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How China Is Changing Hollywood



Thoughtful China is a webpage that posts interviews from different industries on the subject of business in China.  This week is about the film industry.   One of the Interviews is with Kenneth Bi who I just finished working with on a long format web-series.  He’s a great guy and a great director!  There’s some good stuff in here from all the interviewees.

You can watch the video here.


This from Thoughful China:

China’s market is booming. Box office revenues rose 30% last year to $2.7 billion. China is expected to overtake the US within a decade, with about 10 new screens opening daily. But China is not an easy market for foreign filmmakers. To protect and nurture its local industry, China strictly limits the number of foreign films that can be shown annually, and films that offend China never make the cut.

So Hollywood’s leading directors are bending over backward to appease local censors. A New York Times article three months ago reported US moviemakers are “even allowing government officials onto movie sets to monitor the filming,” as was the case with Disney and Marvel’s “Iron Man 3.”

At the same time, studios in Hong Kong and China have upgraded production facilities while getting savvier about how they market their own films to overseas viewers, creating stiff competition, especially in other parts of Asia.

Our guests on “Thoughtful China” this week include Jeffrey Soong, CEO of Media Asia Group Holdings; Huayi Brothers’ executive Leigh Gow; Kenneth Bi, director of the upcoming Huayi Bros’ action-thriller “Control” starring Daniel Wu; Loeb & Loeb Partner Stephen Saltzman; and Sirena Liu, founder of Filmworks China Entertainment Marketing.

Host Trevor Lai asks these entertainment experts how China is changing the way Hollywood produces and markets motion pictures for the world, current trends evolving China’s own film industry and opportunities for brands to play a role within Chinese and international films.

Find out the answers to these questions and more this week on “Thoughtful China” HERE.

Executive Producer: Normandy Madden – Senior VP, Thoughtful China
Host: Trevor Lai – CEO, Up Studios
Featured Guest: Jeffrey Soong – CEO, Media Asia Group Holdings
Commentary: Sirena Liu – President, Filmworks China Entertainment Marketing
Panelists: Kenneth Bi – Writer/Film Director
Leigh Gow – Managing Director, Huayi Brothers Fashion Group
Stephen Saltzman – Partner, Loeb & Loeb
Episode Summary: China’s market is booming, but it remains a tough market for foreign filmmakers, due to strong local competition and strict import controls and censorship. This week on “Thoughtful China,” host Trevor Lai asks entertainment experts how China is changing the way Hollywood produces and markets motion pictures for the world, current trends evolving China’s own film industry and opportunities for brands to play a role within Chinese and international films.



Huge Kudos to Haz who did this great short and looks like he’s got a feature gig off the back end.  He’s a good friend of VisPop, and hopefully we can work together someday down the track.  Anytime VFX guys get films off the ground we should all give a standing round of applause!  Well done man, sincere congrats!


813-696-6719 from Hasraf HaZ Dulull on (929) 449-7132.


Dullul, a VFX artist on “The Dark Knight,” “Hellboy 2″ and the mini-series “The Bible,” will direct from his own screenplay. Shot as a faux-documentary, Dullul’s 14-minute short chronicles a space agency of the near future and its first contact with intelligent life on an interstellar space mission.”

Producers are Chris Lemole and Tim Zajaros of Armory Films, Chris Bender, JC Spink & Jake Weiner of Benderspink and Scott Glassgold and Raymond Brothers of IAM Entertainment. Glassgold and Brothers developed and produced the original short film, which debuted earlier this year…

Here’s the article in Variety about his movie deal!

Mr. Go International Trailer


No matter where you are in the world, sometimes you just wanna have fun at the movies!  Good on em’, I’ll bet this thing does huge business world wide…  I’m rooting for that CG Mr. Go!






HONG KONG — “Mr Go,” which releases today in South Korea and on Thursday in China is a big bet by any standards.

Costing some $25 million to produce, the film is a hybrid live action/CGI comedy-drama about a Chinese gorilla who becomes a super-sized hero in Korea’s professional baseball league.

