How the Audience Survey Supports Producer’s Decision-making

In recent days, Huang Bin, the founder of WeFun Entertainment Media and producer of the film MY BEST SUMMER shared his story with Fanink at “Fanink Salon”. He talked about us how the audience survey helps him to make a decision in the production process, analyzed how audience insights help the film production and shared his opinions on IP adaptation and audience survey.

 

“Respect for professionalism with rational trial and error”

As a famous producer, agent and director, Huang has participated in producing and marketing several well-known films. MY BEST SUMMER is a new trial for WeFun Entertainment Media under his leadership.

The film is adapted from the novel of the same name. The adapted TV drama was well responded in the market. This “TV drama and film joint action” actually is a result of his in-depth creation and market consideration.

Huang has always believed the professionalism and also highly recognizes the industrial process of Hollywood. Therefore, he decided to invite Fanink’s audiences to participate in his survey at the film development stage. This is not only a process of respecting for the professionalism, but also a rational process of trial and error.

For example, worked with Fanink, he set two comparison groups (i.e. IP and non-IP) in testing the synopsis of MY BEST SUMMER. IP audiences were further classified into novel readers, TV drama audiences and whole-IP audiences to get valuable audience data, so as to strive to acquire more informative audience data.

 

“An excellent creator like kissed by God”

Huang’s “professionalism” has yielded fruitful returns. MY BEST SUMMER becomes the highest grossing film under domestic campus youth film genre in recent four years.

He said that he always kept a kind of “originality consciousness” in this IP adaptation, namely, to make IP adaptation with an original spirit and make “My Best Summer” not only represent an IP, but also become “emotional resonance”.

So, he bought three version of synopses to Fanink, an organization that “aims to establish audience survey standards in line with Chinese characteristics” in the eyes of Huang. He wanted to present this “emotional resonance” to audiences for review.

As an excellent creator like kissed by God, Huang believed that before receiving such kiss, we need to make good preparations, including conducting audience survey at the script writing stage.

He inspired a lot from audiences’ feedback, which enabled him to reconsider the previous choices, in particular finding the focus of ideas.

Wang Yizhi presented a “mysterious” page on the report submitted by Fanink to onsite audiences. However, he emphasized that audiences provided feedback on major elements of the synopses, rather than selecting the “script direction”, so that the producers could select and focus ideas and finally optimize the script.

 

“The creator is a fragile exhibitionist”

At the mid-term of film production, Huang continued his “trust” in audiences. The roughly cut sample was given to Fanink to have a preview release. After the first round of preview, the film was adjusted and then we had the second round of preview. He modestly said that he was a “stupid person” using “stupid methods”, while the spirit of serving the audience is always indispensable.

Huang described his commercial film production as “a fragile exhibitionist”. He believed that the producers of commercial films should dare to face their own “fragility”, or even use the preview to achieve “anti-fragility”. Only by exposing their own fragility, making good use of the research results, combining with the work itself, can they become strong.

Just like after the first preview of the sample film, he obviously felt the impatience of the audience for the long time of the sample film, and his fragile heart was hit in advance. After the film adjusted, audiences recognized the second round of preview, which gave him a long sigh of relief.

 

“Time will reward the professionalism and focus”

For Huang, the theme of youth will never be out of date, and there is also no end to explore in the process of film production.

“I am a person with a relatively long adolescence.” The youth romantic genre films are a place where his new round of “adolescence” starts. He hoped that taking MY BEST SUMMER as a starting point, WeFun could become a youth culture company driven by both the celebrity industry and content creation to continuously implement the youth culture featuring “the true, the good and the beautiful”. Now the second film of “Zhenhua Middle School” — SECRET LOVE has been under the planning.

Comparably, Fanink, as a professional audience survey organization, has intensive experience in the pursuit of objectivity and adherence to standards. “Time will reward the professionalism and focus”. The cooperation between WeFun and Fanink generates a fantastic response. MY BEST SUMMER is just the first try.

As concluded by Huang, “sincerity is valuable, other things are even not worth mentioning”. Serving this small and beautiful youth film through professional audience survey is not only a method for experimenting such standardization, but also a practice of wholeheartedly producing the film in response to various uncertainties in the production process. As such, the audience will respond to such sincerity with their movie tickets.

After the discussion, Li Zhan, founding partner of Fanink and head of research center also shared his opinions on how audience insights would help the producers at different stages of film production from the aspect of professional data researchers to the nearly 200 audiences onsite. He also gave his suggestions to film and TV projects: the earlier audience survey conducted, the earlier difficulties diagnosed and solved.

 

(Editor: Guan Yu)

 

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