AM: Chapter 62

Act 7 was over but the audience couldn’t tear themselves away from the plot immediately. Cheng Xia’s crying had been too realistic. This type of depressed crying was more moving than shouts. Zhou Yan stood in the corner and her eyes were wet. She couldn’t believe that the young man who just acted was a newcomer!

The one-week closed training allowed him to make such big progress? Perhaps this was the so-called ‘understanding’ and ‘talent’. It was the same training classes but Cheng Xia immediately understood and quickly applied them better than the newcomers of the same period as him.

Zhou Yan took a deep breath and stared at the young man in the middle in a complicated manner.

Cheng Xia adjusted for a moment before he freed himself from the plot. Then he turned and bowed to Director Zhu. “I have finished my performance. Thank you, Teachers.”

Zhu Zheng didn’t know what to say. This young man had been too involved in the acting just now so he was brought in. It wasn’t easy to perform to this level in the absence of items and the set, not to mention this young man was a newcomer. Everything was surprising from the position of the entry, the details of his performance and the final infectious crying scene, and the trembling of forcibly suppressed emotions.

Director Zhu hadn’t looked good earlier. He thought that after Shu Yue withdrew from the circle, Pei Shaoze had casually sent an omega actor from Tianxuan. He didn’t expect the newcomer sent by President Pei to be so strong!

Director Zhu looked at Cheng Xia with a warmer attitude. “Cheng Xia, can you tell me what you were thinking about when you were crying?”

Cheng Xia hadn’t wiped away all his tears and his voice was still a bit choked up. “I thought about my own relatives. If one day I go home and find my parents lying in a pool of blood and dismembered, I would be very broken…”

Zhu Zheng exchanged a look with the deputy director and screenwriter.

The easiest and most effective way to find emotions was through association. However, few actors could do this. Some people thought it was too much. They lost control during the performance and it was common for them to forget their lines. It was the most difficult thing to find the feelings through association, integrate the association with the character, and clearly remember the content you want to perform.

However, Cheng Xia did it.

After watching the chaotic crying and howling all day, Director Zhu’s ears were about to be numb from these alphas. Cheng Xia’s performance was like a breath of fresh air. The silent, suppressed cry of pain was the effect Zhu Zheng wanted the most.

Zhu Zheng joked. “You’re a very talented actor. Wipe your tears away first. Otherwise, if you go out then other people will think I scolded you until you cried.”

The deputy director and screenwriter laughed. Cheng Xia smiled with embarrassment. Zhou Yan hurried forward to hand him a tissue. Cheng Xia wiped away his tears. His eyes were red but he was very sunny and lovely. Zhu Zheng couldn’t believe that an omega could play the alpha trainee police officer without the slightest sense of violation. Zhu Zheng nodded with relief and said, “Go back. We will discuss it and notify you as soon as there is a result.”

Cheng Xia bowed to them. “Thank you, Director Zhu. Thank you, teachers.”

He followed Zhou Yan and left.

Zhou Yan took him back to the door of the lounge and gave him a thumbs up. “Cheng Xia, you were really amazing just now.” As an agent, she was very proud. It didn’t matter if Cheng Xia was selected this time. With his talent and age, he would definitely have a bright future. Cheng Xia might become the most popular star she ever looked after.

Cheng Xia smiled shyly at the agent’s praise. “Sister Yan, I actually didn’t act perfectly.”

Zhou Yan patted him on the shoulder. “Don’t be modest. You were really great. I will go and see what actors are after you.”

Cheng Xia nodded and pushed open the door, entering alone.

In the lounge, Pei Shaoze was on the sofa. He saw that Cheng Xia’s eyes were red and there seemed to be tears in the corners. Pei Shaoze’s heart immediately softened and he stepped forward. “What’s wrong? You just cried?”

Cheng Xia sniffed. “There was a crying scene. Perhaps I was too involved in the scene just now. I’m still a bit sad. His closest relatives were tortured and killed and he saw the bloody corpses with his own eyes. Xu Ziyang is really miserable.”

Pei Shaoze reached out and gently helped wipe the tears from the corners of this young man’s eyes. Then he gently held Cheng Xia in his arms. “It’s okay. You aren’t Xu Ziyang and your family hasn’t been killed. You’re Cheng Xia now. Don’t think about it.”

Cheng Xia buried his face in Pei Shaoze’s arms. He hugged this person tightly, his body still trembling slightly. It was normal to be unable to calm down immediately after getting too involved in acting. Pei Shaoze patiently comforted the young man in his arms.

The alpha’s slender fingers gently stroked Cheng Xia’s head as if calming a frightened little animal. The gentle movements gradually calmed Cheng Xia’s mood. Cheng Xia noticed that he wet this man’s shirt with his tears and stepped back in embarrassment, leaving the embrace. “I’m sorry, I just lost control of my emotions. I…”

Pei Shaoze’s eyes were gentle. “It’s fine. The old actors also need to adjust for a long time after performing a crying scene. You’re a newcomer and you’ve done a good job.”

