Chapter 30: Shopping
The familiar scene and background music matched those of what he clicked on by chance this morning – the movie that wasn’t suitable for children!
“This…” The roomful of higher-ups were somewhat stunned. Weren’t they discussing filming a turbid palace drama? Why was it a modern school drama… Eh, it seemed to be a suspenseful crime drama…
“Stop!” Before that vulgar uncle revealed his true colors, Zhong Yibin quickly yelled for the video to be stopped. What a joke, he wouldn’t need to mingle with them again if this was released in front of the Group’s superiors! Secretary Jin convulsed with fear as he pressed the pause button without delay, swiftly stopping the video.
Zhong Yibin glared at him and coughed lightly, speaking in a gentle and cultured manner to everyone, “My apologies, my secretary selected the wrong video. Let’s first take a look at the analysis of the market prospects, the sample clip will be shown later on.”
Due to time constraints in the morning, Secretary Jin didn’t check whether the video was correct. His face was pale and, in his heart, he knew that he was done for. In order to atone for his crime, he speedily contacted his colleagues and requested for them to send the sample clip over as soon as possible.
In the past, TV dramas were widely known for their high quality. Even if the technology during that time was not up to par, a lot of heart was put into the other aspects. In order to film a good drama, some film crews would spend a few years working on it. Just like the case of the previous adaptation of <A Dream of Red Mansions>, countless experts on Redology were consulted to come up with the script and the actual writing was done by a literary giant in the present age. Even before the cast started filming, they were required to learn the guqin, chess, painting, calligraphy and ancient etiquette.
In the current age of fast-food culture, filming one drama over many years was impossible but filming with one’s heart was still doable. The turbid palace drama had to be filmed according to the relevant ceremonies and social customs. There could not be any compromise with regards to the clothing, props, script and etiquette.
“A thunder drama’s profits will be limited to the money brought in from broadcasting it. Since there is no appeal in re-watching it, no other TV stations will be willing to purchase the right to re-broadcast,” Zhong Yibin clicked open a financial analysis chart. “Although our work must be of high quality, this drama does not have any war scenes and only utilizes indoor frames. Looking at the production alone, the costs are not high. Assuming four satellite channels are willing to purchase the rebroadcast rights, Shengshi will not only break even in terms of production costs but also rake in advertising profits…”
“The most important point is that…” Zhong Yibin raised his head and his eyes landed on Uncle Ning, who was seated beside his brother. Suddenly, he realized that these shareholders were most concerned about the stock price, not the profits that the business would make. “This drama will be filmed under Shengshi’s brand; hence it represents Shengshi. Should we produce a drama of exceptional quality, our image in the eyes of the public will be raised another notch and our stock price will most likely rise!”
The moment this phrase was said, a few board members instantly showed interest.
Although there were a few hiccups, his case was passed smoothly. Not only did Zhong Yibin attain sufficient funding for a high-quality costume drama, he also obtained capital to purchase other premium goods.
“Yibin has really matured, you’re more like your brother!” Ning Ze patted Zhong Yibin’s shoulder and said while smiling from ear to ear.
Hearing this, Zhong Jiabin frowned slightly. His family’s brother detested others comparing the two of them. Till today, Zhong Yibin was not close to Uncle Ning because Uncle Ning had uttered a similar statement when he was young. He chose not to make use of the large resource close to home and instead sought to develop his connections in the faraway Old Waves.
“I am still far from my brother,” Zhong Yibin said with a smile. This was what he had realized from his personal experiences the past few days. The difference in level between him and his brother was not small, he still had many things to learn.
Zhong Jiabin looked towards his brother with some amazement.
It was noon by the time they finished recording the program. Since they still had to film backup shots in the afternoon, the guests didn’t leave, and their lunch was settled by the TV station. This was the young actors’ first time eating Shengshi’s bento box and they were curious about it. The bento box comprised of three dishes and one soup. There was one meat dish and two vegetarian dishes. The taste was ordinary. Male lead one was called Li Hao and he debuted in an idol drama. An idol drama he played a leading role in had recently been screened and the mountain of praises he received caused him to lose his way. He had been treated very well with good food and drink at all the places he had recently been to for filming. Yet now that he was at Shengshi, he was actually given the same food as the ground workers, which made him unhappy.
