "The Wizard of Oz" first came out as a live-action version, and not as a children's fairytale. So this might make it seem risky, but he still needed to take the risk, even if it was risky.
Zhang Ye knew very well that if "Old and Young Story Club" only depended on the listenership ratings from children, then it was not enough. For example, for yesterday's program, most of the listeners were parents. If the parents were listening in, so as to read stories to their children, then it would be too passive. One or two days may work, but problems would surface down the road. Hence, Zhang Ye had a great idea. This fellow decided to pull the children's parents in as the fans of his story. By telling them a story that they would also like, this would further secure his segment's listenership ratings!
"Chapter 2: The Council with the Munchkins"
"She was awakened by a shock, so sudden and severe that if Dorothy had not been lying on the soft bed, she might have been hurt. As it was, the jar made her catch her breath and wonder what had happened."
At noon, the program was broadcast.
Many colleagues, who were having their lunch break, began to listen in to "Old and Young Story Club", while having lunch in the office. Previously, they had not paid attention to this segment. But now, due to Zhang Ye's thunder, and it also being placed first in the Essay Competition and it also being promoted by the Education Ministry, who was not curious after he had obtained that terrifying listenership rating? Of course, everyone paid attention to it. They wanted to know what was so good about Zhang Ye's fairy tales. Why was it so sought after by so many people? Wasn't it just a children's fairy tale? Why would it be different from other children's fairy tales authors? Those fairy tale masters, who had been working in the industry for so many years, could not save the industry as it deteriorated by the day. But... Why did it work when it was you?
However, upon listening, almost everyone cheered. They finally understood why Zhang Ye had managed to obtain first place in the Education Ministry's Essay Competition!
"It's too good!"
"This Little Zhang has turned divine!"
"Is this a children's fairy tale? Why do I like it so much?"
"The Wizard of Oz? Is this another original work of Teacher Little Zhang? I really do not know how his brain works. He's good at poems, good at supernatural stories, but even his fairy tales are so good?"
A few female colleagues began chiming in.
After they discussed for a long while, a woman sought out Zhang Ye, who was eating his lunch from a lunch box, "Teacher Little Zhang, what happens next in "The Wizard of Oz"? Tell us what will happen first."
Zhang Ye dryly laughed, "Don't be like that, Big Sis Zhou. You can hear it tomorrow."
Big Sis Zhou said, "We can't wait any further. My daughter knows that you are my colleague. The moment she finished listening to the program, she gave me a call and asked me to find out what happens later. If you don't give it to me, I really can't face my daughter. Hehe. What do you think, kid?"
Zhang Ye scratched his head, "Big Sis Zhou, I really can't do it. Actually, I haven't thought of it yet. You know that I never have a script and I just narrate as it comes to my head. I haven't planned it well for what happens later. Listen to it tomorrow." After finding an excuse, he finally managed to drive them away by deluding them.
Some praised, while others shook their heads.
Jia Yan was one of those who did not believe it would do well. When he went downstairs for lunch, he had secretly listened to Zhang Ye's program. The story was still alright, but... it was a serial? You actually made a children's fairy tale a serial? Are you joking!? Even the two fairy tale masters, Tao Xueru and Little Red Mushrooms, did not dare attempt this! Do you think children are as patient as adults? Would children follow the story, just because it could not be finished in a day? Is it possible? Children were creatures with short attention spans. The way you think is too simple!
However, Jia Yan was happy about this. The more errors Zhang Ye made, the more beneficial it was for him. Of course, he could not let his program be unaired. The time had already been fixed!
Teacher Feng came back from lunch, "Little Zhang, why did you do a serialized broadcast?"
Zhang Ye winked, "It's a serial. I don't think there's a problem?"
"It's too risky." Teacher Feng was a professional who had done "Old and Young Story Club" for years. He commented, "You must know the top master, Tao Xueru, in the industry, right?"
Zhang Ye said, "I know."
"Teacher Tao had previously tried a serial, but it was not a broadcast type, but a published serial. One book was split into three separate children's books. And the result? The sales for each book were each worse than the last. The situation where children do not recognize serials is due to their patience. Children may suddenly have the idea of reading a story today and might feel anxious about not knowing how the story ends. But after a period of time, the children will forget it. It is like with toys. They have not settled on their personalities. If Teacher Tao couldn't succeed, why are you trying to outdo her?" Teacher Feng initially had some hope, but with Zhang Ye's act, he naturally had to criticize bluntly.
A few office ladies stood up for Zhang Ye, "Not really. I think it's very good?"
"Me too. I'm especially looking forward to tomorrow's story." another woman said.
Teacher Feng said, "That's because you are adults; but, children are not the same."
"Teacher Feng." Zhang Ye made a bold claim, "Teacher Tao not succeeding does not mean I can't succeed. I shall say something disrespectful. The reason why my essay got first, while Teacher Tao only got third, is because of a problem with the story. Maybe my story is more suitable and is better at grabbing attention than Teacher Tao's. As long as it's a good story, a good story that can grab the attention of children, then there would not be a problem serializing it!"
Tian Bin happened to walk past. He maintained a two-meter "safe distance" from Zhang Ye and said mockingly, "Let's see the listenership ratings tomorrow!"
Jia Yan also had similar thoughts. The reason for the explosive ratings was due to special circumstances. The Education Ministry had given an order, so it was no wonder that the ratings were high. However, today was different. One would know if it was a mule or a horse, just from the ratings. Don't be happy too soon; we shall see your true form tomorrow!
In Zhang Ye's mind, he was thinking, "Bring it on. Let's see what happens tomorrow!"