It necessitated amounts of motion capture and digital effects that are unprecedented in a Korean movie – the gorilla Ling Ling, initially animated by an actor wearing crutches strapped to his forearms, appears in about 1,000 of the film’s 2,000 shots. And it was filmed in native stereoscopic 3-D.That all required director Kim Yong-hwa to set up an off-the-shelf company, Dexter Film, and to employ 150 CG professionals.

On top of that the movie is structured as a full Korean-Chinese co-production, involving Korea’s Showbox/Mediaplex and China’s Huayi Bros. There’s a growing tide of these co-operative ventures, but it is still rare for Chinese companies to put up hard cash and take a minority position. Huayi is understood to have invested some $6 million as well as its p&a commitment. The Chinese studio named it as one of its four key movie releases of 2013.

With obstacles and ambitions of that scale, the film also needed some inbuilt advantages. It is based on a popular cartoon series “The 7th Team,” penned by Heo Young-man, which gives it an inbuilt audience awareness in Korea, though Kim has been free with his adaptation of the story. Second, Kim has a strong track record as director of hit “200 Pound Beauty” and sports comedy “Take Off.”

Kim says he was inspired by the empathy between characters in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” whereas FX supervisor Jung Sung-jin says he watched classic gorilla movies including “Congo,” “Rise of The Planet of The Apes” and “King Kong.”

Kim and Jung also report that they had to pick their VFX team very carefully and painstakingly help the animators to unlearn much of what they had previously established as working practice. Making the CG invisible was their biggest challenge

Rest of the Variety Article here:

JIANG WEN’s “Gone With The Bullets” Oh yeah!!



PIXOMONDO is honored to work with Director JIANG WEN on his new feature film “Gone With The Bullets”


Gone With The Bullets is set in 1920′s Shanghai. “It will be another action drama about contests of wits and power. It has a tense pace and is full of Jiang Wen’s playful imagination but on a grander scale,” says Marco Ma co-owner of Beijing-based Buyilehu Films.


mercury subchloride is in charge of all Visual Effects works on the project and is tasked with the development of key visual effects sequences. Pixomondo Beijing’s Senior VFX Supervisor, John Dietz, is leading our international team and we look forward to further collaboration from pre-production (including previz and concept art) through shooting and in to post-production.

Pixomondo全权负责这部影片的视效内容,并参与重大特效场次的艺术创作。由 Pixo北京公司高级视效总监John Dietz带领这支国际团队,热情饱满,目前正加紧进行前期制作(包括前期预演和概念设定),随后将进入现场监理以及后期制作。


It’s great to be working with Pixomondo on this project.  We’re doing some great things in Beijing.  For those of you in the west, Jiang Wen is the best and most famous domestic Chinese director.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out his films… Please, Please close your web-browser and go find one right now.  Here’s a link to his IMDB.  Check out Devils On The Doorstep and The Sun Also Rises.  He’s an amazing actor as well…  He’s cool & I’m honored to be working with such an amazing filmaker!  This is sure to be a special film!



Keanu’s Directing Debut



I’m not sure how big of news it is in the west, but Keanu Reeves just release his Directorial Debut film:  The Man Of Tai Chi.  It’s a Chinese film for Chinese audiences with the intent to make distribution in the west.

I saw the film and it’s ok… some great action, but way too much of it.  It has moments where you feel like you’re watching a Hong Kong film of the 70’s…  The movie’s main failing is Keanu’s casting choice for his hero,  Tiger Chen, a stunt man who has to be questioned for his acting chops.  I don’t want to review the film, so I’ll shut up about it creatively.  If you want to read reviews there are a couple here:



What’s interesting is the business end of the film…  It’s a western film / filmmaker spending money in China to make a Chinese films.

Unfortunately it tanked!  Less then US$3mil on opening weekend which means probably less than US$10mil for all it’s Chinese run.  Reportedly the film was picked up by the Weinstein Co. so hopefully it’ll have a good global run.


The movie is about a young martial artist’s unparalleled Tai Chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club.



box office news

Blank admission or raffle tickets

Blank admission or raffle tickets


Box Office News

According to official government statistics released yesterday, China’s box office grew 36.2% from RMB8.07 billion (US$1.31 billion) in the first half of 2012 to RMB11.0 billion (US$1.79 billion) in the first six months of 2013. Domestic films were the major beneficiary.

