The Eye of the Storm – Chapter Five: Cold

This is a shorter chapter but does a good job of showing both Haoran’s playful and more introspective side! Three more to go~

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter Five – Cold

Different circles means different personas.

Different winds means you’re being pulled in different directions. Have you found your direction?

Film Festival

I went last year as well, and thought it was pretty interesting, but will still feel a little uneasy about it. I’m not very good at being in places with a lot of people. When there’s a lot of people, I feel awkward, and don’t really know what to say. Every time, I just want to find quiet corner to hide in. But even if I did hide in a corner, I can’t just sit there and play with my cellphone the whole time (laughs) – it wouldn’t be appropriate.

I have some friends who go to big gatherings and know everyone there, but because I haven’t worked as long, and haven’t filmed that many projects, I usually only know one or two people.* And when I see them, I cling onto them like they’re my lifelines, and will talk nonstop with them. Sometimes I really wish that I had the natural talent to be able to quickly socialize with new people in that kind of environment.

*T/N: Can we take a second and appreciate the fact that he’s come such a long way since this was written? One of the most interesting things about the end of 2018 and all the events Haoran attended was how much of a social butterfly he was. He seemed to know everyone and was able to have a conversation with whoever he was sitting with.

Aside from those that he’s worked with, he also was on friendly terms with everyone from iQiyi execs, the CEO of Huayi Brothers, editor-in-chiefs of China’s largest magazine publications, to directors like Derek Tsang and Guan Hu, not to mention other actors and actresses. He’s really becoming more confident.

This time, after walking the red carpet, there was also a dinner banquet. The other people in our production team were busy accepting interviews, so it was just me sitting there, like a fool. Thankfully, a jiejie who knows I’m not very comfortable in this kind of environment came by and chatted with me for a while. And ultimately, I found Zhang Ruoyun and clung on to him. We grabbed a drink and found a couch where we could sit and chat.

Another thing about attending events like film festivals that people may not be aware of is the clothing. When you see the pictures, we are all standing tall in our nice clothes, but in reality, the polished suits are usually very tight, and become quite uncomfortable over time. In the summer, it’s easy to sweat, so you feel both hot and stuffy in the clothing.

Most of the clothing is usually sponsored by brands, so we’ll change into several different outfits for photos, and then more photos when you get to the red carpet so that they can be uploaded onto Weibo. This is probably one of the most important jobs for us at film festivals. Perhaps it’s because right now I only participate in the red carpet events (that I feel this way). I look forward to being able to take part in more in depth discussions regarding films.

As a new face in film, using the word “discuss” to talk about a film seems too simple, but every film is so complex. Every year, at film festivals, the topics discussed sound so impressive, and it feels like it will definitely win an award, but to really put everything together requires a lot of hard work from many people. Their hard work, their understanding of details in film, and their sincerity, is what pushes the growth of this industry.

I hope that, as I try to be a good actor, that I can also continue to be passionate and curious about the film industry. When I watch a project, I naturally want to know who was the director, and will look up his filmography, see what his style is like.

I also hope to understand more about the production process, such as how were certain shots filmed, and what changes were made in pre-production, during production, and post production. To be curious, to want to learn more. “Film” is such a an amazing topic, and it’s full of detailed magnetism.

Sometimes, I’ll be interested in things aside from acting. When I’m on set, I’ll be interested in cameras, in taking shots, in the different types of lenses. I’ll ask the crew and try to learn more. Of course, knowing more is also good for acting. Normally, if you have a simple yelling scene, you’ll just use all of your power to scream, but in certain shots, you’ll need to restrain yourself a bit more, or else it’ll look quite ugly on screen.

A lot of experienced actors will know this. I heard Takeshi Kaneshiro is an amazing person like this. Based on the camera, he can adjust his performance – it’s awesome. If the director says he’s using a certain camera, he understands its capabilities and how much it can shoot of him, and of the scene. He even understands what the entire picture might look like on screen, and based on this, adjust his performance.

But I’m far from that level. I can only listen to the director tell me, “This is a close shot,” which means I need to emphasize my expressions more, or “this is a half-body shot,” which means I need to focus more on body language and hand movements. If he tells me, “this is a full scene,” I won’t need to put as much emphasis on expression or body language. So I’m still learning a lot from my seniors.

To tell you the truth, whether it’s a big IP or small IP, it doesn’t really make a difference to me. When my team and I are deciding on whether to take a project or not, we’re pretty much always on the same page. We care about whether or not it’s a good story, and whether or not it’s a good production team. Sometimes, even if it’s a big IP, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has an advantage.

You could describe it as a “double-edged sword”, because the original novel will have an existing fanbase, but a movie will need to consider a lot of different aspects (when it comes to storytelling). A good film needs a good story plus an excellent team. A good scriptwriter will help the adaptation transition better to drama/film, a good producer knows how to balance everything, and the director should be able to showcase his personal style.

In comparison, actors actually don’t have as big an impact on IP projects as everyone might think. The scriptwriters have to focus on not cutting corners, and not going out of their way to please the audience – it’s a difficult balance to achieve.

There are a lot of big IPs now. When I was in school, I read a lot of them, and they were excellent. But sometimes when I stand from the viewpoint of a reader and calmly think about it, I’ll wonder if it’s really suitable to be adapted. There’s a “god-like” (author) I really like. His novels are excellent, and he is great at writing.

