The story appears on

Page B2

November 7, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

The script's the thing to save TV

A good story is always the foundation of good TV drama and film but China's lack of good scriptwriters is one of the biggest challenges facing the TV industry.

Wang Liping, a top local scriptwriter in her 40s, recently proved the power of a good script for a TV drama. Her light-hearted family drama "A Beautiful Daughter-in-law Era," which is based on her latest effort, has been a smashing success, with an average 10 percent viewership rate. It recently won Best Foreign TV Series at the 2010 Tokyo TV Festival, a singular honor for a local TV production.

It focuses on the always-fascinating mother/daughter-in-law relationship and is expected to become one of this year's most popular TV series.

Wang used to be a journalist, radio host and guest speaker for "emotion programs." After storing up a lot of first-hand life experience with ordinary people, Wang took up script writing. Around 10 years ago she rose to fame with her scripts for popular TV family drama series, such as "Life as a Song" and "Love Is Blue." Audiences respond to her realistic and thought-provoking depictions of mother's love, teens' psychological turmoil and extramarital affairs.

Wang didn't expect her latest comedy drama on wives and mothers in law to be so popular in Asia. During an interview with Shanghai Daily, Wang shares her secrets of success, inspiration for creation and her expectations about the industry.

Q: What made the "A Beautiful Daughter-in-law Era" a winner and why was it so well received in Japan?

A: I think its popularity in Asia demonstrates that we Asian people share similar ethics and family values. Every Asian family needs a good daughter-in-law. It is not always a war between mother-in-law and wife. The mother/daughter-in-law relationship should not be that hard to deal with. In this drama I give a new interpretation of this relationship. There are many sweet and heartwarming moments in addition to thorny issues and tensions. I think most people are touched by the strong family bonds and love in this TV series.

Q: Compared with your former script writing experience, is it easier for you to create comedy-drama?

A: It is very easy for me to create a tragic story, but comedy is a difficult art. Every year China produces about 600-700 TV dramas, many of them based on tragic plays and filled with unreasonable conflicts of dramaturgy. However, comedy must contain a well laid-out plot as a basis for the humor. There must be a reason for all the laughable characters and the incidents that make up the plot.

Q: You rarely write scripts for costume dramas. Why have you devoted yourself for so long to the creation of real-life dramas?

A: In fact, real-life dramas can have a closer and better interaction with the audience. Real-life dramas can have a huge impact on how people deal with life issues. I think it's my responsibility to create more positive and heartwarming manuscripts that give people humor, happiness and hope.

Q: What are the main difficulties in writing realistic screenplays? How do you write a script?

A: A good scriptwriter should always be humble and sensitive to life. Before I start writing, I spend weeks to prepare. I have to get to know all about the characters through interviews. The scenes of the play can be exaggerated but must be true to life, and the dialogue should be unsophisticated and easy to understand. As a scriptwriter, you must like the story you have written, and first it must move and convince you.

Q: There are few good scriptwriters in China today. What's your advice to newcomers?

A: I definitely developed a sharper perspective through my experience as a journalist. But what makes me proudest is that I am very hardworking and always dedicated to my job. I write at least four hours every day. My advice to young scriptwriters is very simple: just be yourself! There is no need to imitate the styles of foreign TV dramas and cinema. And they can make good use of the Internet as its infinite platform can nurture a large fan base for them. In the near future, more and more TV dramas will be adapted from popular online novels. Although it is not easy for many anonymous young scriptwriters to earn a livelihood today, they still have a good chance of success as long as their works are really ingenious and original.

Q: What's your latest project?

A: My new work is "Life of Two Cities." The TV drama based on the story has already started shooting in Beijing. It is about a native Beijing girl's long-distance marriage with a Shanghai man. Long distance love and China's north-south cultural differences are discussed.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend