When he got downstairs Luo Ding realized that the apartment in which he lived was a bachelor apartment. He briefly reviewed his memories only to recall that these were the accommodations rented by Yaxing Studio for its artists.
The founder of Yaxing Studio, Gu Yaxing, was once a famous movie star in China. While at the peak of his career he had a falling out with his brokerage company and took advantage of the split to open a modest studio.
Most of the company’s artists were selected from various domestic and foreign talent shows through which even ordinary people with excellent external qualities could be unearthed by scouts. However, the chance of this happening was increasingly rare in today’s mature entertainment industry.
Coincidentally, Luo Ding was one of the few artists to be discovered in this manner.
Luo Ding was raised in an orphanage without parents. After graduating high school at the age of eighteen, he left the orphanage, but did not pursue his studies and worked in a coffee shop to cover his living expenses . Because of his good looks, he was discovered and signed by a scout from Yaxing as a print model.
Subsequently, Su Sheng Bai was selected and signed to the company by Gu Yaxing himself after standing out in a singing competition . At that time, Gu Yaxing’s career was at rock bottom and he urgently needed artists that could quickly gain popularity to revitalize Yaxing Studio. As Luo Ding had the best visual appearance he was conveniently arranged to debut together with Su Sheng Bai.
In fact, Luo Ding’s personality was not suitable for entertainment and there were signs of his depression from the very beginning. With both in the same group, Su Sheng Bai’s cute and lovely persona stood in stark contrast to Luo Ding’s silent personality. In this manner, Su Sheng Bai gradually gained popularity while Luo Ding, who received no other work, was merely used as a foil. He only needed to sit blankly by Su Sheng Bai’s side to solidify his image as “sullen and taciturn”.
Everyone, including the audience, was aware that the duo’s image was merely a front, nevertheless, different attributes have different audiences. Though the duo was not popular together they nevertheless each gained a fandom. There were fans of Su Sheng Bai’s fresh and clean temperament while Luo Ding’s solitary arrogance also had its audience.
It was perhaps because the studio was strict in managing the duo’s external relationships, or because the two worked closely together for a long time, or because both had the same sexual preferences or perhaps to relieve loneliness, but Luo Ding and Su Sheng Bai developed a relationship. As a result of this relationship the symptoms of Luo Ding’s depression gradually eased. With this tacit understanding between the two their performances improved and the originally tepid duo gradually gain some popularity.
Subsequently, Su Sheng Bai met Cao Dingkun. Su Sheng Bai’s inevitable departure and his lack of hesitation in breaking up with Luo Ding dealt the latter a heavy blow. The symptoms of depression that had eased, suddenly worsened, and even Luo Ding’s prescribed medication failed to achieve any effect. This down spiral left him vulnerable and easily taken advantage of.
In the car, Luo Ding lowered the brim of his hat and borrowed Wu Fang Yuan ‘s cell phone.
It was May 2nd today and ten days had passed since his death. Luo Ding calmly angled his body into a position where Wu Fang Yuan could not see the phone screen, opened Weibo and searched the words “Cao Ding Kun”.
Then, he chuckled dully.
The news of his death had gone viral on Weibo. Any random post opened showed various angles of his mangled and burnt car. Various familiar and unfamiliar users had forwarded posts of candles paired with a sentimental eulogy. He navigated onto the pages of the popular Weibo posts, one of which was Su Sheng Bai’s.
He had no inclination to read that fake post, neither did he expect Su Sheng Bai to stop associating with his name. Su Sheng Bai was not an impulsive person. If he dared to drive and knock him down a cliff, he would have the confidence to not be implicated by his actions. Not to mention that his car had fallen from such a high mountain cliff, with the explosion Luo Ding heard shortly before his death, it would be strange for anyone to discover the cause of the accident.
Silently deleting the browsing history, he began to look at the Weibo page that Wu Fang Yuan managed on his behalf. For a celebrity of his caliber to have only 30,000 fans on Weibo was really pitiful. Further, the contents of the posts were very boring. There was nothing more than photos of Luo Ding taken by Wu Fang Yuan during filming. In most of these photos, Luo Ding stared directly into the camera, deadpan, his eyes gloomy and distant.
