Film industry

I’m a line producer in independent film industry. Came to Taiwan to take care of my ailing folks. Tried to find similar field to work in. I must say, as I predicted before I came here, there is no film industry here. Guess I’ll have to wait a year and get my Taiwanese citizenship then venture into China I guess… sigh

? There’s a film industry here. I’m not sure how you’d get into it, though; it’s small and unique. Maybe do some work for TV and then move into film once you have the contacts?

This film coming out next year.

The 果子電影 (ARS film production) makes some of the most popular films in the past couple of years in Taiwan. I think it’s the only production that tries to parallel big budget epic films. And they try to tell the most interesting stories in my opinion, instead of the instant noodle styled romantic comedies.

facebook.com/arsfilmproduction

Their past films includes Seediq Bale

and Cape No.7

Cape No. 7 was weird. I liked it, but it was WEEEIIIRRRDD.

Seediq Bale was great.

There are some gem films in Taiwan… Many of them are much deeper than you’d expect given the sorry state of TV and the shallowness of music that comes from here. The classics were in the 1990’s mostly, I think, with directors like 侯孝賢 and 楊德昌. Recently, I really enjoyed Monga and have rewatched it several times; there’s a comedy called 總鋪師 (Zone Pro Site… who the hell came up with that name!) coming out that looks pretty promising, too.

But basically, it’s an extremely small industry and probably quite hard to get into if you don’t know anybody. You should muster up the courage to call some of the famous directors’ studios or someone else’s agent and explain your expertise and ask whether or not you can get in on it. Most good job opportunities aren’t advertised, anyway.

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]
But basically, it’s an extremely small industry and probably quite hard to get into if you don’t know anybody. You should muster up the courage to call some of the famous directors’ studios or someone else’s agent and explain your expertise and ask whether or not you can get in on it. Most good job opportunities aren’t advertised, anyway.[/quote]

indeed. when they were shooting Seediq Bale, ARS production openly asked for those with experience to join their team.

I think Cape No. 7 sums up the current Taiwan society pretty well. So I think your comment also sums up Taiwan very well. I like it, but it is WEEIIIRRRDD.

I luv, luv Cape No 7.

I’d say that the industry here is not that small, but maybe it is my location, where I step over their cameras all the time. Soap operas, documentaries, etc. Where else can a documentary about old guys riding scooters around the island become a major hit on the screens? Or a movie about a funeral -7 days in Heaven, also one of my favorites-? I think it is really special, even if the budget is tight, it is quite active and productive. Quality wise might be debatable, but at least it is well known abroad, a welcome addition to any festival, open doors.

As to how to get in, well, start from the very bottom, I guess. They have the special effects production houses in Kaohsiung, the studios in Tainan, the production companies in Taipei. Wouldn’t expect much from the official channels -Ministry of Culture now- but maybe start from the TV stations that produce their own stuff, attend film festivals and talk to the industry people.

Hey James,

Maybe ask all your contacts back home if they know any contacts (that may know any contacts) in Asia. If you’re lucky they might name a few from Taiwan, if you’re less lucky they may name some from Korea, China, Japan etc. If they do the latter email and ask THEM (the contacts in Korea, China, Japan etc.) if they know of anyone in the film industry in Taiwan. In my short time in the film industry I very shamelessly asked (and was asked) for favours/contacts all the time. In fact I got into Weta by constantly emailing them until they just decided to hire me so I would stop bothering them. Next thing I know I’m on the film set for the Hobbit…

Film fest is coming up soon (or has already been…months seem to fly here), get involved with the local independent film scene and then at least you’ll get a good grasp of what kind of market you’re working with. Get in contact with film professors/graduates at universities.

I’ll flick an email to the good folk at Weta Digi and see what comes up for you. But don’t hold your breath, when I left Weta most of them didn’t even know where Taiwan was.

Good luck!

[quote=“Staceycolleena”]Hey James,

Maybe ask all your contacts back home if they know any contacts (that may know any contacts) in Asia. If you’re lucky they might name a few from Taiwan, if you’re less lucky they may name some from Korea, China, Japan etc. If they do the latter email and ask THEM (the contacts in Korea, China, Japan etc.) if they know of anyone in the film industry in Taiwan. In my short time in the film industry I very shamelessly asked (and was asked) for favours/contacts all the time. In fact I got into Weta by constantly emailing them until they just decided to hire me so I would stop bothering them. Next thing I know I’m on the film set for the Hobbit…

Film fest is coming up soon (or has already been…months seem to fly here), get involved with the local independent film scene and then at least you’ll get a good grasp of what kind of market you’re working with. Get in contact with film professors/graduates at universities.

