Archives for business 商业

How China Is Changing Hollywood

中国电影对好莱坞的影响

Thoughtful China is a webpage that posts interviews from different industries on the subject of business in China.  This week is about the film industry.   One of the Interviews is with Kenneth Bi who I just finished working with on a long format web-series.  He’s a great guy and a great director!  There’s some good stuff in here from all the interviewees.

You can watch the video here.

 

This from Thoughful China:

China’s market is booming. Box office revenues rose 30% last year to $2.7 billion. China is expected to overtake the US within a decade, with about 10 new screens opening daily. But China is not an easy market for foreign filmmakers. To protect and nurture its local industry, China strictly limits the number of foreign films that can be shown annually, and films that offend China never make the cut.

So Hollywood’s leading directors are bending over backward to appease local censors. A New York Times article three months ago reported US moviemakers are “even allowing government officials onto movie sets to monitor the filming,” as was the case with Disney and Marvel’s “Iron Man 3.”

At the same time, studios in Hong Kong and China have upgraded production facilities while getting savvier about how they market their own films to overseas viewers, creating stiff competition, especially in other parts of Asia.

Our guests on “Thoughtful China” this week include Jeffrey Soong, CEO of Media Asia Group Holdings; Huayi Brothers’ executive Leigh Gow; Kenneth Bi, director of the upcoming Huayi Bros’ action-thriller “Control” starring Daniel Wu; Loeb & Loeb Partner Stephen Saltzman; and Sirena Liu, founder of Filmworks China Entertainment Marketing.

Host Trevor Lai asks these entertainment experts how China is changing the way Hollywood produces and markets motion pictures for the world, current trends evolving China’s own film industry and opportunities for brands to play a role within Chinese and international films.

Find out the answers to these questions and more this week on “Thoughtful China” HERE.

Executive Producer: Normandy Madden – Senior VP, Thoughtful China
Host: Trevor Lai – CEO, Up Studios
Featured Guest: Jeffrey Soong – CEO, Media Asia Group Holdings
Commentary: Sirena Liu – President, Filmworks China Entertainment Marketing
Panelists: Kenneth Bi – Writer/Film Director
Leigh Gow – Managing Director, Huayi Brothers Fashion Group
Stephen Saltzman – Partner, Loeb & Loeb
Episode Summary: China’s market is booming, but it remains a tough market for foreign filmmakers, due to strong local competition and strict import controls and censorship. This week on “Thoughtful China,” host Trevor Lai asks entertainment experts how China is changing the way Hollywood produces and markets motion pictures for the world, current trends evolving China’s own film industry and opportunities for brands to play a role within Chinese and international films.

Project Kronos
电影《Kronos》

Huge Kudos to Haz who did this great short and looks like he’s got a feature gig off the back end.  He’s a good friend of VisPop, and hopefully we can work together someday down the track.  Anytime VFX guys get films off the ground we should all give a standing round of applause!  Well done man, sincere congrats!

 

Project Kronos from Hasraf HaZ Dulull on Vimeo.

 

Dullul, a VFX artist on “The Dark Knight,” “Hellboy 2″ and the mini-series “The Bible,” will direct from his own screenplay. Shot as a faux-documentary, Dullul’s 14-minute short chronicles a space agency of the near future and its first contact with intelligent life on an interstellar space mission.”

Producers are Chris Lemole and Tim Zajaros of Armory Films, Chris Bender, JC Spink & Jake Weiner of Benderspink and Scott Glassgold and Raymond Brothers of IAM Entertainment. Glassgold and Brothers developed and produced the original short film, which debuted earlier this year…

Here’s the article in Variety about his movie deal!

Mr. Go International Trailer
《大明猩》国际预告片

No matter where you are in the world, sometimes you just wanna have fun at the movies!  Good on em’, I’ll bet this thing does huge business world wide…  I’m rooting for that CG Mr. Go!

 

mr-go-6-resized

 

 

 

HONG KONG — “Mr Go,” which releases today in South Korea and on Thursday in China is a big bet by any standards.

Costing some $25 million to produce, the film is a hybrid live action/CGI comedy-drama about a Chinese gorilla who becomes a super-sized hero in Korea’s professional baseball league.

It necessitated amounts of motion capture and digital effects that are unprecedented in a Korean movie – the gorilla Ling Ling, initially animated by an actor wearing crutches strapped to his forearms, appears in about 1,000 of the film’s 2,000 shots. And it was filmed in native stereoscopic 3-D.That all required director Kim Yong-hwa to set up an off-the-shelf company, Dexter Film, and to employ 150 CG professionals.

