Full Level Bigshot Only Takes the Career Path Chapter 51
Bonus Chapter thanks to Cass!
The time quickly approached the eve of the variety show recording.
This time, Zhao Yao brought Uncle Wang and two bodyguards to H city. The program team had their own guesthouse in the countryside for recording the show, but it was not possible for Zhao Yao to stay with the other guests. Therefore, the program team arranged another nearby farmhouse for him, with excellent environmental conditions.
Upon arrival, the director hurriedly came to welcome them.
The director of “Youxian” was a robust middle-aged man with a very enthusiastic personality. While the bodyguards were carrying Zhao Yao and Uncle Wang’s luggage into the farmhouse, the director warmly invited Zhao Yao to the place where the rest of the crew was staying to have tea, saying, “Mr. Zhao, I’ve heard so much about you.”
Zhao Yao sniffed the fragrance of the tea, which had a special aroma from the local area. “No need to be polite. Just give me a brief overview of the current situation of the project.”
The director had also learned from other sources that this visit from Huihua was for considering further investments. Although he was hired as the director of the project, he had chosen to take on this job because he saw potential in the project. He had put a lot of effort into it during this period, and reducing investment would likely compromise the ideal effect of future episodes.
He explained the overall details of the project to Zhao Yao with great effort, but Zhao Yao only nodded in response.
After listening, Zhao Yao said they would discuss other matters based on the recording situation tomorrow. The director had no choice but to stop temporarily, knowing that being too wordy might cause Zhao Yao’s displeasure. After Zhao Yao left, the crew of the director’s team came up to inquire about the situation. The director said, “Sigh, now we can only see what Mr. Zhao thinks. This type of variety show is not very popular at the moment, not because the guest lineup is not good, but because the audience’s taste has changed dramatically.”
A while later, a staff member rushed over. “Director, the guests’ cars have arrived at the village entrance. Should we start preparing for the recording in advance?”
The director replied, “Yes, let the camera crew get ready. We need to capture the entrance shots when they come into the village.” Then he got up and went to work.
The official recording would take place the next day. After returning to the farmhouse, Zhao Yao went out for a walk with Uncle Wang.
He rarely visited the countryside of H city. The only impression he had was from his childhood playing at his grandfather’s place. However, the villages here were quite different from the places he had been to before. One could say they were located in the far south and the other in the north. But upon entering the village, he could hear the local dialect being spoken, which made him feel a sense of familiarity.
Uncle Wang was from H city, and he was the happiest person to come to the countryside.
As they walked along the road, Uncle Wang talked to him about things in H city. “Speaking of which, Young Master, during your childhood vacations, you always loved to go to the countryside with Madam. She was busy with work back then, and only had time to accompany you for a few days during the holidays.”
“Is that so? I don’t remember it very clearly,” Zhao Yao thought carefully. He couldn’t recall his childhood memories very well. “I was only five or six years old at that time, right?”
“More or less, Young Master. You were still young back then. I remember when you started elementary school, there were many things going on in the group, and Madam couldn’t leave to accompany you to H city. You cried for a long time,” Uncle Wang nostalgically recounted, “You had made plans with your little friends to play together. But it was a special period of time, and security was enhanced at the old residence. The young masters’ movements were restricted, let alone taking you to H city.”
“Is that so?” Zhao Yao paused for a moment. “Did I cry like that?”
Uncle Wang smiled, “Young Master used to cry a lot when you were little. There are quite a few photos of it in the family album. I’ll look for them when we get back.”
Listening to Uncle Wang talking about these things, Zhao Yao had a vague impression, but he didn’t really remember. He had already lived two lifetimes, with so much occupying his mind. The unpleasant things from the previous life were too numerous, and for him, childhood was nearly thirty years ago. He didn’t have time to dwell on those memories.
The air in the countryside is very good, and there are plenty of old houses with a nostalgic feel everywhere. The electric poles were not tall, and clotheslines hung outside each household’s yard.
He walked casually, saying, “It feels quite nice here.”