I’ll flick an email to the good folk at Weta Digi and see what comes up for you. But don’t hold your breath, when I left Weta most of them didn’t even know where Taiwan was.

Good luck![/quote]

Hey Stacey,

Thanks for the good words. I’ve contacted a few production companies and seems like most of them do MVs and outside of Taiwan short film work. I don’t know, so far I’m discouraged from asking any more as it seems more and more likely flakes with promises but nothing concrete. I don’t think there’s any film colleges/universities in Taiwan like the one I graduated from in Los Angeles. All my contacts in Los Angeles only knows ppl in Los Angeles unfortunately. I do have a contact in China but I won’t be able to visit there until I get my Taiwanese citizenship/health care after staying here a whole year. Kinda sucks there aren’t professionals in this town. I think Ang Lee was trying to do something about it but the idea never became fruitful.

I think you need to be in Taiwan to find anything. Never mind. I see you are here already.

I reviewed a documentary called Cinema Asia couple of years ago. Taiwan’s industry was covered. I got the impression, Three Dots was the biggest production company.

imdb.com/company/co0131309/

Here’s the review: cinemania.co.nz/review.php?id=847

Taiwan has a large film industry - dozens of films a year. I can’t be sure, but if I was asked to choose, I’d say it produces more films a year than China.

Edit: turns out, I’m wrong. China’s billion plus population produced 163 films in 2012 (according to IMDB) while Taiwan’s 23 million made 43. :slight_smile:

[quote=“JamesMovieFanatic”]
I don’t think there’s any film colleges/universities in Taiwan like the one I graduated from in Los Angeles. All my contacts in Los Angeles only knows people in Los Angeles unfortunately[/quote]

I actually think that gives you an advantage over here in Taiwan, and if you are willing to dream big, you can change the situation in Taiwan.

I believe Ang Lee was in a similar situation after returning to taiwan from film school in New York, and made films here well enough he returned to the states as a hot director.

OP, I think you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Don’t get discouraged.

If you can’t get anywhere through guanxi, make cold calls to film companies and explain what you can do for them. Keep trying until it works.

Good jobs in Taiwan are hard to find in general. I’ve been looking for five years. :slight_smile:

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]OP, I think you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Don’t get discouraged.

If you can’t get anywhere through guanxi, make cold calls to film companies and explain what you can do for them. Keep trying until it works.

Good jobs in Taiwan are hard to find in general. I’ve been looking for five years. :slight_smile:[/quote]

I agree with Hokwongwei. Rejected calls and emails are all a part of it, and you’ll get your fair share (maybe more than a fair share perhaps) of flakey promises. Again, I got more rejection emails that I dare admit (it was more than any self-respecting human being would take) and I know I made my fair share of flakey promises. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for you having so much experience and moving somewhere that seems like it has so little opportunities.

It doesn’t have to be a film school, just a universities that offers a film paper. I’m sure they’ll get very excited about your “Hollywood” experience.

Anyway, hope to see you at Mayan, with this afternoon being Typhoon day I plan to binge on movies…

Regarding rejection calls / emails, I just sent out quarterly e-promos to 5000 art directors and photo buyers around the world. Only 20% actually opened the email, and 3% actually clicked on links in their and visited my website. And those figures are above the industry average. If I just focused on rejection, I’d have quit long ago.

Are you on Facebook? I can put you in touch with a couple of English-speaking film groups on there if you like, although they are geared slightly more to documentaries. And there’s a 48-hour film weekend coming up in Taipei soon - I’m sure you could get involved with that.

[quote=“cfimages”]Regarding rejection calls / emails, I just sent out quarterly e-promos to 5000 art directors and photo buyers around the world. Only 20% actually opened the email, and 3% actually clicked on links in their and visited my website. And those figures are above the industry average. If I just focused on rejection, I’d have quit long ago.

Are you on Facebook? I can put you in touch with a couple of English-speaking film groups on there if you like, although they are geared slightly more to documentaries. And there’s a 48-hour film weekend coming up in Taipei soon - I’m sure you could get involved with that.[/quote]

Wow, you always know that’s the case but those numbers are quite eye opening. :astonished: