"Take a seat!"
Sheng Jiaoyang and Xu Ping sat on one side, while Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting sat on the other side.
"Our drama series has passed the screening," Ma Tingting said happily.
"Yes, I know," Sheng Jiaoyang nodded.
Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting exchanged gazes. Ma Tingting then asked tentatively, "Jiaojiao, are you not happy about it?"
"I'm happy, of course."
If you are happy, why are you wearing a long face?
Xu Ping helped to explain, "Something recently happened to a senior in Jiaojiao's family, so she hasn't been in a very good mood."
"Oh," the two exchanged gazes again, not knowing what they should say.
Sheng Jiaoyang tapped her fingers lightly against the tabletop and said, "I asked to meet the two of you to talk about auctioning the broadcast rights for our drama series."
She paused briefly before continuing, "You two know of the original plan. Once we pass the screening, we will auction off the broadcast rights, and then enter the promotion phase. But something happened on my end these few days, and I might get embroiled in a huge public debate soon. This will surely affect the price of our drama series, and it might not even get a bidder. So my current plan is to push back the auction till after I have settled the issues on my side."
"What happened? Is there anything we can help with?" Qin Anliang asked.
"I can settle this on my own, but I do have another matter," Sheng Jiaoyang lifted the teacup up and took a sip of tea.
"What is it?" Ma Tingting asked cautiously.
"Have both of you thought of shooting a movie?"
"What?" Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting were astonished.
Sheng Jiaoyang stared fixedly on the potted flowers and plants on the corner shelf on the wall.
Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting stared at each other in complete confusion. They could only look at Xu Ping, but the latter shrugged her shoulders, an indication that she didn't understand the situation either.
A long moment later, Sheng Jiaoyang came around and smiled at the two apologetically.
"I have a story about the romance between parents that I want to make into a movie," Sheng Jiaoyang said.
"Um…" Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting exchanged looks again.
In their opinion, the romance between parents is mundane and mostly revolved around managing the family's daily necessities. They weren't sure how many people would watch such a movie.
"Why? Is it tough?" Sheng Jiaoyang looked at the two.
"Jiaojiao, to tell you the truth, in such impetuous times, there probably aren’t many people who can silently appreciate the insipid romance between parents. The market nowadays is all targetted on themes like invigorating youth and explosive imagination," Ma Tingting explained.
"Mhmm, I know."
Sheng Jiaoyang replied flatly, "But I don't plan to make money from this movie. I only want to shoot it into a movie in my way."
"Since you've already made up your mind, there's nothing for me to say too. If you trust me, I will shoot it for you," Qin Anliang said.
Ma Tingting took a look at Qin Anliang and said, "I'm willing to help you too."
Sheng Jiaoyang smiled. "I won't shortchange the both of you."
"It's a favour so…"
"They are two different things. Both of you are helping me because we are friends, but I can't let you help me without gaining anything in return. After all, your time is precious too," Sheng Jiaoyang interrupted Qin Anliang.
Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting were pleased to hear Sheng Jiaoyang's words. They were now even more determined to do her this favour.
"If the both of you are free now, please stay a little longer and listen to this story."
"I'm free, I've plenty of time."
Sheng Jiaoyang took a sip of tea and began slowly, "Once upon a time, a handsome young man met a young lady from a wealthy family…"
The young miss had a father who doted on her a lot. The father had even donated to the young lady's school to build a library. Meanwhile, the young man had heard about the young lady from various channels.
One day, the young man had to take a different path from his usual jogging route due to road repair works. As he ran along the path through the woods that morning, he saw a girl sitting on a rock under a tree, with a book in her hands. The next day, he intentionally took the path through the woods again, and he saw the same person, sitting on the same spot again. Then, he ran on the path again on the third day, on the fourth day, and so on and so forth…
Finally, one day, the girl suddenly stood up and walked onto the path. Her book was knocked out of her hands when the young man collided into her. Thus, the two people got to know each other, and the young man finally found out that this girl was the young lady from a wealthy family.
He finally achieved a breakthrough after having a crush on her for so many days. Despite his own status, the young man didn't stop pursuing the young lady. The two got to know each other more and more, and eventually, they ended up together.
The young lady's father naturally didn't agree to their relationship, but the young lady insisted on being with the young man. Through his actions, the young man also gradually changed the stance of the young lady's father, and eventually, the two got married.
After their marriage, they lived a blissful life for some time before the wife discovered that she was pregnant. This was supposed to be a surprise, but the doctor advised her to abort the child and to never get pregnant again, for she had a hereditary heart disease. If she had a child, not only would her child suffer from the same fate of having the heart disease, her pregnancy would also put a huge strain on her heart. She might not be able to carry the child till the full term, and might even put her own life at risk. Even if she could deliver the child safely, her heart would also fail prematurely from overstrain, which meant that she would have a shorter lifespan.