On top of that the movie is structured as a full Korean-Chinese co-production, involving Korea’s Showbox/Mediaplex and China’s Huayi Bros. There’s a growing tide of these co-operative ventures, but it is still rare for Chinese companies to put up hard cash and take a minority position. Huayi is understood to have invested some $6 million as well as its p&a commitment. The Chinese studio named it as one of its four key movie releases of 2013.

With obstacles and ambitions of that scale, the film also needed some inbuilt advantages. It is based on a popular cartoon series “The 7th Team,” penned by Heo Young-man, which gives it an inbuilt audience awareness in Korea, though Kim has been free with his adaptation of the story. Second, Kim has a strong track record as director of hit “200 Pound Beauty” and sports comedy “Take Off.”

Kim says he was inspired by the empathy between characters in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” whereas FX supervisor Jung Sung-jin says he watched classic gorilla movies including “Congo,” “Rise of The Planet of The Apes” and “King Kong.”

Kim and Jung also report that they had to pick their VFX team very carefully and painstakingly help the animators to unlearn much of what they had previously established as working practice. Making the CG invisible was their biggest challenge

Rest of the Variety Article here:

JIANG WEN’s “Gone With The Bullets” Oh yeah!!
姜文的《一步之遥》喔耶!

GoneWithBullets-002-1024x310

PIXOMONDO is honored to work with Director JIANG WEN on his new feature film “Gone With The Bullets”

PIXOMONDO荣幸参与姜文导演新片《一步之遥》

Gone With The Bullets is set in 1920′s Shanghai. “It will be another action drama about contests of wits and power. It has a tense pace and is full of Jiang Wen’s playful imagination but on a grander scale,” says Marco Ma co-owner of Beijing-based Buyilehu Films.

《一步之遥》故事设定在19世纪20年代的大上海。“这将会是姜导另一个关于智慧与力量争夺的动作影片。这部影片富有紧张的节奏,并充满着姜文式顽皮的想象力。”北京不亦乐乎影视公司合伙人马柯提到。

Pixomondo is in charge of all Visual Effects works on the project and is tasked with the development of key visual effects sequences. Pixomondo Beijing’s Senior VFX Supervisor, John Dietz, is leading our international team and we look forward to further collaboration from pre-production (including previz and concept art) through shooting and in to post-production.

Pixomondo全权负责这部影片的视效内容,并参与重大特效场次的艺术创作。由 Pixo北京公司高级视效总监John Dietz带领这支国际团队,热情饱满,目前正加紧进行前期制作(包括前期预演和概念设定),随后将进入现场监理以及后期制作。

You can check out the full blurb on the Pixo website here.

It’s great to be working with Pixomondo on this project.  We’re doing some great things in Beijing.  For those of you in the west, Jiang Wen is the best and most famous domestic Chinese director.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out his films… Please, Please close your web-browser and go find one right now.  Here’s a link to his IMDB.  Check out Devils On The Doorstep and The Sun Also Rises.  He’s an amazing actor as well…  He’s cool & I’m honored to be working with such an amazing filmaker!  This is sure to be a special film!

Gone_with_the_bullets_poster

jiangWen

Keanu’s Directing Debut

keanu

I’m not sure how big of news it is in the west, but Keanu Reeves just release his Directorial Debut film:  The Man Of Tai Chi.  It’s a Chinese film for Chinese audiences with the intent to make distribution in the west.

I saw the film and it’s ok… some great action, but way too much of it.  It has moments where you feel like you’re watching a Hong Kong film of the 70’s…  The movie’s main failing is Keanu’s casting choice for his hero,  Tiger Chen, a stunt man who has to be questioned for his acting chops.  I don’t want to review the film, so I’ll shut up about it creatively.  If you want to read reviews there are a couple here:

Variety

Hollywood Reporter

What’s interesting is the business end of the film…  It’s a western film / filmmaker spending money in China to make a Chinese films.

Unfortunately it tanked!  Less then US$3mil on opening weekend which means probably less than US$10mil for all it’s Chinese run.  Reportedly the film was picked up by the Weinstein Co. so hopefully it’ll have a good global run.

There’s a little article about the movie at chinafilmbiz.com

The movie is about a young martial artist’s unparalleled Tai Chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club.

Here’s a link to the trailer.

 

box office news

Blank admission or raffle tickets

 

Box Office News

According to official government statistics released yesterday, China’s box office grew 36.2% from RMB8.07 billion (US$1.31 billion) in the first half of 2012 to RMB11.0 billion (US$1.79 billion) in the first six months of 2013. Domestic films were the major beneficiary.

