The atmosphere instantly turned awkward.
Tao Mu turned to look at Li Xiaoheng. Li Xiaoheng was looking at him with an expression that spoke “I’m not jealous, I’m not jealous, I’m just asking casually”. The crystal chandelier exuded warm yellow light from overhead, reflecting a stream of light on Li Xiaoheng’s gold-rimmed glasses. Even so, why was Tao Mu still able to see that Li Xiaoheng’s eyes behind the lenses exuded a “melancholic” glow?
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Why use the word “melancholic”?
Tao Mu blinked and decided that it was because Li Xiaoheng’s gaze was too penetrating! It was already able to pass through the lens directly to the depths of his cerebral cortex.
Tao Mu swallowed his saliva, his mind running fast, and he answered cautiously: “I think, on the question of the female red carpet companion…..I can actually walk the red carpet with the director and the rest of the production team.”
In a flash, Tao Mu felt that his answer was just absolutely perfect. He was almost brought to tears by his own cleverness.
However, Mr. Li was not satisfied!
But Mr. Li won’t say so!
CEO Li just continued to look at Tao Mu with a melancholic expression, and suggested with a smile: “Our Li family will order customized suits and evening dresses from our exclusive clothing designer every season. If you haven’t decided what to wear on the red carpet, how about I recommend the Li family’s clothing designer to you?”
Tao Mu actually didn’t want to go through this much trouble. In fact, since the news that he was nominated for the Lingxiao Award for Best Newcomer spread, many international luxury menswear brands came knocking at his door of their own accord and wanted to sponsor Tao Mu’s red carpet look. It had to be said that the popularity of “Fashion Storm” breaking the ratings record one after another had also allowed the domestic fashion industry to recognize Tao Mu’s fashion talent. Therefore, this time, the major brands competing for Tao Mu’s red carpet look also wanted to expand the publicity of their own brand through Tao Mu himself.
So Tao Mu’s original plan was to choose an outfit from these brands’ catwalk styles, and just wear it on the red carpet and that was it.
But their boss Li didn’t seem to think so.
Seeing Li Xiaoheng’s overly calm expression, Tao Mu swallowed his refusal because of his strong desire to survive. After pondering for a moment, Tao Mu attempted to ask: “The Lingxiao Award ceremony is less than a month away. Wouldn’t it be too tight on schedule to order a suit in such a short period of time?”
“Not at all.” Li Xiaoheng answered immediately, correcting Tao Mu’s statement: “There is still nearly a month. The red carpet outfits of male stars are different from those of female stars. Even if they are carefully customized, they will not be as complex as the female stars’ evening dresses. So we have plenty of time to communicate with the designer. You can rest assured that although this designer is not an internationally renowned fashion designer, his craftsmanship is actually no worse than those international masters. And this designer is an old and well-known name from Shanghai, and is known to focus on the body and physique of Asians in the process of tailoring. So the suits he makes will be more fitting for Asians.”
Tao Mu looked at Li Xiaoheng eagerly pushing his sales pitch, and couldn’t help but chuckle: “If that’s the case, then I will have to trouble you.”
“It’s not troublesome at all.” Li Xiaoheng pondered for a moment, and continued to probe tactfully: “Customized suits need to be measured. Should I ask the designer to wait for us at the Li family home, or have someone come to you directly?”
Before Tao Mu could speak, Li Xiaoheng said casually, “New Year’s Day is still two months away, and it just so happens that my parents also wanted to order two sets of evening outfits to attend various charity galas and the company’s annual meeting. If you don’t mind, you can come directly to our house and get measured together.”
The refusal already on the tip of Tao Mu tongue was subconsciously swallowed back. He looked at Li Xiaoheng helplessly, whose finely sculpted face was full of smiles. However, in Tao Mu’s eyes, there was a kind of clear hint that he was only pretending to be calm.
Tao Mu hesitated for a moment, then sighed softly, “If uncle and auntie don’t mind, then I’ll be bothering you.”
