Chapter 97

Full Level Bigshot Only Takes the Career Path Chapter 97


Only a small number of fans are discussing about Pei Mingzhan being sweet and naive. Majority of the fans are talking about the kite photos that surfaced. Mainly because the set of photos were really beautiful. It was the first time both Pei and Zhao fans seeing such photos.

Although Pei Mingzhan has previously been featured in numerous magazine spreads, because of his physical attributes and personality, most of these images portrayed him in a mature light. Pei fans rarely saw him in a youthful and energetic light like this. Even though the kite picture presented a distant view, the slightly younger attire and the childlike joy of flying kites directly revealed another side of this man to his fans.

In addition, there’s Zhao Yao. In the eyes of Zhao fans, he has always been perceived as a man who seldom smiles, often wearing a cold expression in early candid shots. Regardless of the angle, he looks cool and aloof. When these pictures surfaced of him traveling with Pei Mingzhan, he rarely showed a smile. But in this set of pictures, through the composition of the scenes and the elements presented, both individuals appear carefree like children, offering a stark contrast to the impressions from their other photos.

【I used to think it was a pity in the industry that Pei Mingzhan didn’t play the refined gentle scum villain. Now, I believe it’s an even greater regret that he didn’t returned to play a high school student.】

【If you think about it, Old Pei has been in the industry for quite some time, but isn’t he still not even thirty!】

【They say a man at thirty is a flower in full bloom. Damn it, why did he have to leave the entertainment circle? Sob, sob, sob.】

【I’ve looked at this set of pictures so many times. tI really envy their relationship!】

【I noticed that ever since Old Pei got to know Zhao Zong, he seems to have become more lively. Back in the day, when he was filming, there weren’t so many life materials. Even hot searches were tightly controlled by the studio, unlike now, where he’s easily on hot searchesd.】

In the small circle Zhao and Pei fans, Pei-Zhao CP fans had an early celebration because of this set of pictures. As CP fans, they don’t view things as superficially as other fans. Early on, when some enthusiasts compiled evidence of the duo’s inadvertent expressions of CP vibes during their outings and the sweet moments caught in between, CP fans couldn’t handle it anymore.

【Believe it or not, I never thought I could have so much candy before.】

【Isn’t this set of pictures like honeymoon photos!! I can practically feel the overwhelming sweetness in those photos!】

【Damn, if you haven’t seen the crucial detail in the blurry picture on the pedestrian street, let me tell you, Pei Ge is pulling Xiao Zhao along, pulling! Yes, pulling!】

【Why do some people think they share a pure brotherly bond? I’ve shipped so many couples, but I’ve never seen sugar being delivered so diligently!】

【And then there’s Pei Ge’s studio. In the past, any signs of a trend would be suppressed before it even emerged. But lately, the suppression speed has slowed down, even allowing for some degree of discussion.】

【Exactly, Pei Ge’s status doesn’t require this kind of attention. Besides, considering Pei Ge’s plans on withdrawing the circle, these hot seraches are not beneficial for his public image.】

【Enough said, hot search is like love, and the studio’s approach mirrors Pei Ge’s attitude. Even Pei Ge’s alternate account reposts Zhao Zong’s Weibo seamlessly, providing a one-stop service. If this isn’t love, then what is!?】

【Which other CP spends the New Year together and frequently on hot search? My ship doesn’t have the audacity to flaunt like them.】

【But maybe it’s their straightforwardness… it actually makes others think their relationship as typical straight male friendship.】

Brother Lao and Chen Xi finally managed to reduce the heat on the hot search. Afterward, they had the studio’s team handle the aftermath properly. It’s the same routine every time. The main actors make a big splash on the trends and then act as if nothing happened, leaving behind the diligent workers like them to clean up the mess. If the pay weren’t so good, he would have smashed the computer on Pei Mingzhan’s face a long time ago.

“Lao Ge, is it the same as last time? Do we suppress it halfway?” Lele asked.

Lao Ge nodded with a world-weary expression, “Yes, we suppress it, but we need to leave some room for discussion.”