Chinese films secured a market share of 62.3% in the first half of 2013, up from 35% one year ago. At RMB6.85 billion (US$1.12 billion), that represents a 144% year-on-year revenue growth for local films at the expense of foreign films, including Hollywood titles, which declined 21.3% to RMB4.14 billion (US$674 million).

However, the growth of the domestic market was dependent on a small number of hits. The ten highest grossing domestic films — of 117 Chinese films or China co-production films released in the first half of 2013 — accounted for two-thirds of domestic box office income.

Four of the top ten grossing films in the first half of the year are domestic: Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons 西游 降魔篇 (RMB1.24 billion), So Young 致我們終將逝去的青春 (RMB719 million), American Dreams in China 中國合伙人 (RMB539 million) and Finding Mr. Right 北京遇上西雅圖 (RMB520 million).

Among foreign films, only Iron Man 3 (RMB751 million) broke RMB500 million (US$81.5 million), the new milestone for a blockbuster hit in China’s dynamic film market. There is a single animation in the top ten, The Croods (RMB393 million), which had an extended run on local screens.

Despite the decline of foreign films at the box office, China remains a strong market for Hollywood films. G.I. Joe: Retaliation ‘s RMB338 million (US$55.1 million) gross accounted for over 20% of its total international revenue. China was also the best performing territory for Iron Man 3, accounting for 15% of its international income.



People have been asking me a lot lately about the best books for VFX.  Most of these requests have come from production people in China looking to learn the basics so they can have a better understanding how to work with vfx during pre-production and on the shoot.

There are thousands of books nowadays, so I wanted to keep it really simple and clear.  Below are to me the best books for both someone looking to learn the basics and how vfx fits into the overall film-making process both technically and production management wise.

Unfortunately none of them are translated into Chinese, but maybe we’ll start to see more vfx books coming to the mainland as the industry continues to grow here.

If anyone has more suggestions please leave them in the comments!




Wisdom from the best and the brightest in the industry, this visual effects bible belongs on the shelf of anyone working in or aspiring to work in VFX. The book covers techniques and solutions all VFX artists, producers, and supervisors need to know, from preproduction, to digital character creation and compositing of both live-action and CG elements.

Buy the book at Amazon.com North America here.


(844) 326-6516



Go behind the scene of the behind the scenes to learn how the business of producing the dazzling visual effects we see in movies and on TV works.  From pre-production to final delivery, this is your complete guide to visual effects production, providing insight on VFX budgeting and scheduling (with actual forms for your own use) and common production techniques such as motion control, miniatures, and pre-visualization.

Buy the book at Amazon.com North America here.

mission grass




The Art and Science of Digital Compositing is the only complete overview of the technical and artistic nature of digital compositing. It covers a wide range of topics from basic image creation, representation and manipulation, to a look at the visual cues that are necessary to create a believable composite. Designed as an introduction to the field, as well as an authoritative technical reference, this book provides essential information for novices and professionals alike.


Buy the book at Amazon.cn China here.


(352) 300-9135



I’m really excited about the new Guillermo Del Toro film:  Pacific Rim.  I’ve been a big fan of Del Toro’s films since Pan’s Labyrinth and it was great to have a couple meetings with him for a potential project a few years back.  He has always has a great eye for effects and he’s at the forefront of making films international.




This one has a great international, multi-cultural ensemble cast!  This summer is showing that A-list actor’s don’t open summer tent-pole films any more.  I hope this one does well in China…

Here’s a link to the very cool Pacific Rim making of video.






I hadn’t heard about project cars before seeing this video floating around on the web, but once I saw the quality of the vfx I decided to take a look at the project site.   It seems to be a crowd created and funded video game that has 80,000 members and has raised over 3.5million Euros.

