Fame in China Storyville


Fame in China

Documentary which chronicles the staging of the musical Fame by the senior class at China's top drama academy - China's first official collaboration with Broadway.


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Transcript


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BEEPING

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# Remember

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# Remember my name! #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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THEY LAUGH

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STUDENTS CHATTER

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THEY LAUGH

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SWORDS CLASH

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MUSIC: "Make PA"

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# I pray I make PA

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# I pray I make... #

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# PA... #

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THEY CHEER

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APPLAUSE

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TRADITIONAL CHINESE MUSIC

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..Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

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One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

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Dun-da dun-dun-da...

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STUDENTS CHATTER

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-# Light up the sky like a flame

-Fame!

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# I'm gonna live for ever... #

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# And till she goes

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# Remember, remember, remember, remember

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# Remember

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# Remember my name. #

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CHINESE HIP HOP

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BELL RINGS

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APPLAUSE

0:12:170:12:19

Good morning, good morning!

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STUDENTS: Good morning!

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How are you?

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STUDENTS: Fine.

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WOMAN SPEAKS MANDARIN

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They've been expecting you for a long time.

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Oh, I'm so happy to be here. So happy to be here.

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SHE SPEAKS MANDARIN

0:12:400:12:42

-They're very mischievous.

-Me too. Me too.

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So...Fame.

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STUDENTS CHEER

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You like?

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STUDENTS: Yes!

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ALL SPEAKING OVER EACH OTHER

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Uh-oh. Mischievous. Mischievous. It's going to be a lot of fun.

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Sit!

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Circle.

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Let me tell you about myself.

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I am the oldest of five. Four brothers and sisters.

0:13:060:13:09

SHE TRANSLATES INTO MANDARIN

0:13:090:13:12

STUDENTS GASP

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I went to Boston for my undergrad.

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And I majored in musical theatre.

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And then I moved to New York.

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I work as a conductor and music director.

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-And have worked on Lion King, and a show called Avenue Q.

-Q?

0:13:260:13:30

About puppets.

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STUDENTS: Ah!

0:13:310:13:33

OK, so I want to learn about you.

0:13:330:13:35

Who plays instruments?

0:13:350:13:36

HE PLAYS CLASSICAL MUSIC

0:13:380:13:41

He's so good.

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He's Nick.

0:13:430:13:45

Oh, he's Nick?

0:13:450:13:47

APPLAUSE

0:13:520:13:55

You're good. You're very good.

0:13:560:13:59

Who's your favourite singer?

0:13:590:14:01

-Coldplay.

-Coldplay!

0:14:020:14:04

What do you want to do when you graduate?

0:14:060:14:08

SHE TRANSLATES

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HE SPEAKS MANDARIN

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Either a singer or an actor.

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A singer or an actor?

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I want you to describe your personality in one word.

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Um....

0:14:220:14:24

-Tiansheng lizhi.

-SHE LAUGHS

0:14:270:14:28

What is it?

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-Natural beauty.

-Natural beauty! Ah!

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What do you want to do when you get out of here?

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LAUGHTER

0:14:400:14:41

Yinyue ju yuan.

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-Acting.

-Acting!

-Musical actor.

-Musical?

0:14:430:14:46

What's your favourite show?

0:14:460:14:48

SHE TRANSLATES

0:14:480:14:49

Oh, Oklahoma.

0:14:520:14:54

HE HUMS

0:14:540:14:56

HE PLAYS OKLAHOMA

0:14:560:14:58

# Oklahoma where the wind comes... #

0:14:590:15:02

I like that show. I like that show.

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What do you want to do when you graduate?

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Um...

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I want to be a...star.

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-Star.

-Superstar.

-Superstar?

-Yeah.

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Uh-oh.

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I hate using the word "typecasting" but literally the first

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day of rehearsal I knew who was going to be who.

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Just looking at them in the room.

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There's the star wannabes.