Cheng Xia finally regained his smile. “Yes, I won’t think about it.”

Pei Shaoze rubbed his head. “The audition is over. Regardless of the result, you’re the best in my eyes.”

These words allowed Cheng Xia to sweep away the previous haze. His mood became completely joyful. In any case, Brother Pei thought he was very powerful. It didn’t matter if the director didn’t like his performance. At least Brother Pei acknowledged him.

The two of them were watching each other tenderly when there was a knock on the door.

By the time Zhou Yan entered the room, Cheng Xia was sitting on the sofa drinking water while Pei Shaoze stood to the side. Cheng Xia’s red eyes were much better and he was full of smiles. “Sister Yan, what is going on outside? Is the audition over?”

“There are around 10 people left but they are all newcomers who aren’t famous.”

Pei Shaoze told them, “There might not necessarily be a result today. They will go back to discuss it. Let’s first go upstairs to have a meal.”

He took Cheng Xia and Zhou Yan to the fifth floor by elevator and found a private room to sit in. Not long after the meal, his phone suddenly rang. Pei Shaoze answered the phone. “Hello… Director Zhu?” He glanced at Cheng Xia and Zhou Yan and the two people immediately listened carefully.

Pei Shaoze slightly smiled. “How is the performance of our company’s Cheng Xia today? Director Zhu, are you satisfied?”

Zhu Zheng was solemn. “I really didn’t expect a newcomer to be so good. President Pei, Cheng Xia is actually the treasure you hid. Now that Shu Yue has retired, you want him to take the ‘big brother’ position of Tianxuan, right?”

Pei Shaoze answered, “You can think of it that way.” It wasn’t just Tianxuan. One day, his Cheng Xia would become the most popular omega actor.

Director Zhu said, “We have discussed it and decided to let Cheng Xia play Xu Ziyang. In terms of salary, should I talk to his agent or directly with President Pei?”

Pei Shaoze suggested, “If it’s convenient, should we meet tomorrow? Let’s talk in person.”

Cheng Xia and Zhou Yan’s eyes lit up when they heard these words. Once Pei Shaoze hung up, Zhou Yan asked in a trembling voice, “P-President Pei, you mean… our Cheng Xia was chosen?!”

Pei Shaoze nodded. “Yes, Director Zhu personally called me.”

Zhou Yan was dizzy by the sudden surprise like she had drawn a lottery ticket worth a few million.

Cheng Xia clenched his fists happily. In order to play Xu Ziyang, he practiced madly in his apartment and cried for a while. His eyes were a bit swollen this morning and he had to use an ice pack to decrease it. Although it didn’t matter if he wasn’t selected since it was still a good experience. Nevertheless, he had practiced hard for so long. Did he really want to lose the audition?

In addition, Pei Shaoze did a lot for this audition. He took Cheng Xia to the police academy to find the feeling, went to the shooting range to practice with guns, and even arranged training classes for him to learn from the experience of his seniors…

Now he was chosen. He made the best impression on the director in the competitive audition. He lived up to himself and the people who loved him! Cheng Xia’s excitement was beyond words. If it wasn’t for the presence of his agent, he would’ve plunged into Pei Shaoze’s arms to hug the other person fiercely.

After dinner, Pei Shaoze asked the driver to take the two people back. Zhou Yan’s house was relatively close and she got out of the car first. Then Pei Shaoze sent Cheng Xia back to the artist’s apartments.

There were only two people left in the back row and Cheng Xia finally couldn’t help jumping to Pei Shaoze’s arms. Pei Shaoze was actively hugged and touched the head of the young man. He asked, “Why? Do you want to thank me?”

Cheng Xia whispered, “I was chosen this time because you helped me a lot.”

“I should do this.” Pei Shaoze wondered, “In terms of the payment, do you have a psychological price?”

Cheng Xia thought about it. “The pay given for Folding Paper was more than 100,000 yuan. This time, I am playing the second male lead and it should be almost the same.”

Pei Shaoze nodded. “I’ll handle it for you.”

*** 

The next day, Pei Shaoze brought the agent Zhou Yan with him and met Director Zhu’s team at a restaurant. In the process of waiting for the food to be served, Director Zhu simply asked, “President Pei, how do you want to calculate Cheng Xia’s pay?”

The deputy director smiled from next to him. “President Pei, you should know that Shu Yue’s retreat had a great negative impact on us. We had to publicly audition to find roles again and spent a lot of money. Funding is really tight. Cheng Xia is playing the second male lead. Do you think a pay of 250,000 yuan is enough? There are only 12 episodes in total. One episode is 20,000 yuan which isn’t bad for newcomers.”

Zhou Yan didn’t dare express any opinions. She felt that such pay was indeed suitable for a newcomer who hadn’t had any works publicly released.