在我浏览这个网页之前,我从未听说过 《project CARS》,但当有一次我看到了vfx的效果,我觉决定去看一下这个project site。这是一个 拥有80000会员,并由一批广大群众自主研发并斥资打造的一款视频游戏,其价值已经上升为3.5亿欧元。

Slightly Mad Studios is an award-winning game developer known most recently for its work on Electronic Arts’ Need For Speed franchise with the successful SHIFT series.

Slightly Mad Studios 是一间alysson的独立电子游戏公司。它经由423-658-4769发行《极品飞车:变速》。


Fantastic work to these guys!  They’re doing great creative and using a new business model.  The hard work is paying off, big kudos to the people responsible!  Best of luck!



Watch the video here on Vimeo in the west.






爱情片 – romantic film


协理 – assistant

爆竹 – squib

变焦透镜 – zoom lens

背光  – backlight(ing)

背景音乐 – background music

悲剧 – tragedy

编程 – to program; programming

编导 – writer/director (mainly for TV)

编辑 – editing/editor

编剧 – (to) write a play, scenario; playwright; screenwriter; scenarist

辩士  –  benshi (Japanese silent film narrator; see also dian ying jie shuo yuan)

编舞 – choreography; choreographer

布景 – sets

布景师 – art director


彩旦 – villian, similar to the huadan (q.v.) but comical, usually up to mischief, sometimes ill-intentioned

彩色片 – color film

策划 – to produce an idea, a person who produces an idea

场记 – continuity log

场面 – scene; spectacle

场务 – grip

超级明星 – superstar

车间 – workshop

陈设 – display, layout; furnishings

成为明星 – rise to stardom, become a star

重拍镜头 – reshoot


大型(彩色)纪录片 – full length (color) documentary

淡出 – fade out

淡入 – fade in

道具 – props

倒叙 –  flashback

导演 – director

灯光 – lighting; a person in the lighting department

电视电影 – TV movie

电视纪录片 – TV documentary

电影 – movie, cinema, motion picture, etc.

电影布景 – film set

电影鉴赏 – film appreciation

电影 奖 – film award(s)

电影脚本 – scenario; film script (see also dian yin ju ben)

电影解说员 film (or movie) explainer – (in the silent era, this was the Chinese counterpart of the Japanese benshi)

电影剧本 – scenario; filmscript

电影明星 – movie star, film star (also see:  yingxing)

i电影摄影机 – motion picture camera

电影摄制 – film production

电影图片—movie stills

电影业 – film industry

电影配音公司– film dubbing studio

电影院 – theater (motion picture)

电影角色 – movie role, part

电影制片厂 – film studio

电影资料馆 – film archive

电影剧本 – screenplay

电影节 – film festival

底片 – (film) negative

定格 – freeze-frame; frozen frame

动画片 – cartoon, animated film

动作片 – action film

短片 – short

对话 – dialogue


儿童片 – children’s film


发行 – distribution

犯罪片 – crime film

访谈片 – interview film

放映 – projection, showing

分场剧本 – scene breakdown script

分级制度 – ratings system

分镜头剧本 – shot breakdown script

讽刺 – satire, satirical

风光 – scenic (view)

疯狂喜剧  – screwball comedy (see also:  shen jing xi ju)

讽喻 – allegory

富有号召力的明星 – bankable star

服装 – costume

服装考据 – costume research

服装设计师 – costume designer


改编 – adaptation

改编曲 – arrangement (musical)

高清(电视) – high definition (TV)

歌舞片 – musical film (also see:  yin yue pian)

工作样片 – rushes

狗仔队 – paparazzi (plural); paparazzo (singular)

故事梗概 – plot outline, treatment

故事片 – feature film, narrative film, story film

观众 – audience

广角镜头 – wide-angle lens


贺岁片 – films released during Lunar New Year

合作伙伴 – collaborators (on a film, excluding the director)

黑白片 – black-and-white film

后景 – background

花旦 – a Beijing opera term used in films to mean a flirtaceous and vivacious female character

滑稽短片 – comedy, comic (short)

花瓶 – literally, “flower vase”,  an actor or actress who is in a production because of their looks, but whose character really does little to advance the story.  American English equivalent:  “eye candy.”

