Chapter 291 – Friends and Foes (1)
Editor: Namita Suberi
Yu Yoayao received another call from Director Qi Hang. She had read the improved script and liked the plot. The character, once betrayed, bravely chooses to live and fall in love again. She even finds a man who loves and cherishes her in the end. Yu Yaoyao was glad of the changes.
“Well, Director,” she said, “The new plot looks amazing! Let’s sign the contract.”
Shen Yichong still had some reservations regarding the role, but he was happy if she wanted to do it. He had promised to support her in her decision, so that was what he would do.
“Great!” said the Director, “How is your progress with the script? We will hold a script-reading with the all the staff in three days. Will you be able to make it? We also need to decide on the concept of your makeup. Are you free these two days?”
“Yes, Director,” she said, “I can make it to both.”
“Great,” said the Director, “I will have them arrange the date and the time and inform your manager. Thank you for your hard work, Yu.”
Yu Yaoyao let out a sigh after the Director hung up. She counted the remaining days of her vacation. Only two days left. She rolled on the bed, where she was lying down, right into Shen Yichong’s arms, who was reading a book. He raised his eyebrows slightly and rubbed her back and shoulders gently.
Yu Yaoyao had been too tired recently. She had accompanied Ren Sitong, many a time, to beauty salons and shopping. She felt tired even after yoga. She felt exhausted after spending time with her son. She was tired after reading the script. Every time, she would slide next to Shen Yichong, and he would give her a massage. It had become a routine: she would roll next to him, and he would know what she wanted.
Shen Yichong balanced his book with a hand, while rubbing her shoulders with the other one. “Qi Hang’s approach is different from Director Zhou,” he said, “He is well-known for his NG shots in the industry. You have to be patient when you join his work.”
“What?” asked Yu Yaoyao. She didn’t really know much about the intricacies of the industry.
“Chen Jiao’s acting is far from bad. He is a very accomplished actor. But when he was shooting in Director Qi Hang’s film, there wasn’t a time when a scene had been accepted in one take,” explained Shen Yichong. “His manager found that the average number of NGs for small scenes was around fifteen times.”
“Rest as much as you can in the remaining days,” he added. “It will take a lot of energy when you join the shoot.”
Yu Yaoyao pondered. No matter how she saw it, she was unable to match the image of this polite, middle-aged man with a director demanding multiple NG shoots. “But darling,” she said, “Sisi told me that Director Qi Hang is very easy going. She said he is very lenient and allows his actors to improvise.”
“Ren Sitong again,” he sighed. “She just started as a drama actress. She had been at home because of her small children. It hasn’t been long since she came back to acting. I doubt she has worked with Director Qi Hang for a long duration.”
His hand, which has been rubbing her shoulders, stopped. “Have you been reading the book on Professional Performance that I had Ni Yi buy for you?” he asked.
Yu Yaoyao dropped her head guiltily and shook her head. She had not studied acting professionally. She had mostly taught herself from videos and tutorials. Shen Yichong had begun urging her to study some materials to help her improve her acting. He was helping her improve if she wanted to win the Best Actress Award. He understood that Yu Yaoyao had been busy spending time with Ren Sitong and their son, unable to focus on her study materials. He sighed. He continued to massage behind her waist.
“The number of touring performances varies from a dozen to a few hundreds,” he explained, “Beginning from the very first to the very last performance, the actors explore their understanding of the character they play. An excellent performance is by no means consistent. The actors improvise and change their way based on their perception and their understanding of the character during this period of time. Which means, the hundredth performance may be more authentic, fuller and skilled than the very first.”
He looked at her. “Director Qi Hang uses that approach,” he said, “He has come this far producing excellent films in this way. It is true that he gives his actors the space to improvise. He does not have a set standard on how far he wants to go with a scene. He is, in this way, different from Directors like Zhou Qiu. He requires the actors to act out the scene in multiple takes, before he decides on which one fits the most perfectly.”
“Oh,” said Yu Yaoyao, understanding Director Qi Hang. “So he is basically doing ‘trial and error’ with the actors.”
“Yes,” he said, “Which means, I need you to eat more, rest even more and read the script diligently for these next few days. You need all your strength at your disposal. Cut down on going out every minute with Ren Sitong, too.”
Yu Yaoyao sat up and hugged him. “Thank you,” she said, “I love you.”
Shen Yichong smiled and returned her embrace, stroking her long hair. “I love you too.”
“Alright then,” she said, “I am going to cut down on going out and stay home and rest. Maybe I will invite Sisi over, so we don’t walk outside too much.”
Shen Yichong was appalled and speechless.