Few months ago I have been doing some location scouting in Hong Kong. This time I went to Shanghai to set up a production. I wouldn’t say I am an expert of Asia but I start to know better this part of the world and to be honest I like it!
First of all, to go to China you need a Visa. It is not complicated to get it but don’t send your request a week before your departure. It could happen to you what happened to me: they gave me the visa the day after I had to leave!! So, I had to switch my departure date. If you go to China on business, you need an invitation from a Chinese company. By the way, to go to Hong Kong you don’t need Visa.
Shanghai is very impressive. It is a huge city with more than 23 millions of inhabitants.
I unfortunately didn’t have time to go all around the city, as I did in Hong Kong (click to see some Hong Kong views), as I have been busy fixing the last details for this shooting the first day and shooting the 2 next days. This shooting was for a European golf brand called Inesis.
As for Inesis, a lot of brands, and every year more and more, want their part of the Chinese cake. China is a tough market! For a luxury brands trying to develop its business in China, there is no need to shoot the image campaign with Chinese models. Check out this wonderful book about Luxury China: Market Opportunities and Potentials.
For retail brands it is quite different: if you want to sell retail goods to Chinese people, they have to identify themselves to the products. Retail brands have to communicate with Chinese models or people if they want to have a chance to be successful in China. Aware of this parameter, Inesis shot its first images in China with Chinese people.
Thursday was the first day of production. Nothing better than to wake up with a blue sky when you have to shoot golf palyers at a golf course! We have been to a 36 holes golf course located in Shanghai. By the way, located in Shanghai doesn’t mean it is close to the city center: it was about one and half hour from the city center.
Same wonderful weather on Friday. For the second day of production we have been to a practice golf also located in Shanghai.
On our way back I tried to take some pictures of this crazy city but it is not always easy from the van!!
On Saturday, Sharon, my production manager in Shanghai, kindly showed me some nice areas of Shanghai to make me understand the contrast between the old and the modern city. During this wonderful day I asked her about Shanghai, productions and why European clients have to come to China for their shootings.
[question]Hi Sharon, Tell us about you?[/question]
[answer]I am the Producer and Manager of a full service production company based in Shanghai, China. We specialize in producing photo and video projects in China, including some Asian cities, such as Hongkong and Taiwan .
We offer services of production for advertising, fashion, editorial, and stock photography , video projects and tv commercials.
Our team has a good understanding and rich working experience of both western culture and Chinese market.
I went to the University FuDan and got my Master Degree of Social Science there. I have been working for Shanghai Central Government as my first job, then I quitted the job, joined a multinational company in IT field before I started working as a Producer.[/answer]
[question]How long have you been working as a PM?[/question]
[answer]I started working as a Production Manager since 2005, did jobs as fashion stylist and manager at the beginning, then , switched to producer job. Now I handle the whole production for photo and video project.[/answer]
[question]What kind of productions do you set up?[/question]
[answer]We provide full services, handling pre-production, production, post-production, models casting and location scouting , talent booking, and all the related services including arranging business visa, airport pick up, hotels, transportation, food etc.
We also offer graphic design, re-touching, catalogue and book printing in China.[/answer]
[question]What kind of foreign clients are coming to Shanghai?[/question]
[answer]Based on my experience, clients who come to China to shoot are : Ad agencies, big international clients such as Adidas, UPS….. photographers , fashion magazines, travel magazines. TV stations. ..[/answer]
[question]What is the best period to come to Shanghai for a shooting?[/question]
[answer]The best season to shoot in shanghai outdoor is Spring and Autumn season,
from March to June, then September to November. If shooting indoor, then it really does not matter for seasons. The services are very convenient in Shanghai. Offices open from 9 to 6 every day, and stores open from 10am to 10pm every day including holiday and weekends. So it is really a international city.[/answer]
[question]What are the main differences between Shanghai, Hong Kong & Beijing for a shooting?[/question]
[answer]These 3 cities are all major cities for commercial shootings. But each of them has its own unique style. Beijing is more about cultural environment, more of Chinese culture. Shanghai has the most amazing architectures and more of financial center, it is mixed culture of Chinese and Western . Hong kong is very European style , the China culture there is limited to the southern China features, since it is very close to Guangdong Province.[/answer]
[question]In Shanghai there are a lot of nice locations, monuments and historical sites, you even have now the biggest port of the world. Is it possible to shoot or film everywhere in Shanghai?[/question]
[answer]As you also understand, you will need to arrange the shooting with the owners of each particular location if it is private owned places. For public areas, you do not need particular permits to shoot photography , but for video and big shooting projects , even shooting in public areas, I still suggest to apply for some kind of permits or to register in related government office first, because it might cause big crowd or traffic jam , then you might be asked to stop the shooting.[/answer]
[question]Are there good stylists, hair & make-up and production crew in Shanghai?[/question]
[answer]Yes. Both Chinese and overseas artists live in Shanghai. You can choose to work with local ones and artists from some other countries depends on your project.[/answer]
[question]Are there a lot of models agencies?[/question]
[answer]Yes, there are some.[/answer]
[question]What about the traffic jam, is it easy to go from a location to another one?[/question]
[answer]It can be bad during the rush hours. So best to start early before the rush hour if you have tight schedule.[/answer]
[question]Can we find nice beaches in Shanghai?[/question]
[answer]Not really . there is one beach nearby , it is called Jin Shan Beach , but it is not the best of what we have seen in some other cities.[/answer]
[question]Is it expensive to travel from Shanghai to Beijing or to Hong Kong? How long does it take?[/question]
[answer]The price of air tickets is reasonable from one place to another place in China. It takes about 2 hours from Shanghai to Beijing , and 2 and half hour from Shanghai to Hongkong.[/answer]
[question]What is your favorite food? What is your favorite place in Shanghai for diner?[/question]
[answer]You can eat food from lots of different countries in Shanghai since it is really a mixed city , people from everywhere in the world live here.
I still like Chinese food the best. There are many great Chinese restaurants. I would go to a restaurant called XIAO NAN GUO for a nice dinner , they serve the best Shanghai style food.[/answer]
[question]How do you see Shanghai within 5 years?[/question]
[answer]It grows really fast in Shanghai in every industry . For the coming next 5 years, it will grow and develop more. There will be more and more foreign companies, agencies and talents come to Shanghai. The production services will be more developed and professional.[/answer]
[question]Something you would like to change of Shanghai?[/question]
[answer]Simple. Too many people..:)[/answer]
[question]What ambition have you not achieved yet?[/question]
[answer]We have worked with so many clients ( companies , agencies, independent photographers, producers and other kind of artists) from all over the world. I enjoyed working with people from different culture. It is a great accomplishment to be able to help clients to set up things and have a smooth and successful photo or video shoot in China. I will want to continue what we have been doing, and looking forward to more and different wonderful shooting experiences.[/answer]
[question]What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?[/question]
[answer]We would like to have more and more opportunities to produce shooting projects outside China and Asia , especially in European and American market. There will be more and more Chinese clients want to go outside China for their shootings.[/answer]
It has been a wonderful stay in Shanghai. I spent few days with an amazing team. People from Inesis, the models, Sharon and Nico. I hope I will go back to Shanghai as soon as possible on Business or on vacation.
If you want more information to set up a production in China, feel free to send me an email @GregRoss