Author: 公子于歌 / Gong Zi Yu Ge
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 42: Look, it’s Shen Jintai!
Li Meilan had to admire Monsoon Entertainment. They really knew how to leverage their hype methods. CP fans were the best way to become popular. Now that Shen Jintai’s and Zheng Siqi’s CP had risen, it was time to push the ship along the water and promote it with marketing. It would be mutually beneficial for both parties.
Li Meilan asked Shen Jintai for his opinion. He responded with, “I will cooperate.”
“Some people may say that you’re frying* CP,” Li Meilan warned.
*Buzzword meaning promoting.
Shen Jintai sneered. “I have also seen these comments, so I don’t need to pay attention to these people. They only believe in the white lotuses that can get popular without marketing, hype, or sponsors. Compared to relying on a gold master, I at least relied on myself and did not rub against the heat of others. During the broadcast, my interactions with other actors couldn’t be more normal. I never pretended to be in love with anyone. Besides, I just want to be popular*.”
*Clarity: He’s saying people (haters) will accuse him of “frying (promoting)” CP as a way to get popular. It’s one thing to have fans/randos attach to a CP, it’s another if you actively participate in it, which can be seen as you just hyping yourself and purposefully misleading the public. Shen Jintai is countering this by saying, yes he’s going to promote himself and yes it may be a little bit ambiguous, but he’s never going to cross the line of lying to the public by saying he’s in love with someone. His goal is to be popular, and that requires marketing and promotion.
Li Meilan was glad. She felt that since Shen Jintai’s comeback, everything had gone smoothly. Even Shen Jintai’s degree of cooperation was much higher than before. In the past, Shen Jintai was very willful and would never have considered it, which made it difficult for her as an agent.
Le Meilan: “Then I’ll discuss with his agent and see what to record.”
Sister Wen’s meaning was to shoot a small video for TikTok.
Nowadays, TikTok’s user activity had surpassed Weibo and they have more active users. She had noticed that many celebrities had captured this field. If utilized well, the effect will definitely be better than other forms of media.
While the two of them were filming, Li Meilan and Sister Wen finalized the specific content of the small video together. Both of them unanimously decided that it should be natural and cheerful. They held their phones and watched TikTok for several days and chose the most cheerful song they could find.
When both actors were free, they called them over to discuss.
“Is it filmed here?” Shen Jintai asked.
“It’s best to shoot on set. It makes it feel like it’s a casual shot. If we take it outside, it’ll look too deliberate.” Li Meilan said.
Shen Jintai found that the content of the shooting was also very casual. He thought it would be something like he would look back and smile or look at the camera in slow motion while walking, being su and handsome!
The result was that Sister Wen and Li Meilan only asked them to sit on the chairs in the dressing room, turn their heads to the music, and sing along with a song.
“Laugh, laugh,” Sister Wen said. “You have to look cheerful. We’ll post this video when the sadistic plot is broadcasted.”
Shen Jintai was very laidback in private, so he could act naturally. After shooting a few clips, he became even more energetic as he shook his head in a funny manner. Zheng Siqi’s personality had always been relatively reserved compared to an idol. Due to these differences combined, it created very good chemistry between the two of them. After the filming was done, everyone was satisfied with the outcome.
The clip wasn’t immediately posted. Both Sister Wen and Li Meilan felt that the sugar in the CP in the second week broadcast was sweet enough. The third and fourth episodes showed the process of the crown prince and Li Xu falling in love, which was very heartwarming.
The popularity of this pair of CP continued to rise, causing their super talk to reach first place.
It had been too long since there had been such eye-catching same-sex couples on the screen, especially when they were wearing such aesthetically pleasing ancient costumes. Costume dramas often involve love and hate, which could easily lead to life and death, making the genre extremely topical that could easily cause it to explode. Their staying power was also much stronger than their modern drama counterparts.
Because it was an adaptation of a novel, the direction and ending of the story were set. Crown prince Zhou Ying and Li Xu would have a tragic ending as they are both separated in life and death. This would be the most difficult aspect for the CP fans.
“Although it was because we knew the tragedy that’s yet to come, we could look at their love in this drama so emotionally, it would be better if the crew could change the ending!”
“My tears are worthless. I stayed up late yesterday and finished reading the original work. I just want to say that the crown prince is so miserable. He was supposed to be the proud and handsome son of the emperor, but resulted in this kind of ending. I strongly ask the screenwriters to change the ending!”
“That’s right! Since it’s an adaptation, it’s boring to be exactly the same as the original. What’s the point of being an adaptation then?”
“This drama is still more in line with the original work so far. The book’s fans are satisfied, so the crew doesn’t dare change the plot so easily. It might piss them off. As a big IP of the original work, the book fans still have a lot of influence.”