Unknowingly, they walked near the entrance of the village and saw the vehicles of the director’s team parked outside, with the camera crew already preparing. Uncle Wang curiously asked, “Young Master, is this the recording site?”
Zhao Yao knew that the official recording would take place tomorrow, so at this time, they were probably just capturing some footage to use. “It shouldn’t be the case yet. At this time, it’s probably when the flying guests are arriving.”
There were many staff members near the director, and some of them noticed Zhao Yao standing on the slope with a middle-aged man, so they alerted the director.
“Is that Mr. Zhao?”
“He’s so far away from me, but I feel like I’m being closely watched by a leader.”
“Didn’t some netizens say they worked under Mr. Zhao’s previous project team? Now, roughly speaking, I’ve also worked on Mr. Zhao’s project.”
“I just took a sneak peek, and he’s really handsome. He looks so fair even without makeup.”
“Unbelievable! This handsome guy is actually a domineering CEO. I thought those domineering CEO novels were all deceiving!”
The director listened in on their conversation while also directing the other staff members. This episode featured two celebrity guests, one was a popular young actress invited by the director’s team, and the other was a mysterious guest. TThe first person to arrive was the online influencer, a young actress named Yang Mumu. She had played the lead role in several period dramas and had a good following. After getting off the car, she took out her luggage from the trunk, exuding a youthful vibe. “Wow, the air here is really good.”
The behind-the-scenes of “Youxian” will feature some behind-the-scenes footage of the guests arriving in the village, and this segment is being prepared for that purpose.
Uncle Wang’s sharp eyes caught sight of the girl below and asked Zhao Yao, “Young Master, isn’t she the female lead from the period drama you watched before, ‘My Stunning Lover’?”
Zhao Yao was somewhat surprised by the question, as he didn’t recognize her in modern attire. He took a closer look and realized that she was indeed the same girl.
Zhao Yao had reviewed some project information, but when he obtained the materials, the guests for this episode hadn’t been confirmed yet. He didn’t expect this girl to be among them. While the idol dramas recommended by Yao Bai were outdated, there were several idol dramas featuring Yang Mumu in the drama list recommended by Xiao Ji. He remembered that she acted well in romantic scenes.
A staff member from the director’s team had been assigned to accompany Zhao Yao, so he asked, “Is that girl promoting a new drama?”
The staff member replied, “Are you talking about Yang Mumu? She has a TV drama coming out soon, in which she co-stars with Bai Huan. So, this visit also serves as a promotional opportunity.”
Uncle Wang suddenly realized something and asked privately, “What’s the name of the drama?”
The staff member was a bit puzzled and replied, “It seems to be called ‘Tears of Lovesickness.'”
Why is the boss suddenly interested in this?
Uncle Wang took out his pocket notebook and jotted down the drama’s name. He would remind Young Master to watch it when it premieres.
The staff member didn’t dare to neglect the people around the boss, but couldn’t figure out the connection between the investment and the promotion of the new drama featuring the invited guests. Could it be that the boss’s father doesn’t like Yang Mumu?
As another car approached from a distance, Yang Mumu had already arrived at the guesthouse ahead of time. The camera crew shifted their focus to the incoming vehicle. Zhao Yao stood a bit further away, and the car parked farther from where Yang Mumu’s car was parked. Recognizing a familiar figure, Zhao Yao turned to a staff member and asked, “Who is the guest behind?”
The staff member replied, “Mr. Zhao, it’s Pei Mingzhan.”
Zhao Yao was taken aback. Pei Mingzhan?
When did he accept this variety show?
Apart from the crew members, there were also villagers nearby who came to watch. The itinerary of Pei Mingzhan’s visit was kept confidential, and the program team’s official statement only mentioned a mysterious guest for this recording. Pei Mingzhan had acted in numerous TV dramas and movies and had been in the industry for several years. His fans ranged from young to old, both male and female. Some villagers, upon seeing Pei Mingzhan, were astonished and started asking around, saying, “Isn’t he the award-winning actor from that movie?”