Chinese films secured a market share of 62.3% in the first half of 2013, up from 35% one year ago. At RMB6.85 billion (US$1.12 billion), that represents a 144% year-on-year revenue growth for local films at the expense of foreign films, including Hollywood titles, which declined 21.3% to RMB4.14 billion (US$674 million).

However, the growth of the domestic market was dependent on a small number of hits. The ten highest grossing domestic films — of 117 Chinese films or China co-production films released in the first half of 2013 — accounted for two-thirds of domestic box office income.

Four of the top ten grossing films in the first half of the year are domestic: Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons 西游 降魔篇 (RMB1.24 billion), So Young 致我們終將逝去的青春 (RMB719 million), American Dreams in China 中國合伙人 (RMB539 million) and Finding Mr. Right 北京遇上西雅圖 (RMB520 million).

Among foreign films, only Iron Man 3 (RMB751 million) broke RMB500 million (US$81.5 million), the new milestone for a blockbuster hit in China’s dynamic film market. There is a single animation in the top ten, The Croods (RMB393 million), which had an extended run on local screens.

Despite the decline of foreign films at the box office, China remains a strong market for Hollywood films. G.I. Joe: Retaliation ‘s RMB338 million (US$55.1 million) gross accounted for over 20% of its total international revenue. China was also the best performing territory for Iron Man 3, accounting for 15% of its international income.

Best Books on VFX

最棒的视觉特效书籍

People have been asking me a lot lately about the best books for VFX.  Most of these requests have come from production people in China looking to learn the basics so they can have a better understanding how to work with vfx during pre-production and on the shoot.

There are thousands of books nowadays, so I wanted to keep it really simple and clear.  Below are to me the best books for both someone looking to learn the basics and how vfx fits into the overall film-making process both technically and production management wise.

Unfortunately none of them are translated into Chinese, but maybe we’ll start to see more vfx books coming to the mainland as the industry continues to grow here.

If anyone has more suggestions please leave them in the comments!

 

ves

 

Wisdom from the best and the brightest in the industry, this visual effects bible belongs on the shelf of anyone working in or aspiring to work in VFX. The book covers techniques and solutions all VFX artists, producers, and supervisors need to know, from preproduction, to digital character creation and compositing of both live-action and CG elements.

Buy the book at Amazon.com North America here.

Buy the book at Amazon.cn China here.

vfxProd

 

 

Go behind the scene of the behind the scenes to learn how the business of producing the dazzling visual effects we see in movies and on TV works.  From pre-production to final delivery, this is your complete guide to visual effects production, providing insight on VFX budgeting and scheduling (with actual forms for your own use) and common production techniques such as motion control, miniatures, and pre-visualization.

Buy the book at Amazon.com North America here.

Buy the book at Amazon.cn China here.

 

brinkman

 

The Art and Science of Digital Compositing is the only complete overview of the technical and artistic nature of digital compositing. It covers a wide range of topics from basic image creation, representation and manipulation, to a look at the visual cues that are necessary to create a believable composite. Designed as an introduction to the field, as well as an authoritative technical reference, this book provides essential information for novices and professionals alike.

Buy the book at Amazon.com North America here.

Buy the book at Amazon.cn China here.

 

Project Cars

游戏车项目

large

I hadn’t heard about project cars before seeing this video floating around on the web, but once I saw the quality of the vfx I decided to take a look at the project site.   It seems to be a crowd created and funded video game that has 80,000 members and has raised over 3.5million Euros.

在我浏览这个网页之前,我从未听说过 《project CARS》,但当有一次我看到了vfx的效果,我觉决定去看一下这个project site。这是一个 拥有80000会员,并由一批广大群众自主研发并斥资打造的一款视频游戏,其价值已经上升为3.5亿欧元。

Slightly Mad Studios is an award-winning game developer known most recently for its work on Electronic Arts’ Need For Speed franchise with the successful SHIFT series.

Slightly Mad Studios 是一间英国的独立电子游戏公司。它经由美国艺电发行《极品飞车:变速》。

 

Fantastic work to these guys!  They’re doing great creative and using a new business model.  The hard work is paying off, big kudos to the people responsible!  Best of luck!

非凡之作!他们有着很棒的创造性,并运用了新型的商业模式。不过真正实现上还是有难度的,希望大家有良好的反馈!祝好运!

 

Watch the video here on Vimeo in the west.