画外音 – offscreen sound

花絮 – trivia

化装 – makeup

化装师 – makeup artist

幻景 – illusions


纪录片 – documentary

纪录片导演 – documentary director

技术主任 – technical direction, technical director

剪辑 – film editing

监制 – executive producer

讲述 – narration

奖项 – category (or categories) of film award(s)

家庭片 – family movie

叫座 – box office smash; box office success

叫座演员 – box office favorite (actor)

结构 – structure (of a film)

节目单 – program

结束镜头 – last scene of a film

解说词 – commentary

解说 – narration

解说者 – narrator

近景 – close up

经典 – classic

惊悚片 – thriller

镜头 – shot; scene; camera lens

惊险动作片 – action-adventure film

惊险片 – adventure film

剧本 – script, scenario

剧情 – plot

剧情片 – narrative film (literally:  plot film)

剧务 – (script) continuity

卷筒  –  reel of film

军事片 – military film


开拍 – start shooting (a film) [short form of next entry]

开机 – roll camera

科教片 – scientific and educational film

客串 – cameo

科幻片 – popular science film

恐怖片 – horror film

快镜头 – fast motion, quick motion

宽银幕 – widescreen

(变形)宽银电影- CinemaScope

宽银幕变形镜头 – widescreen adjustable (or distorting) lens

宽银幕立体电影 – widescreen 3D film


蓝本影片 – film based on a literary work

连续剧 – miniseries

临时演员 – extra (film or movie performer)

灵界 – spirit world (meaning films dealing with the afterlife, etc.)

历史片 – historical film

立体 – three-dimensional (3-D); stereoscopic

录音 – (sound) recording

录音师 – sound mixer

伦理片 – ethics film


慢镜头 – slow motion shot

冒险片 – adventure film

美工 – art design, art designer

魅力 – drawing power (of stars); glamour

美术 – art direction

美术指导 – production designer

梦慢镜头 – dream scene or sequence

蒙太奇 – montage (movie)

描述 – portray, or delineate  (a character)

明星 – star (general term: film, stage, music, etc.)

明星荟萃的演出 – star-studded show

明星制度 – star system

默片 – silent film (see also wu sheng dian ying)

幕后 – behind the scenes, backstage

木偶片 – puppet film, marionette film


男配角 – male supporting role

男演员 – actor (specifically male)

男主角– male lead

闹剧  –  farce

内景 – interior

内景摄影 – interior shooting

女配角 – female supporting role

女演员 – actress

女主角– heroine; female lead


拍板 – clapper, clapboard

拍电影 – shoot a film; make a movie

排练 – rehearse; rehearsal

拍摄角度 – camera angle

拍外景 – film on location

配角 – supporting role (general term)

片尾字幕 – credits (general term; see also:  yan zhi yuan biao)

配音 – dubbing

配音片 – dubbed film

片名角色 – title role

片头字幕 – title credits

片种 – (film) genre

票房 – box office

票房毒药 – box office poison

票房收入 – box office receipt

评论 – review, critique

评论家 – reviewer, critic


前景  –  foreground

全景 – wide angle

全体演员 – cast

群众场面 – crowd scene, group shot, mob scene


人工光 – artificial light

人物造型设计 – character study


色情电影 – adult film

闪回镜头 – flashback

闪景 – flash

商业电影 – commercial (as opposed to artistic) film

上映日期 – release date

摄影 – cinematography

摄影机 – camera (general term)

摄影棚 – sound stage

摄影师 – cameraman

摄影室 – studio

审查 – censorship; to censor

深景电影 – vista-vision

神经喜剧 – screwball comedy (see also:  feng kuang xi ju)

神秘片 – supernatural (film genre)

声画合成拷贝 – married print

事务 – general business

试演 – audition

试镜头 – screen test

手持摄影 – hand-held shooting

收音 – on set sound recording

说明 (书) – program notes; playbill (lit. explanatory notes)

书幕 – title calligraphy

双蛋黄 – literally “double yolk egg”:  the awarding of duplicate awards in a movie award competition category.  Can also be “triple yolk egg” 三 蛋黄, etc.


