It is not Beijing here. There is no portrait of MaoZedong hanging on the front gate of the imitative Forbidden City. People here used to be idealists who advocated serving the people wholeheartedly in the Mao's age, but now they have become pursuers of fame and money. It is Hengdian World Studios, the biggest film and television base in Asia which is claimed as "Chinese Hollywood".
In 2014, Hengdian attracted up to thirteen million tourists, more than one hundred and fifty teleplay groups, about 300 thousands figurants work for the film and television shooting. Fifteen entertainment companies are to be listed. At least 42 thousand movies and television plays have been produced here, which takes up one quarter of the output of Chinese movies and television plays.
"We will surpass Hollywood!" Xu Wenrong said, the founder of Hengdian group, but he was once an ordinary farmer in Hengdian.
Thousands of young dreamers pursue here. Most of them are also from rural families with modest means and low education backgrounds but have to struggle into the society although they're still minors. As a figurant, the income of a day is less than 80 yuan. In spite of the cruel survival environment and the narrow development space, what rose before them is the great prospect of rising to fame overnight and gaining both fame and fortune.
Xu Jun, a 24-year-old guy, comes from Jiujiang, Jiangxi. To be acknowledged as a director, he has been making a living away from home since he was 13 years old and he writes plays, and looks for investors by himself. He has to struggle to deal with the relationship between the actors and the investors due to embarrassing shortage of money. Liu Sihan, a 26-year-old guy, is from Changsha, Hunan. Because of an untrue media hype about transsexual, Liu Sihan suffered from an unexpected setback as a model. Having been helpless, she has to change her name and works as a bottom-most actress in Hengdian with a hope that she can marry a rich husband, and live abroad in the future. To get away from his past friends and to make money for a better life, Yu Changqing, a 21-year-old guy from Anqing, Anhui, came all the way from Dongguan to Hengdian after the rehabilitation. He works as a leader in an acrobatic team. But soon he finds out that it's not an easy job as what he used to imagine.
Inside the Forbidden City, there is a merry scene of peace and prosperity with tourists flooding in and out. Push the red gate of the Palace and you can see power, fortune, and beauty. Outside the imitative Forbidden City, people have enormous difficulty in even making a living. Desires, anxieties, and confusions can be seen on those young faces. They strive for fame and success, but can only wander outside the gate. Repeated restlessness and craziness can be seen here.