This casting call was for a documentary style TV Drama which was to be filmed by the highest rated Chinese TV station in China. The series was to be jointly produced by CCTV’s senior documentary director, Zheng Ke Zhen and Deng Jian Lian, a director who specialized in producing historical dramas. As the tentative casting for the male and female lead were the popular Wu Yuan and Pan Yiyi respectively, the series, with its strong line up, had the potential to draw in a huge audience after broadcast.
The series was an adaptation of an ancient historical novel. From the rise and fall of the empire to the intrigues of the imperial harem, the novel covered it all. It was by no means easy for a drama to distill the essence of a historical novel of this nature. However, done successfully, the response to the drama would be unprecedented. As such, the station’s heavy investment in this drama was for no other reason than clinching high domestic TV ratings. To this end, the station will employ all its resources to ensure that the drama was perfect. For all the actors who had the honor of participating in this drama, this was good news.
Those who were well-informed had used their network to catch wind of the auditions before the news of casting call spread. In recent years, with the decline of the domestic TV drama industry, good scripts were a rarity, as such a situation where there were too many monks and not enough gruel had resulted in industry seniors and juniors tussling over choice roles that could help them jump to a higher level in the industry. This drama was therefore a very rare opportunity.
For a long time, Luo Ding had not paid attention to news from the drama industry, but he had read the original novel before and while the language it was written in was archaic and convoluted, the story’s unconventional descriptiveness was very popular. After having read the novel over and over, more than a dozen times, he had thought that if ever the novel was adapted to film, he would act in it even if he had to do it for free. But Alas, the differences between the audience for film and TV dramas were too big after all. A script of this nature was not destined to be a box office hit and could only be adapted for TV. Too bad.
Such a good drama will naturally attract countless celebrities, as such, Wu Fang Yuan obviously did not even think about the possibility that Luo Ding will be selected. From the moment they got onboard the vehicle, he urged Luo Ding to network with more popular actors at the audition. After all, an actor must introduce himself and show his face. If Luo Ding wanted to go further in the entertainment circle, networking could not be ignored. Yaxing Studio’s resources were too limited and an artist of Luo Ding’s popularity was naturally assigned very little. Thus, if he wanted to continue in this circle he had to show his abilities.
The venue for the audition was crowded. While there were quite a few newcomers, a large number of attendees were experienced. There were countless handsome men and women sizing each other up. Some were already well-known artists hiding their annoyed faces behind sunglasses and others were assistants standing in a corner seeming to disdain being associated with newcomers. However, no matter their status and identity, in this place, they could only be the most ordinary people. The crowd outside couldn’t stop whispering as they watched fellow participants in the audition come out of the glass door with faces full of excitement or disappointment.
Luo Ding, who had lowered the brim of his hat to almost cover his entire face, was not particularly noticeable in the crowd. Although, his relaxed behavior had attracted some curious eyes, after seeing Wu Fang Yuan’s yellow hair behind him and not recognizing who he was, most people lost interest and no longer paid him any attention. The audition was lively but tense and regardless of age all attendees were caught up in the atmosphere.
Wu Fang Yuan stood on his tiptoes, as if looking for someone, and suddenly cried in a low voice while pulling Luo Ding to squeeze through the crowd: “Yang Ge and the others are over there!”
Luo Ding stared blankly at Wu Fang Yuan who was holding his hand, and after thinking it over did not let go.
His agent, Yang Kang Ding was a man of about forty years of age. He sported a pair of black-rimmed glasses which, on his square face and small eyes, did not look very good. When he looked up and saw Luo Ding and Wu Fang Yuan approaching from a distance, he glared and said, ” What time is it now?… Did you two not know that you had to be here?!!! “
” Yang Ge! Yang Ge, Sorry! …” Wu Fang Yuan moved past Luo Ding to Yang Kang Ding’s side, touching him by the arm and saying with a smile, “Ah Ding’s mobile phone broke down, and he felt unwell, though we are a little late, we made it on time after all, didn’t we?”
