Chen Shi asked, "What was the salary like for the actors then?"
"They get paid the same amount as third-line actors and we never owe wages to them. Every three or so months, there’ll be bonuses. We also organize travel trips… Boss Lu’s company isn’t famous but we never owe money!”
Hearing this, Chen Shi was a bit envious. He continued to ask, "Who is Lu Zhendong’s current girlfriend?"
“How long has it been since he last dated?”
The human resources supervisor recalled, "It seems like he just broke up with his last girlfriend in November, so almost three months."
Chen Shi called in a planner. He was more familiar with the actors and was able to name them all. Chen Shi straightforwardly asked, "Who is Lu’s current girlfriend or the person he’s currently pursuing?"
"Is she also a female protagonist?"
"Oh, the film she participated in is still being edited. I feel that this film is very serious. It is a big production... Relative to the previous one."
"Do you have her photo?"
The planner found a photo from the computer and Xu Xiaodong said, "I feel that the people he likes to pursue all look the same. However, this girl is obviously a bit more aesthetic and a bit younger."
The planner said, "In order to chase her, Boss Lu spent a lot of money and once bought 9999 roses for her on set."
Chen Shi asked, "Why didn't this girl accept him?"
"Huh? According to the rumors, she didn’t like men. Maybe that’s just the rhetoric she went with in order to reject Boss Lu though.”
"Right, what is the new film called?"
"Supremely Invincible Braised Pork-belly."
"What is it about?"
"I didn't read the script much. You can ask the screenwriter."
Chen Shi called the master screenwriter in and asked him, "You’re the screenwriter? Is this script written by you?"
The screenwriter replied, "No. In fact, every film is written, produced, and directed by Boss Lu. He’s the real master screenwriter and we just help polish it. I know that it’s bad to talk behind a dead person’s back, but Boss Lu had big aspirations with not much ink in his belly. He often thought of ideas in his head and we’d either discuss it or he’d write it down himself. The first draft was basically the same as dog shit. We always needed to smooth out the kinks to make it a bit better.”
"What does this film talk about?"
"It’s about how Chinese food became humans and then joined hands to defeat foreign fast food. The protagonist is braised pork-belly, the heroine is Yangchun noodles, and the villain is a hamburger."
"It sounds interesting. Give me a copy of the script."
"But… This copyright is still..."
"Don’t worry, we just want to solve the case and can destroy it after reading it. Ah, yes, can you also give us the unedited film?"
The screenwriter went to print a copy of the script and copied the raw film from the editor. Chen Shi flipped through the script's title page and recorded the contact information of everyone.
Feeling like there was nothing left to ask, Chen Shi intended to say goodbye. The person in charge asked, "Can you officers talk to Boss Lu’s father and ask him to let the company continue to operate?”
"Yeah, yeah, you have a big face. Can you talk to him about it?!” Everyone looked at Chen Shi with a look of anticipation.
Chen Shi knew that the truth was cruel, but he still had to tell them. "You also know that the existence of this company is to create fun for Lu Zhendong and can't make any money. Lu Qixing is a businessman, so he won’t let this company continue to exist. It’s better to find another serious job soon.”
"But we are a team. We have experience in film and television production and have accumulated a lot of contacts and resources. How can we give up?" The person in charge couldn’t accept it.
"To be blunt, with regards to movies in this day and age, everyone can shoot them. It’s also a commodity that needs to be sold.”
Originally, these words were meant to be cold water splashing over them. Chen Shi didn’t expect it to inspire them. The planner said, "As long as we sell these films, the company has hope then."
The screenwriter jumped in. "Yes, we can write more about topics that suit the public. We can make it funnier and more harmonious. We can shoot things that are easier and more beautiful.”
"We don’t even need the severance payments. We should use it to shoot a film.”
"What should we film?"
"I think what happened today can be adapted and filmed. We can call it ‘The Boss is Gone.’”
"Haha, interesting. We can try it!"
Everyone discussed and once again found the spark of hope. They intended to save the ship that was sinking without a captain. In the face of this group with blind optimism, Chen Shi could only shake his head and smile bitterly. However, this was their business and it was not his place to interfere.
While the atmosphere in the office soared, a long-haired male editor stood up from his work station and propped his canvas bag on his back. He said coldly, "Accept the reality already. This company is just an ivory tower that was used to please a man child. You’ve been here for a few years but haven’t gained any experience. We’re still trash when we get to the outside world. I won’t play with you all. I want my severance package!”
Someone said, "Zhuo Xuan, how can you say stuff like that? Boss Lu treats you so nicely normally!"
The editor responded coldly, "He is dead and it doesn't make sense to escape from reality. You guys look after yourselves!"
Chen Shi bid his farewell and went outside with Xu Xiaodong to find a movie-player cafe, saying, "Let's appreciate the legacy of Lu Zhendong!"
Xu Xiaodong smiled embarrassedly. "Okay, let’s see his last moments."
Without special effects, dubbing, and with only a rough edit, it was particularly uncomfortable to watch. After watching a third of it, they couldn’t stomach anymore. Chen Shi rubbed his temples and panted, "No, I can’t do it anymore. My head hurts. Found anything?”
"It’s the same kind of acting, but it can be seen that the male lead is interested in the heroine. There were several romance sections where he was very passionately acting.”
"The girl was a bit stiff and seemed to be less willing to cooperate."
"I am going out to take a breather."
"Brother Chen, get me a can of coke."
Chen Shi went outside and heard some people quarreling. One of the two sides was an editor who they had just met in the company. One was the owner of the movie-player cafe. The boss said, "Handsome, the films you want to watch aren’t popular at all. They wouldn’t be available in any movie-player cafes in the city. You should pick a few new releases to watch!”
"I want a refund of my money!"
"The store does not offer refunds. Why don’t you watch Huang Bo's new film?"
"I don't watch that kind of thing. When I came in, you told me you had all sorts of films. Isn’t this a scam? Return my money to me!”
"No, why don’t you go out and see if anyone knows about the films you want to watch, the Mario Danba or whoever?”
"It's Mario Bava!" the editor corrected in anger. "Return the money to me."
The two sides were arguing endlessly when Chen Shi went over and said to the owner, "If you don’t have a movie that the customer wants to watch, then you should return the money. The transaction was unsuccessful, but you still need to be righteous.”
There was no movie that the customer wanted to watch.
The boss pointed to the wall. "It’s clearly written here: No debts, no refunds!"
"As you say, whatever is written on the wall goes? It has no legal effect. If the city bureau came, you’d still have to issue a refund.”
"You’d call the city bureau for fifty yuan? I can’t deal with you guys!” The boss took out the money and returned it to the young man.
Chen Shi patted the editor's shoulder and said, "Are you here to ease your thoughts?"
"My mood is terrible. The company's fucking idiots are still excitedly discussing what movie they’re going to shoot. None of them are facing up to reality.”
"It is good for young people to have dreams, even if their dreams will be shattered."
The editor sneered. "Dreams are a luxury. They don't understand this. Boss Lu could afford it, but we can’t!”
The editor looked as though he wasn’t even thirty years old, but the things he said were very old and wise. Chen Shi had some interest in him and said, "Brother, can I invite you for a drink?"