“I’m a book fan. I want to say that I’m alright with it if they give it a good ending! When I first read this novel, I felt that this couple was the most pitiful!”
A group of people ran to the original author and screenwriter’s, Meng Xiaosheng, Weibo to swipe on the topic. Even the official blog had tons of responses, but they were more neat and organized. All “Jintai Qiongying” fans were begging for the ending to be changed.
The senior management of Sunshine Media felt that while they should adhere to artistry, they should also take into account the needs of the audience. The result could potentially make the drama more popular in later stages, and a phenomenon-level explosion for this drama could happen. <The East Palace is Coming> was so popular right now that it greatly exceeded their expectations. Their ambition now went beyond just making it simply a hit drama.
“If it’s determined that it needs to be changed, then specific amendments will be made this week. I only have one point to insist. That is, there must be tragedy.” Director Guo said.
Meng Xiaosheng nodded and said, “When I was recently writing the next script, I had a little idea in my mind, but it hasn’t taken shape yet, so I’ll think about it for the next few days. However, it’s not because I’m being swayed by the audience. Creators should have their own persistence. Authors who are easily influenced by the audience cannot write good work. I’ll definitely not write about a happy reunion. I just think it can be handled more delicately.”
Since Shen Jintai stayed with the crew. He could only rely on the internet to get an idea of his current popularity. He didn’t feel excited when he saw his Weibo fans skyrocketing every day. To him, it was just a number.
After the initial excitement of the premiere, the crew was more settled down. The environment was relatively lax, so people could easily come and go. Shen Jintai decided to pick up the underwear endorsement. Taking advantage of the fact that he had no scenes this weekend, he planned to fly to City A to shoot ads for it.
“Recently, several entertainment companies have contacted me and want to sign you,” Li Meilan said. “When I sort out their information, I will send it to you. You don’t need to worry. Seeing as how there’s no problem with the popularity of this drama that’ll last for at least a year and a half, the bargaining chips are in our hands.”
“It’s best if it’s a big company,” Shen Jintai said.
Li Meilan nodded. “I have ruled out all small companies for you. At present, the most frequent contact is with Monsoon Entertainment. Especially this time after I became acquainted with Tian Wenwen*, Ji Fengxing has been making appointments through her.”
*Zheng Siqi’s agent’s (Sister Wen) full name.
“What do you think of Monsoon Entertainment?”
“Monsoon Entertainment can be regarded as a relatively large brokerage company. It specializes in talent brokering. It has brought out many big names, though the company gives the impression that they’re only interested in hype. After all, they have their own department just for marketing. In just the past two years, Sunshine Media became involved in film and television, which basically allowed them to bake their cake and eat it too. Monsoon has no resources in that industry and will continue to suffer more. They won’t be able to keep up, and eventually they’ll lose some of their major resources.*”
*Clarity: She’s saying Monsoon Entertainment can only provide stars. They’ll eventually be unable to compete with Sunshine who’s also a talent agency and makes their own films/television shows. This basically allows Sunshine to produce their own stuff that stars their own talent instead of using others (having their cake and eating it too). Monsoon is losing out on this market because they can only provide the talent.
Li Meilan thought Monsoon Entertainment was worth considering. The main reason was that she thought their CEO had a very sincere and enthusiastic attitude. The contract conditions were very attractive, and the degree of freedom offered in it was extremely high, while the commission fees were very low… It was obvious Monsoon wanted to sign a traffic star as a signboard, so they needed a star effect.
Shen Jintai asked, “Are there any others?”
Lei Meilan: “There’s also Universal Entertainment, a veteran entertainment company. Teacher Song Wei belongs to them. However, there are many big-name artists in their company, at least five or six in their first lineup1. Their conditions are also stringent… I will sort it out and send it to you. These companies are all very formal. When they contacted me, in addition to a general contract, they also prepared an artist proposal2.”
1Refers to top artists in the company. Usually, these are the ones the company pours the most resources into.
2Refers to a business plan for the artist. Basically, a path the company sets for them so they can achieve success.
When he was on his way to the airport, Li Meilan had already organized and printed out all the documents and given them to him. Included were also artist proposals for him created by various companies.
Comparing the various offers, Monsoon Entertainment had the most attractive conditions, and their artist proposal was well done. It made people optimistic when they read it, as if they were about to become a superstar the next day. Universal Entertainment had the strictest conditions.
Shen Jintai suddenly had a thought. He raised his head and asked, “Sunshine Media… Did they make any contact?”
Li Meilan surprised and said, “No.” She paused for a bit, then asked, “Why? Do you want to sign with them?”
Without waiting for Shen Jintai’s answer, she continued, “Sunshine Media has indeed developed very rapidly in the past two years, but their core business is still film and television production. Their artist agency isn’t their main focus, so there are relatively few artists under their banner. Bai Qingquan is the most well-known… Has your relationship with President Yan eased recently?”