On his end, he was playing the clean-up role in the boiling frog strategy for Pei Mingzhan. Each time they suppress a trending topic, they can’t squash it entirely. Allowing for some discussion ensures that any potential public impact when the two eventually go public will be minimized.

What’s even more absurd is that in the past, whenever there was unfavorable news on Pei’s side, the PR team would quickly suppress it, eliminating any uncontrollable factors that could affect Pei Mingzhan’s career. Even during the airing of “Mi Ying,” when there were haters targeting Pei Mingzhan, Pei’s side quickly silenced them. But as soon as it involved news about Mr. Zhao, Pei’s ironclad PR department acted as if they didn’t see it, allowing it to trend without adopting any strategy.

To the extent that he doesn’t even need to inform Pei’s side. They just follow Pei Mingzhan’s wishes.

Brother Lao strongly suspected that Pei Mingzhan had already informed his side and that they simply didn’t care about such matters, almost wanting to fuel this momentum.

“Lao Ge, there are several scripts from directors here. You mentioned last time that there are new scripts to consider. Do you want to take a look?” Lele was finished handling the trending topics when he suddenly remembered. Previously, when they talked about withdrawing from the circle, they practically turned down all work. But this year, there seems to be a shift in Pei Mingzhan’s attitude. They haven’t turned down some of the work that has come their way.

Brother Lao replied, “Send them to my email. I’ll go through them later.”

-*

The news of Feng Mu wanting to meet Mr. Zhao quickly reached the ears of Gu Sui, the top boss of the Zhajiang Mian app. As soon as he heard that the technical director of a rival platform wanted to meet Mr. Zhao, he immediately sensed a problem.

Given their status as competitors, recent internal issues at Lemon Platform were not particularly private within their industry. Especially with the current negligence of some live streaming platforms towards user experience, Lemon Platform belatedly decided on technical upgrades and iterations, with Feng Mu being the key person in charge.

 “How does Yao Zhu feel about this?” Gu Sui asked his secretary.

The secretary replied, “After Yao Zhu informed Zhao Zong about this matter, Zhao Zong said that it’s for you to handle.”

Zhajiang Mian platform particularly emphasizes technical issues and has recently recruited a significant number of technical personnel, some directly poached by Mr. Zhao from the group. As a new team, despite being technologically savvy, there are still some underlying technical issues in certain aspects within the live-streaming industry. Gu Sui had been contemplating recruiting some technical personnel within the industry during this time, but he hadn’t set his sights on talents of the caliber of Feng Mu.

After some consideration, Gu Sui realized that he needed to determine Feng Mu’s purpose for coming before making any decisions.

-*

When Zhao Yao received Gu Sui’s reply, he and Pei Mingzhan were in the middle of reviewing a script. During the Chinese New Year, Pei Mingzhan asked Brother Lao to keep an eye out for better scripts. Today, Brother Lao sent over scripts – a total of five, with well-equipped production teams willing to accommodate Pei Mingzhan’s schedule.

“Haven’t finished reading them yet?” Pei Mingzhan asked, placing the scripts in front of Zhao Yao, allowing him to choose the story he was interested.

Zhao Yao had read quite a few scripts during his time at Huihua, and his observational skills regarding scripts had improved. From a personal perspective, he discussed the market issues for these genres in China, offering numerous suggestions to Pei Mingzhan, “For making money, Director Zhang’s commercial film might be a better choice. If you’re aiming for awards, I think Director Huang’s film has a chance.”

“Zhao Zong, are you looking for scripts with dollar signs in your eyes?” Pei Mingzhan smiled slightly.

“Are you having financial issues? From my perspective, I prefer to consider the investment and returns. And, you’re asking my opinion, so this matter requires careful consideration because you’ll be investing one to two months of time,” Zhao Yao replied seriously.

Pei Mingzhan asked, “How valuable do you think my time is?”