“Of course they don’t mind!” Li Xiaoheng was so excited, his voice involuntarily became louder by two decibels. The face that was struggling to maintain a pretense of calmness also became bright with joy: “To be honest, our family has been waiting for this day for a long time.”
Before Tao Mu could respond, Li Xiaoheng asked eagerly, “Then when will you be free, so I can ask the designer to come over?”
Tao Mu thought for a while and said, “Then let’s go for this weekend.”
Tao Mu had to go to school on weekdays. He just took over the conscription promotion drama co-produced with the military. Because he offered to go to the army to experience life, he had to find a way to ask the school for leave so that he could make sure he could stay in the army and experience life with peace of mind. Such an approach actually violated Tao Mu’s original intention of wanting to attend school obediently. However, the original plans could not keep up with the changes, and Tao Mu did not expect that he would be fortunate enough to cooperate with the military to shoot a mainstream conscription promotion drama. Moreover, he could also serve as the hero of this mainstream military drama.
If this drama was performed well, Tao Mu would not only be able to stand out from other actors of the same age. He could also make connections with the military, and even enter the sight of some big directors. The most important thing was that the film and television company Tao Mu had just established could also gain a firm foothold in the circle because of this drama and squeeze in among the A-list production teams.
Opportunities like this were hard to come by. Tao Mu, who had always been clear about hispriorities, would of course not let his original thoughts limit his current opportunities. In fact, the reason why Tao Mu had made up his mind to stay in school was to compete for the big movie jointly produced by Beijing Film and the military a year later. In order to increase his bargaining chip, Tao Mu even forced himself to restrain his true feelings and suffered the disdain and coldness from others. Even though he knew that Cheng Baodong didn’t like him, he still approached him on the set just to become more familiar with him.
But now, with Tao Mu’s net worth rising, and the two TV dramas produced by Tao Mu have both broken the ratings records of its genre at the same time, causing heated discussions at a phenomenal level. Tao Mu’s voice in the entertainment industry was also holding more and more weight. Today, Tao Mu was no longer satisfied with the conventional route of being an obedient student and waiting for opportunities with peace of mind.
Tao Mu even very ambitiously felt that if the conscription promotion drama he cooperated with the military could be a great success, then in a year’s time, he might be able to use this qualification to compete for the producer spot of that big movie. Tao Mu believed that with the two shining examples “The Great Wall of Flesh and Blood” and the conscription promotion drama, plus the powerful publicity tool that was FlyNews.com, as well as the solid capital of tens of billions of net worth, who was to say that he might not be able to win against Cheng Baodong.
Of course it was useless to think too much now. The most urgent task at the moment was to film this conscription promotion drama in a down-to-earth manner, otherwise there was no need to speak of anything else.
When it came to his career planning, Tao Mu had always been serious and meticulous, with careful and detailed plans, and also possessing an attitude of one bravely forging ahead. When he went to ask for leave, he even prepared for the possible scenario that if the school did not agree or the attitude was reluctant, he could take the initiative to repeat a year of study. Anyway, the reason Tao Mu was studying in Beijing Film, in addition to wanting to make contacts in the circle, was mainly to hone his acting skills. It was not like he was in a hurry to graduate and find a job.
So Tao Mu was not in a hurry to graduate at all, it made no difference to him whether he studied for four years or five years. All he needed was the whole process of systematic learning. He needed to make up for his shortcomings in all aspects, so that the foundation of his acting skills could be more steady, until it was perfect.
Tao Mu’s thinking was very thorough. Taking into account not only his actual needs, but also the rigor and dignity of the school rules. He didn’t want to leave a bad impression on the school that he “started to get a big head after becoming a little popular”. He didn’t want other students to have the idea of ”since Tao Mu can ask for leave to film, why can’t I”. He didn’t want to make it difficult for the school atvall. Therefore, he took the initiative to propose the suggestion to repeat a year of study. It was also a good way to let the freshmen and sophomore students think carefully when they ask for leave to film. Are you really going to take the risk of pausing your studies and repeating a year to take time off to film? And are the works they would rather ask for leave to film really worth such a sacrifice?