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There's the dance people who are insecure about the way they look

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and their bodies.

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There's the semi-troublemakers.

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You could place this anywhere

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and you're going to find the same characters in a school like this.

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I want to know, how about singer?

0:15:470:15:50

-Michael Jackson.

-Michael Jackson!

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-Michael Jackson! What is your name?

-Fei.

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-Fei.

-Fei?

-Fei. It means fly.

-Fei. Ah!

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I'm excited. I think it's going to be a learning process for this.

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I'm curious to see how it's going to translate.

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And how the same emotions and feelings of the show resonate

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over here as compared to America.

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CHINESE VIOLIN PLAYS

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TRADITIONAL CHINESE MUSIC

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HE SINGS

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THEY ALL SING

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# I'm doing hard... #

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Too hard.

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# Ha-a-a-ard work... #

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# Ha-a-a-ard work... #

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These rock 'n' roll rhythms, American rhythms, are very new for them.

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THEY SING

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HE SHOUTS OUT

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And do it!

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Music is so universal, but I find that the rhythms that this

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score has, it throws them for a curve.

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One, two, three, and...

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# I'm doing hard... #

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THEY LAUGH

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-Sorry.

-That's OK!

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The harder it is right now for them,

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in terms of learning this material, the better it is for them.

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Because I think, once they finish the English, I think

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the Chinese is going to come much easier for them.

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# By doing ha-a-a-ard work! #

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THEY LAUGH

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The Chinese normally don't speak these rhythms.

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And I feel like they get into class,

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and they feel like they have to fit into this mould.

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They have to make it sound a certain way.

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And I'm like, no, you guys need to sound like you've had

0:17:410:17:44

a couple of beers and it's just nice and loose.

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And you're having a good time.

0:17:460:17:47

SHE SINGS, LAUGHS

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# I'm doing hard... #

0:17:500:17:52

OK, OK.

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# Ha-a-rd work...

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# I'm doing hard work... #

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# By doing hard work

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# I'm doing hard Yeah, yeah, yeah... #

0:18:190:18:23

Yeah!

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# By doing hard work

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# I'm doing hard work

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# By doing hard work

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# I'm working hard... #

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# Ha-a-a-ard

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# By doing hard work

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# I'm doing hard work... #

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APPLAUSE

0:18:550:18:58

It's going to be fun.

0:18:590:19:01

It's really written about them, you know.

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It's written about 20-somethings wanting to make it

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in the artistic world and the creative process.

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And what happens when you have support

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and what happens when you don't.

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THEY SPEAK MANDARIN

0:19:250:19:27

HE SINGS KARAOKE

0:21:390:21:42

THEY LAUGH AND CHATTER

0:23:510:23:53

SHE LAUGHS

0:24:160:24:18

-She thinks it's good to embarrass them.

-Yeah.

0:24:180:24:22

-Mm-hmm.

-Yeah, I agree. I agree.

0:24:220:24:24

Falling on your face is a good thing sometimes.

0:24:240:24:26

-It teaches you to walk better.

-Dui. Dui.

0:24:260:24:29

All right, let's get started.

0:24:300:24:32

What Hong Mei has not told you

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is that eight of you have the chance to go to New York City,

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to work on a project I am involved with, in January.

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Two female dancers. Two male dancers. Two female singers. Two male singers.

0:24:400:24:44

So the first thing we're going to do is learn a dance combination

0:24:440:24:47

and then cut people. I want everyone to do their best,

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but I can only take eight of you to New York City. OK!

0:24:500:24:53

DANCE MUSIC

0:24:540:24:58

Next four.

0:25:020:25:04

Is that it? Oh, two. Here we go.

0:25:070:25:09

Next four.

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One, two, three, four, five, six...

0:25:180:25:22

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:25:220:25:24

All right, you're all going to do the same thing.

0:25:240:25:26

You go...

