Li Guoli's sudden question caught Jiang Cheng slightly off guard. Since Cai Yinong had told him that Li Guoli was coming along this time, Jiang Cheng had an inkling that Li Guoli came partly for him.
Therefore, he had been waiting for Li Guoli to say something. But Li Guoli hadn't spoken to him directly since the beginning of the meeting, so his question now caught Jiang Cheng a bit off guard.
Cai Yinong, Hu Ge, and Milan heard Li Guoli's question, and couldn't help but stop their chopsticks and turn to him. Suddenly, Jiang Cheng felt under pressure!
However, Jiang Cheng was experienced and showed no reaction, letting out a chuckle as he picked up a napkin from the dining table and wiped his mouth. Then he said to Li Guoli: "Can I know why Mr. Li wants my opinion on this?"
Li Guoli said: "No reason, I'm just casually asking, I just want to know what you think of Jin Yong's [The Book and the Sword]."
Jiang Cheng smiled bitterly and said, "Mr. Li, you think too highly of me! Like I told Sister Cai before. Jin Yong is a literature master and the last thing I want to do is pass unfair judgment on [The Book and the Sword] when I haven't even studied it carefully. So if you're asking for my take on the book then I can only say sorry, I don't have any opinion on it."
Li Guoli smiled slightly: "Jiang Cheng, you aren't being honest! You clearly have a stance on the book, whether it's negative or positive I don't mind. I just want to hear your genuine opinion and reasoning!"
Cai Yinong also added: "That's right, Jiang Cheng, you just have to answer briefly! Simply talk about your opinion, it doesn't need to be too profound. We are just chatting."
Jiang Cheng took a deep breath and replied: "Okay, then I will simply say a few words about the book. It's just my childish opinion so Mr. Li and Sister Cai. Don't take it to heart."
After he finished speaking, he said, "I don't particularly like the book and there are a few reasons why;
First of all, in terms of thinking, this book's thinking is too obscure. [The Book and the Sword] is the first book by Jin Yong, so it's understandable it's not perfect but the book focuses too much on the idea of "the greater your ability, the greater your responsibility" like in superhero comics.
Second, the protagonist, Chen Jialuo, is too useless! He falls in love with Huo Qingtong, and the two of them confess their love for each other, then what, he begins to doubt Huo Qingtong's feelings for him just because she has to leave. Then afterwards, he meets Huo Qingtong's sister Princess Xiangxiang and actually falls in love with her due to her "rare beauty and pure kindness". Hurting Huo Qingtong and leaving her just like that.
But even then he doesn't have the courage to commit and fight and instead actually proposes exchanging Princess Xiangxiang for Jiangshan City. He's completely unfaithful to the notion of true love and to the women who loved him deeply and in the end, Princess Xiangxiang is even forced to commit suicide because of his stupidity!
Chen Jialuo is too indecisive and doesn't play his role at all. Since he succeeded the helm of the Red Lotus Society, the starting point of his actions should have been around the great cause of restoring the Qing Dynasty. But instead he is drawn into pointless conflicts and into personal drama. It's no wonder, he can only be a hero and not a lord.
In fact although Qianlong is the villain in the book, as an emperor, he is definitely qualified. He does whatever is necessary to fulfill his goals. In order to stabilize his own power, he's even willing to give up his brother's, his sons and daughter's affection.
Then there's Mu Zhuolun, who in order to paralyze Qianlong and convince him that he was really surrendering, agreed to marry his beloved daughter to Qianlong to buy time to prepare his resistance. Although Mu Zhuolun failed in the end, all the people in his camp were willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause including him. In contrast, Chen Jialuo is more than a dozen steps behind. Indecisive at every turn!"
Everyone at the table looked shocked at Jiang Cheng's point of view and Milan asked a little reluctant: "Doesn't this show that Chen Jialuo is more humane than Qianlong and Mu Zhuolun?"
"That's true, you could say that. But!" Jiang Cheng spread his hands together, "Chen Jialuo ultimately is the chief of the Red Lotus Society, shouldering the important mission of restoring the Qing Dynasty, shouldering the Red Lotus Society means he's responsible for thousands of people and tens of thousands of lives, his identity requires him not to be too sentimental! Think about how many lives were lost because of his indecisiveness and his inaction."
At this , Li Guoli applauded and said with appreciation: "Wonderful! You've covered all aspects, and analyzed the flash points of the novel to the fullest!"
Jiang Cheng smiled modestly: "I just made some superficial comments, I don't deserve so much praise from Director Li."
Cai Yinong interjected and said: "In order to adapt [The Book and the Sword], we found several well-known scholars, but only you have provided such a unique insight. Jiang Cheng, you are too humble!"
Li Guoli nodded in agreement. "So, do you have any advice on adapting [The Book and the Sword] into a TV series?"
"Well it's only natural to promote the book's strengths and avoid its weaknesses." Jiang Cheng said without much thought. "I just mentioned some of the shortcomings in the novel. Just fill them out one by one, and adjust the plot for a TV show.