“Beijing Film does have a rule that freshmen and sophomores are not allowed to take time off for filming. However, in the past two years, because the school next door has very loose management of students, many talented child stars have applied for Yan Film under the persuasion of their talent agencies. Many Yan Film students who have just entered the school would also become famous for filming some idol dramas. This has caused students in our school to generally develop a state of impetuous anxiety. After all, the careers of actors, especially actresses, are very short. Many girls are worried that if they only started acting at the age of 20, they will have no competitive advantage at all compared to those artists who started working on the set at the age of 17 or 18, and already acted as heroines at the age of 20. Besides, the profession of an actor still pays great attention to actual practice. No matter how good your grades are in school or your performance on stage, if you lack camera experience, it won’t work.”
Therefore, out of this anxiety, Beijing Film students began to try to take leave to take part in films and dramas when they were sophomores. After all, towards the good students Beijing Film had worked so hard to cultivate, they also didn’t want these students to end up flopping in the entertainment industry because they have a lack of filming experience or opportunities, and even have to be forced by the pressure of making a livelihood, and finally regretfully withdrawing from the circle.
However, Beijing Film’s teaching philosophy was to pay more attention to students’ acting skills after all. And those students who have just entered school for a year or two and have not finished learning the basics, once they go out to film, one could imagine what their acting skills would be like. Therefore, in the past two years, there have been often embarrassing remarks in the industry that “the performance of Beijing Film students in front of the camera is not even as good as that of Yan Film students”.
Acting was actually also a skill. Like all arts, except for a small group of geniuses, those who were commonly known as “naturally talented/blessed by God”, the rest of the people needed the accumulation of time and practice. There was no way to widen the gap in the quality of teaching without a lot of practice making perfect.
In the past, people in the industry often said that “Beijing Film produces actors, Yan Film produces stars”. Although there had been such a statement in the past two years, relatively speaking, the gap in the acting skills of the students from the two art schools had gradually narrowed.
Fortunately, this embarrassing situation improved after Tao Mu entered school. Tao Mu spent his own money for the filming of “The Great Wall of Flesh and Blood” and “Fashion Storm”, and during the filming period, he kept pulling the students of Beijing Film to play supporting roles. On the one hand, it allowed the students of Beijing Film to be familiar with being in front of the camera and the atmosphere of the film set, as well as become familiar faces in front of the public. On the other hand, it once again reflected the strong potential and strength of Beijing Film students. After all, in the eyes of someone who possessed a cheat sheet like Tao Mu, he was quite clear on which actor and star in the entertainment industry would succeed in the next ten years. So when choosing actors, Tao Mu also subconsciously chose familiar faces. And these people could stand out from countless actors and entertainers. Whether it was acting skills or audience relationship, it was all remarkable.
But the most important thing was that with Tao Mu as backing, Beijing Film’s students seemed to have also found support. Now when studying in school they were no longer so restless and impatient, but could focus on learning acting skills with peace of mind. Because they all knew that so long as their acting skills passed the test, they would definitely have the opportunity to act. Even if outsiders didn’t give them a chance, Tao Mu would still give it to them.
Beijing Film saw these changes in their eyes, and they all agreed with Tao Mu’s approach in private. So this time when Tao Mu came to ask for leave for the filming. Although it violated the rules of the Beijing Film Academy, Beijing Film also knew that Tao Mu was going to cooperate with the military to shoot a conscription promotion drama.
With such an important political task landing on their laps, even the Beijing Film Academy felt that it was necessary to treat this with more caution, let alone Tao Mu. They didn’t want Tao Mu to be criticized for his lacking performance due to not being able to focus on filming on account of his studies after the TV series aired. And the Beijing Film Academy also had another consideration——
“You are cooperating with the military to make a military drama this time. How are you going to choose the actors?”
Tao Mu said directly: “I’m still going to use the auditioning process. Because I’m cooperating with the military, I also plan to select a group of actors in the art troupe. But no matter who is going to play what role, all actors will definitely go through the auditioning process. Afterwards, everyone must also enter the army together for three months. Including the screenwriter team, they must also enter the army for on-the-spot observation.”