“This TV station is too stingy, only giving us this!” Li Hao curled his lip as he flicked a piece of potato that didn’t look particularly good to the side.
Female lead one was a small and delicate girl called Wen Qing. She had a favorable impression of Li Hao due to the time they spent together filming. Seeing that he was unhappy, she couldn’t help consoling him in a low voice, “Work meals are all like this, eat a little at the least. We can go eat something nice after filming.”
“Out of all the satellite TVs, Shengshi’s bento box is the best. You’ll know it after trying them,” Qiao Su couldn’t be bothered to play along with Li Hao’s blind cockiness. This was Confusion, the program that people tried to get on using connections. Letting him on the show was already giving him face, yet he still dared to criticize the other party’s bento box.
“Che, I know you’ve eaten lots of them,” Li Hao couldn’t resist provoking him.
Chu Qin happened to come over at this moment. He pretended not to notice the small quarrel and smiled as he said, “The food done by the station’s kitchen is a little plain, we don’t notice it anymore because we’re used to it. If you feel that it’s not to your taste, I can order takeout for you.” As he said this, he took out a stack of takeaway forms from the dressing table’s drawer and passed one to Li Hao and Wen Qing to let them see what they wanted to eat.
His way of treating guests was foolproof, not a single error could be picked out.
Li Hao was prepared to order but Wen Qing hurriedly stopped him, “It’s alright, I think it’s quite tasty. Qin-ge, you should quickly go eat, there’s no need to care about us. He’s just throwing a child’s tantrum.”
Chu Qin smiled and picked up his own portion, sitting beside Qiao Su.
Qiao Su was in the middle of eating bit by bit in a very serious manner. The phone he had placed on the table suddenly lighted up, revealing a single message.
[Mu Chen: How is the recording going?]
Qiao Su quickly picked up his phone and unlocked the screen before switching it off, preventing the surrounding people from noticing it.
“Put your phone upside down,” Chu Qin placed Qiao Su’s phone with its screen down. “Be careful of the food splashing on it.” Chu Qin had little interest in others’ phones and out of politeness, would never randomly peek at it.
This series of actions put Qiao Su at ease and he inadvertently also relaxed, “It would be good if this new drama can be broadcasted by Shengshi, then I can be on Qin-ge’s program again.”
The cast of TV dramas who made it onto Confusion were often dramas that were being broadcasted on Shengshi TV.
“What is that drama called?” Chu Qin was a little curious. Given the style of dressing, it seemed to be from the Yu dynasty.
“Have you heard of <The Golden Age of the Great Jing>?” Qiao Su thought for a while before asking him in a low voice.
“Ah!” Chu Qin was surprised. Of course, he had heard of it before. <The Golden Age of the Great Jing> was one of the books in a trilogy written by a famed writer Qu Lao. His other two books in the trilogy <The Reign of Emperor Wu> and <Chaos of Ten Nations> had been adapted into TV dramas many years ago and caused a sensation.
<The Golden Age of the Great Jing> was actually the best writing-wise and it was also the one with the most fame. However, there were some issues involving the historical aspect and thus it’s adaptation had never been attempted. This could entirely be attributed to the fact that one of the two emperors of the Great Jing, Emperor Jingyuan, wed a male empress. Given the current cultural sensibilities within the country, broadcasting such a drama on the television would be of considerable difficulty.
“Who is so courageous to dare to film this?” Chu Qin had some admiration for the investors behind-the-scenes.
Qiao Su laughed, “The boss’s capability is no joke, the drama is already slated to be broadcasted on the national TV station.” All dramas regarding monarchs were all broadcasted on the national station. Although the national station’s ratings hadn’t stood out in the past two years, this arrangement was the original author Qu Lao’s wish.
“Is there a sample clip? Let me see,” Chu Qin was extremely curious. He was very fond of the original work and after falling for Zhong Yibin, he felt a strong sense of kinship with the empress, occasionally even hating that he had not been born during that era. He had never thought that this sort of masterpiece would be adapted to a drama. The effects on public opinion that this would have would be of great help to his and Zhong Yibin’s future.
After filming in the afternoon, Chu Qin dragged Du Wei to go shopping. Previously, he was also a country bumpkin who had little taste in clothes but this changed after Du Wei’s teachings. He could now style himself on his own but since he was buying clothes for Zhong Yibin, he would still need Du Wei’s opinion.