“Extremely precious.” Zhao Yao originally thought that Pei Mingzhan filming was a good thing. But the idea of them being apart for a while during the shooting, possibly not seeing each other for four to five weeks, made him reconsider the appeal of filming. With Pei Mingzhan already working, their chances to spend time together were limited. If Pei Mingzhan added filming to his schedule, it would essentially affect their time allocation.

Seeing Zhao Yao’s expression, Pei Mingzhan ruffled his hair and said, “Zhao Zong, just pick one you like. You can choose the drama where your boyfriend plays the lead role.”

Zhao Yao looked over the script, realizing that his interest in scripts wasn’t particularly high. Or perhaps, he lacked Pei Mingzhan’s refined appreciation because, in the eyes of a businessman, the value of a script lies in how much the revenue it can generate.

The character’s traits weren’t crucial to him. He disliked the idea of restricting Pei Mingzhan’s choices within the framework of ‘I like it’ because of his subjective preferences. When he liked “Jiang Hu,” it was simply because the protagonist resonated with him. Later, when he enjoyed “Feng Siyue,” it was because the lead was played by Pei Mingzhan.

So, Pei Mingzhan could take on any role he wanted. Zhao Yao liked all the dramas he acted in and enjoyed seeing Pei Mingzhan shine on screen.

“Then let’s go with this one.” Zhao Yao picked a script from the pile.

Pei Mingzhan took the script, looked at it, and asked, “Why choose this one?”

Zhao Yao hesitated slightly, “It seems decent.”

In reality, it was because the investment behind this drama hadn’t been finalized. If Pei Mingzhan took on this role, Zhao Yao would have Chen Xi handle all the investments. Then, Zhao Yao could frequently visit the set.

“Then let’s go with this one?” Pei Mingzhan checked his schedule, “If we’re going to film, it’ll probably be in the second half of the year. I’ll have the studio discuss it with their team.”

“Okay,” Zhao Yao seriously examined the team’s name, preparing to send a message to Chen Xi in a while.

With the script confirmed, Pei Mingzhan didn’t have much else to do. He asked, “What were you talking to Gu Sui about in the group just now? And who is Feng Mu?”

Zhao Yao explained, “The guy who stopped me when we were at the internet-famous store a few days ago, the technical director from Lemon Platform. Seems like he wants to discuss some technical matters with me, so he contacted Xiao Bai to set up a meeting.”

Pei Mingzhan recalled the guy in the floral shirt who had stopped Zhao Yao at the shop, furrowing his brows slightly, “When is the meeting scheduled?”

“Should be the day after tomorrow,” Zhao Yao replied, then added, “I’ll go with Gu Sui. After the meeting, should I come pick you up after you finish work?”

Pei Mingzhan replied, “I don’t have any plans the day after tomorrow. I’ll come pick you up then.”

-*

When Feng Mu was arranging a meeting time with Mr. Zhao’s assistant, the management of Lemon Platform suddenly called him, asking why he was still lingering in S City. Feng Mu simply replied, saying that personal matters required him to stay a bit longer, assuring them he would return in two days. However, the tone from the management was quite unfriendly, asking if he was dissatisfied with the recent decisions made by the senior executives.

The matter of technological iteration was originally a task assigned from above. In theory, modifying according to their proposed solution was just a matter of time. But the management team was eager for quick results, and felt that if the current challenges couldn’t be resolved, they should seek outsourcing. Feng Mu didn’t consider himself arrogant but finding other outsourcing companies for issues that even he couldn’t resolve ultimately is treating the symptoms rather than the root cause.  It was more of a palliative measure rather than a fundamental technological iteration.

In situations like that of Lemon Platform, the optimal approach would be to iterate in modules while the issues are still manageable. Within six months to a year, significant results could be achieved through this iterative process. But the management feels this timeframe was too long and was reluctant to increase the budget from higher-ups.

“Earlier, you instructed us to proceed after presenting a specific plan, set high expectations for our completion, and repeatedly ignored my suggestions for optimizing the plan. Now, a decision has been made to outsource,” Feng Mu maintained a controlled tone as he continued, “I need to understand your stance on this. How do you intend to resolve this issue? Is it through outsourcing or by letting our technical department handle it?”