“Did I put on my makeup? I heard that Movie Star Pei was coming, so I purposely woke up early to do my makeup.”
“No need to worry, you look fine. I never expected that our small program would be able to invite a movie star. The investors are amazing.”
“Yeah, I heard he hasn’t taken any other variety show appearances in the past few months. It seems like we’re the only one in his schedule.”
Pei Mingzhan had just received a call from his manager, Brother Lao, in the car. He was accompanied by his assistant, Lele, for this recording, as Brother Lao couldn’t join due to some studio matters. However, throughout the journey, Brother Lao had been calling to give instructions on this and that. Sometimes he would mention being mindful of his words and actions, and other times he would say to avoid going out alone at night.
They had been working together for many years, and these things didn’t require special instructions, but this time, the manager was behaving like a startled grasshopper, giving one instruction after another. Before getting off the car, Pei Mingzhan asked Lele, “Isn’t this program just a simple slow-paced variety show?”
“Yeah…” Lele was a bit confused too, as that’s what the information stated.
But before they left, Brother Lao specifically told Lele to stick closely to Pei Mingzhan and go wherever he went. He said, “Brother Lao is making a big fuss about it. It’s just a variety show. Pei Ge, you’ve participated in other variety shows before, and he never emphasized it like this.”
Pei Mingzhan felt that someone had something fishy in their mind, but it wasn’t important. They would know what the problem was once they arrived at the scene.
The recording location was in the countryside of H City, different from the suburban area where he lived when he was young. The houses here were relatively old and still retained many characteristic old buildings. As soon as he got off the car, Pei Mingzhan saw the shooting location set up by the production team near the entrance of the village, and there were quite a few people gathered in both locations, observing the scene.
Was the recording starting now, or were they filming preliminary footage?
Pei Mingzhan glanced around and quickly noticed someone standing on a slope directly in front of him. The person was wearing loose light-colored casual clothes and was staring straight at him.
Zhao Yao? What is he doing here?
Thinking about Brother Lao’s earnest advice before he left, Pei Mingzhan chuckled slightly and whispered to Lele, “You don’t have to listen to Brother Lao anymore. I’m the one who pays your salary.”
Lele still looked confused. What did he mean?
When Zhao Yao saw Pei Mingzhan, he remembered the incident when they went to the hotel together not long ago. Some things seemed unnatural when he recalled them, and they hadn’t been in contact much these past few days due to Pei Mingzhan’s busy schedule. He didn’t expect him to accept the invitation from Huihua to come on “Youxian.”
In terms of Pei Mingzhan’s status and reputation, participating in this kind of small variety show can be seen as helping out or supporting others. Moreover, he has been relatively inactive in the entertainment industry recently, focusing his work on his own company. It was unexpected for Zhao Yao that Pei Mingzhan would choose to come here.
“Mr. Zhao, how about changing your position to have a better view?” The staff noticed that Mr. Zhao was interested in these early recordings. “Usually, variety shows will film some behind-the-scenes footage to be released later as special episodes on cooperated platforms. The first batch of these special episodes often receives positive feedback from the audience. So, taking advantage of the available time, the director decided to film some behind-the-scenes moments of the newcomers to ‘Youxian’.”
Zhao Yao observed the staff member passing a pocket mic to Pei Mingzhan down below. It was evident that this filming focused on capturing the experience of newcomers in the variety show and revealing some behind-the-scenes stories to the audience. Variety shows have a different format compared to TV dramas. They give a more casual and close-to-life feeling. However, even without a script, there are still behind-the-scenes requirements, making the pre-filming stories interesting for the viewers.
Zhao Yao doesn’t have much impression of “Youxian”. His understanding of it in his previous life was also because of Uncle Wang. However, “Youxian” is a project with great potential for succession, and the accumulated audience base after gaining popularity cannot be ignored. On one hand, its variety show content is indeed suitable for a leisurely lifestyle, and on the other hand, the program team has a relaxed and flexible approach to material presentation.
