China - take two

So anyway I am in the business class departure lounge at the Hong Kong airport today and really hoping that nobody notices that I don’t really belong there when I spot a white guy reading “A Billion Customers - The China Boom” or something to that effect, and I imagine that he likely thinks he knows something and wants to bore me with it, so I sit over by the fat lesbians but they just kind of glare at me so I’m thinking “Geeze this reassimilation thing isn’t going so smoothly actually” but what with the fillet and the red wine and, of course, cognac, it wasn’t long before sentimental, profound sentiments began to emerge with regard to all manner of things but especially the trials and tribulations of the first time factory video film maker in Mainland China, and hence was begun the document you see before you now.

     China - Take Two 

(As a sort of extended amble to the preceeding preamble it might be reasonable and correct to admit straight off that while your author has indeed been employed on a seriously part time basis as a factory video film maker he does not in fact know a thing about it, success with “Father and Son Reunion”, “Two Minutes a Day” and the upcoming “Penghu, The Video” not withstanding of course, since the abstract and nonchalant style of those films translates poorly to the factory video genre, as one might well expect.

An effort was made nevertheless to write a script and rehearse the lines etc. and so in fact we arrive at…

           Day One 

The usual, fly into Hong Kong, catch the transit coach into mainland China, eat too much, drink too much, feel bored, irritable and exhausted from trying to speak Chinese half the time and teach English the other.

            Day Two 

Discover that my star hasn’t memorized his lines or remember a thing about appearing natural and energetic for the camera. We give up early and I am sent off to assemble a “silent version” of the entire production line which we will overdub later with a description of the various processes involved. Am invited to my assistant, a young lady named Kuki, who turns out to be not Kooky in the least but an English major and fit as a fiddle to boot, which is helpful since otherwise we’d be required to do our own running around after things.

Kuki and I realize that certain portions of our script are not in the least amenable to the overdub concept and so set about filming a rough version of the whole concept just to see if it holds together at all upon viewing. Don’t know that it did but we certainly produced, just for practice like, what has to be the cutest series of factory video scenes in existence.

        Day Three 

I forget what happened on day three.

        Day Four 

My star, the owner of the factory, decides that this, our last day, is the day that he will finally devote “a couple of hours” to the production of our video. Scene one is in the main office where he introduces himself and the purpose of the video etc. As per the script he is interrupted by Kuki the office girl who approaches with a new order for a USB cable. Kuki has only been aware that she is to take a part in this drama for about two hours and yet does a suprisingly convincing job of delivering an order to her boss. My student does a little less convincing job and is apparently suffering tremendously from the dreaded “boy it feels stupid to act in front of a camera” syndrome suddenly. Anyway that eventually gets ironed out pretty well actually and we proceed to follow the order as it goes through the process of being approved by the engineering department, sent to the sample and testing rooms and on to the production department where I discover that the factory is no longer engaged only in cable assembly (putting the plug on the end) but in manufacturing the cable itself. This, of course, turns out to be an enormously elaborate process that nobody can explain so we decide to forget all that.

Next stop is the shipping department where the owner explains all about how the products are shipped to Hong Kong and sorted into various containers depending upon where they are being sent yadda yadda, and as he is finishing up his speech an employee is to roll by on a fork lift announcing that the shipment is ready and my boss tells him he can load it on the truck thereby bringing our little film to a logical conclusion, even if we do have to go back and figure out how to overdub the cable manufacturing section. It isn’t as easy as you might imagine to sychronize somebodies speech to coincide with an employees driving past on a a fork lift but we had good fun trying and as the hour and a half alloted to film making dragged on to more like ten or eleven hours and even all the real factory workers had called it a day we even started to feel like a real film crew, Kuki, Kevin the boss and I, and luckily for us we were too tired even to be angry when it was discovered that while we indeed did a good job on that last shot the disc was full and we missed it. This of course necessitates going back and doing it again sometime in the next six months or so. We may even have figured out by then how to describe the production of cable so that, naturally, would be a bonus.

Neat gig, bob. I wonder how many more vids you can make for those Tai shang on China?


[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]Neat gig, bob. I wonder how many more vids you can make for those Tai shang on China?


By god that is good question. I only wish I had half the skills to answer it. (I probably have about a quarter. To take full advantage of the opportunity that exists you should have at least some background in film production. An engineering background would also be a serious plus as would fluency in Mandarin. And of course if your student wants to be the star of the show you would need to be a wicked good pronunciation teacher. Oh, and if you aren’t good at advertising and negotiations none of it will amount to anything, financially speaking.)