But it’s his writing that makes the novels great – the way he uses language, the poetic beauty he is able to bring out through his words…that’s what makes him amazing, but it’s incredibly difficult to put that on screen. The shots should be like watercolor paintings, but can also be easily carried away by the fantasy elements of the project. If you use a very bright, happy color tone to film it, I feel like as a novel fan, I would be very distraught.

Break Time

When I finished filming The Founding of An Army and attended the wrap up dinner, that’s when I realized just how much actresses can eat.

We had an actress on set who is my senior at the Central Academy of Drama and had a great performance in Operation Mekong. We went to eat Japanese cuisine together with everyone else, and started eating at eight, all the way until ten thirty. We ate through everything and just kept ordering more. Until the end, when everyone was ready to lie down and were getting ready to leave, she suddenly said, “Ay, I’m not full yet!”

We all thought she was joking, and said, “There’s a store nearby that has really good stew. How about you get a bowl?”

And she said, “Sure!”

So we really went, and all of us drank another big bowl. We were all to our breaking point then, and could barely walk. In order to digest, my agent, my senior, and the rest of the crew and I decided to walk back.

It was a very quite little mountain road, and there was no moon. The sky was cloudy, and it was stuffy. The road we were walking on had a bunch of side roads, and there were a bunch of trees growing on the mountain.

We didn’t really talk, and just walked quietly. Once in a while, someone would say something, and someone else would reply. Halfway through, it began raining, and we sped up our pace while laughing. When we got to the hotel, we were all soaked, but in that moment, we all felt great.

It also reminds me of Happy Camp. After recording the show, we went to grab some crawfish, and when were done, it was past 1 am in the morning. There were more than ten of us, and we decided to walk back. And back when I was filming in Qingdao it was like that too. We were by the sea, and every night after work, we’d go take a walk. It’s not that I like to work out or sweating, but I really enjoy walking, to have some time to quietly be by myself. To have some time that’s my personal “leisure time”.

I normally like walking, but don’t enjoy walking on the treadmill, because I find it a bit boring. But when you’re walking on the road, you can think about things. It doesn’t even have to be about anything in particular, but it won’t affect your walk.

I’m the type of person who has to think things through, so it’s like being shut in a small black room. Your body is moving, but your brain is turning off, and you’re not really thinking about anything else. A lot of the times, it’s like I’m dreaming. When I walk, I’m just constantly deep in thought, but when I get to my destination, I forget most of it.

During this time, it’s not that I’m working. I’m not being an actor, or a student, or whatever role I’m assigned. It’s just thoughts that belong to me.

I once read online a question that asked, “Why is it that when Dad gets home, when everyone else has already gone upstairs, he remains in the car smoking for a while before he heads up?” It’s probably because that small amount of time is his personal time.

Once he gets home, he’s an actor, a husband, and will focus on doing things for his family. There will be a lot on his mind, in terms of his child, his career, his family. But in the car, he’s just himself, and doesn’t belong to anyone, and isn’t thinking about anything else.

So when I’m walking, I put down all the occupations that society has given me. But it’s different from zoning out when I’m at home. When I’m spaced out at home, it’s because I’m bored, so I start thinking about work. But when I’m on a walk, I will focus on what I’m doing. I’m running, or walking.

I’m doing something. So I’m not thinking about work, and will have the space to think about other things. It’s like when people take smoke breaks to get away from thinking about work for a bit.

Incredibly Touched, and then Refusing

Sometimes when I have a break, I like to play a particular game. But later, I got to a level where I had to start paying in order to keep leveling up, because I just couldn’t get what I needed to pass. Later I joked around with my team and said, does anyone know this gaming company? Is it possible to reach out to them and ask them to give me one of the things I needed? I could help promote the game on Weibo! And then I totally forgot about this.

Some time later, I randomly read online a post where someone wrote, “A certain little fresh meat asked for a particular (gaming) asset. The company was incredibly touched, but refused the request.” And I quietly thought, “Oh, yeah, that’s me.”

But even though I couldn’t get what I needed, playing games is still a lot of fun. I like to play with my games. Sometimes when my friends come to the house for a meal, I’ll suggest playing games together. Because playing by myself is a bit boring. My computer has already started to gather dust.

My gaming intelligence can count as pretty high. I’m one of those people who catches on very quickly, and learn very fast. But when I really do have a break, I actually rarely play games. I’m more partial to just spacing out.

Still Handsome Even When Unshaven

When I was dubbing for The Legend of the Demon Cat, the staff specifically reminded me to shave. From the time that I got back from my school trip in Japan, I hadn’t shaved. Because it’s really uncomfortable to constantly have to shave, and I sweat a lot when I do it. It makes that part of my face really itchy, and it hurts. Plus, I think an unshaven look is quite handsome.

The day of the dubbing, I decided that since it was just dubbing, I didn’t need to shave. It’s not like we were filming anything. But it turns out we actually really were filming BTS shots that day. So I reached out to the staff in an effort to convince them. But they replied to me and said, “How can you not shave when we need to film?”

I said, “But I’m already here, and I really didn’t shave. Don’t you think I”m better looking when I don’t shave?” After I sent this message, everyone ignored me, and they directly went to the store to buy me a razor to force me to shave…..

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