If you are ready to jump on the Hollywood bandwagon and get your piece of the action in China – you’ll need a Chinese partner.
Assume you have a project you feel will appeal to the Chinese market. Where do you go from here? You need to align yourself with a Chinese partner. But where do you find them? Film markets are great for networking but before you buy that market badge – start doing your homework.
Begin with the trades. Read box-office reports on what Chinese films have done well and who is distributing them. In the East West Bank article “How to Tap Into China’s Blockbuster Film Industry” Bennett Pozil, executive vice president and head of corporate banking at East West Bank said, “You look at those names, that’s who you want to do business with.”
Entgroup is a company that provides box-office data as well as consulting services. On this website, you can not only find box office numbers but also information on films in production.
Say you shortlist several potential candidates. Besides your awesome project – what’s in it for your Chinese partner? Many Chinese producers are content catering to just a domestic audience. It’s a lot more work to try to produce a project that appeals to both Hollywood and China.
What’s in it for them?
Additionally, this East West Bank article also reported that “The quick ramp-up of film production means there is a shortage of technical expertise and a demand for foreign crews to work on Chinese films. Many Chinese producers are bringing in foreign Directors of Photography, assistant directors, production designers, editors, action choreographers and composers to help them make better movies.”
Your Unique Selling Proposition
In my previous post “3 Ways for Hollywood and China to Combine Their Strengths“. I mentioned Hollywood’s huge advantage over China was its globally appealing story structure.
In the previous East West Bank article mentioned above, Ellen Eliasoph, President and CEO of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group Asia, said “That’s really where the sweet spot is. We can’t tell them what their story is and… what the dialogue [is], [but] we can talk to them about the structure, how it’s going to be written, do you want to set it up as a franchise, how can you set it up for sequels?”
But before you buy your plane ticket, read my previous post “The Secret Formula to a Successful Co-Pro”
Now you know where to begin your search for a Chinese partner. Perhaps I should start a meetup group for American producers looking for Chinese partners and vice-versa. Are you interested? If so – leave a comment.