It has been long time, haven’t think about Jackie Chan and the movice I have been made with him. the Skiptrace, Can’t see it’s a very successful movie, but it’s do help me growth every much.
In summer of 2015, I was a third-year university student in computer science in Chengdu. I was tired of find my best life style, I’ve been tried a lot. As China’s the old saying said, “Travel ten thousand miles, Read ten thousand books.” I’ve been ride for 30,000 km by bike, I’ve been read 1,00 books in my college, I’ve tried to be Freelance photographer, I’ve join a free boxing club, I also have dreamed about be a guitarist. But after I tried them all, I still can not find my own way. I was so confuse, I was in 20.
That summer, I realize I will spent my life without doing anything, I’m afraid of that, and then I decide do something different.
I found whatever I was passion of in specfic time, I always like to watching movie, I’ve watch at least 1,000 movies which is much more books I’ve read. I study how to keep hope in a very difficult situation from The Shawshank Redemption, feel about love in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, study history via The Last Emperor, and fly my thought by The Man from Earth, I was so obsessed with the movie, why woundn’t I self-devotion to the film business. “Chinese film was so terrible, there must be some reason, let me find it and contribute my meagre power, maybe I can make chinese movice a little better.” I was thinking, that’s how I thought when I decide to go to Beijing —— Beijing is the only place to film a movie in China.
How many roads must a man walk down Before you call him a man? How many seas must a white dove sail Before she sleeps in the sand?
—— “Blowin’ In The Wind” Bob Dylan Lyrics
Before I go to Beijing, I’ve done a lot of resarch, I’ve see a lot of cheater who make use young’s star dream. According what I knew later, they cheated young people into a small yard, give them every little money, limiting their freedom, and let young’s made money for them by been extras in some TV series or Network drama. I can’t imagine they are willing to be bullied by the group head, and they woundn’t tell anyone they are in the yard, maybecause of shame, maybe some reason couldn’t said, I don’t know.
But these thing, before the time I join a crew, I don’t know any of them, I thought every teenager can get to schoole like me, I know some of them are poor and have hard time, but I don’t know how hard it is until I really saw it. There is a man looks so helpful, he is famouse in Baidu (a popular search engine like Google in China), and tag was “Movie expert”, he have answered a lot of question related “how to find a job in crew”, “How to be a movice actress/actor”, he said he can provide me a job in crew just needs take some photo of me, but after he know I’m a boy instead of a girl, he is not that interest with me and don’t ask my question any more. few month later I notice he is a cheater who only wants to take grils nack photo.
Even I don’t find any useful information from the Internet, I still decide to come to Beijing to see the real by my own self when the summer vacation was started.
I left Chengdu in 30th, June, 2014, it was a every hot day. Before that I only came to Beijing one time, that’s 2013 summer vacation, I ride bike from Chengdu to Beijing, with 318 RMB and a gitar I brought. this time I brought 2,000 to survive the first month in Beijing, I’ve eta steamed bread two month for that. I come with hope, I was happy in the train, talked with accompany, there was a monk in them, he seems know every thing, he know where my dead grad-grad-father buried, and he know the date another passenger birth, may passenger start want to give him money to pray for his blessing, he didn’t took their money, just smile. Then I asked him, can I stay in Beijing this time? his answer, I still can remember: “You can stay if you wish”, he said.
My bed room
I rent a small basement in Beijing, which is every close to old Beijing Film Studio front door, every 5:00am in the morning, crew’s group heard come here and find the people who wants to be a extra, people who leave down different overpass come together and waiting for vans coming. One van comming, tooks 5 people, another van comming, tooks 3, there still 50+ people waiting and become more and more. There used to have an actor just like them, waiting day and night, and finally meet the right person, shot one movie and become famouse and rich. People wants to be like that, rich witout working, that what they thought. So there are more and more people come to here to “Pursue their dream” most of them already came to home, but the crowd continues to grow.