点击这里看视频

VisPop speaking at FMX

 

FMX 2012 will attract industry leaders, digital innovators and creative researchers from the animation, games and visual effects industries for four days in Stuttgart. FMX has quickly become the largest conference of its kind in Europe that reunites the industry annually to discuss the most important issues. FMX invites artists, industry leaders and decision makers to speak in the conference about the latest trends and innovative approaches featured in the year’s most influential movies, games and transmedia.”

I’m so stoked we’re doing two talks at FMX this year!  It’s such an incredible venue, and such a pleasure to be taking part.  The last time I was there was to give a talk on Charlotte’s Web.  If you’re gonna be around FMX2012, find me around the conference or drop me a line and let’s arrange to chat.

The first talk I’m giving is about the work I supervised on Hunger Games at RSP.  A link to the fmx description is HERE in the online program.

The second talk is about what we’re doing here at VisPop and how it pertains to the vfx industry.  A link is HERE.  I’m just gonna get into the state of the union of vfx, and how we’re taking our knowledge in the industry and apply our experience into the entire filmmaking business.  Now that we’re into our second year, I’ll discuss how it’s going and what we’re learning!

Here’s the details:

The state of the union in Visual Effects is well documented. You can read many articles about vfx becoming a commoditized industry on the web. Hard work, unfair conditions, low cost of entry, to unionize or not to unionize , pressure from clients in an industry with very few buyers, vendors undercutting each other and on and on. We at VisPop spent many years on the front lines, in all roles on the vfx vendor side. We fought just like everyone else to make ends meet in a low margin ball game. Sometimes we were successful, sometimes we weren’t, just like everyone else. We learned from our mistakes, we implemented processes, we got better, and we eaked out our living/existence!

So what makes VisPop different? We’re broadening our scope outside of traditional vfx. We’re teaming with independent filmmakers to push the innovation of the entire filmmaking process. We want to change the perception of where vfx and spectacle fits in the filmmaking process and parlay that into leverage in our filmmaking negotiations. We’re using our vfx backgrounds to co-produce low-med budget high spectacle films.

So can VisPop make a difference? Can a couple of long-timers from the vfx industry change the way films are financed, made, even distributed? Hopefully we can help get things rolling. If we can get more talented people from the vfx industry believing they can be involved in the entire filmmaking process then we’ll consider that a success. So just ask yourself: “are you a film-maker or a shot-maker?”

VisPop selected as an official Australian delegation member for Industry Forum in Beijing

 

It’s so encouraging for VisPop to be chosen for this forum.  It’s great to be recognized for our hard work building relationships and projects in such a high potential region like China.  Momentum is gaining for our high spectacle independent films!   Thanks to the Aussie Embassy and Screen NSW for organizing the event!  Here’s more info about what the forum is all about:

Building on the success of the inaugural Australia‐China Film Industry Forum in December 2010, the second Australia‐China Film Industry Forum will be held on Monday 23 April 2012 in Beijing. The Forum will be organised by the Australian Embassy Beijing, with the assistance of a wide variety of related Australian government agencies. This Forum, with a feature film focus, is aimed at further reinvigorating the relationships between the film industries in Australia and China. It will include panel sessions, presentations, and both bilateral and multilateral networking opportunities.

The Forum aims to capitalise on an increased awareness of the Australian film industry in China and the Chinese film industry in Australia, by bringing together key industry players from both countries, with the following objectives:

• Stimulate formally-accredited co-production activity following the coming into force in December 2008 of the bilateral Film Co-Production Treaty;

• Boost commercial prospects for the Australian film industry through joint industry collaboration;

• Expand cultural cooperation and understanding through the medium of film;

• Promote two-way capacity-building and training opportunities between Australia and China in the film industry.

The film industry is expanding rapidly in China. Film production is now attracting heavy Government investment, and office-box takings are increasing dramatically year-on-year, creating demand for resources and expertise. The Forum will endeavour to create lasting links between industry professionals from both countries, whilst also providing a platform to promote the Australian film industry as cutting-edge, modern and diverse, highlighting key strengths including feature film production and financing, documentary, digital animation and design, cinematography and post-production.

The Forum will also provide Australians with the chance to learn from Chinese counterparts about local industry resources, development and emerging opportunities, providing a platform for effectively engagement with Chinese film industry representatives in a sustained and meaningful way. The ultimate goal is to provide a platform from which to help build lasting creative, industry and production links between the two countries which will develop long into the future.

Of course we’ll be meeting with our partners in the region! If you’re interested and in VisPop and our high spectacle independent films AND you’ll be or know someone who’ll be in Beijing, drop us an email and let’s try and arrange a meeting!