Shen Jintai said, “Forget. You don’t have to reach out.” He mainly liked Sunshine Media due to their reputation. A brokerage company with its own film and television resources was the most secure for him.
His goal was to not worry about film resources. He wanted to become popular and was willing to cooperate to promote a CP just because he wouldn’t have to worry about film resources one day.
Only people who weren’t popular knew how important it was for an actor. This wasn’t only a question of whether they could play a leading role, but also the lifespan of their career. He wanted to act for a lifetime, even if he could only play small supporting roles when he got older.
However, there was Bai Qingquan and Yan Qiuchi sandwiched between him. If Sunshine Media didn’t take the initiative to contact him, it was still fine. It showed that Yan Qiuchi didn’t want to sign him. He didn’t need to push it. Otherwise, it would be embarrassing.
After arriving at the airport, Shen Jintai was about to get off the car when Xiao Tang stopped him. “Brother, bring a mask.” He said this as he handed Shen Jintai a mask.
Shen Jintai took it and chuckled. “Is it necessary?”
“You are on fire now,” Li Meilan said. “You should put it on. However, this is the first time you have appeared in public since the show was broadcast. If you want to test it, you don’t have to wear it. See if anyone will recognize you.”
Shen Jintai smiled excitedly as he grabbed the mask and got out of the car. He was only going for two days, so he didn’t bring much luggage. Li Meilan had one suitcase, while Xiao Tang only carried a bag.
When he got out of the car, Shen Jintai felt that several passersby were looking at him.
He was a celebrity. Even if he did look plain, within a crowd, he was actually eye-catching, mainly because he was tall, thin, and fair. While not considered handsome among male celebrities, he still stood out from the average crowd.
Shen Jintai thought for a bit and decided to put on his mask and follow Li Meilan and Xiao Tang into the airport. He wanted to be recognized, but he was also afraid of being recognized. When he entered the airport, he heard a familiar song. It was the theme song of <The East Palace is Coming>. The sentence “History does not leave my name. Still I remain in your memory” was really thrilling.
This drama series was really on fire.
He turned his head and glanced to the side and saw a stylishly dressed girl looking at <The East Palace> on her phone.
Xiao Tang and Shen Jintai exchanged glances at each other.
The mask concealed most of his face, revealing only his glowing eyes and radiant eyebrows. Even with this, he still looked handsome. Xiao Tang felt that only by looking at his eyes could he tell that Shen Jintai was a big star.
As soon as they arrived at the terminal, Shen Jintai saw a group of people, mainly young girls, holding signs in their hands as if they were waiting for someone. There were a lot of people crowded around him, but it had nothing to do with him. It wasn’t the first time he had seen this kind of scene. In the past, at the Capital’s airport, he often encountered fans who would pick him up and drop him off.
Shen Jintai smiled and looked at Li Meilan. “They’re not waiting for me, right? Will they even recognize me when I’m wearing a mask? Ahahahaha.”
As soon as he stopped speaking, someone shouted, “Shen Jintai!”
Then there was a scream, and a group of people all ran towards him. The instant sensation stunned passersby, and even more stunned Shen Jintai. Li Meilan and Xiao Tang hadn’t experienced this kind of situation for over two years, so they were quite shocked.
“Why are there so many people?” Xiao Tang said nervously as he hurried to Shen Jintai. He knew that there would be fans coming to drop off Shen Jintai today. The management of the “Gold Powder Family” group mentioned it to him. He just didn’t expect that there would be so many. It wasn’t just dozens of them, it was hundreds!
The crowd suddenly boiled over, and Shen Jintai’s mind went blank for a moment. He only heard deafening screams, all calling his name. In the crowd, he saw the support sign with his name on it, and someone was shouting, “Don’t be loud! Don’t be loud!”
Xiao Tang immediately recognized it. It was one of their old fans.
Everyone was so excited. They raised their phones and snapped him wildly. Some little girls were even crying with excitement. They couldn’t squeeze in. They held flowers and shouted wildly. “Brother, look here, brother, I have a gift for you!”
Shen Jintai towered over all the group of girls. His heartbeat was deafening and he was a little frightened by the scene. Blood boiled over his body as he waved his hand mechanically. This was the first time he felt that he had become popular.
He wanted to cry and didn’t know whether it was because he was too excited or too moved. He took off his mask, bowed, and waved at his fans.
As soon as the mask was taken off, everyone became even more hysterical. The crowd surrounded him, and as they came forward, Li Meilan and Xiao Tang nervously surrounded him to block them off. Some fans tried to give him gifts. Shen Jintai bowed and took them. There were so many that after a while he couldn’t hold them. When passersby heard his name, they gathered around the crowd, causing it to steadily increase. Fortunately, airport security came and helped maintain order. They grabbed Shen Jintai and led him away as the scene unfolded into chaos.
