Director Wei referred to Fang Shaoyi as a "filmmaker," not an "artist." Fang Shaoyi had been honing his craft in the film industry for twenty years, and he exuded the essence of cinema. He possessed a cinematic soul, and he belonged to the world of film.
Fang Shaoyi didn't say much at the time, they could always chat more later.
Many people left after the opening ceremony, only to return for the closing ceremony. But Fang Shaoyi couldn't endure the travel and stayed until the very end.
His jet lag is more unbearable than ever, and coming back was another difficult few days. This time, Yuan Ye went straight back to Fang Shaoyi's place with them. It was completely different from when Yuan Ye came to pick up things last time. The feeling of dilapidation and desolation was gone, and it was more like when he hadn't moved out yet, everywhere was full of vitality.
"I felt like I was in a haunted house when I came last time," Yuan Ye said.
Fang Shaoyi closed his eyes and made a soft "Mm" sound. He spoke with some difficulty, his breathing was heavy, "I didn't have anyone come to clean up."
Yuan Ye had lived here for ten years, this was his own home, and he was more familiar with this place than anywhere else.
Ning Lu couldn't wait for Yuan Ye to return, eagerly anticipating his arrival. He had waited for this moment for what felt like an eternity. Yuan Ye let him come over. Ning Lu had been here many times before, so he knew the way like the back of his hand. He spent the whole afternoon chatting with Yuan Ye in the backyard, drinking two pots of tea.
Ning Lu loved the story he had bought and was determined to make it into a film. Yuan Ye couldn't understand him, but he didn't try to dissuade him either. After all, there was no need to take away someone's love for something, even if it seemed inexplicable to others. Sometimes in life, people need these impulsive passions, regardless of their origins.
If he loved it, then Yuan Ye had to help him. They had grown up together, and no matter how much he protested, he couldn't just let him go and waste money on his own.
Yuan Ye contacted several screenwriter friends he was familiar with and inquired about their availability. It was really just a matter of luck, but he didn't expect to find one who was currently free, which was rare. It was a stroke of luck that Ning Lu managed to find an experienced screenwriter who happened to have some free time.
Originally, this person had a project scheduled during this time, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, it was put on hold. Yuan Ye told the screenwriter, "Please help us out, Brother Jian. My brother wants to make this film. He's a good guy, but he doesn't know much about this. Can you guide him a little?"
After discussing the matter over the phone, the deal was almost done. Yuan Ye and Ning Lu said, "Settle the payment quickly. Pay for each step at a time, don't give it all in one shot, but also don't delay."
Ning Lu nodded as Yuan Ye spoke to him again, "If you really want to get into the film industry, you need to find a reliable literary planner and pay for someone with experience and good insight. Don't try to come up with ideas on your own and buy a script anymore, you won't know what to look for."
Ning Lu looked at him without hesitation and said, "I won't look for one, you can be my planner, just name your price, bro."
Yuan Ye took a drag of his cigarette, frowned, and kicked his chair while looking at him sideways, "Bullshit."
Ning Lu chuckled and leaned towards Yuan Ye, "Who else can I ask? I can't trust anyone else but you."
Yuan Ye replied, "You don't need to ask me, I won't just leave you in the lurch. But there will be times when you can't find me, and you need someone to work with you and come up with ideas for scripts."
Ning Lu shook his head. "Let's talk about it later. Don't you know me? I always crave something new. I might not even do movies for more than a few years."
That day, Ning Lu had lunch here with Yuan Ye. There was a big aunt who cooked for them. She steamed some beef buns, made soup, and a few dishes. Fang Shaoyi didn't have much of an appetite, but he still came down to eat with them. He had a bun and a bowl of soup.
Ning Lu and Fang Shaoyi hadn't seen each other in a long time, but they were still on good terms. They had known each other for many years. While eating, they chatted for a while. Ning Lu asked about the movie industry, and Fang Shaoyi told him some things.
In the past two years, Ning Lu had invested in two movies, and both had made a profit. He started making movies just for fun, but he also had good luck in making money.
Fang Shaoyi said to him, "Try not to invest all your capital in the project, like you did before. Just take a small portion. Whether the movie makes money or not, and how much it makes, is all a matter of chance. You don't understand this, and investing all your capital is too risky."
"I don't plan to invest too much," Ning Lu said. "Even if I did, I wouldn't take it all."
Fang Shaoyi shook his head and smiled. "With a budget of 50 million, you'll probably end up spending close to 100 million. Making a movie is like a bottomless pit. In the end, you may not make any profit. It's not worth the risk."
"My Brother Yi is speaking for your own good," Yuan Ye said from the side. "He's advising you not to run into a brick wall."
"Okay," Ning Lu quickly drank his soup and said with a smile, "Thank you, two masters."
Fang Shaoyi had been busy filming and had a tight schedule, but now that all the scenes were shot and there was no need for promotion activities, it felt like he was on vacation. Life suddenly slowed down, and besides going to the gym to work out and occasionally visiting the company, he had nothing else to do. He watched plays, read books, practiced boxing in the morning, and spent the rest of his time with Yuan Ye.