However, even though he has been here for a while, the program team gives him a different feeling. He has seen some segments of the show, and they do resemble the impression he had of “Youxian”. Looking at the trajectory of events, this project has always been under the name of Huihua. Could it be that Chen Xi later transferred this project to another company because of unsatisfactory profits?
The staff member stood by Zhao Yao’s side, and even though Zhao Yao’s expression didn’t change, it was this lack of expression that made people feel uneasy.
Is this behind-the-scenes filming method not good enough? Will Mr. Zhao think that their program team is wasting funds?
The few of them stood there for a while, and on the other side, they had already started recording Pei Mingzhan entering the guesthouse.
Suddenly, the staff member noticed someone running over in a hurry. It seemed familiar, but for a moment, they couldn’t remember who this person was.
Lele ran over, panting heavily. After catching his breath, he said, “Mr. Zhao, Pei Ge said he’ll come find you after he finishes recording.”
“He can come after he’s done with his recording tasks,” Zhao Yao calmly replied. “How many days are you all here for?”
Lele said, “The program recording will take three days, and after that, Pei Ge will stay in H City for a few more days. Mr. Zhao, do you have any arrangements? I can let Pei Ge know.”
“H City?” Zhao Yao suddenly remembered that Pei Mingzhan is from H City, so he should be returning home for a while. “No problem, let him focus on his tasks for now.”
“Do we have anything else to do after this recording?” Zhao Yao asked the staff member.
The staff member hurriedly replied, “After this segment is recorded, there’s nothing else to do. The official recording will take place tomorrow.”
After entering the guesthouse, Pei Mingzhan saw the several regular MCs of “Youxian”. After exchanging greetings, the program crew recorded a few additional shots. The remaining task was to go upstairs and check the rooms.
“Pei Ge, the director said they want to add an entrance shot, which might be included in the final cut,” a staff member approached him and explained the content. “The main content will be filmed tomorrow. We’ll start the official recording in the morning.”
Pei Mingzhan understood the program crew’s arrangements. “Okay, just let me know if there’s anything in advance.”
The staff member breathed a sigh of relief. The sudden appearance of a big star like Movie Emperor Pei brought a heightened level of enthusiasm to the entire program crew. Besides Movei Emperor Pei, there was also Mr. Zhao keeping an eye on them, adding more pressure to this episode’s recording.
Pei Mingzhan noticed that Mr. Zhao from Huihua was here, so he asked, “I just saw Mr. Zhao from Huihua. Is he one of the guests for this episode?”
“No,” the staff member explained, “Mr. Zhao came for an inspection. He’s not participating in the recording for this episode.”
It wouldn’t be feasible for Mr. Zhao to participate in the recording. If any negative news were to come out, it would reflect poorly on them. Although their editing team doesn’t engage in any shady practices, the power of netizens’ discussions should not be underestimated. They often nitpick and find faults in every aspect.
Mr. Zhao also had a significant online presence, but the crew understood that his status and identity were on a different level compared to ordinary internet celebrities. The subsequent public relations pressure was also different. In the past, there were a few fans who sneaked into the village to take secret photos, but because of Mr. Zhao’s presence, the program crew had hired bodyguards who were already stationed around the farmhouse.
“So that’s how it is,” Pei Mingzhan suddenly realized. No wonder his Brother Lao didn’t mention Zhao Yao’s name in the guest list. But with his agent’s reaction, it seemed that he was aware in advance of Zhao Yao’s presence on set. Otherwise, there would be no need for repeated instructions.
Zhao Yao didn’t go inside the guesthouse to assess the situation. He decided to wait for the official recording tomorrow. He received the overall schedule from the crew for this episode and learned that they would have to wake up early to go to the local market to buy groceries such as vegetables.
“There’s a local market in the village, but it’s quite far away,” Uncle Wang also had a copy of the schedule and was reading it. He asked, “Young Master, would you like to try some rural dishes from H City? I’m also going to the market tomorrow to buy fresh ingredients.”
