Chapter 343 - Discussion

“Take a seat!” Sheng Jiaoyang walked over to welcome Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting when she saw them standing behind Xu Ping.

Everyone was already friends after their previous collaboration. Hence, Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting didn’t put on any airs, and they directly sat on the sofa and looked around the office.

“Have some tea!” Sheng Jiaoyang took a seat and poured the two a cup of tea.

After drinking for a while, Ma Tingting smiled and said, “I still haven’t congratulated you for winning the two awards.”

“Didn’t you already congratulate me on Weibo?”

“How could saying it on Weibo be the same as saying it in person? Right, Anliang?”

“Right, saying it in person is much more sincere,” Qin Anliang agreed.

Sheng Jiaoyang laughed and changed the topic, “I’ve been really busy recently and haven’t had time to discuss the script with you guys. Let’s get the details fixed, and then we’ll think about finding actors.”

“Are we discussing it here?” Ma Tingting found it strange.

Qin Anliang also looked at Sheng Jiaoyang doubtfully. It didn’t seem right to discuss the script in somebody else’s office.

“Yep, nobody will bother us here.”

Ma Tingting and Qin Anliang exchanged a glance. Ma Tingting smiled and said, “Your chairman’s really generous! To think that he or she would actually let us use their office to discuss the script.”

Xu Ping couldn’t help but giggle.

“What? Did I say something wrong? Didn’t the plaque outside indicate that this is the chairman’s office?” Ma Tingting turned to glance at the door, but it was already closed, so she couldn’t see the plaque.

“This is my office.” Sheng Jiaoyang picked up her teacup with a smile.

“Huh? But the plaque on the door definitely read ‘Chairman’s Office’. Anliang, did I read it wrong?” Ma Tingting hastily asked her partner.

Qin Anliang nodded, “I saw the same thing.”

“This place is definitely the chairman’s office,” Xu Ping said firmly.

“Yea, I told you I wasn’t mistaken! Wait… Jiaojiao, it’s you?” Ma Tingting stared at Sheng Jiaoyang with widened eyes full of disbelief.

Sheng Jiaoyang just smiled.

Qin Anliang was also stunned. “You’re the chairman of Entertainment International?”

This news was too shocking! It was even more shocking than when Jiaojiao had won trophy after trophy.

“Yep.” Sheng Jiaoyang answered casually and calmly.

Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting looked at each other, and they both saw the disbelief in each other’s eyes.

After a while, they realized that it actually wasn’t all that baffling. Last time, they saw how she invested several hundred million dollars into the tv show in such a casual manner. It really seemed like that amount was just pocket change to her.

“I have a feeling that even if you have more unimaginable secrets, I wouldn’t be surprised anymore.” Ma Tingting sighed as she stared at Sheng Jiaoyang.

“What other unimaginable secret could I have? This is already my hidden trump card, I’m only telling you two because one, we’re friends, and two, I want you two to feel confident in our cooperation,” Sheng Jiaoyang said.

“Who wouldn’t feel confident when they’re cooperating with you?” Qin Anliang hurriedly declared. After they put the broadcasting rights for 'Double-Faced Lovers' up for auction, he and Ma Tingting earned a huge profit. They both knew that as long as they followed Jiaojiao, they would be well-fed.

“Let’s talk about the script’s plot then.”

As the saying goes, 'wisdom of the masses exceeds that of any individual'. Not to mention, they were experts in their own field. One was a director, one was a screenwriter and the other was an actress. It only took them a few hours to finish setting up the plot structure.

“It’s almost time for lunch. Let’s find a place where we can eat while continuing our discussion.” Sheng Jiaoyang stood up and prompted the group.

They went to a nice cafe and found a rather covert booth to sit in. Sheng Jiaoyang also brought Xu Ping and Zeng Huan along, making a total of five people in the group.

The cafe was very suitable for their purposes, as it was open from noon to the evening, meaning they could sit here and discuss their plans all the way till late at night, while also having a meal.

After another half a day of discussion, they finally got the plot nailed down. Now, they just needed Ma Tingting to finish writing the script.

“Jiaojiao, who do you think would be a good fit for the male lead?” After they nailed down the plot, Qin Anliang asked about the actors.

“I haven’t found anyone that fits for now.” Sheng Jiaoyang shook her head.

“Jiaojiao, what kind of actor are you looking for?”

Sheng Jiaoyang lowered her eyes and pondered, “I looked through a lot of profiles, but I didn’t find anyone that really attracted my eye. I don’t want an actor that everyone already knows, and I specifically don’t want someone that I’ve already collaborated with. I don’t want the actor to steal attention away from the role and plot, so I want to find a new face.”

“A new face? You want to find a new actor? But would their acting skills be able to keep up with the demands of the role? Although we would save a lot of money by hiring a newbie actor, if they can’t garner interest or viewership with the movie, the box office sales might…”

“I don’t have high expectations for the box office sales. It’s fine if we just break even. Anyways, it’s too early to talk about things like that, let’s find the actors first. Do you two have anybody good to recommend?”

