The Unique Leadership in a Unique Industry

Mentee: Cheryle Zhu, Ryan ZHANG  
Mentor: Lv Chao, General Manager and Deputy Director of Eastmovie Channel,  
Shanghai Film Group & Emperor Group Culture Development Co., Ltd.

My mentor Lv Chao is General Manager of Shanghai Film Group & Emperor Group Culture Development Co.,Ltd. He is the producer of several large TV series, such as "Drawing Sword", "Blue File" and "Who Understand My Heart". With a long stay in the cultural industry, he has the qualities of both the “cultural man" and “business leader". Through a mutual selection, Yi-Fan Zhang and I were luckily elected by Lv Chao eventually in the matching.

Although we got his contact information from the school in advance, we didn’t contact him till the launch ceremony of Mentoring Program, considering that he must be very busy and wouldn’t want to be disturbed. The first meeting was very enjoyable and informative for us. Mr. Lv was very voluble and humorous. He shared with us the experience he accumulated in the cultural industry, especially in the fields he was familiar with, such as the production of TV series, the movie & television marketing and etc. He was also extremely patient to answer many questions raised by laymen like us, unveiling the mystery of this industry to us. A couple of hours elapsed and we had to end the first pleasant conversation unwillingly.

Later, we were honored to be invited by Mr. Lv to attend the press conference of “The Myth” TV series in Beijing, which was adapted from a famous movie acted by Jackie Chan. Editorial directors from various TV stations, the press journalists and movie stars thronged the conference venue. That was the first time for us to experience a TV series promotion event. Though it involved a complicated process and numerous participants, the whole event was carried out in an orderly way, which required cautious and deliberate preparation in advance. On the basis of a smooth process, the cultural connotation of the work was highlighted and interpreted in an unusual way, so as to attract more attention and discussion. There were two climaxes in the event. First of all, Jackie Chan presented his armor which he used in the movie “The Myth” as a gift to the actor Ge Hu, the hero in the TV series. This “armor presentation ceremony” was played up in major media reports. The company then announced that the heroine would be selected nationwide, which secured the long-lasting influence of this TV series across the country. From Mr.Lv, We’ve learnt a lot about this industry. Firstly, the preliminary works of a TV drama involve large-scale promotion (e.g. the press conference) through various media to attract enough attention from the audience. Secondly, during the whole process of TV series production, we need to keep the attention of audience and maintain a certain degree of exposure, and involve more people in the episode interaction. We can take the advantage of the BBS online and entertainment news, and even create topics through event marketing. Thirdly, in cooperation with television stations at later stage, it is necessary to align with stakeholders and try to attract the most attention before the play is released to the general public via the prevue and other ways.

At the year end, Mr. Lv warmly invited us to attend the annual review meeting of his company. With this chance, I got to know most of the mainstay people in his company, and formed a rough picture about the company milestones last year, as well as their business model. What impressed me most was that instead of summarizing their own achievements at the meeting, every employee was elaborating on the mistakes they made during the year, as well as the improvements they expect themselves to make in next year. Their outstanding achievements, however, often came from the evaluation made by others. Following the self-evaluation of every employee, Mr. Lv would give his comment to encourage or recognize the employee. Even he had to say some criticism words, he would imply some directions. It showed that Mr. Lv not only provided his experience unreservedly to his staff but also guided them personally in daily work. After listening to the self-criticism made by several people, he said, "Don’t worry about making mistakes, but try to avoid the same mistake next time. Some mistakes are acceptable in your work, but don’t make them again.” In fact, I was very envious of these people because they had such a good leader. It was really a precious opportunity for them. At the end of the meeting, I also acted as a notary to the "Annual Excellent Employee" vote. Although I was not one of them, through the whole day meeting and communication with them, I felt that this company was just like a fleet in sailing. With the guidance of the great pilot, people were making joint effort for the realization of a common dream.