特技– special (practical) effects; stunts; NOT to be confused with 视效 which is visual effects

特技摄影 – special effects photography

特技摄影机 – special effects camera, stunt camera

特技演员 – stuntman; stuntwoman; also:  special effects technician

特写(镜头) – close-up

特邀明星 – guest star

题花 – title design

替身 – stand-in

体育片 – sports film; athletic film

天幕 – stage backdrop [short form of next entry]

天幕衬片 – stage backdrop

天片 – stage backdrop [short form of previous entry]

跳叙 – flash forward

跳越剪辑 – jump cut

統籌 – overall plan

童话(片) – fairy tale (film)

童片 – children’s film (short for:  er tong pian 儿童片)

推进镜头 – track-in


外景 – location

外景摄影 – location (exterior, outdoor) shooting

文艺 – drama

武打 – an action film using Chinese martial arts

武旦 – a woman warrior in Beijing opera, sometimes used for swordswomen in wu xia pian (q.v.)

舞蹈(家) – dance(r)

舞蹈编导 – choreography; choreographer

舞蹈片 – dance film, ballet film

舞蹈指导 – dance direction, director

舞剧片 – dance film, ballet film

无声 (电影) – silent (film); see also: mo pian

无声源音乐 – musical background [literally, “unsourced music,” and refers to music on the film from an unseen source, usually composed especially for the film]

武术 – martial arts

舞台纪录片 – opera film, film adapted from an opera

舞台戏曲片 – opera film, film adapted from an opera

武侠 – martial artist, specifically a heroic or chivalrous character

武侠片 – martial arts film, usually featuring swordplay


细部特写 – extreme closeup

喜剧(片) – comedy (film)

洗片 – develop film

洗片机 – film developing machine

洗印 – (film) processing

戏子 — a derogatory old term for an actor

相关网站 – related web sites

相关资讯 – related information

小明星 – starlet

小生 — young male character type in Beijing opera, often applied in movies

新闻短片 – newsreel

新闻片 – news film

续集 – sequel

叙述 – narration

宣传 (片) – propaganda (Promotional) film

悬疑 – suspense; cliffhanger


哑剧 – pantomime

演员 – actor or actress; performer (general term)

演职员表 – cast list, cast credits

埸记 – script supervisor

医学片 – medical film

银幕 – (movie) screen

印片 – printing, film printing

印片机 – film-printing machine

音像同步装置 – movieola

音响效果  –  sound effect(s)

影吧 – a bar where one can watch movies or videos

影帝 – “movie king”; an actor at the top of his game

影后 – “movie queen” ; an actress at the top of her game

影剧界 – the entertainment world; movie and drama circles

影迷 – movie fan, filmgoer, cinephile, film enthusiast, etc.

影迷俱乐部 – (movie) fan club

影名 – title (of film)

影片 – film, movie

影片保存 – film preservation

影片分析 – film analysis

影片剪辑 – film editing

影片解说词 – film commentary

影片制片厂 – film studio, company

影片库 – film library

影评 – film review

影坛 – movie circles; moviedom; filmdom

影星 – movie star, film star (short form of dianying mingxing)

影院 – movie theater; cinema

音响 – sound

音乐片 – musical film (also see:  gewupian)

艺术纪录片 – art house documentary

艺术片 – art film

影城 – film studio (also see:  yingpian zhipianchang)

有声电影 – sound film

预告片 – trailer

寓言 – fable, allegory, parable

远景 –wide shot

乐队指挥 – conductor (musical)


战争片 – war film

照明 – lighting (also used for lighting electrician or technician)

照相摄影 – (still) photography

侦探片 – detective film

正片 – positive print(of a film)

置景 – sets; scenery

制片人 – producer

制片主任 – production manager, line producer

制片总监/监制 – executive producer

制作 – production (studio)

制作原则 – production code

中景 – medium shot

主角– leading role

助理 – assistant

主题 – theme (subject of a film)

主题歌 – theme song

主演 – star; lead (role)

传记片 – biographical film

字幕 – subtitles (on motion picture film; captions (with still photos)

总导演 – main director

作词 – lyricist (also used in the general meaning of “songwriter”)