Tao Mu’s character had always been that he either did not do it, or else he did the best he could. Anyway, he was not short of money, and the actors to be selected were not big celebrities, so there was no need to consider the issue of schedule coordination. All were thrown into the army for collective training. Those who could withstand it to the end would receive a role, and those who couldn’t could just directly piss off.
Moreover, Tao Mu had already bought the copyright of several other military novels. Therefore, in the next few years, film and television companies would definitely continue to make military dramas one after another. So these actors were not suffering military training in vain. If they don’t need to consider changing their image, these military dramas alone were enough for them to shoot for two to three years.
Tao Mu did this mainly because of the other Beijing Film students who signed to his company. These folks had already signed with him, so it was impossible for Tao Mu to just have everyone stay in the company without filming. Therefore, after buying the copyrights of those military novels, Tao Mu did not let the purchasing department become idle, and continued to contact those websites, one after another, buying all the copyrights of the famous online novels in Tao Mu’s memory.
However, all of this was still proceeding secretly, belonging to company secrets, and Tao Mu did not elaborate with the teachers.
Even so, the parts that could be said were enough for the several teachers to ponder carefully.
Therefore, after approving Tao Mu’s leave, the several teachers also expressed their attitudes to allow students sophomore year and above to suspend classes and filming during class. But considering the professional courses, students who want to take leave must pass the assessment after completing the credits after coming back from leave. But if they failed the examinations, the graduation certificate would not be issued.
Compared with the loose management of students by Yan Film next door, Beijing Film’s regulations were still very strict. But even so, it still aroused unanimous cheers from the students of Beijing Film. After these students cheered, their first reaction was to go to the teacher’s office of the Acting Department to ask for leave. As for the reasons for the leave, they all wanted to audition for the TV drama that Tao Mu was going to co-produce with the military, and then go to the army with Tao Mu to experience life.
It had to be said that Tao Mu being able to successively shoot classic works such as “The Great Wall of Flesh and Blood” and “Fashion Storm”, which have a double harvest of critical acclaim and ratings, which not only made Beijing Film students taste the sweetness, but also invariably raised the standard of films they chose to participate in. They all wanted to keep acting in classic works. Moreover, they all felt subconsciously that if they took time off to film a TV series invested by Tao Mu, it would be easier for the teachers to approve their leave. There were also some students who signed the brokerage contract with Tao Mu’s film and television company. If your own film and television company wanted to shoot a TV series yet you don’t rush to take the opportunity to audition, do you intend to go outside to find food for yourself instead? They were not that stupid!
Leave slips flew towards the office of the Beijing Film Acting Department like snowflakes. Not only the sophomores, but also the juniors and seniors, as well as many graduate students from Beijing Film who have heard the news and rushed back to prepare for the audition for the TV drama. Even Yan Film next door and the Shanghai Theater Academy thousands of miles away heard the news and began to inquire about the specific time of the audition. And even secretly inquired about Tao Mu’s preferences and the roles’ information——
The competition was fierce, so they must be fully prepared.
Towards the reaction of the outside world, Tao Mu was still unaware. On Saturday afternoon, Tao Mu was invited to the Li family home to get his measurements done.
This was also Tao Mu’s first visit to the Li family home. So before the visit, Tao Mu specially bought a lot of gifts, ready to give to father Li, mother Li and the younger Li brothers and sister. Tao Mu felt that he was quite thorough, but only when he arrived at the Li family home did he realize that the gifts he bought were nothing but a drop in the bucket!
Looking at the lively scene in the Li family manor——enough people to hold a big family party. Tao Mu looked at a certain someone beside him with a blank expression: “Didn’t you say…..that this was just a small family gathering to do our measurements?”
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“…..” Li Xiaoheng looked at Tao Mu with inexplicable grievances. He also didn’t expect so many people to come to the family home. Clearly, when he set off to pick up Tao Mu, there were only his parents and younger siblings at home!
It really was not his fault this time!
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