“How is this?” Chu Qin tried on a silver-grey suit. If it was suitable for him, then he would only need to get it in a size bigger for Zhong Yibin.
“It’s okay, not as nice as the other piece,” Du Wei had a greater liking for the grey piece he tried on previously. That type of flaxen material’s tactile quality looked especially high.
“But this piece is more convenient for everyday use and is more comfortable than the other,” Chu Qin moved his shoulders. Sitting in front of the office desk in that grey suit would definitely be very exhausting. However, it would look good when worn out, “Buy both then.”
“I’ve received your card, you’re always welcome to come back,” The salesperson was beaming from ear to ear.
Du Wei looked dumbstruck at the mountain of high-quality male attire bought by Chu Qin, ranging from suits and casual attire to socks and underwear. Everything from the head to the toe was bought. “Hey hey, isn’t this enough. Giving your boyfriend the occasional gift is good enough, are you trying to be his father by buying him an entire wardrobe’s worth?”
“There’s no need to be so particular, I’ll buy it for him if I want to. Why is there a need to consider time and amount,” Chu Qin was unconcerned and continued to stare at the shoes in the display window with flaming eyes.
Clothes could be bought according to size, but shoes could not. They had to be tried on personally. Chu Qin looked at them for a very long time before reluctantly leaving. He treated Du Wei to dessert at Gangshi dessert shop.
“If you continue like this, you’ll be siphoned dry by Zhong Yibin eventually. Even rags won’t be left,” Du Wei glanced worriedly at the bags of varying sizes at Chu Qin’s feet. This sort of rich second generation like Zhong Yibin would never feel gratitude for what others bought for him. It was even less likely for him to understand that this amount of money was not small for Chu Qin.
“I’m his boyfriend. Buying things for him is satisfying myself, I have no need for his gratitude,” Chu Qin smiled as he ate a piece of mango.
Du Wei pushed her gaping lower jaw back up, “When will the heavens give me a boyfriend like you. This old lady would die without regrets,” Such a good man went to like another man, this was truly a waste of society’s resources. Du Wei furiously gobbled a giant scoop of iced coconut milk, the frozen ice shards stuffed in her mouth almost causing her to jump.
Though Chu Qin said this, Du Wei’s words continued to echo in his head without leaving.
When Zhong Yibin returned home, he saw Chu Qin sitting in the living room with a pile of different kinds of shopping bags strewn on the carpet by his feet, “Why did you buy so much?”
Chu Qin raised his head to look at him, “En, it’s all for you.”
“Wa!” Zhong Yibin’s eyes lit up and he ran off to open them.
Chu Qin leaped over and hugged Zhong Yibin from behind, “Du Wei said that as a boyfriend, it’s wrong of me to buy so much for you at one go.”
“So?” Zhong Yibin seized to chance to sit up on the carpet and draw the other person into his arms.
Chu Qin sat up in a kneeling position and patted Zhong Yibin’s sturdy buttocks, “Call me father!”
The author has something to say:
Small theater: <Song of Father Qin Qin>
Er Bing: I have a good father
Qin Qin: Good father, good father, you have a good father
Er Bing: Bought me clothes, shuashuashua, shuashuashua
Qin Qin: Shuashuashua, shuashuashua
Er Bing: Wakes me up, Ah ah ah, ah ah ah
Qin Qin: …
 红楼梦: One of the China’s four great classical novels, alongside Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Journey to the West. The first adaptation of the novel into a TV series in 1987 was called Dream of the Red Chamber and was acclaimed for its music, cast and plot adaptation. The 2010 adaptation on the other hand, was criticized for its unorthodox costume design and its interpretations of the novel.
 Academic field devoted to the study of A Dream of Red Mansions
 A plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family that has been played since ancient times
 被捧得找不着北:The last four characters are an idiom meaning confused/disoriented, but being flattered to confusion doesn’t make much sense in English so I tried to phrase it differently
 景元帝: This emperor does not actually exist in historical records, aka he’s a fictional character, along with the supposed empire. I’m assuming this emperor is Yu Tang, who’s the male lead for the author’s other novel Stop Bothering Me, Emperor.
 Onomatopoeia for card swiping sounds.
Translator’s corner: Happy New Year! Wishing everyone a blissful year full of good food and novels 😀