Chapter 18 | Arc 2.
At noon, the director of <Jian Jia of the Inner Palace> called Su Yu. Although he felt very exasperated and helpless when dealing with this self-willed President, he was still respectful in his tone. “Did President Zhao want to discuss something with Ol’ Han and me?”
The “Ol’ Han” the director was referring to is Han Zikun, the screenwriter of <Jian Jia of the Inner Palace>.
“Yes, there’s something I want to trouble you two with, it’s regarding the 3rd female lead in the drama,” Su Yu’s voice was gentle and friendly, but the hearts of the director and the screenwriter both gave a violent start.
Although this drama’s director – Zhang Jin – is less than 40 years old, he is already very well-known in the industry and is praised for the quality of his productions. His TV series, regardless of the ratings and what critics say, are all quite good.
This is not only because of his strict selection of actors, but also because of his strict control over the set and props, and his high standards towards the script and screenplay.
Previously, due to Su Yu’s stubbornness, making him add characters and change up the script already approached the limit of his patience and tolerance. If Su Yu now asks him to modify another character, then the director may very well just quit and leave.
However, before the other party actually makes this request, Zhang Jin still held onto the hope that Su Yu wasn’t going to stir up anything big. “President Zhao knows the actor who plays the 3rd female lead?”
This question was quite useless – Su Yu had just filmed a scene with Lu Manni. Even if he hadn’t known her before, he definitely knew her now. However, Zhang Jin really had no idea what else to say.
Su Yu didn’t have the mood to play with the other and so he straightforwardly said, “I want you two to help me modify the 3rd female lead’s script.”
With his tender spot now poked, Zhang Jin’s tone immediately became colder. He and Han Zikun exchanged a look and then he said, “President Zhao, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the 3rd female lead’s part in the drama, so there is no need to adjust anything.”
Su Yu was silent for a moment, and miraculously didn’t use his identity to pressure the other. Instead, with a gentle tone, he began a new topic. “When I was reading the script, I felt like a very potentially important scene had been overlooked. I wanted to discuss it a bit with Director Zhang.”
Zhang Jin was a bit taken aback. This President’s change in topic was a bit too sudden, but then he thought about it and decided that the other was offering a step for himself to back down with. And so, he accepted this new conversation and said, “Of course, if President Zhao has any pointers then please feel free to say it.”
“What does Director Zhang think the personality of the main female lead is like?” Su Yu did not answer directly, but instead threw out a question.
Zhang Jin was slightly stunned and so Han Zikun sitting beside him took initiative to answer. “In the script, I wanted to portray the main female lead as someone who’s kind and gentle on the outside, but with nerves of steel on the inside. Is there a problem with this?”
“I also think that the female lead should be this kind of character, but do you two still remember the scene right after she heartbreakingly lost her child?” Su Yu leaned back in his wide seat and leisurely propped his legs up onto his office desk.
Zhang Jin and Han Zikun exchanged another glance. They were both having trouble following Su Yu’s train of thought and still didn’t understand what Su Yu was trying to get at. Han Zikun could only continue to answer, “That scene is the beginning of the female lead’s blackening, and it can be considered the climax of this drama. It is the transformation of the female lead from desperate resentment to struggled acceptance and then to eventually regaining her status.”
“The script pays great detail to this scene, and it is very exciting and well-written,” Su Yu agrees. Maintaining a serious face, he continues to BS and speak nonsense, “But specifically in this scene, the interaction between the male and female leads seem quite lacking. A woman just lost her child and is filled with resentment to all her enemies, but is still caring and all-loving to the main culprit behind everything – the male lead? Is this woman mentally ill?”
In <Jian Jia of the Inner Palace>, the relationship between the lead female and lead male has always been deep and all encompassing like the sea, whether it was before or after her blackening. It was as if all the cannon-fodder’s actions had no influence on it at all.
This seemingly harmonious love is basically equivalent to severely lacking IQ in Su Yu’s point of view.
The flowery womanizing emperor is obviously the main cause of all her misery, and yet the female lead still deeply loves and cherishes the emperor. Even after her blackening, she only plotted against the other concubines of the inner palace, and had no thoughts of alienating or exacting vengeance on the male lead.
This kind of woman is obviously mentally ill, and people who write such a story should also be held under suspicion as to whether they also are ill.
But at the moment, Su Yu obviously could not reveal his true thoughts. Otherwise, even if he is the bigshot president of Zhao Entertainment, these two people may still angrily slam the phone and hang up on him, regardless of consequences.
“If this drama were to be divided into plot line versus pathos, ups and downs within the plot can attract a lot of viewers, yes, but if you add in drama and emotional ups and downs, you will inevitably gain twice the viewership for half the effort.” Su Yu thought about it some more, and then added, “Regarding pathos, the female lead only eats vinegar  of the fellow inner palace women. This storyline is too simple, especially in the scene of her lost child. Such a good oppourtunity, and yet she doesn’t feel one ounce of resentment towards the male lead…. isn’t this simply a waste of good drama?
