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In the spring of 2016, I was hired by the Weinstein Company to tackle what was essentially a rewrite for a Chinese language animated film. Originally produced by Alibaba Pictures and released in China the previous year, Weinstein purchased the film’s remaining distribution rights, and then set out to re-release the movie in English-speaking regions.

Here is the original poster for the Chinese version of the film.

"Little Door Gods"

I’ve done a few of these no-credit rewrites/passes, which basically means that, even though my work on a project can sometimes be quite extensive, my contract stipulates that I won’t receive a writing credit on the project. In lieu of said credit, I get a nice check. It’s a fair deal.

Of course, not all rewrites require heavy lifting, but this project in particular was absolutely insane. Allow me to explain….

Originally released as Little Door Gods, this two-hour animated movie had already been produced and distributed throughout China when I was approached to tackle the English version rewrite. But just because the movie had already been made didn’t mean it had a viable working script. Not only was the script I received not properly formatted for screenplays, but most of its dialogue was little more than poorly translated English that had been used for the film’s subtitles.

Once I got the job, a handful of goals were presented to me. First, they wanted the new dialogue to be funny and relevant to an English-speaking audience. Next, they weren’t reanimating or re-editing the film, which meant that what was on the screen visually couldn’t be changed. (Although, in the end, they did cut entire scenes out of the original version to shave down the film’s runtime.) They also hoped to strip out as much of the story’s Chinese spirituality/mythology as possible. (Keep in mind this is a story about two Chinese brothers… who also happen to be gods, hence the title.) And finally, since they weren’t reanimating any of the scenes, they hoped the new English dialogue would match the characters’ Chinese-speaking lips.

The deadline for the entire project was two weeks.

In those two weeks, I wrote an entirely new script from scratch, as the script I had received and was supposed to use as a skeleton proved to be mostly useless. Over fourteen days, I watched the Chinese version of the film over and over again, all while writing an updated English version of the script. Scenes with little or no dialogue were great, as I could write whatever dialogue I wanted (so long as a character’s mouth was off-screen or turned away from the camera). However, each time a character visibly opened their mouth onscreen, I would have to write (and many times rewrite and rewrite and rewrite) a new line of dialogue that was appropriate, funny, and fit into the character’s already animated mouth. During this process, I bet I listened to each individual line of dialogue more than a dozen times as I attempted to get each one just right.

In the end, miraculously, I got it done on time. Honestly, I don’t know how that happened, but it did. I cashed my check and moved on to the next project, not thinking too much about it until just recently when a quick Google search for the working English title—The Guardian Brothers—pulled up this result.

The Guardian Brothers was released on Netflix in early September. I had no idea.

"The Guardian Brothers" not written by me.

I have to admit, in light of recent events involving Harvey Weinstein (and almost every other man in Hollywood, apparently), I held off on sharing this bit of news. And, at least to date, I have yet to watch the film. But regardless of how it turned out (or what’s currently happening in the news), it was still an awesome opportunity that—while admittedly exhausting and grueling—I am incredibly appreciative of having been given.

Of course, writing dialogue for talent like Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Edward Norton, Mel Brooks, Dan Fogler, Mike Birbiglia, and Bella Thorne is cool, too.

Not sure when I’ll get around to watching it, but if you’re interested and get the chance please let me know what you thought. I hope you enjoy it. And if not, eh… you won’t find my name anywhere on it, so what do I care?

Credits don’t pay no bills,

-Shady

He has all the best faces, too.

I know it might seem like I sit at home all day long, drinking beer and updating The Blarg, but the truth is I spend much of my day writing.

Lately, most of my writing has been on long-form projects. Because of this, I sometimes write a short (most times comedic, other times not so much) to break up the monotony of those longer projects. But while these shorts are fun to write as an exercise, nobody ever really gets to read them.

To remedy this, I’ve decided to share them here. I’m doing this for two reasons:

1. I like to share! That, and it’s better than having them sit on my computer.

2. It’s my hope that someone might be inspired to actually do something creative with them. Want to film one as a short? Awesome. Interested in animating one? Go for it. Feel like performing one live onstage? I dare you. All I ask is that you give me credit where it’s due, and (if possible) send me a copy of the final product.

The thirtieth of Shady’s Shorts is called “His Best Words.”

Download it by clicking below.

DOWNLOAD “HIS BEST WORDS”

Number twenty-nine,

-Shady

“His Best Words” is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Created by Justin Shady, ©2016.

…KB and I will be on our way to Hong Kong!

HONG KONG!

Which may or may not technically be a part of China!

MAYBE CHINA!

Our last trip for awhile,

-Shady

…which, depending if you go traditional or contemporary, is either cotton or china.

KB went contemporary and gave me my gift last night.

Second Anniversary: China

Mmmm… anniversary.

Two years… with duck sauce,

-Shady

…first gets fucked by Chinese art thief Cai Jiang Xun, then by the copyright infringement-friendly eBay.

Learn more about the thievery here, and check out Paul’s art here.

Cai Jiang Xun is an imposturd,

-Shady

…as if you ever had any doubt:

My level of hate for him is amazing,

-Shady

dead.

Good fucking riddance.

Take all Hummer owners with you on your way out,

-Shady

Old Poop!