Pei Shaoze didn’t answer directly and changed the subject. “Shu Yue suddenly announced his retreat from the circle and this caught you off guard. Tianxuan is also responsible since we didn’t coordinate it well. If your crew is tight on funds then I can give some investment.”

Director Zhu and the deputy director exchanged looks with surprise.

Pei Shaoze immediately asked, “Who is the producer of this drama? How much did they invest?”

Director Zhu immediately replied. “Linhua Films invested 10 million yuan. Other small movie and television companies jointly invested another 5 million yuan.”

“In other words, the current funding available for the crew is 15 million?”

The deputy director sighed helplessly. “It isn’t that much. We spent some money on the early publicity. In addition, this public audition cost some money.”

Pei Shaoze nodded. “Then I will invest 10 million yuan in the name of Tianxuan. This should be enough?”

Several people looked like they had been hit by an egg falling from the sky. Their eyes changed when they looked at Pei Shaoze. This boss simply scattered money!

Pei Shaoze said, “I’ll talk to the boss of Linhua Films about the specific details. Once the time comes, they will send a supervisor and I’ll be the producer to co-produce this drama. What do you think?”

If a company didn’t have enough money then it would find other companies to make additional investment. There were many examples of co-productions in the circle. Linhua Films was a small investment company in the industry and it only invested in online dramas. The boss would have no reason to refuse if it could cooperate with a big company like Tianxuan.

Director Zhu’s always excited face became a bit excited. “The drama has 12 episodes. If it’s an investment of 25 million then it’s an average of 2 million per episode!” A production cost of 2 million yuan per episode of criminal investigation dramas would probably be frightening to people in the industry. They didn’t need to spend so much money even if they bought a corpse from a hospital. In addition, they didn’t even invite first-tier actors with high pay!

Pei Shaoze explained, “If the funds are sufficient then you can use it in music and post-production. Suitable music rendering can instantly improve the atmosphere of the entire drama. We can find the most professional music studio to customize the whole process. Later, it can also be used for dubbing and props processing. For example, those corpses in this drama give many clues. We can do this in detail so that the audience can’t help looking at them.”

Zhu Zheng was completely excited and the previous blow of Shu Yue’s retreat had completely disappeared. He even felt that if he made a high-quality drama according to President Pei, his drama might be able to participate in the year-end awards!

The deputy director exclaimed excitedly, “President Pei is right. The more funding, the better. Hahaha!” He laughed so hard that he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. He didn’t expect to get 10 million yuan over a casual meal. President Pei was really someone who scattered money!

Pei Shaoze changed his words. “Now your funds are abundant and the pay for artists can be increased a bit. After all, it’s harder to shoot criminal investigation dramas than ordinary urban or school dramas. Based on what I saw of the script, there are many heavy rain scenes?”

Director Zhu immediately realized. “Of course! Cheng Xia might be the second male lead but his scenes in the drama are very important. The entire drama is launched around the murder of his uncle’s family. Therefore, his pay should be the same as that of the male lead. We  will also raise the pay of the male lead a bit.”

The deputy director quickly calculated it in his heart. “How about 880,000? This number is auspicious!”

Zhou Yan sat next to President Pei, terrified. She didn’t understand the operation of President Pei but the final result was that her Cheng Xia’s pay had increased from 250,000 yuan to 880,000 yuan. This was no longer the treatment of a newcomer.

If Folding Paper aired in the summer and word of mouth exploded, based on the pay of Disappearing Traces then Cheng Xia’s value would double again in the future. The one million yuan club would be right in front of his eyes and he might even enter it!

That night, Cheng Xia saw the first version of the contract and rubbed his eyes hard. 880,000 yuan? So high?! His father had been a movie actor all his life and his highest pay for a movie was only 200,000 yuan.

Cheng Xia was only 19 years old and was just starting out. He couldn’t believe it. Cheng Xia guessed that Pei Shaoze must be behind him. He quickly grabbed his mobile phone to send a message. [What is with the 880,000 pay? I’m still a newcomer. Isn’t this too much? [panic.jpg.]]

Pei Shaoze replied, [Your fame means you can’t get such a high pay but your acting skills deserve it.]

Cheng Xia, “……”

Pei Shaoze, [In addition, Folding Paper will be released before Disappearing Traces and you won’t be a newcomer. I fought for a reasonable pay for you and there is no need to be embarrassed. Come to the company and sign the contract tomorrow.]

Cheng Xia’s heart became much more comfortable hearing this explanation and he smiled. [This is the first time I’ve made so much money. Thank you, Brother Pei!]

Pei Shaoze’s birthday was November 23rd. By that time, Disappearing Traces would be finished and his salary should be paid. For his birthday, Brother Pei had prepared a gift so attentively. He should also prepare a memorable birthday gift with his own money.


Proofreader: Cat

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