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Writing their own story

With self-made movie, scriptwriting couple pen a love letter to cinema, Xu Fan reports.

By Xu Fan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-13 14:01

A scene from the movie features the two protagonists, portrayed by comedians Song Muzi (right) and He Wenjun. [Photo provided to China Daily]

With a plot that clearly resonates with young people striving for success in bustling metropolises, but having to grapple with workplace pressures, the film has swiftly garnered a rating of 7.0 out of ten on the popular review site Douban.

Shan recalls that her scriptwriting career began after graduating from Peking University's Department of Chinese Language and Literature in 2013. Some of the scenes in the film are inspired by her own real-life experiences.

Several years ago, Li was enlisted to write for an online drama that was being filmed in Xiangshan county in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang province. It was during this project that he first crossed paths with Shan, who, as a friend of the director, originally hoped to get some directorial experience, but later joined the scriptwriters' team.

The scriptwriting and revising procedure lasted for a year, studded with frustrations, mainly due to investors often changing their minds overnight. But there is a positive outcome — Shan and Li have become accustomed to working together and continued the collaborative habit after returning to Beijing.

A still features a sci-fi scene that portrays the search for a buried script. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"Just like the two protagonists in Galaxy Writer, we called a nearby cafe our 'office' and would arrive there punctually and work there before heading to our 'canteen' — a small restaurant — at noon," says Shan, who was, at the time, working alongside Li as a freelancer.

Having graduated from the Communication University of China, Nanjing, Li began his career as an actor, performing in over 300 comedy shows before transitioning to writing, creating scripts for projects ranging from online shows to TV dramas.

Reflecting his own experiences that inspired scenes in the movie, Li recalls a moment that particularly annoyed him: being forced to endure the disrespectful behavior of a producer who put his feet on the desk during a meeting with them.

"As he continued his endless speech, my thoughts suddenly drifted to a scene of Al Pacino in Scarface. I imagined a person storming into the office, wielding a gun, and starting to shoot everyone," recalls Li, jokingly.

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