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Acting in China


Kelvinblake
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It used to be (in the early 2000s) that you just needed to walk around BLCU looking white. That's how I got my one acting gig, at least. Not sure if that still works, and judging from your profile picture you are black, which might also make things different.

 

I'd say the best way would be to go through a Chinese acting agency, best if you can find one specialised in foreign-looking actors. But whether that would get you a visa is another matter.

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I have only played a corpse in a Chinese period piece, but I did hang out with people who shoot documentaries for industry related events.

Being black certainly doesn't help, unless your Chinese is way ahead of whatever curve HSK provides us with;  then it's suddenly a novelty.

Regardless of skin color; being a foreign entertainer can be demeaning work. If I were you I wouldn't go the "agency" route as they'll just have to perform like some foreign novelty (read "monkey"), and instead create your own content. Stay humble. And getting the connections for small projects might be the way to go. Those working in the "culture and arts" industry always like to befriend foreigners and they have the contacts to help you out, but it's a favor you'll have to earn. And thus, your "success" in Chinese media has probably less to do with how well you can act and more to do with how you present yourself (read "don't be your average 留学生... either go the clown route or the 素质 route".)

 

I'm not fond of the spotlight, so you certainly shouldn't take my advice as anything but hearsay.

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10 years ago flipping through the channels on my BCLU dorm room TV I recall a period drama where some sinister moustache-twirling foreigners were demanding an audience with the emperor. I suppose the actors were Russian or something because they had been dubbed over with audio of someone speaking English very poorly.

 

What were these acting gigs like? @Weyland, what caused your fictional demise?

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5 hours ago, 大块头 said:

a period drama where some sinister moustache-twirling foreigners were demanding an audience with the emperor. I suppose the actors were Russian or something because they had been dubbed over with audio of someone speaking English very poorly.

 

Sounds like the 1998 version of 鹿鼎記 (episode 37, 29 minute mark was the one I was thinking about in particular, but they're speaking bad Chinese there, sure they speak terrible 'fluent' English somewhere too though)

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8 hours ago, 大块头 said:

What were these acting gigs like? @Weyland, what caused your fictional demise?


Didn't get paid, so wouldn't call it a gig. Just an unpaid extra that got to pretend to be a casualty after some flashy fight scene.

I have visited a few movie sets in China. There is actually a fake Forbidden City somewhere between Wenzhou and Hangzhou. (Edit: Likely Hengdian World Studios)

I'm still unsure what exactly the difference is between some of these reconstructed ancient sites and movie sets. Apart from a few green screens strewn around the place.

@Kelvinblake these movie sets, probably, aren't the right place to get some acting credit. Maybe you can befriend some undergraduates at any of the film and cinematic faculties nearby? A lot of them have to shoot short skits/movies for their end credit which you might be able to get featured in (which, likely, will be unpaid so you'd have to either enroll into a course nearby yourself or find a job of some that might not be related to your passion).

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You could also always go the social media route via 抖音 or 好看 or something and so your tapdancing for he yellow man there. There are quite a few white ppl with big followings but I can't say I've ever seen any black ppl, but if you could even speak a little broken Chinese you are probably bound to get some following. 

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