Zhao Yao suddenly became interested. The pace of life here was different from that of the city. Coming here seemed to slow down his whole being. “I’ll go with you tomorrow to see. I’ve never seen an early morning market before.”
Uncle Wang smiled at the suggestion. “Sure, we’ll go together tomorrow morning.”
Zhao Yao’s recent changes were noticeable. Uncle Wang still remembered a few months ago when the young master woke up from the car accident with impatience in his eyes. He also remembered the exhaustion on his face when he returned home late at night after working overtime. At that time, the small living room at home was filled with empty beer cans, and there were papers with black words scattered around. The young master often made serious phone calls to his subordinates.
If it were in the past, the young master would never waste time watching TV at home. He would work overtime and stay up late, fully dedicated to his work. For him, the greatest joy came from achieving excellent results in projects. However, now the young master has reduced his working hours and even chosen to let go and entrust work issues to capable subordinates. It’s as if he has changed completely since the Qiuchen project.
At the beginning, Uncle Wang was somewhat unaccustomed and thought that the young master had other plans due to issues within the group. But as he saw the changes in the young master’s daily routine and his increasing focus on his health, he realized that the young master had truly changed his previous mindset. This change was good, but the more good it was, the more it pained Uncle Wang.
Everyone has a competitive spirit, and in the Zhao family’s environment, the young master knew from a young age that without striving, there would be no bright future.
The family’s wealth would not be left to someone unprepared, and those who were eliminated would always face ridicule and mockery from others. The more power and wealth one had, the greedier one would become. But now the young master had changed. He had started living his own life instead of being immersed in endless work.
“The rural cuisine in H City has already been tasted by the young master. The dishes brought by Mr. Pei are the flavors of the countryside,” Uncle Wang carefully introduced the different cooking methods from different areas of H City. Even though they were just a few simple ingredients, there were several ways to prepare them in H City.
Suddenly, Zhao Yao thought of the dishes made by Pei Mingzhan. “Are those dishes from my maternal grandfather’s side? The taste reminds me of what my mother used to cook.”
“Yes, the food here might be a bit saltier,” Uncle Wang replied.
Zhao Yao paused for a moment and said, “I see.”
In the evening, the TV in the guesthouse was playing the drama series that Zhao Yao had recently started watching. Next door, the guests of the production team were having a small gathering. The director’s team had invited Zhao Yao, but he didn’t particularly enjoy such occasions, so he politely declined. As a result, the director thought that they had done something wrong and personally came to apologize. It was only after Uncle Wang explained the situation that the director left with relief.
“Young Master,” Uncle Wang brought the usual warm water along with some medicine tablets, “You need to rest early tonight since we have to wake up early tomorrow.”
“Okay.” Zhao Yao’s sleep quality had improved recently. He thought he was gradually getting better, but it would still take some time for the effects of the medication to fully kick in. Speaking of the best night’s sleep he had recently, it was the night he went out with Pei Mingzhan. He thought that perhaps his body was tired, which allowed him to sleep well.
This contradicted his previous situation, as he was the type who became more energetic the more he worked. However, the recent events with the live streaming platform didn’t throw his schedule off track. On the contrary, there was a tendency for improvement, and his sleep quality was gradually getting better. He had mentioned this to his psychologist, who asked if there were any other significant events during this period. The psychologist mentioned that changes in daily life and mindset could affect one’s approach to handling things, so perhaps that was a contributing factor.
Zhao Yao carefully thought about it, but there weren’t many changes except for one unexpected factor, Pei Mingzhan.
The live streaming platform was initially connected through Pei Mingzhan, but Pei Mingzhan seemed to care about his working hours. Occasionally, when they had calls late at night to discuss plans, Pei Mingzhan would divert the conversation and reduce the focus on work. Sometimes, he would even talk about entertainment industry gossip to lighten the mood. Over time, whenever it reached a certain time, Zhao Yao would think it was time to sleep, and he had gotten used to Pei Mingzhan’s occasional bedtime phone calls.