“If you really want a newcomer, it’s better to search for them on school campuses. The actors in art schools are pretty good at acting,” Qin Anliang said.

Sheng Jiaoyang’s eyes suddenly lit up as an idea popped up in her head. “What do you think about turning the casting into a competition?”

Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting were both startled.

“You mean you want to make it into something like your previous modeling show, where you had a competition, and the potential candidates are slowly eliminated round by round?” Ma Tingting asked to clarify, clearly surprised by Sheng Jiaoyang’s idea.

“This way, we can hype up the movie and save some publicity costs while finding our male lead.” Sheng Jiaoyang thought deeply about it, and felt that the feasibility of her idea was very high.

“Although the publicity costs will be lower, the initial costs from selecting candidates will be very high. We’ll have to first release news about the casting, although this wouldn’t be much of an issue for you. Then we’ll have to hire a production team and plan every episode properly.” Qin Anliang also considered the idea seriously.

“If we consider the costs, I think it’s still better to scout the schools and pick our male lead first. It’ll be easier to hype them up subsequently.”

Ma Tingting also agreed with Qin Anliang. “Yeah, your casting method’s too time-consuming. A competition can be quite unpredictable and it’d be much easier to just promote the actors.”

Even though both of them disagreed, Sheng Jiaoyang wasn’t discouraged. “I know you two are worried, but if we find a platform that we can collaborate with, we can turn the casting competition into an official show. That way, there wouldn’t be any problems.”

Ma Tingting and Qin Anliang were startled again. They didn’t think that they could do it that way.

“If we do it that way, I think it might work.”

Sheng Jiaoyang had just finished discussing the judging criteria with Ma Tingting and Qin Anliang when Shen Zhining suddenly called. After hearing from him that he had finished his work and was on his way to her, Sheng Jiaoyang gave him their current address before hanging up and jumping back into the discussion about the finer details of their plan.

By the time Shen Zhining hurried over, he saw the trio engrossed in deep discussion. Meanwhile, the two assistants were sitting by the side and playing with their phones, since they couldn’t contribute to their discussion.

When they saw Shen Zhining, Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting hastily stood up and greeted, “Hello, Mr. Shen!”

Shen Zhining nodded slightly. Then, his gaze swept over the snacks on the table, and he placed his hand on Sheng Jiaoyang’s shoulder, before bending down to ask, “Still not done discussing?”

“We’re almost done. Why don’t you sit here and wait for me for a little longer?”

Shen Zhining complied and sat down beside her. Then, he casually took some of the pastries that were on the table.

Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting felt a lot of pressure from President Shen, even though he was clearly not doing anything. However, just his presence alone was sufficient to put pressure on others.

“Jiaojiao, we’ve pretty much polished the plan out already, so let’s end it here. We can discuss the rest later,” Ma Tingting said, after being hinted to do so by Qin Anliang.

“Alright then, let’s end it today. We can meet again later.” Sheng Jiaoyang noticed they weren’t feeling very comfortable, so she didn’t force them to continue.

After Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting left, Sheng Jiaoyang told Xu Ping and Zeng Huan to go home. Hence, only Shen Zhining and her were left alone in the room.

“You probably haven’t eaten anything, right? Why don’t you have a bite here? We’ll leave after you’re done.” Sheng Jiaoyang cocked her head at Shen Zhining.

“Are you full?” Shen Zhining didn’t answer her question.

“I’ve been eating the whole afternoon.”

“Then if you’re full, let’s just go home.”

Shen Zhining picked up Sheng Jiaoyang’s coat, and once they were at the door, he helped her put it on.

As they walked to the car, Sheng Jiaoyang casually relayed her day to him and also talked about how they would choose an actor. Shen Zhining didn’t really care how she would select the actor. Instead, he was only focused on one thing.

“Is your next project a romance film?”

Even though President Shen supported her acting career, he was evidently still brooding about her involvement in romance shows.

When they were filming ‘Double-Faced Lovers’, Sheng Jiaoyang had to fake all of her kiss scenes for Shen Zhining. For the scenes that couldn’t be faked, she even had to find somebody to substitute for her.

Speaking of substitutes, when she had to find somebody to act as her substitute, Ye Fan almost flipped the table, and he refused to do it out of spite. As a result, they also had to find a man to be his substitute for the scene. In the end, neither the male or female lead were in the kissing scene.

“Right now, there’s no kissing scenes. It’s a rather…” Sheng Jiaoyang racked her brains for the right word, “…hipster kind of movie. It’s a very pure sort of love, without anything amorous in it.”

Shen Zhining’s expression immediately became much more relaxed.

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Yuna's Thoughts

TL: Kiki | Editor: Cookies | TLC: Grace