The long game

Go stones

Justin Feldman, a film executive with experience in production and development for companies including CJ E&M, Wanda Entertainment Group and Base Media, has published an insightful three-part op/ed piece on doing entertainment business in China entitled Hollywood Bull in the China Shop: Insights into Entering the Chinese Film Market.

In Part One of the series (Insights into Entering the Chinese Film Market), Justin notes the importance of developing local content for the Chinese entertainment market, and addresses the time and patience required for success in China.

Chinese audiences love HARRY POTTER, STAR WARS and the MARVEL heroes just as much as us, but they’re not going to respond to something slapped together in an attempt to curry favor with either them or the government regulators. This plays into one of my later points, but Hollywood shouldn’t be half-­assing their efforts. Smart executives should see the advantage of doubling down on local language fare. Using Hollywood’s superior skills to set up ambitious, local projects which can stand on their own reflects the kind of long term strategy that the industry should be pursuing.

In Part Two of the series (Finding Money in the Land of Opportunity), Justin covers Chinese project delays and budget overruns, the mainland money hunt and the China’s Everest-sized entertainment market learning curve.  Part Three of the series (How China’s Organizational Structures Impact Filmmaking) provides final observations on the Chinese film industry for anyone serious about doing business in this rapidly-evolving landscape.

Across the series, Justin makes the following key points:

  1. China doesn’t need you.
  2. You aren’t a local, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to think like one.
  3. Go long with the ball.
  4. Every project you do will be delayed and go over budget.
  5. There’s lots of money around, but no one seems to know where.
  6. The learning curve here is the equivalent to ascending Everest without oxygen.
  7. Don’t go half-­ass.
  8. China’s problems are inherently generational, not necessarily perceptual.

Check out SSN Insider for Justin’s complete three-part op/ed series.  And be sure to loop back to Your Man In China’s August op/ed piece – So, you want to make a Chinese movie… – for two key pieces of advice to individual creators aspiring to the China market.


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