0:25:280:25:30

HE PLAYS PIANO

0:25:300:25:32

HE VOCALISES

0:25:340:25:36

SHE VOCALISES

0:25:420:25:45

One more time.

0:25:480:25:50

I'll play it one more time. Listen.

0:25:500:25:52

HE PLAYS PIANO

0:25:520:25:55

Ah.

0:25:560:25:57

SHE VOCALISES

0:25:570:25:59

Do this for me.

0:26:000:26:02

SHE VOCALISES SCALE

0:26:030:26:05

Can you find for me...? Listen.

0:26:050:26:07

THEY VOCALISE, PIANO PLAYS

0:26:080:26:12

Good. OK, thank you.

0:26:170:26:19

So...this was very hard.

0:26:230:26:26

Very hard.

0:26:260:26:28

I love all of you dearly but I can't bring all of you to New York.

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I had to take away everything that I know about you

0:26:320:26:34

and just base it on today.

0:26:340:26:36

OK. So no hard feelings.

0:26:360:26:38

APPLAUSE

0:26:440:26:47

APPLAUSE

0:26:550:26:58

APPLAUSE

0:27:020:27:04

SHE LAUGHS

0:27:260:27:28

GIRL LAUGHS

0:27:490:27:51

STUDENTS CHATTER

0:27:580:28:00

STUDENTS GASP

0:28:080:28:11

SHOUTING

0:28:150:28:18

All right, let's get real. Let's get serious.

0:28:180:28:20

Every day of your life as an actor will be just like that.

0:28:200:28:23

The anger, the nervousness, the sadness, the excitement...

0:28:230:28:30

will happen every day for you.

0:28:300:28:31

So the biggest lesson I want you to take from this,

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you have to leave your baggage at the door.

0:28:340:28:37

That's the thing that I've been trying to tell the teachers.

0:28:370:28:40

I think they need to instil a little bit more of a competitive

0:28:400:28:43

nature with the students. Because in order to grow,

0:28:430:28:45

you have to show who has the biggest roar in the room, so to speak.

0:28:450:28:49

Just put it in perspective that in New York, when I have auditions,

0:28:490:28:53

we cast four roles, and there's probably 1,200 people auditioning.

0:28:530:28:57

SHE SPEAKS SOFTLY

0:29:300:29:33

BELL RINGS

0:30:010:30:03

THEY APPLAUD

0:30:300:30:32

We're going to present to you a work-in-progress.

0:30:380:30:41

SHE TRANSLATES INTO MANDARIN

0:30:410:30:43

And I'm just very honoured to be part of this ground-breaking

0:30:450:30:48

musical for them.

0:30:480:30:49

It's going to be very exciting. So let's do it.

0:30:490:30:52

APPLAUSE

0:30:520:30:54

We first meet a character named Nick Piazza,

0:30:560:30:59

who has already had a career as a child actor.

0:30:590:31:03

This is him explaining to his new friend Serena why he loves acting.

0:31:030:31:07

HE LAUGHS

0:32:040:32:06

In this scene, we meet Tyrone and Iris.

0:32:210:32:25

Here we see how Tyrone explains the differences in the classes

0:32:250:32:29

between poor and rich.

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PIANO PLAYS

0:32:310:32:33

DRUMS BEATING

0:33:190:33:21

THEY CHEER

0:33:350:33:37

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:34:190:34:21

THEY APPLAUD

0:34:290:34:31

As we are building the foundation for this show,

0:34:330:34:36

you are building the foundation for musicals in China.

0:34:360:34:39

And I can safely say that they've laid the foundation very well.

0:34:390:34:43

HE LAUGHS

0:35:460:35:48

THEY SPEAK MANDARIN

0:37:050:37:08

HORN BEEPS

0:38:080:38:10

'Here on BON, some Chinese experts are calling for the country's

0:40:200:40:23

'controversial one-child policy to be loosened to allow more

0:40:230:40:26

'couples to have two children. Under current policy... '

0:40:260:40:29

'The China Population Association says a married couple of which

0:40:290:40:32

'just one of the two is an only child

0:40:320:40:34

'should be allowed to have two children.

