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  • http://english.dbw.cn   2014-12-11 09:27:58

    Producer Ke Liming reveals formula for box office success, happiness 

      Photo: Ke Liming

    The cards were stacked against domestic film Old Boys: The Way of the Dragonfrom the beginning. It did not have a star-studded cast or a famous director. It was also released in the wake of Hollywood blockbuster Transformers 4 Age of Extinction.

    But the film proved following a box office hit is not the kiss of death. The film, inspired by the Chopstick Brother's web series, was well received, especially among its target demographic of younger audiences.

    Old Boysowes much of its success to the vision of 28-year-old Ke Liming, producer and head of RuYi XinXin Films Investment Company, whose recent foray into the entertainment industry has since attracted widespread media attention.

    His own inspirational story has since been dramatized setting an example for young, aspiring professionals.

    Lights, camera, data

    A native of Huanggang, Hubei Province, Ke received a master's degree in risk management in Australia before working as a data analyst at a Hong Kong asset management firm.

    "Everything looked perfect," said Ke. "But I suddenly found that there were thousands of people in finance, and one more analyst wouldn't change the world. Even if I become an excellent fund manager in the future, so what? As a child, I liked to dream and hoped every day would be wonderful. I want to give myself more freedom and happiness."

    After four years, he jumped into the realm of film and television. However, his decision was a calculated one that drew from experience in his old trade.

    "At the investment bank, I developed a habit of caution. I researched and found that the yearly percentage of successful films was very low, but with TV it was high."

    He started with TV series, such as Ex-wife's Station, Li Chuntian's Spring, Woman in a Family of Swordsman, before moving on to film, all of which turned a profit.

    But Ke's first taste of major success arrived with the film So Young, which raked in 720 million yuan ($116 million) at the domestic box office.

    Ke has a unique sense for China's youth market, which doesn't include a blind faith in A-list celebrities for draw at the box office.

    In five short years, Ke has shown that attention to detail and strategy based in market research spells success in the entertainment industry. On average, Ke produces 30 pages of market analysis for a single film project.

    Culture shock

    Ke loses a little of himself in every project - and it shows.

    "Every year I lose around two to three kilos, I was 78 kilos at the beginning of my job. Now, I am just 67," said Ke.

    Ke said that the jump to the film industry provided him a set of new challenges he didn't encounter during his finance career.

    "I have more trouble now," admitted Ke. "In this industry, rights and wrongs between people and human resource issues give me so much agony. Previously, I would just complete my paperwork and analyses, but now I have to communicate with different people.

    "Fame and gain are intertwined with every project and you may run in different directions at any time," he added.

    However, Ke said it was adjusting to the different work cultures he found the most difficult.

    "Today, someone is your friend and tomorrow that friendship may be destroyed," said Ke. "Sometimes you have to rely on your emotions. When working with emotions, you need to have humanistic spirit - so succeeding in film and TV is more difficult than I could ever imagine."

    When he needs to take the pressure off, Ke does it the "old-fashioned way."

    "Most of the time, my lifestyle is similar to an old man's. I often walk in the park. I really like the relaxed lifestyle of old people, and sometimes I go to bed early and get up early."

    Ke explained the key to being a successful entrepreneur is knowing what is most important.

    "I am just a regular person and I really hope to live a normal life. Life is short, so if I can devote myself to a job I like, I feel lucky and happy."

    Quick Q&A with Ke Liming

    Global Times:What advice do you have for young people starting out?

    Ke:It is not fashionable to start a business. If you don't have strong willpower and downright determination, and haven't really taken a sober look at yourself, you really don't want to be successful.

    Global Times:Why did you choose to study finance while abroad? Was it hard to make the adjustment to film and television?

    Ke:Actually, I was very confused. I just thought I could make a lot of money in finance and it would give me a fat return. After that, I went into investment banking. I did well and passed the analyst exam, but I always found that it was not really me. Slowly, I became unmotivated. There was a period where I was really down. I drank too much. I felt depressed and didn't know what to do with my life. I thought of how I studied hard and listened to my parents and teachers without listening to my own heart. I thought that if I waited any longer, it would be too late. At that time, I had some money and thought I should do something I really wanted to do, so I changed careers.

    Global Times:Did you think about what would happen if you failed?

    Ke:I really don't think about it as success and failure. So many young people in our country pursue material things blindly. A classmate of mine manages a farm in Australia, and he likes horses. Like me, he studied finance and then found he didn't like it. He then decided he would follow in his family's footsteps and run a farm - a big farm with mountains and rivers. I think he is so satisfied with his life. Wealth does not actually determine happiness. It is better to do what you are good at. Then, you can feel honor and happiness. None of this can be measured in wealth.

    Global Times:Did you feel that way after getting into film and TV?

    Ke:Not sure yet. I don't know how long I will keep on this path, but I know I will do well as long as I keep at it. I feel very tired - commutes, phone calls, rights and wrongs, criticism from others about a project. Previously, I was well-liked. But now, there's a lot of criticism and gossip floating around about me. During my projects, some expressed disappointment in me, some couldn't keep going and some just were in it for the money. The idealist in me was always frustrated. Sometimes, working on films is just a way of letting go for me. When I shot Old Boysand So Young, I wanted to give comfort to those who came to see them. If films contain that kind of feeling about life, and give people positive energy, that is really very exciting.

    Author:    Source: english.people.cn     Editor: Yang Fan

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