Before going to Cannes Liu Yifei kindly agreed to see me at her hotel. I notified her that I was doing a term project for my Mass Media and Society class and I would like to ask her about showing business, in general, as well as of her agency, in particular. Liu Yifei is represented by William Morris Endeavor Agency. It is now known as WME, a talent and literary agency. It is an American talent agency with the offices in Beverly Hills.
We began talking in general about how Ms. Yifei came to such an idea to become an actress. Her mother was remotely related to the scene. She was a dancer and a stage performer. Therefore, Ms. Yifei had grown up in the atmosphere of fun and beauty. However, she believed that being an actress was a step higher than a performer. She thought that the things she could do might be wider. She graduated from the Performance Institute of Beijing Film Academy. The woman felt qualified to start her acting career. Ms. Yifei finds her job very inspiring. There are many positive aspects. However, one of the major advantages of acting is that it always pushes her outside of boundaries and she can grow and learn. Among the negative aspects the woman named a large number of people she had to see every day and instability as everyone could lose the job any time.
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Liu Yifei is represented by William Morris Endeavor Agency now known as WME, a talent and literary agency, founded in Beverly Hills. It is a big corporation now with the subsidiaries in Asia and Europe. The agency has its website; and it is firmly presented online. The company has many businesses such as Book Department, Speakers Division, Voiceover Department, and different kinds of the performances such as music, theatre, cinema, lectures, etc.
Nowadays it is very important to be present in all social media accounts. Therefore, WME Entertainment does it. Ms. Yifei agrees that she also spends a part of her day to chat or to reply to the comments posted on social media. She believes it is important to keep in touch with fans; besides, all people are now online. Therefore, it true that you do not exist if you are not online. As Liu Yifei is the generation that had grown up clutching a smartphone she totally does not see how it can be any different.
During our talk, we were talking about print journalism. However, we agreed that it slowly became obsolete. It means that young people find all information they need online. However, print media still have some weight. Even they are not a first to-go source they can validate the findings that young people get from online media.
I told Liu Yifei about Marshall McLuhan’s concept “The Medium is the Message”. She agreed with me that the medium truly shaped people’s understanding and perception of something. For example, now young people treat print media differently. They may associate them more with elder generation. Regarding cinema, it is used to imply a linear narrative, whereas now people are used to films having different perspectives and narratives. When the audience comes to see an indie movie they expect some extravagant choices and solutions on behalf of the director. However, anyway the medium of film prepares viewers for a change of speed in the content or different times made like a puzzle for the audience to solve. Therefore, the medium and the content are different. If we come to see a movie, the means tells us a different story than the plot of the movie. It is the content of the film. Meanwhile the movie is the plot of cinema.
Inasmuch as nowadays the world is oversaturated with information it is crucial to constantly remind people about yourself. That is why Ms. Yifei is engaged in a large number of entertainment events. She is widely represented in social media. She has official pages on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. It is important to be constantly engaged in work. In the recent years, Ms. Yifei has been concentrated on filming only. Currently she has no ongoing TV shows and is involved in feature films. Several years in a row, Ms. Yifei has acted in two or three films a year. Liu Yifei has her three movies scheduled for 2016.
When she has a break between shootings she encourages her agent to sign her up for as many TV appearances and interviews as possible. Of course, it depends on her limit. Ms. Yifei realizes that she needs to balance work and entertainment otherwise she would snap and be out of the game. Now when she stars in the US movies she needs to take care of both Asian audience and cultivate her new American area. Therefore, when she is in the US, she tries to make enough TV appearances for a new viewer to remember her. When she is in China, she needs to remind her fans about herself.
It is good for a celebrity to be easy going and to be able to entertain. Especially when she makes TV appearances Ms. Yifei is aware that she is expected to be a fun. The woman says she noticed that Americans placed a strong emphasis on the concept of having fun and asking each other all the time whether they enjoyed. Therefore, she does her best to laugh, joke, and be easy-going when in public.
In order to increase one’s popularity it is advisable to attend the most popular TV shows with high ratings. For example, Liu Yifei together with her boyfriend Song Seung Hun took part in Slowly Improving, a famous Chinese variety show. These entertainments are huge in China and Asia likewise. Their appearance definitely pleases their fans and contributes to getting new ones. Ms. Yifei would like to appear in something similarly popular in the US. She likes watching late night shows. One of her favorites was Late Night Show with Craig Ferguson. However, it is not running anymore. Ms. Yifei would not mind something like Jimmy Kimmel. She realizes that it is too early; and she has not worked long enough to appear in such a big show.
Additionally we talked about competition. Obviously that it exists both in Asia and the US. However, there is a difference. In Asia, she is one of many; and she needs to stand out somehow. In the US, there are not so many actresses of Asian origin. Therefore, there is a big space for everyone. Yet, American show business still has a room to grow in terms of diversifying Asian actors and actresses. Now they are not only offered the roles of pretty girl. However, actresses are able to choose the variety of roles. For example, her role in Chinese Widow is not typical and new for her.
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Ms. Yifei feels that she would like to have a very wide range of artistry. Therefore, she wants to pick non-typical roles. She has already starred in the martial arts films, The Forbidden Kingdom, The Four II, The Four III, and a historical film White Vengeance. Her romantic side was revealed in a romantic comedy, Love in Disguise, romance films For Love or Money and The Third Way of Love, and a romantic drama Night Peacock. Ms. Yifei showed her edge in A Chinese Ghost Story, a fantasy-supernatural film. She also played in an action film Outcast with Nicolas Cage. The upcoming drama The Chinese Widow also portrays the actress in a leading role. However, it is a serious and strong protagonist unlike her previous flirtatious and pretty character.
Therefore, Ms. Yifei is pleased with her choice of roles and intends to continue widening it. She would like to create a psychological film, maybe a thriller. In general, Ms. Yifei believes that many different roles will contribute to her popularity. While romantic comedies and action films cater to the tastes of youth, some more serious films as period dramas and historical movies can be interesting to people of any age. For her part, Ms. Yifei tries to do her best as she can and gives the high-quality performance full of emotions and nuances of human psychology.
The continual growth is very important. There is a common understanding that anyone can become an actor if the one has a pretty face. However, it is not enough. While good looks are able to prompt the one into a show business they cannot retain a person there. Hard work and talent are necessary. Making a celebrity requires frequent appearances in mass media and TV shows. However, to become a real star when both the public respect her and the actress is aware that her fame is not empty and fake requires many efforts. A good choice of roles, a wide range of characters, and a well-done performance are crucial for success in the film industry.
I liked talking to Liu Yifei very much. She is rather engaging and calm personality. I would be excited to start my internship in WME Agency. Ms. Yifei said she could ask her agent about whether they needed the interns there or not.