0:40:340:40:36

'They say this would relieve many one-child families

0:40:360:40:39

'of the burden of caring for the elderly.'

0:40:390:40:41

SHE SHOUTS IN MANDARIN

0:40:540:40:56

BELL RINGS

0:41:010:41:04

Yi, er, san, su...

0:41:050:41:08

# And there she goes... #

0:41:120:41:16

OK!

0:41:160:41:18

STUDENTS CHATTER

0:41:180:41:20

Sh!

0:41:280:41:29

Hi-yaaa!

0:42:450:42:47

DANCE MUSIC

0:43:570:44:00

THEY LAUGH

0:45:530:45:55

CHINESE HIP-HOP

0:47:440:47:47

JASPER: Here we go.

0:48:560:48:58

Mark, are you ready to meet the students?

0:48:580:49:00

I am ready to meet the students. This is exciting.

0:49:000:49:03

-Hi, everyone!

-How are you guys?

0:49:070:49:09

ALL: Hi!

0:49:090:49:12

New hair? New hair?

0:49:120:49:14

So, it's been good. It's been good?

0:49:160:49:19

ALL: Yeah!

0:49:190:49:21

THEY LAUGH

0:49:220:49:24

No, first impression is great.

0:49:290:49:31

I love the energy and the spirit in the room already,

0:49:310:49:34

so that part is exciting.

0:49:340:49:36

I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty in a few minutes,

0:49:360:49:38

so we'll see.

0:49:380:49:40

OK!

0:49:420:49:44

HE SHOUTS IN MANDARIN

0:49:450:49:48

TRUMPET SOLO

0:49:480:49:51

FAST-PACED MUSIC

0:49:570:50:00

THEY SING

0:50:130:50:16

They have the steps, you know what I mean?

0:50:380:50:40

They have the idea but they don't...

0:50:400:50:41

You can tell already they don't have ownership.

0:50:410:50:44

They don't know what they're doing.

0:50:440:50:45

Very, very, very nice.

0:50:450:50:47

Um, I'm excited to get to work on this with you.

0:50:480:50:52

The one thing I just wanted to comment on,

0:50:520:50:55

I know you've put a lot of hard work,

0:50:550:50:57

but one thing we will focus on is trying to now make this show yours.

0:50:570:51:01

Because what is important is that you understand

0:51:010:51:04

what you are saying any time you are on stage.

0:51:040:51:07

So it's up here. They're in their head.

0:51:080:51:10

-It isn't taught here.

-Oh, wow.

0:51:100:51:12

So we had a two-day voice lesson the last time I was here for the girls.

0:51:120:51:17

That's interesting.

0:51:170:51:18

It's going to be...

0:51:190:51:20

I don't know if we're ever going to get this out of the water, you know?

0:51:220:51:25

HE CALLS OUT NAMES

0:52:570:53:00

We've talked to Tyrone, for example. We can start with him, if he wants,

0:53:180:53:22

about the cultural difference

0:53:220:53:25

and that we're not going to make him African-American.

0:53:250:53:29

Whereas Tyrone, his lesson...

0:53:290:53:30

You're one of the most talented people in the school,

0:53:510:53:54

and she has this incredible gift, superior to yours.

0:53:540:53:58

I think that's a fire that we have to put out.

0:54:040:54:06

In theatre, you don't get everything that you want.

0:54:060:54:10

-That's true.

-But we do understand that this is also a school.

0:54:100:54:13

So this is for education. So we do have to also be aware of that.

0:54:130:54:18

All of the stuff that we're talking about and the work that you're doing

0:54:180:54:21

is important to bring it to life, to make three-dimensional.