The management sneered, “Feng Mu, are you trying to threaten me? Do you think you became a director by doing what? The technical department hasn’t shown any substantial achievements over the years. Do you expect us to give you more time for that plan? We’re willing to wait for you. Do you think customers will wait for you? Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing in S City. I’ve heard that you spoke with Zhao Zong at a shop, trying to curry favor. Are you planning to switch jobs?”

Feng Mu was taken aback, “What do you mean?”

The management continued, “Your assistant has told me everything. Said you can’t endure it and want to switch jobs. You even directly intercepted Zhao Zong at an internet-famous store, questioned him, and contacted Zhao Zong’s assistant. Don’t think I don’t know what’s on your mind. I advise you to rein in your thoughts and come back quickly. Otherwise, it will end messily, and neither of us will come out unscathed.”

After the other party finished speaking, they hung up, leaving Feng Mu breathless. His contract was indeed nearing its end, and there had been numerous job offers for him to consider. But he would never make the move of changing jobs before the contract period ended. What’s more, the technical department currently needed manpower for the ongoing technological iteration. When he encountered Mr. Zhao, they happened to be facing a bottleneck issue, a problem mentioned by Gu Sui in a recent interview. He thought there might be a feasible technical solution…

Feeling irritated, he wanted to call his assistant, only to discover that his assistant had blocked his number.

No wonder the assistant had been hesitant in their conversation that morning and didn’t join him for outings today. It turned out that the assistant had already reported him to the higher-ups.

Feng Mu couldn’t understand it. His assistant had been promoted from the technical department by him. Just two years ago, the assistant was relatively unknown within the company. If it weren’t for Feng Mu recognizing the person’s potential in terms of technical insight, he wouldn’t have personally mentored them to this point. But in the blink of an eye, this person had betrayed him.

“Hello, we’re here,” the driver ahead reminded.

Feng Mu paid and got out of the car. He arrived at the private club he had agreed to meet Mr. Zhao. After entering, he saw two people in the reserved room – Mr. Zhao and a familiar face, Gu Sui, the head of Zhajiang Mian.

When Zhao Yao saw someone approaching, he was a bit surprised. Feng Mu today looked different, compared to the somewhat disheveled appearance a few days ago at the internet-famous store. He was neatly groomed and dressed in a well-fitted suit, presenting a lively appearance. But there was a tinge of melancholy on his face now, distinguishing him from the excited demeanor of a few days ago, as if he had encountered some setback.

Feng Mu composed himself and asked, “Zhao Zong, Mr. Gu is here too.”

Gu Sui grinned, “Director Feng, I’ve heard a lot about you. Please, have a seat.”

Feng Mu didn’t want to let his emotions affect the atmosphere. Once seated, he went straight into the main topic, “Zhao Zong, last time at the shop, we were discussing a technical challenge that Mr. Gu mentioned before. I heard from colleagues in the industry that Zhajiang Mian has already resolved it. I have a few misconceptions I’d like to discuss with you both, without going deeper into any technical secrets.”

“We are both outsiders,” Zhao Yao found Feng Mu’s cautious approach somewhat surprising, so he said, “Mr. Feng, please go ahead.”

Considering this was an informal meeting and the parties involved had different perspectives, Feng Mu wouldn’t touch after any confidential matters. He would only discuss methods to address a few misconceptions, which aligned with the current challenges faced by Lemon Platform. On the technical front, they hadn’t reached the level of Zhajiang Mian yet, but the technical risks raised by Mr. Gu and Mr. Zhao were indeed worth contemplating in the industry.

 Feng Mu discussed several issues with them, and Mr. Zhao and Mr. Gu answered straightforwardly, avoiding the deep technical problems. But they did clarify the direction on certain points. Feng Mu also brought documents to discuss some specific issues today, and on a significant problem he had overlooked, Mr. Zhao directly pinpointed the problem.

“This is indeed something we overlooked before…” Feng Mu suddenly realized, “Thank you very much.”