Yuan Ye lived in two places, sometimes with Fang Shaoyi and sometimes on his own. While Fang Shaoyi was free, Yuan Ye's affairs instead seemed to increase. He had many things to do, and since he had previously freed up his time to film, he had to catch up on his own work.
Sometimes Fang Shaoyi would act as his driver, picking him up and dropping him off, and he was very competent. When Yuan Ye wasn't working, he spent a lot of time with Fang Shaoyi. They might not do anything in particular, but just being together was enough.
Old-fashioned romance with its passionate intensity was great, but a calm and gentle love was also good.
One day, Yuan Ye didn't have much to do, and Fang Shaoyi had to attend a meeting at the company, so Yuan Ye went with him. It was a regular meeting held at the beginning of the month, and Fang Shaoyi hadn't attended in a while, so Geng Jinwei asked him to show up.
Yuan Ye sat on the side and listened, taking a look at the new employees in the company, who were all quite impressive. He had only seen Yang Siran here, but the young man didn't seem to be in a good mood today. Yang Siran's agent was a seasoned one in the company, surnamed Qi, who was almost forty years old and quite a decent person. After the meeting, Yang Siran greeted Yuan Ye, who patted his shoulder and said, "Take it easy."
Yang Siran's face looked a bit dejected. He nodded and pursed his lips, saying, "Thank you, Brother Yuan Ye."
Yuan Ye raised his eyebrows and asked, "Is something bothering you? You don't seem very happy."
Yang Siran shook his head, smiled, and whispered, "No, maybe I'm just a little tired from training these past few days. I don't feel too good."
"What kind of training?" Yuan Ye asked.
"Physical fitness, vocal training, and acting," Yang Siran replied.
"Ah," Yuan Ye didn't want to ask too much since he was unwilling to speak more, so he just said to him, "Practice well."
"Okay, thank you, Brother Yuan Ye," Yang Siran nodded politely.
When Ji Xiaotao came back, he naturally had to be detained by Geng Jinwei at the company. It was impossible for him to imagine going on vacation like Fang Shaoyi. Before Yang Siran went downstairs, he also nodded at Ji Xiaotao and called out, "Brother Xiaotao."
Ji Xiaotao smiled at him, and after Yang Siran left, Ji Xiaotao said to Yuan Ye, "He looks soft, but he's actually difficult to handle."
Yuan Ye raised his eyebrows, "Why?"
Ji Xiaotao said, "He's changed three agents, but none of them are good enough."
This was really unexpected. Yuan Ye asked, "What's the reason?"
"No chemistry," said Ji Xiaotao to Yuan Ye as they walked downstairs together, "he said he couldn't match well with the agent. He wouldn't follow any of their arrangements."
Yang Siran still looked pitifully helpless, and it was hard to imagine that he wouldn't cooperate with work. Yuan Ye asked, "What about President Geng? Is his temper so good now? With all the chaos caused by this newbie, why isn't he doing anything?"
"I don't know," Ji Xiaotao replied. "I can't tell what he's thinking. But this time, Brother Geng also said that Brother Qi will be his last agent."
Yuan Ye didn't pay much attention to these things and just nodded after listening. "These young people nowadays are hard to understand. I don't know what they're thinking. There's a generation gap."
"You should forget about it," said Ji Xiaotao with a smile. "You weren't on the same wavelength as them even when you're wrong. There's a generation gap even between you and them."
Yuan Ye couldn't help but laugh at his words and shrugged innocently.
After Yang Siran went downstairs, he went to his agent's office and called out, "Brother Qi."
The agent told him to sit down, but Yang Siran declined and said, "I'll stand for a while, thanks."
The agent didn't mind and went on to discuss his upcoming projects. "Our company is about to start filming a new drama. I'll get you a role in it. There are a few people from our company in it, so make sure you get along with them. We're all from the same company, so let's not cause any conflicts."
Yang Siran didn't say anything and hesitated with a furrowed brow. He neither accepted nor declined the offer. The agent looked up at him and called out, "Didn't you hear what I said?"
Yang Siran took a moment before replying, "I don't want to make movies." The agent laughed without any warmth and asked, "Then what do you want to do? Don't be difficult with me. You have to listen to what I tell you to do. This isn't a democracy. You can't refuse."
In reality, the agent was already being polite. The relationship between agents and new artists without connections was one of absolute command and execution. Newcomers had no right to say no. Even if they were asked to do something as low as selling their bodies, they had to comply.
The agent was their guide in this industry. If you offended him, how could you survive? Where would he lead you?
But their company didn't have any really dirty agents. Each had their own methods, some were shady, but not too dirty. The agent said to Yang Siran, "You're lucky to have signed with us, but don't be so naive just because you haven't met any bad people. You can only do what I tell you to do. From now on, if you say the word 'no', you'll be put on a break for a month. You can rest as much as you want, I don't care, I don't need you."
These two sentences made Yang Siran's face turn pale. He kept his lips tightly closed and didn't say a word in the end.