Short post about filming C-dramas - Hengdian
So I noticed a lot of people keep commenting that sets and “cities” in C-dramas that had basically no budget as being super pretty and that they can’t believe they managed that with no money. Here's the thing: Many C-drama are filmed in Hengdian. There are a few other filming studios that are also popular, but I would say Hengdian is in the top 3, or maybe top 1.
Hengdian is one of the largest film studios in the world and is one of the most popular places to film a period drama (area total of 3,3 km2 and building areas of 495,995 m2).
If I remember correctly, there are at least 13 shooting bases. Some buildings, palaces, areas are made in the style of Qin and Han dynasty, others are exact replicas of certain buildings (like Yuanming Yuan, the old summer palace).
It's FREE to film in Hengdian. How do they stay in business, you ask? They make the money from hotels, restaurants, and renting out equipment & costumes. Some dramas or movies take only 1 month to film, others can take several months. Also Hengdian is huge, if you couldn’t tell, so there can be several film crews working at the same time.
I would also like to point out that you can visit as a tourist.
So far there are over 1200 films and C-dramas that have been filmed in Hengdian! Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hero, The Forbidden Kingdom, Mulan are some films that were filmed there.
If you watch other Chinese period dramas, you will recognize several buildings. Some C-dramas in recent years you might recognize are Once Upon A Time in Lingjian Mountain, Joy of Life, The Untamed, Word of Honor.
Like this one! Recognize it? It’s where they had that boyband karaoke consert thing in Once Upon a Time in Lingjian Mountain
Click here for a clip of the concert haha
July 3 2021
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Hey there, love your writing! If possible, could we perhaps get a piece about a hero who has somehow been turned into some kind of nonhuman creature angsting over having become a 'monster', and the villain trying to convince them that they're still human?
"You need to stay away from me," the hero stumbled back a step. "I'm a monster."
"Babe." The villain continued to approach, studying them with something closer to curiosity, and certainly amusement, rather than horror. "Real monsters don't waste time worrying about their monstrosity. You know that, right?"
"Look at me!" It came out a snarl, full of teeth, voice some shuddering thing that didn't sound their own anymore. "I'm not human."
The villain did stop, then, at that.
The hero closed their eyes, shaking. Their new body was a towering horrific thing, grotesque. All claws and spikes and lumbering movements.
"And that," the villain's voice was quiet, "is what makes you a monster, is it?"
The hero's eyes snapped open again.
The amusement had vanished from the villain's face, replaced by something deadly serious.
"What?" the hero managed.
"Not looking human, that's what makes you a monster, is it? Not what you've done, or want to do to people, but the pure fact you look like a nightmare in a children's book."
The hero flinched. "You don't need to rub it in."
"You're missing the point." The villain stared them down, unsympathetic. "'You need to stay away from me' implies that you think you're dangerous, some monster of moral proportions, but the only reason you've given for that is that your pretty face is no longer quite so pretty. That you're not human. So you think humans can't be monsters, do you? You think your appearance or species is what decides if you have humanity?"
"That's not - I mean - you-" the hero floundered. They took another step back. "I killed people!"
"Did you mean to?"
"Not relevant?" The villain moved closer once more, still seeming utterly unafraid. "It's the most relevant thing. I've never once you seen you attack first. Baby, you couldn't be a monster if your life depended on it, and your life may literally depend on it now."
The hero swallowed at that. They kept their hands balled close to their chest, cowering in the shadows.
"You're not a monster," the villain said, "you look like the face people like to give monsters. There's a significant difference in that. Do you understand?"
The hero had never stopped to think about such things before. They protected the city from villains and creatures of the night, the demons and vampires and ghouls and ghosts that stalked the city walls, searching for a way through to devour the inhabitants inside. They knew what monsters looked like, didn't they? They knew what a monster was.
They stared at the villain, wide-eyed, suddenly not so sure.
"Do you not think I am monstrous?" the villain pressed. "You've certainly said I'm as bad as the devil before."
"You're being weirdly nice now."
The villain snorted at that, shaking their head.
"It's not nice. You still have your humanity, it's just a fact."
The hero looked down again, slowly uncurling their hands. The claws uncurled with the movement, cutting through the night, the tips still splattered with blood that the hero hadn't been able to clean off. They weren't used to their strength anymore, to anything. Their hands were too big for the fine motor control of the life they had known. The claws and the teeth got in the way, as did the swishing tail.
"How did you know it was me anyway?" the hero asked. "I don't even - my voice -" Even when they tried to whisper, it came out gruff and threatening.
"You still stay the same dumb things," the villain said. "Of course it's you. Also, your eyes."
"Your eyes are the same." The villain reached in their pocket for a handkerchief, casually wiping the hero's claws down as they spoke.
Nobody had looked at the hero's eyes since they'd been forced to change. They'd been too busy attacking, or running, or screaming.
"There we go," the villain murmured, to the hero's claws. "Better?"
It did make the hero feel a little less twitchy. So had the whole conversation, hell, the fact that someone was talking to them at all. Like they could understand, and be reasoned with.
"Why are you helping me?" the hero asked. "I was never...I was never very nice to you, was I?"
"You were human. Humans can be utter tossers sometimes."
"...you say that like you're not human."
"But you-" The hero stared at them.
"I look human?" The villain tilted their head. "Didn't we just cover this? There are more of us than you think. My guess is that you pissed off a witch."
The hero wasn't ready to move onto that yet, their head was still reeling, and everything hurt. The monsters were outside the walls, wasn't that the whole point of the citadels? Of the hero's job? Or everything they'd been raised to?
"Okay, but I'm not talking like morality now, I'm talking species."
"Yes. I'm not human."
The hero continued to stare at them.
"So stop angsting over your humanity, or lack thereof," the villain said. "Either way it doesn't matter. What matters is your actions, and what you choose to do now. That is what defines you."
"I need to get out of here before I hurt someone else," the hero said. "I can't - I can't control myself. And I think I'm getting hungry. I - what if I need blood, or something? I just - I feel -" There was something in the pit of their stomach, something ravenous, something that ached for destruction. The hero's voice dropped to barely a whisper, and they lowered their head. "I feel like I want to rip the world apart." Didn't that make them a monster, if nothing else?
Everything in them felt like it wanted to explode, erupt, bubble past the seams of what they'd become.
The villain smiled, just the corner of their mouth.
"Of course you do," they said. "You're frightened."
The hero blinked.
"Come on," the villain said, turning on their heel. "Follow me before the locals call for reinforcements."
The hero took a hesitant step after them, then another.
It was only later that they registered that the villain had never answered why they were helping the hero at all.
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