“No need to thank us. You might consider searching through technical journals. Some problems already have solutions, especially in more obscure publications,” Zhao Yao suggested, recalling something as he looked at the documents. With memories from his previous life, he had a more forward-looking perspective on certain issues.

The document Feng Mu brought was somewhat similar to one he had seen in his previous life, but that publication came out later. The solutions mentioned in Feng Mu’s document were somewhat one-sided compared to the more comprehensive approach in the later publication. Zhao Yao couldn’t recall the exact content of that publication from his previous life, but when he saw Feng Mu’s document, memories started to resurface. It turned out that Feng Mu was the author of that later well-known publication.

“Mr. Zhao is too modest. You are far from being an outsider in this matter,” Feng Mu said, realizing that Zhao Yao’s straightforward comment had clarified a long-standing confusion for him. He couldn’t help but exclaim, “I was stuck on such a small problem, no wonder the last test failed…”

“Mr. Feng’s value in this document goes far beyond this point. In these matters, Mr. Feng’s technical expertise surpasses ours,” Zhao Yao explained, “When Mr. Gu raised this issue, our platform hadn’t fully resolved it internally. Technical improvements take time. Mr. Feng is willing to discuss this problem with us, and we have other new ideas on our end.”

Zhao Yao spoke the truth. He was a layman. While he had reviewed relevant literature, proposing specific improvement solutions was beyond his understanding. If Feng Mu hadn’t brought this document for discussion, Zhao Yao wouldn’t have realized that a important technology influencing future live streaming was developed by Feng Mu. The points Feng Mu raised were the result of his own subsequent research, with Zhao Yao merely providing him with some early insights from a future perspective. But the refinement of this technology still relied on Feng Mu himself.

When Feng Mu heard this, his emotions took a completely different turn. Only through comparison did he realize how well the management team of other platforms handled things. It seemed unlike his own platform, which seemed to neglect practical issues and even engage in intrigues. “I really appreciate both of you taking the time to listen to me ramble about these things.”

“Mr. Feng’s raised issues are somewhat helpful for our platform, making it a mutually beneficial collaboration,” Gu Sui spoke frankly. “I am particularly interested in one technology Mr. Feng mentioned. If you don’t mind, we’d like to propose a cooperation with Lemon Platform, and we can carry out relevant technological cooperation.”

Feng Mu wore a bitter expression after hearing this. He had previously presented proposals for funding to explore this technology to the higher-ups, but the platform had no intention of approving his budget, arguing that this technology currently couldn’t yield a return on investment. Instead, they urged him to focus his efforts on feature development. Whether Zhajiang Mian Platform would cooperate with them on developing this technology depended entirely on whether the management nodded.

The thought of the recent conflict he had with the management made Feng Mu feel that realizing this idea would probably be challenging.

Feng Mu sighed slightly and felt that he needed to have a detailed discussion with the management about this issue when he returned.

After some discussion, Feng Mu left first. It was only after Feng Mu left that Gu Sui asked Zhao Yao, “Zhao Zong, I didn’t expect you to be knowledgeable in this area.”

“I’m not knowledgeable. I’ve just read some relevant literature. I can’t even recall where I read it,” Zhao Yao paused slightly. “Feng Mu is a talented person. Collaborating with Lemon Platform isn’t a disadvantage. If Feng Mu’s technology can be implemented, it could solve quite a few current challenging problems.” He merely took advantage of some time. The really remarkable people were those who had been dedicated to technical research.

Gu Sui shrugged. “I heard that Feng Mu is just a figurehead director at Lemon Platform now. Because of his stubbornness on technology, several high-level executives at Lemon Platform are dissatisfied with him.”

“Dissatisfied?” Zhao Yao looked at Gu Sui in confusion. “Given his technical skills, that seems unlikely.”

Gu Sui explained, “Lemon Platform is an established platform, and their focus is primarily on content and broadcasters. They don’t prioritize technical issues. Many functions still operate on frameworks from several years ago. You know how fast technology evolves. In the competitive market, falling behind in technology will gradually lead to elimination. But in the live streaming industry, their management believes that as long as they control the majority of market traffic, technology is secondary.”

