Today’s Guest: Fei Wo Si Cun
- Author and screenwriter;
- Vice President of the Hubei Writers’ Association, President of the Hubei Online Writers’ Association, member of the Chinese Writers’ Association, and delegate of the Hubei Political Consultative Conference;
- Known for works such as Dong Gong (《东宫》), Romantic Holidays Like Dreams (《佳期如梦》), Twilight Upon A Thousand Snow-Capped Mountains (《千山暮雪》), etc.
- Founder of Shuangxie Film Production Studio;
- Producer of the acclaimed television series Put Your Head on My Shoulder.
Q1: As a widely beloved author, the characters and plots in your works are close to many readers’ hearts. Their gripping, irresistible details formed treasured memories for many young people. How did you come to develop a mature creative identity?
A: I think Mai You Weng (a fable from the Song Dynasty) says it quite well: experience is all. Every creator started as a novice, and find their direction through repeated practice and setbacks. Ancient principles are quite simple, but really true: ‘read past ten thousand books, and you will write as wisely as the gods.’ If any creator wants to create excellent works, they must first accumulate life experiences, and then read a large amount. Start by learning about how classics were made and how prominent creators from older generation did it, and naturally you will develop your own creative process.
Q2: From author to screenwriter, and then to producer, all your career pivots have been highly successful. At first your reputation as a writer of tragic romance stories was built from works like Dong Gong (《东宫》) and Twilight Upon A Thousand Snow-Capped Mountains (《千山暮雪》). In recent years, you founded Shuangxie Studio and produced the web series Put Your Head on My Shoulder, which became an instant hit among audiences looking for a tender story and attracted widespread attention. Could you share with us some insights from the experience of developing TV adaptions and building outstanding artistic products?
A: I’ve actually never truly felt a pivot in identity, because no matter as an author, a screenwriter, or a producer, I am always a creator and I’m always trying to go forward on the difficult path of creating. Maybe it’s just the type of creativity that’s different: as an author I write novels; as a screenwriter I write screenplays; as a producer I’m making TV shows. Entertainment is a very interesting industry because no individual work is reproducible, so every time there’s something new to enjoy. When we’re creating, we never know what kind of difficulties we’ll come across; it’s like planting a seed and not knowing what kind of flower will come out of thee ground. This process is exceptionally enjoyable. So although there are layers of difficulties, I love creating and love this industry.
Q3: As the founder of Shuangxie, do you have any ideas or plans for developing the company after the pandemic?
A: The pandemic has definitely affected the entire industry quite a bit. For example, everyone knows that at the moment there are lots of crews in Hengdian World Studios rushing production, because many teams delayed shooting at the beginning of the year. So once the pandemic was under control in China, everyone started working very hard. Medical experts say that there could be a new wave in the autumn and winter, so I think everyone’s preparing for that as well: on one hand we’re staying cautious, but on the other hand we’re seizing the time we have now to work hard. Shuangxie is a very young company, so we’re hoping to create films and TV shows that more young people can enjoy as well.
Q4: As a Hubei native, you experienced the first outbreaks of Covid-19 first hand. Could you tell us if the pandemic has influenced or inspired your writing or life in any way?
A: I spend most of my time living in Wuhan, so the first half of this year was definitely very unique for me. Now that the situation is largely under control, Wuhan has returned to its usual bustle. Actually, during the pandemic, we kept going with regular screenplay meetings online, so work was not delayed. This pandemic made me cherish things more, through respecting life itself and treasuring time. Life is very fragile and we’re lucky to be alive, so since we’re able to do things we should use our time well and create.
Q5: We’ve heard that you are an avid global traveller. Could you tell us about a destination that brings you inspiration for writing? Also, many readers of our Forum are fans of your work who are closely following your new works. Would it be possible to share some information about the new book and screenplay you’re working on?
A: I’ve got a few favourite small towns; in fact, some barely count as towns, they’re more like villages. However, they’re all similar in that they’re beautiful and tranquil places. I’ve just returned from a trip to Yunnan and really loved visiting Fuxian Lake: there’s a village next to the lake where they make delicious stone-pot steamed fish, and the villagers are down-to-earth and hospitable. There’s a story in my head which happens in a lakeside village like that. I haven’t been working on a new novel recently, and instead have mostly been writing screenplays. The project itself isn’t public yet, so at the moment I can’t share the new screenplay with everyone. All I can say is that the writing process made me very happy, and I hope that once everyone sees this story, they’ll be as happy as I am.
Planning: Muzhen Sun, Harry Liang, Yifan Zhao
Writing: Muzhen Sun
Revision: Yifan Zhao
Formatting: Wenxin Tang, Yifan Zhao
Translation: Irene Zhang