The wife chose to keep the doctor's diagnosis to herself and only told her husband that she was pregnant. The husband, who was being kept in the dark, was ecstatic, while the wife became more and more depressed. She often asked him what he would do if she were to die in the delivery room. In order to reassure her, her husband would always say that he would follow after her.
As she was deeply in love with her husband, the wife made a decision. She planned to take an indifferent attitude towards her husband so that he would slowly distance himself from her. Although the husband felt confused and upset over her increasingly indifferent and aloof attitude, he thought that his wife had prenatal depression, so he kept tolerating her indifference. Even as he was striving hard for his career, and was so tired each day that he would fall asleep the moment he lied on the bed, he still constantly cared for his wife. After their daughter was born, he even doted on their daughter like she was a princess.
As the wife deliberately hid her health condition from him, the husband didn't even know his daughter had heart disease.
Years passed by.
On the little princess' eighth birthday, the wife suddenly became nicer to the husband. They recalled the happy memories from when they were dating. The husband was very excited. He told his wife that he wanted to make it up to her by having an elaborate wedding, but the wife stated a precondition - they could only have their elaborate wedding If they can still celebrate their daughter's birthday together the following year.
The husband didn't notice the underlying message in his wife's words. He was just delighted by his wife's change of attitude. He thought that she finally came out of her postpartum depression, and he was thinking about how to celebrate this the following day. But the next morning, his family had turned upside down - his wife had committed suicide. In actuality, the wife had reached the end of her days, but the husband, who was being kept in the dark, believed that his wife committed suicide when his father-in-law told him so.
The huge psychological difference resulted in the husband hating his wife. He worked all day long to numb himself from the pain. He even avoided his daughter, whom he loved and treasured. Even if he saw her, he would ignore her and appear cold and aloof.
"What happened in the end?" Ma Tingting, who was entranced by the story, asked.
"In the end, he found out about the truth, and then he died from his illness." Sheng Jiaoyang revealed the ending readily.
Erm, this… Qin Anliang and Ma Tingting looked at each other, and they felt a little helpless.
How do you shoot a story like this? The story spanned over a long time period, and it wasn't dramatic enough. If it's filmed into a movie, it could probably only become a personal collection piece.
"That's the background of the story, but I don't want to tell the whole story in a chronological manner. I want to add a little bit of what Tingting termed as 'explosive imagination' by telling the story in flashbacks," Sheng Jiaoyang said.
"Explosive imagination? How?" Ma Tingting asked curiously.
"I want to show the story from their daughter's point of view."
"From their daughter's point of view? But how does the daughter know the details of her parents' love story? Through what? Her mother's or father's diary?"
Sheng Jiaoyang looked at Ma Tingting with admiration. *She is indeed a screenwriter. She could pinpoint the crucial points swiftly.
"Yes, the daughter does have her mother's diary."
Ma Tingting nodded and said, "If that's the case, that will work. There were earlier films that were shot in this manner. Their plots revolved around letting the descendent narrate the story and reminisce the past through a diary." But, there's still no element of explosive imagination, is there?
"My idea is that after the daughter knew of her parents' story, she couldn't agree with her mother's actions. As she was reading through the diary, she transmigrated to the particular timeline of that diary page, and her soul went into her mother's body. This meant that she had temporarily become her mother. Then, she tried to change her parents' endings. Her mother's death was inevitable, but in her eyes, she felt that she would be able to save her father from dying. But in the end, she realised that no matter which point in time she transmigrated to, and no matter what she did, she couldn't prevent her father's death."
The other three people in the room were taken aback after hearing Sheng Jiaoyang's words.
Qin Anliang murmured, "If we are shooting the story in this manner, then the whole story would be digestible."
"Yeah, I can picture it. I want to write a script right away," Ma Tingting said.
Sheng Jiaoyang smiled and said to Ma Tingting, "Tingting, I would have to trouble you to help me write this script."
"Sure, no problem," Ma Tingting agreed readily.
Sheng Jiaoyang picked up the teacup and sipped the tea, her gaze falling aimlessly on the table. Her thoughts were hard to read.
"Jiaojiao, is the background story true?" Ma Tingting asked all of a sudden. Of course, she wouldn't think that this was Jiaojiao's parents' love story, for Jiaojiao didn't suffer from heart disease and her mother was still alive and well - a stark contrast from the characters in the story.
"This is a story of one of my closest friends, and most of it is true." Sheng Jiaoyang had simply erased all the extra insignificant people from the story.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Cosy | Editor: Cookies | TLC: Grace