I hated the crowd every much, so I didn’t insist my first morning, I arrived here 4:00am, leave at 10:00am, that’s when a lot of people come back to their oeverpass. lie down here and do nothing. I went back my basement which is cool in such hot summer in Beijing, then I meet my first friend in Beijing. I can hardly remember his name but what he have done was so real that I still can remembL. Let me call him “Zhang”
My friend Zhang has been a extra in Hengdian for half year which is quite senior in such place, when he notice that most director find their primary actor in Beijing and bring them to Hengdian, his bed room is next to me, tight but clean, with a flower that I can not remember the name. We find way to attend a TV show to be a live audience, we site here for 13 hours and finally got 40 CYN. Finally when I came home at mid night, I was tired and don’t want to get up any more next morning.
My first shot in Beijing
Next few days I was shooting some advertisement and Network drama, all been extra acting, extra is more like a tool that director can use and I’m not satisify to be a tool, I want to do something more vaulable. Then I meet my first destined-man, he is a onsite producer, I meet him in a Network drama, which is a urban romance drama, I was a backgroud as student in a collaegue. while lunch time I come close to the onsite producer, and tell him that I want to be a worker in the crew instead of an actor, I want to be one of them even don’t have money. A year after that the onsite producer told me he saw the passion in mine, and I was look like a honest boy, so he took my phone number.
Two days later, while I was been a people walking around with tofu in an advertisement shooting, I got a phone from that onsite producer, he told me that they are going to Xiamen and there is a kid in the crew can’t buy the air plan insurance because under 18 year old, so I can replace him. How happy I am when I got this information. Then I prepare my package and ask Zhang help me keep my laptop(That is my most expensive think I’ve ever had, it cost me more than 5,000 CYN. after that I was afraid what if he disappeard with my laptop, but truth proved that he is a trustworthy person).
Xiamen is a beatuiful place, where a good place to start a dream, but my dream isn’t as beautiful as the weather is.
I never done a heavy work such like this, the scaffold, the cradle head, too heavy to lift, I’m not sure how about now, but in that time, I can run for one kilometer with a bucket of bottled water. That is thanks to the heavy work I’ve done. I am the type of boy who never clean the floor at home, but I cigarette smoking tablet everyday in the crew. I felt a lot of pressure. I remember one night when I suddenly got into no one’s toilet and started to cry.
Shotting in Xiamen
I worked so hard that I got my unpaid salary after one month - 500 yuan. I was confuse again, not sure this situation is suitable for me.
I was met Jakie Chan in July, in the prairie of Chifeng, Inner Mongolia. The onsite producer thinks I’m doing well and let me join his next film, which is a really big movie direct by Renny Harlin, This crew is professional and I think I learned a lot from this expirence.
My job was runner but for what I was really doing is a cleaner, I was upset by my work at first, because it skill-less and I think I’ll learn nothing from it. The better side is, other runner have their own position, they can only stay where they should be, but I can go where I want, so I can see more, and get more people know me. I made my cleaning work the ultimate, clean site as clean as possible. One day in studio shooting at China Film and Television Base, a cleaner come to our crew and told us, she have been working here for 10 years, never saw a crew so clean like this. On the other hand, most work mates thought I’m working well, and they’d like to bring me to their next crew, that’s how I get my next oppotunities.
And because this crew is combile consist of HongKong, China, America, most people are come from China and don’t know how to speak English, I have little English skill so I can talk some simple words with people who from America. few days later people knows:”there is a runner who can speak English in our crew”, people feels so amazed. For me, I made a special friend by my poor English skill.
Damien was the man who is producer of this film, he was the man who gave me the English name. He left me a letter at the day before he left China, I can hardly remember what’s in that letter but I keeped the letter I gave to him which I worte in the hotel.
Letter to Damien
And he left me one shoes, for my understanding that is mean “You still have long way to go”, I put a flower in that shoes, when the flower open I send him a photo.
After the skiptrace, I’ve get a lot of invitation, I’ve been onsite producer, casting assistant…
Even I choice back to computer career after I graduate from collague, that still a big memory in my mind.