When Chen Jialuo makes various difficult choices, add a few more scenes, to let the audience step in and understand his difficulty, so that some of his shortcomings aren't so prominent. He should form a strong contrast with the fierce and ruthlessness nature of Qianlong.
In addition, this is a TV series based on a martial arts novel. Action is indispensable, and it is also the most eye-catching factor. It is best to add a little more realistic special effects, like those in Hong Kong martial art dramas, they are imposing and eye-catching. "
It might seem a bit superfluous, but in fact it will play a huge role, though, you may face limitations because of funding. The most criticized part of the drama [Step by Step] is that several of its special effects scenes are too fake, and there is no beauty or realism about them at all. So one of the most important parts you'll probably have to get right is the special effects for the martial arts scenes. If you can adapt and adjust the plot, perfect the fight scenes and the special effects along with finding the right actors etc, the TV series will be on it's way to success.
Li Guoli clearly agreed with Jiang Cheng's point of view, and looked to Cai Yinong, Cai Yinong understood Li Guoli's gaze and couldn't help laughing. "Jiang Cheng, look how you're burdening me, I'm gonna be forced to increase the budget at this rate!"
Jiang Cheng said with a smile: "Sister Cai, we can't lose sight of quality in hopes of pumping stuff out and achieving quick success! Shanghai Tangren started late compared to others, so if we want to grow and develop, we can only take the boutique route, and pay a large price to ensure that every movie and every TV show produced is absolutely high-quality!"
Li Guoli nodded: "Yeah, I agree. I think we should spend a little more money on the special effects, and try our best to make them as perfect as possible. As long as the show is done to the best of our ability and is of good quality, how can we not get good returns and ratings?"
Seeing that both of them were pushing for it, Cai Yinong couldn't help but grit her teeth and nod:
"Okay! Since you both say so, then I'll add more money to the budget for visual effects. Milan, remember when we go back to notify the planning department, visual effects department, art department and the post-production department, to create a new budget! Oh there's also the scriptwriting department, take down all the points mentioned by Jiang Cheng and tell them to revise the script!"
Watching Cai Yinong relentlessly issuing orders, Jiang Cheng nodded, this timeline's adaptation of [The Book and the Sword] to the TV series [Book and Sword, Gratitude and Revenge] would be more successful than in his past life!
However, he didn't expect that Li Guoli still wouldn't let him go: "Jiang Cheng, I heard you wrote your own martial arts novel, [Kunlun], can you speak about it?"
The other three turned on their ears again and looked to Jiang Cheng, especially Hu Ge. Everyone back at the dorm had been trying to pry information about Kunlun from Jiang Cheng for some time.
Jiang Cheng laughed bitterly again, it still wasn't over yet!
Through the questions just now, Li Guoli had got a clear insight into Jiang Cheng's talent. What made Li Guoli even more satisfied was that Jiang Cheng whilst talented, showed modesty, he was an impressive young man.
He couldn't help but become curious about Jiang Cheng's novel.
Jiang Cheng heard Li Guoli's tone and knew it was just general curiosity.
"Mr. Li, you know the industry rules. Before the book is published, it's not appropriate to disclose the story."
Li Guoli replied with a smile: "I know the rules, and naturally I won't make it difficult for you. Just talk about the background. I just want to know why you created the book."
"Yeah, yeah!" Hu Ge also coaxed from the side, "Jiang Cheng, let's talk briefly, no need to mention the content, just talk about the background, let's understand it first!"
Cai Yinong and Milan also urged Jiang Cheng.
"Okay," Jiang Cheng smiled helplessly. "Then I will talk briefly, as for the story's content, you'll have to guess it yourself."
After clearing his throat, Jiang Cheng ran through the background of the book and some of the characters.
"You've created a martial arts novel to be in line with the aesthetics of your generation?"
"Yeah!" Jiang Cheng nodded, "Our generation is born in the era of reform, with China finally opening up, we are at the junction of the old era and the new era. We've had different experiences which makes our generation's thinking different from that of the older generations. Being rebellious, unwilling to "just follow the rules", and contradicting the traditions set and followed by the older generations is part of the cycle every generation goes through.
In the eyes of others, our generation is probably an unruly generation, a broken generation. But in our own view, such behavior is what a new era should be about. Which is why the image of the protagonist in my novel is more aimed at my generation. He's a rebellious person who does things according to his own likes and dislikes. Of course, he will suffer from all kinds of hardships during his growth and pay the price for his growth."
"So what do you think of the prospects of the book?" Li Guoli asked.
Jiang Cheng shrugged: "The response may be mixed, but it should be successful overall. I am confident about it!"
"That's no small tone, aren't you afraid of failure?" Li Guoli asked with interest.
"Failure? Maybe later on, but certainly not this time!" Jiang Cheng took a drink from his glass. "I've done my best. Now it's time to harvest the rewards!"
"Then I wish you good luck." Li Guoli lifted his glass and gave a respectful nod.
Cai Yinong smiled and said: "Then lets have a drink together and wish Jiang Cheng's new book prosperity!"
The five clinked their glasses together.
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