Shen Jintai’s drop-off video quickly spread all over the Internet. Due to the heat of <The East Palace>, the video went viral.
“Hahahaha, I laughed to death. Have you seen Shen Jintai’s drop-off video? Gallop mode*!”
*(飞奔) Refer’s to running quickly/speeding away.
“I have to say that Shen Jintai really became popular. He probably didn’t expect there would be so many people. He was obviously frightened.”
“Did he underestimate his popularity? He didn’t even bring a few bodyguards.”
“It looks a bit scary. I am optimistic that the shoes of a few little girls have fallen off*.”
*Reference to Cinderella. || In this context, he is basically referring to how they were so excited about seeing Shen Jintai and chasing him that they probably lost a shoe.
“He was born with a good figure and can fight. Don’t you think he’s getting better and better?!”
“Yeah, yeah, I think so too! He looks good with a smile! The scared look is also cute!”
“I remember that before he retired from the circle, he liked to pretend to be cool with a serious face every time he’s picked up and dropped off at the airport. Now he’s too friendly!”
“It’s the Li Xu’s filter. I think it’s so pleasing to the eye when I look at him now!”
“It’s like that with me. Because I feel sorry for the little cutie Li Xu, I have lost my normal standard of examining Touhua!”
“Hahaha, I think you have forgotten the picture of the head flower, ghost and beast!”
“The picture upstairs is so eye-catching, but I don’t care. I only have Xiao Li Xu in my eyes!”
Then a series of beautiful pictures of Li Xu crying, smiling, getting his clothes torn off, and running were posted. Finally, someone posted a GIF of the scene at the airport. It was the moment Shen Jintai took off his mask.
It showed fair and slender fingers picking up the mask strap. As the mask peeled away, it revealed a bright smile with rosy lips and perfect white teeth. His eyes were bright like stars.
“Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!”
“Obviously not so exquisite, but why does it look so su!”
Before Shen Jintai got on the plane, he made a Weibo post. He was still high off of adrenaline and couldn’t calm down. He kept typing and deleting his message and finally just wrote: [Thank you.]
A few seconds after the post went online, floods of comments poured in, causing the Weibo app to crash. Shen Jintai stared blankly at his phone.
After boarding the plane, he sat on the plane, leaning against the window, and watched the plane gradually rise, showing him the unobstructed view of Nancheng. He saw the high-rise buildings, rivers, and lakes, and the higher he rose, the more scenery he saw. He wanted to go to the highest point. His dream suddenly had a glimpse of reality. The more he thought about it, the more excited he became, so excited that his legs shook uncontrollably.
Li Meilan felt that Shen Jintai’s expression was a bit abnormal. It seemed that after two years of silence, after his life had fallen apart and he had hit rock bottom, he suddenly became popular again. These drastic changes must’ve made him feel uncomfortable. She felt there was a certain kind of paranoia in Shen Jintai’s fiery look, charming, determined, and dangerous.
The lovesick brain had become filled with career and ambition.
After they landed in City A, Li Meilan said, “There should be fans who came to pick you up here, right?”
Hearing this, Xiao Tang immediately rushed to the front, blocking Shen Jintai. Sure enough, as she expected, when she came out, she met a lot of fans who came to pick Shen Jintai up.
With psychological preparation this time, the three of them had calmed down a lot. City A wasn’t like the metropolis of Nancheng. There weren’t so many fans who came, but they were equally enthusiastic and crazy. Shen Jintai’s this time remained calm.
The hotel arranged for him by the brand was very good. Li Meilan said, “You have the night off. Someone from their company will pick you up early tomorrow morning for the advertising shoot.”
Shen Jintai nodded, and after sending Li Meilan and Xiao Tang out, he pursed his lips and rubbed his sore neck. Finally, there was no one around and he could let himself go! He was about to die of excitement! Forgive him for not having seen the world. It was the first time he had been surrounded and chased by so many people. The feeling of being famous was absolutely thrilling!
Shen Jintai couldn’t help but run a few laps around the living room. He then took out his phone and played a song on it. He staggered around, singing cheerfully:
[When the birds fly, and the grass grows,
the one you love is on his way.
I know that he has both highs and lows,
on his journey night and day.]
He was going to be an amazing actor and a dazzling star!
The author has something to say:
The song Shen Jintai is listening to is: <The Beauty of the world is Linked to You>.
Director Guo why are you so abusive?! I want a HE! HE! HE!!!
Is it me or does it feel like the author didn’t put enough dog blood, drama, and angst into the main story, so she crammed it all into this fucking sadistic TV series.
Once again, I’ve taken a little bit of liberties with the song lyrics to make them rhyme. The original lyrics are: 此时已莺飞草长，爱的人正在路上。我知他风雨兼程，途径日暮不赏.