0:54:210:54:24

THEY SING IN MANDARIN

0:54:430:54:46

NO AUDIBLE SPEECH

0:55:040:55:06

And one more thing - cellphones and stuff -

0:55:100:55:15

when you're on stage, never texting or pulling them out.

0:55:150:55:20

Always pay attention so you hear everything we're saying.

0:55:200:55:24

..Five, six, seven, eight...

0:56:220:56:25

One, two, three and four. Five, six, seven, eight...

0:56:250:56:29

This business is 90% who you know and 10% talent.

0:56:290:56:32

It really is. In my country it is.

0:56:320:56:35

OK, great.

0:56:470:56:49

CHATTERING AND SHOUTING

1:00:181:00:20

MUSIC STARTS

1:00:281:00:30

SHE SOBS

1:02:181:02:20

HE SINGS IN MANDARIN

1:02:561:02:58

HIP-HOP MUSIC

1:03:031:03:05

I thought that last time looked really good.

1:03:121:03:15

OK, let's do it again.

1:03:191:03:22

Very nice.

1:03:231:03:25

HE LAUGHS

1:04:481:04:50

JASPER: The kids that I see that inner passion in,

1:04:541:04:57

I think are the kids that are going to make it.

1:04:571:04:59

Like Fei.

1:04:591:05:01

He might not have gotten this, but it's only helped him

1:05:011:05:05

to get that much stronger and to have a thicker skin.

1:05:051:05:07

For the next time it comes around, he knows how to do a better job.

1:05:071:05:12

STUDENTS CHATTER

1:05:221:05:25

HORN BEEPS

1:05:451:05:47

# Remember

1:06:051:06:07

# Remember my name... #

1:06:071:06:09

GONG REVERBERATES

1:07:321:07:34

MUSIC STARTS

1:07:491:07:51

People that really needed to do this are the ones that survive.

1:08:281:08:31

That's the first question they have to ask themselves.

1:08:311:08:33

As much as they enjoy dancing, or they enjoy singing,

1:08:331:08:36

or as much as they enjoy the adulation on stage,

1:08:361:08:38

or as much as they desire the recognition or fame -

1:08:381:08:41

what do they really need?

1:08:411:08:42

DRUMS BEAT

1:09:371:09:39

One of the things that I really love about Fame is that it is a

1:10:131:10:16

very basic message about being who you are.

1:10:161:10:19

And dreaming what's possible.

1:10:211:10:23

And having the courage to step out and say, "Bring it on."

1:10:231:10:26

APPLAUSE

1:12:401:12:43

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

1:13:271:13:30

# Ru guo mei you yu jian ni

1:13:431:13:46

# Wo jiang hui shi zai na li

1:13:461:13:50

# Ri zi guo de zen yao...

1:13:501:13:52

# Ye xu ren shi mou yi ren guo zhao

1:13:581:14:01

# Ping fan de ri zi

1:14:011:14:03

# Bu zhi dao hui bu hui ye you ai qing tian ru mi...

1:14:031:14:09

# Ren sheng ji he neng gou de dao zhi ji

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# Shi qu sheng ming de li liang ye

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# Bu ke xi... #

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HE HUMS A TUNE

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# Ye xu ren shi mou yi ren

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# Guo zhao ping fan de ri zi... #

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

1:16:221:16:25

Documentary which chronicles the staging of the musical Fame by the senior class at China's top drama academy, China's first official collaboration with Broadway. It unfolds as a unique coming-of-age story with Chinese characteristics. Fame is their graduation showcase and much is at stake. During the eight-month process, the students compete for roles, strive to meet the expectations of the American director and prepare to graduate into a cutthroat and corrupt showbusiness.

Part of China's 'single-child' generation, they were spoiled growing up but now feel the pressure of fulfilling the failed dreams of their parents. They must confront complex social realities so different from their parents' generation and in the process of staging Fame, negotiate their own path to success in today's rapidly shifting China.


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