China-U.S. co-production is stepping off the big screen and into live entertainment.
With Hollywood film studios scrambling to find local partners who can help them tap China's masses of consumers, one of the U.S.'s most experienced live-show producers, Don Mischer, is also crossing the Pacific with an eye on toward feeding China's enormous appetite for entertainment.
The producer or director of three Academy Award shows, two Olympics opening ceremonies, multiple Super Bowl halftime shows and 2009's Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, Mr. Mischer's latest project is a reworking of China's Huading Awards, a vote-based awards show honoring Chinese sports and entertainment A-listers.
'Everyone, movie stars and musical artists, in L.A. that I work with wants to establish a connection with their fans in China,' Mr. Mischer told China Real Time during a recent interview. 'You now find a lot of American films have premieres in China, like 'Iron Man,' even before we can watch them in America.'
It's no secret why American entertainment gurus are eager to cross the pond. China's entertainment and media market has boomed in recent years, overtaking Germany's to become the third largest in the world in 2011, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. And the market is only expected to grow further, with projected annual increases of 12.0 % bringing total Chinese entertainment spending to $192.5 billion by 2016, according to PwC.
Mr. Mischer described his work on the Huading Awards, launched in 2007 by Beijing-based media company Global Talents Media Group, as a chance to do something different.
'Most television has become kind of bottom-line business, where its profits and commercials that make the difference,' he said. 'Now I have an opportunity to work on a project I can take real pride in.'
The producer, who counts the 1997 Hong Kong handover ceremony among his credits, said he respects the work ethic and creativity of people who work in the entertainment industry in China. He said he was also a fan of opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which he described as 'flawless.'
'I don't think there would ever be an opening ceremony done again that would have the skill and the precision that the Beijing 2008 opening ceremony had,' he said. 'Beijing was really committed to this.'
While the Beijing 2008 opening ceremony was widely praised, many in China have ridiculed the country's other live productions for being boring or crass or both. Complaining about being bored by the Spring Festival gala produced by state broadcaster CCTV has become an annual Lunar New Year tradition in recent years.
'What we can bring is the skill that we have and how we organize, pace the rhythm of the show, and turning the lighting and special effects,' Mr. Mischer said, adding that he understood the limitations he faced as a foreign producer in China and planned to work closely with local talent.
The Huading Awards happen multiple times a year, with separate shows honoring different groups from dancers to film stars. Mr. Mischer is currently preparing for a Huading even in Macau in October that encompass celebrities from all entertainment fields, including TV, film, dance and music. An earlier Huading show focusing on film that was hosted in Hong Kong in April drew a gaggle of big names, including like martials art star Jackie Chan, actor Tony Leung, and it-girls Li Binbing and Tang Wei.
Mr. Mischer said he also expects to team up with Global Talents Media to bring the awards to Los Angeles in May next year. He added that efforts would be made to attract Hollywood celebrities to both events, but said it was too early to reveal a list of names. 'We will present them with a very convincing argument to come to Macau,' he said.
The producer also addressed the controversial opening to this year's Academy Awards, in which host Seth MacFarlane danced a gig while singing about seeing the naked breasts of Hollywood actresses. 'The Academy did receive some criticism, as more young people are watching it now,' he said of the song, which stirred heated debate in China as well as the U.S.
Getty Images2012年9月23日，洛杉矶诺基亚剧院(Nokia Theatre)，米舍在第64届艾美奖颁奖典礼上登台演讲。在近期的一次访谈中，米舍对“中国实时报”栏目说，在洛杉矶跟我一起工作的人，包括影星和音乐家，每个人都想要跟他们在中国的粉丝建立起联系；现在你看到，有很多美国影片在中国进行首映，比如《钢铁侠》(Iron Man)，美国人反倒之后才能在美国看到。
米舍说他为华鼎奖工作是一个机会，可以做些不一样的事情。华鼎奖于2007年由中国媒体公司天下英才传媒(Global Talents Media Group)设立。
华鼎奖每年举办数次，针对从舞蹈演员到电影明星的不同群体举行单独的颁奖礼。米舍目前正在准备今年10月在澳门举行的华鼎奖典礼，届时将囊括包括电视、电影、舞蹈和音乐在内的娱乐各界名流。今年4月在香港举行的以电影为主题的华鼎奖典礼吸引了众多大牌明星，包括武打明星成龙(Jackie Chan)、演员梁朝伟(Tony Leung)以及魅力女星李冰冰和汤唯等人。