Zhang Jin and Han Zikun are both intelligent people. After listening to Su Yu’s words, there was a feeling of being slapped in the face. As a palace drama, in addition to being great for shooting dramatic scenes between the inner palace women, there was also lots of material to depict a love-hate-relationship between the male and female leads!
Disregarding all other aspects and just focussing on this fact for a second, with so many women and only one man together in a household, this was simply a rich minefield of emotional drama! How could they have overlooked this?!
Su Yu’s remarks definitely gave the two people a good wake up call. However, one can’t blame Zhang Jin and Han Zikun fully, for although they are experienced directors and screenwriters, they are still two rough-around-the-edges men. One cannot expect them to have an amazing handle on all things concerning feelings and emotions.
“President Zhao, thank you so much! If you hadn’t mentioned this, we still wouldn’t have realized what a large plot-hole we’d left,” Zhang Jin’s voice was filled with excitement.
Han Zikun’s situation was very similar to that of Zhang Jin. He simply couldn’t wait to go change the script immediately.
However, just when the two were excitedly considering all this, Su Yu poured a bucket of cold water over their heads. “Director Zhang doesn’t need to be so polite, this drama is financed by Zhao Entertainment after all. However, the thing I mentioned before, has Director Zhang considered it some more?”
Zhang Jin, who was still immersed in his excitement, didn’t immediately catch on to what Su Yu was saying. “What was it that President Zhao had mentioned again?”
“The matter regarding adjusting the 3rd female lead’s screenplay ah,” Su Yu’s voice was light and calm, as if he were just talking about the weather.
Zhang Jin, who had just been doused with cold water, suddenly became silent. He thought of Su Yu’s earlier guidance, and suddenly understood very clearly the other’s intentions.
This ‘give-and-take’ equivocal trade relationship caused Zhang Jin to feel very surprised, but also a bit unsure as to what to do.
He was surprised in that he thought with Zhao Qingsong’s status, the other would have directly pressured him and ordered things to be done his way. Who knew that the other could also adopt a friendly trade relationship.
As for the uncertainty, naturally it was whether he should agree with the other party’s demands or not.
In the circle, Zhang Jin’s reputation is one of strictness and integrity, but in reality, how many of those in the entertainment circle are actually innocent or pure like snow?
So at this time, what Zhang Jin was actually considering is how to inform Lu Manni about the change in her script.
“Director Zhang doesn’t have to feel so torn. I know that my request isn’t entirely reasonable. If Director Zhang wants to refuse, then there is nothing I will do to retaliate.” After throwing out his bait, Su Yu only needed to keep smiling and watching the show. If he was also ridiculing Zhang Jin’s indignant refusal of his request earlier, well, no one else needs to know.
Zhang Jin’s old face became red due to Su Yu’s words. Not too long ago he had just outright refused the other’s unreasonable demands, and now he was already wavering.
Zhang Jing coughed twice, pretending to be calm, and then casually asked, “How does President Zhao think that 3rd female lead’s part should be adjusted?”
This word ‘adjust’ really is too general. Changing a few lines is an adjustment, changing one’s personality is an adjustment, and even just directly cancelling a entire character role can also be called an adjustment, albeit pushing it a little.
Knowing that Zhang Jin had pretty much agreed to his conditions, Su Yu slowly said with a smile, “The screenwriter has worked hard on this script. If the adjustment is too big, then it’s obviously very difficult. Therefore, the first few scenes don’t need to be changed, just directly adjust the 3rd female lead’s very last scene.”
Zhang Jin and Han Zikun reluctantly looked at each other. Although Su Yu’s tone was light, the two of them understood very clearly. This last scene is a particularly significant scene for the 3rd female lead.
The 3rd female lead predominantly shows a malicious and ill-tempered side in the play. Only when she is with the emperor does she become a charming white lotus. However, because of her normal day-to-day personality, even if she act nice and kind, it still had some element of flattery and fakeness to it.
Obviously, to the audience, this kind of character is not pleasing to the eye. However, in this drama, the role of the 3rd female lead is one that people should both love and hate, to both feel irritated with but also pity and compassion towards.
Irritation and annoyance is evoked in every one of the 3rd female lead’s scenes, except for the very last scene.
Therefore, all the poignant feelings of love, pity, and compassion rested upon this very last scene, clearly demonstrating the importance of this last scene to the character.
And now, Zhao Qingsong is directly asking them to change this critical scene.
Zhang Jin’s hesitation increased a little more, but when he thought of the fact that all of the 3rd female lead’s scenes added up can’t compare to the massive plot-hole Su Yu had just pointed out to them, he quickly changed his mind.
After all, the blame can only be placed on Lu Manni herself for doing things that shouldn’t be done and provoking the wrong person. Why should he, the director, offend the powerful President of Zhao Entertainment just to cover for such a person?
After thinking about it with this attitude, Zhang Jin resolutely made up his mind. Nodding firmly, he agreed to Su Yu’s request, “Alright, let’s change it!”
 – 吃醋, “eat vinegar” – being jealous of or upset with someone.
Ohohoho is the little green tea ready for what’s to come…
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See ya next week!
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