Was this related to Pei Mingzhan?
Zhao Yao couldn’t understand.
Chen Xi sent him the project status report for the new quarter, and Zhao Yao quickly glanced through it. The return on investment was higher than the target value, so he replied to Chen Xi with an “[OK]” and then closed WeChat to browse Weibo.
On the other side, Chen Xi was about to leave work when he saw Zhao Yao’s reply. He eagerly opened it, but when he saw the “[OK]” emoji expression, he paused for a moment and then asked his secretary, “Our performance this month is better than last month, right?”
The secretary knew which data he was referring to and replied, “It’s a few percentage points higher.”
Chen Xi looked at the chat content with a worried expression. “Why does Zhao Yao use this emoji when the performance is average? And even when the performance improves, he still uses the same emoji.” Wouldn’t Zhao Yao have some emotional fluctuations? Like using a different emoji or saying something else. This made him very uneasy.
Recently, there hasn’t been any news about Zhao Yao’s schedule. Fans have been making various emojis using the dinner picture they snagged from actor Pei. The official Weibo account of Huihua has been bombarded with messages. Finally, with the permission of the management, they posted a very formal and concise work summary Weibo for the quarterly meeting of Huihua. The only difference was that the picture included Zhao Yao’s figure.
【After urging you for so long, you’ve finally made some progress!】
【Zhao Yao, who works diligently, is so handsome! Suit-wearing Zhao Yao will always be my favorite!】
【You can ask the boss for a chicken leg. Give us more next time!】
【I never thought that one day I would seriously read a work summary that is less than a hundred words…】
【Just the thought of Zhao Yao’s contribution in this work summary makes me, a fan of this industry, very happy!】
The staff of the Huihua official account tearfully watched the increasing number of comments and likes, thinking that on a day when there were three other artists’ Weibo posts, a work summary would be more effective. This photo was carefully selected from dozens of pictures to showcase Zhao Yao’s positive image in the Weibo post.
The gathering here is lively because we have a recording tomorrow. During dinner, everyone is just drinking some beer. The guests at the table noticed that Pei Mingzhan was the first to leave and curiously asked the director’s team, “I was shocked when I heard that Pei Mingzhan was invited. How did they manage to get him? I heard that his studio no longer accepts variety show appearances.”
The director was also puzzled but proudly said, “It’s all because Huihua has connections. I heard that Actor Pei has a good relationship with Huihua, so this time we specifically chose our show for him.”
Resident guest Dai Ge became curious and asked, “Why didn’t Mr. Zhao come tonight? I heard that Actor Pei and Mr. Zhao have a good relationship!”
“I even saw them trending together not long ago,” another guest chimed in. “Do you think Actor Pei came here because of Mr. Zhao’s face? In the afternoon, I saw Actor Pei’s assistant go to Mr. Zhao’s side, but Mr. Zhao didn’t stay for long…”
Though not explicitly stated, they all felt that the relationship between the two was somewhat complicated.
“Mr. Zhao just arrived here today, and he must be tired from the journey,” the director, who is also sharp-minded, said. “Let’s focus on the meal. We have to trouble everyone to work hard tomorrow as well…”
In the evening, there were many interesting posts on Weibo. As soon as Pei Mingzhan stepped out of the guesthouse where the dinner was held, he received a notification on his phone about an update from an account he specifically followed. He opened it and saw that Zhao Yao’s secondary account, which he had been following recently, had posted two Weibo updates. One was a repost of a financial news article, and the other was a repost of a motivational quote from an anonymous user.
He quickly liked both of the Weibo posts and then looked up to see the guesthouse where Zhao Yao was staying.
The wind was strong in the countryside at night, and Zhao Yao felt a bit cold. He walked over to close the window.
Just as he reached the window, he saw Pei Mingzhan entering the courtyard, and their eyes met.
Pei Mingzhan smiled slightly and raised his voice, asking, “Would you like to go for a walk?”
Chen Xi: I’m quite anxious. I feel like I haven’t done well enough.
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