“Their vision is somewhat short-sighted. Although Lemon Platform currently controls the majority of traffic, with the diverse development of the entertainment industry, the future market trends are unpredictable, even for us. Sometimes, fundamental aspects easily determine the lifeline,” Zhao Yao remarked, shifting his gaze. “But these are not our concerns. If Feng Mu has his own ideas, he should make a decision soon. If he wishes to stay at Lemon Platform, we will have to consider cooperation. If he has foresight for his career planning, timely approaches can give us more leverage.”

Gu Sui smiled, “Impressive, Zhao Zong. If Lemon Platform fails to recognize talent, we won’t hesitate here.”

He continued, “So, where does Zhao Zong plan to go next? How about I give you a ride?”

Zhao Yao checked the time, “No need, he said he’s coming to pick me up.”

He also sent a message to Xiao Wang, who was waiting outside, informing him to head back in advance.

Gu Sui suddenly realized, “Then, I won’t disturb your date. Maybe we’ll see you trending again tonight.”

At these words, Zhao Yao glanced at Gu Sui. Were he and Pei Mingzhan really so diligent in making it to the trending topics?

-*

The parking lot of a certain club in the center of City S is quite a puzzle. This place often sees business discussions or the movements of people from the entertainment industry, attracting quite a few paparazzi. During the day, there are fewer people moving around. The paparazzi originally planned to grab lunch and then return to continue their stakeout. In the morning, a well-known young celebrity had just entered with a high-ranking executive from a company, and it’s still unknown what they’re discussing as they haven’t come out yet.

He had arranged a shift with his colleague and was anticipating the replacement when he noticed someone coming out from the elevator at the underground parking lot.

The paparazzi was momentarily stunned. After zooming in, he realized it was none other than Zhao Yao, the CEO of Huihua, who had recently been making headlines. Seeing Zhao Yao in person was a bit surprising. There have been  a lot of happenings related to the Zhao Group recently. He had heard discussions among colleagues about the various incidents involving Zhao’s group. When he saw Zhao Yao at this moment, he speculated that he might be here for business negotiations.

Just as he was about to press the shutter, he suddenly noticed a car turning in from the other side.

The car was discreet. After parking, a person stepped out from the driver’s seat. The paparazzi was taken aback. After zooming in his lens, he recognized the figure — wasn’t this Film Emperor Pei Mingzhan?

Seizing the unexpected opportunity to capture both of them in one frame, he carefully adjusted his angle. Through the lens, he saw the taller figure approaching Mr. Zhao took his hand. Then they walked towards the car with obvious intimacy.

Paparazzi: Huh???

!!!

The venue Zhao Yao chose for the meeting wasn’t far from Pei Mingzhan’s company. After sending a text to Pei Mingzhan, Zhao Yao received a reply within fifteen minutes. Zhao Yao went directly to the underground parking lot to wait for him. Shortly after arriving, he noticed a car parked not far ahead, and Pei Mingzhan stepped out.

“You didn’t wait too much, right?” Pei Mingzhan said, walking towards the car while holding Zhao Yao.

Zhao Yao nodded, “You got here pretty quickly.”

He held Pei Mingzhan’s hand and noticed it was quite cold. “I could have just come to your company,” he said.

Pei Mingzhan hooked his arm around Zhao Yao’s shoulder, walking towards the car. “You guys finished quite quickly. I thought it would take a bit longer.”

“Well, the discussion was straightforward, it didn’t take too long,” Zhao said. “How about having lunch at that place we went last time? It’s not far from here, and it’s convenient for you in the afternoon.”

The paparazzi squatted in the shadows, watching the car move farther away. He lowered his head to carefully confirm the contents on the camera, then quickly called his editor-in-chief.

“Boss! I’ve got a big scoop!!!”


I want to read a novel about a gently scum villain ML, seems interesting but for sure headache inducing HAHAHA

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