Yang Kang Ding avoided Wu Fang Yuan’s touch with disgust, angrily glancing up and down at Luo Ding, and for a moment, he was stunned.
Luo Ding had put his hands in his pockets and slightly tilted his head to meet his eyes with a strange expression on his face. Although he was only wearing simple casual clothes, his entire being looked very different from before though Yang Kang Ding could not tell why. The thought of reprimanding Luo Ding slowly receded. After hesitating for a moment, he just glared at Luo Ding, and then turned around to continue talking to Hu Xiao.
Luo Ding only glanced at Yang Kang Ding and paid him no mind. This was a man who only responded to benefits. In the limited memories of the body’s original owner, Yang Kang Ding image was unpleasant. Perhaps, he was probably also aware of the weaknesses and the lack of future of his body’s original owner. Thus, Yang Kang Ding had pushed Wu Fang Yuan, a mere assistant, to do most of the work that he should have done and had solely devoted himself to taking care of Hu Xiao, who showed more potential. Just like that, Hu Xiao had become Yang Kang Ding’s ticket to success and it was unknown how tightly he planned on grabbing his thighs.
Hu Xiao impatiently shook the audition script Yang Kang Ding had forgotten to collect from him. After seeing Wu Fang Yuan come over with Luo Ding, he rolled his eyes: “Those who are full know very well that they can’t run. “
Because of the background noise at the scene, what he said was not particularly loud, nevertheless Luo Ding heard it and gave him a sharp glance.
His gaze landed squarely on the crumpled paper in Hu Xiao’s hand and the character’s name immediately caught his attention.
The look in his eyes softened and he didn’t know whether or not to smile. What should I do? In his memory, the relationship between Hu Xiao and the original owner of this body was not very good. It seemed that this time revenge would be a certainty.
Initially Hu Xiao was distracted after meeting Luo Ding’s eyes but after thinking that the other party had not understood his ridicule, he started to frown. When he looked back, he saw that Luo Ding’s face was wreathed with a smile, the subtle radiance inexplicably further softening the originally excellent facial features. The burst of anger, which was halted for a moment, was suddenly doused with cold water and immediately put out.
“… hum.” He sighed to himself.
Zheng Ke Zhen and Deng Jian Lian were not young and did not have the impatience of emerging directors. They had become calm and experienced over the years. However, Ke Rao was not the same. After watching the audition performances, which could only be described as hellish, for more than four hours, he couldn’t help sighing.
Shaking the bell to signal to the auditioning actor to stop his performance, Zheng Ke Zhen rubbed his forehead hard to ease his fatigue. Deng Jian patted him on the shoulder: “This is the last one from this group.”
Zheng Ke Zhen shook his head: “Is there still another group? When is this day going to end? I just need someone who can act? How can it be so difficult!”
“Have the capable ones have all joined the film industry?” Deng Jian also had no more to say about the deformed market that was the industry today. Once they enter the film industry, very few artists were willing to return to the small screen. The TV drama circle was akin to an awkward school that could not retain its trained teachers.
If this was an ordinary director, he would helplessly compromise after seeing the prospects, but these two elderly people had devoted their lives to their art, and really did not want to smash their own signboards. Thus, no matter how hard the process was and how tired they were, they still maintained their bottom line.
“The next group!” Zheng Ke Zhen sipped his tea and pushed himself to shout at the assistant, turning his head to look at the door hopelessly.
The door opened slowly, and a large group of tall men and women came through the doorway.
Zheng Ke Zhen frowned slightly, staring at the crowd for a long while and then suddenly nudged Deng Jian Lian.
“What’s wrong?” Deng Jian Lian asked.
Zheng Ke Zhen pouted in the direction of the doorway: “Look at that the guy in the white shirt, look!”
 Ruin their own work by hiring mediocre talent